Captain of the garbage barge? Must-stink Sally? Dumpster diva?
You’ve heard of being keel-hauled…right? Well, this is us being clean-hauled. Spring cleaning OTG.
We have not made a garbage run for eight years. Occasionally, we take in a small bag of stinky stuff (one small one white bag) but, for the most part of this special Covid time, we haven’t gone anywhere to take anything with us. I think I have been in town maybe four times over this past year….which is 3 times too many. (Sal’s knee op was worth every excruciating day there.)
Eight years of living gathers garbage regardless of how ‘green’ one tries to be. We have 40 cases of empty wine bottles to return, for example, and they are NOT shown in the pictures. Wine bottles are for another day. Garbage, garbage, garbage is today’s agenda.
For us, garbage mostly falls into one of six categories. Safe burnables (nothing plastic or chemical – i.e cardboard, old wood), compostable organics, glass, non-compostable organics, plastic/chemical derivatives and metals.
We do a safe burn every couple of years – usually in the winter or during heavy rains. We compost every day. The non-coms (bones, cooked meat, etc) get handled by the gulls and the crabs. And I save much of the metal but recycle some of it. The big ugly is plastic. And the worst-smelling of the plastic is the wrapping for meat products – they just don’t get clean enough NOT to attract bugs. That stuff has to be sealed. What do we seal it in? Well, more damn plastic, of course.
Today, we took three heaping boatloads over to the other island. An enterprising local lad offered to do a dump run for a fee and a couple of us took him up on it. But the chore ain’t easy even if our Lad takes it to the dump for us.
The proscribed method for this chore is to first gather all the crap and debris on the deck by the beach. Then, at the exact right tide, we load it on Sal’s beachable little skiff and take it over to the landing beach. While Sal does that, I load up the funicular cart at our end for another run. Sal throws all the garbage on the other-island beach and comes back (turnaround time 30-40 minutes). And we repeat that until the deck is clear.
Then I go over in our other boat, get the truck, drive it to the beach and start to take the garbage up the 250-300 foot other island hill rising from the landing. Lad’s big truck can’t get down with two-wheel drive. When Sal had completed her three runs, I would estimate we had the equivalent of 50 large black plastic bags chock-o-block full of crap and two extra ones that stunk. Plus we had some metal recyclables and dead equipment. Two heaping pick-up trucks full.
But Murphy showed up and, when I went to get the truck, it would not start. Not even a click. Dead battery. Not to worry….we have a mini-jump starter and I whipped it out and hooked it up. Nada. Zip. Dead Polly. Sal brought our second mini-starter (we keep one in the boat) and we got the same result – nothing. A neighbour drove by and stopped and offered her jump starter kit. Much bigger. Same result.
So, I removed the battery and put it in the boat for charging at home. In the meantime, our garbage guy went down to the beach in a smaller, borrowed 4X4 and picked it all up. Took him four trips up and down to get it all. Maybe five. I stopped counting.
He took it to the top of the hill and dumped it all in a heap. Then he took the last load to his big truck at home (he borrowed the smaller truck because his bigger one got Murphy’d the day before). After that, he came back and did it again. And again. And again. And maybe five times. Each trip is about 90 minutes.
If he had his big truck working, it would be one trip. Not an easy day for him, either.
We paid him extra.