Recycling Our Lives

There was a time when people used up as much as possible before throwing anything away. Old clothes were repurposed into rag rugs or quilt pieces or cleaning rags.Old blankets became quilt liners and wood was used in a myriad of ways before producing heat through fires. Bones and vegetable scraps combined into healthful broths or soup bases. Getting full value from every item, though time consuming, was often a financial necessity.

We progressed to a time of planned obsolescence where a new car ever five years was considered the minimum requirement for a life well lived. Not for everyone of course and not only for financial reasons. No matter how desirable we thought that new car smell might be (which we now know is a compilation of chemicals used in vehicle production, the idea of car payments, learning the idiosyncrasies of a new vehicle (not to mention car salesmen!) led many of us into holding on to old faithful just one more year.

Recycling has become a cultural preference as well as a recognition of the dangers inherent in an ecologically overstressed world.Better than sorting out our trash is that old idea using it up as completely as possible.

Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do.

This mantra was in the forefront of my mind as I decided to follow a dream plan of creating a micro climate..a small place on

A bird bath from a defunct garden

A bird bath from a defunct garden

our high desert property where I could have an area of plants and flowers protected from the often harsh winds, without stressing the water supply. The catalyst for this idea was numerous large cisterns placed on the property by the previous owners. The slightest moisture on the roof trickles into these containers, giving ‘free’ water for my projects.


latilla from another project and old planks

It started with a small fenced in area outside the master bedroom, along with a low retaining wall to deflect excess rain water from the house.It doesn’t rain often here but when it does it can rain heavily. When I decided to complete the area, I did so with a commitment to, as much as possible, use materials found on the property, left over from earlier projects. The fence posts were new but the wire, the snow fencing, the gates, were all scattered around, waiting to be re-used. I did purchase some landscape boundaries to keep the new soil in the planting areas but covered it over with whatever was on hand. I’ll be using flat rocks scattered I’ve found here and there for the solid areas outside the master bedroom, and will add some sort of ground cover in between.

It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there. With the exception of my late husband’s brother’s help with setting the posts (it

gate from a heavy wire  display

gate from a heavy wire display

took three of us actually, along with a rented auger) I’ve done the work myself. Originally it was intended as a private area for my husband to convalesce; it’s now slowly growing into a place of peace for me.

Along the same lines, I ‘found’ a story I wrote several years ago and started to work on it. What the heck, I purged that sucker from one end to the other. Gutted whole chapters of drivel to get to the meat of the story about a mercenary’s daughter and a special forces vet, neither one of whom thought they deserved love. I sent it out, to be snapped up and put into the edit queue at Black Opal Books. I have more stories to be found and repurposed, as well as new stories to be written. It’s all about finding my creative self, and recycling those ideas pounding around in my head.

Gardening and story telling, both expressions of artistic effort. Both so rewarding.


what better use for a chimayo?

what better use for a chimayo?


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9 responses to “Recycling Our Lives

  1. That is the name of the game at Infinity Farm too. I even haul manure to recycle! Love the creativity of this, in all areas. I bet you do it in the kitchen too.


  2. Recycling is the way to go. We have water tanks, too, conserving the water for the dry times. And my husband recently built a hostess trolley (cart) for a neighbour’s birthday – using wood he’d scavenged from them when they took down a veranda. Full circle.


  3. Aydan Forrest

    Your little “mini-ecosystem” is coming along so nicely. I’ve been following the progress for a while now. Good job, my friend! Interesting, too, that you posted about “recycling” your story idea. I just wrote a post about ideas as well, and mentioned that “ideas file folder” that has more ideas than I know what to do with!


  4. It sounds like a really lovely project! I love your emphasis on reusing things already there that will work for what you’re doing. Now that I’ve been volunteering for a no-kill animal shelter, old blankets and towels certainly seem to have a place to go, and I’ve found that in addition to using them at home for litter box cleaning, grocery bags (when I forget to take my reusable ones) work well for cleaning up after the dogs I walk at the shelter. I find your points about reusing things well-taken.

    And congratulations on the new/forthcoming story! I have had experience revising old stories too, especially from when I was in an MFA program (which I did not end up finishing) and was not yet writing erotica. I’ve re-purposed four stories I wrote for the program into erotica tales that have been published. 🙂

    I found this a great post—thanks for sharing it!


    • Awww thanks Emerald. That means so much to me! And thank you for volunteering! A lot of my old towels go to the shelter, along with other dog paraphernalia that collects through the years.
      My very first book ever will eventually see the light of day but by then the only part similar will be names (the hero is in this current book) and location. Fortunately!


  5. dorannadurgin

    I love your garden project! And look forward to the bookish project…


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