More Recycling – Reclamation Business

I love recycling. My earliest memories are from 4th and 5th grade when our school was raising money by collecting aluminum cans to sell for cash. Forgotten what we were raising money for but I would spend hours walking along roads picking up cans to put into a huge gunny sack. When it came time to bring them in I had a gunny sack and a half. Didn’t amount to but a few dollars but I liked it. It was the beginnings of a fleshless love of recycling, reusing, remaking and remixing.

Somewhere back in my storage shed there is an old scrap book that I started when I was 11 years old. It only has a few filled pages. One page has a coffee table made of soft drinks cans, stacked two or three high and two deep square. On top is perched a beveled glass top so you can see the cans beneath. Another has a see through shower curtain with pieces of scrap vinyl made into a scene of a tree and hills along the bottom.

I liked them because they were creative ideas for the time on recycling trash. Seem a bit simpleton these days but for an 11yo in the early seventies, they were awesome. Trash turned to useful treasures. I didn’t conceptualize the idea of saving the earth etc at the time, they were just things I wanted to think of and create.

We were gut poor at the time and having things meant that we had to be creative. I can honestly say that if there was a time in my life where my love of recycling sprouted, that was the time. It didn’t dissipate either. Instead it grew and my imagination grew with it.

This morning we were talking and throwing around ideas, as we normally do on our days off. I have often thought of what a waste it is when they tear down a house or old barn and just haul it all to the dump or burn it in a large bonfire. Beams and boards that could be used to build sheds or create tables or boxes, weathered, worn and with history.

We discussed to ins and outs of starting a reclamation business. The husband is the better of us at organizing and I have the imagination to see the possibilities of what something can morph into. I told him I would find the inventory and he could organize it.

He could use the wood if he liked to build things and sell on what he wanted. Going into places like Wickes(in the UK) where it can be a real chore to find a straight 2×4 or just about any piece of straight length of wood. Unless it is rotted from worm or wet why can’t wood be reused.

It is not just the wood that can be reused but the toilets, sinks, old cast iron baths. I saw a lovely idea yesterday as we were whizzing to market of three urinals on the outside wall of a garage, planted like hanging baskets. Excellent!!!

Recycling doesn’t mean using something again as it was originally designed. Recycling is making use of something in anyway you want to keep it from being thrown into a landfill. I would plan to make this a reclamation business and not a junk shop but I am not adverse to a junk yard so to speak. Lovely old floor boards stacked and ready to provide another 80 years of support to a family home has that feel-good aura about it.

Nothing scream creativity to me like recycling. Recycling can be applied to so many areas of our lives. How many of us have in an effort to save money learned to take our left overs from last nights dinner and recycle them into a creative new dish.

Using old CDs to scare the birds from your vegetable garden is recycling. Taking water you used to wash dishes and watering the garden is recycling. Making bread that has gone dry and stale (not molding) and making bread pudding is recycling. You didn’t throw it away. You used it as far as you could.

The majority of the human population did not learn to be so wasteful until the industrial revolution and the machine gave us, time, jobs and extra money in various degrees to afford to be wasteful. But just because I have been given the money and time to be wasteful does not in my eyes give me the right.

I do not have to be wholly self-sufficient to feel I am doing a little something to save my world from being buried in landfill after landfill but it makes me feel good when I can do what I can and guilty when I don’t do what I know I am able to.

So perhaps it is time to do a bit of investigating. I have to admit the idea would be to make a little money or I would have to maintain a paycheck job but there is room to consider how to avoid being greedy. Being rich is alluring but I doubt I would ever be anything but rich in the pleasure of doing what I love and sharing it with the world. Not a bad way to be rich, if you ask me.

Muscovy Ducks ROCK!!!

Muscovy ducks
I have raised chickens and ducks and want to sing the praises of the Muscovy.


You do not need a lake for Muscovy ducks I had a baby bath which I changed once a day for them the bath in and water trough for drinking. They do not quack (which is great for close neighbors). The females can and may if they hear other ducks quacking but the males can only hiss at you.

They have a lovely dark meat which is the lowest in fat of any ducks because they are not related to mallards – they originate from South America and are tree ducks. Roosting high up in the trees and spending minimal amounts of time in the water means they do not need that layer of fat to keep them warm. They are the only breed of duck not directly related to the mallad.

Oh and if you have problems with insects they are awesome at catching flying bugs. The Russians imported them for their bug consuming capabilities.

The Ladies are good layers for ducks and they make great momma ducks.

The males can be aggressive but not a problem for me. I raised them all from eggs. When Sammy (my man duck) would lower his head and start his hissing approach I would take him gently by the neck swing him around, squat down behind him (to which he would raise his head in suprise) so he was caught between my knees and give him a big duck belly rub. This usually gave me a few minutes peace (from his disgust of being duck hugged) to do a few things before he would start again. He didn’t like my husband at all because I was one of his girls and husband was some(duck)man to be reckoned with.

Him and Sophie have been given on to a lovely small holding from which I can visit (it was the offspring which were raised for meat. If I am breading for meat I have a bad habit of naming my breeding pairs but never the off spring. Sammy and Sophie gave me some great giggles. Sam was the duck and only afraid of one thing. That thing was Soph when she was sitting on her eggs.

She was a cantankerous old witch when she was broody. Once a day, usually after I had dumped and refreshed their baby bath she would come off that nest in a foul mood. She would let loose, 24 hours of stored up duck stuff and if there was any duck that wasn’t already hiding I am sure the smell would send them into the nether reaches of the pen.

After relieving herself she would have a quit wash a huge drink and just shovel in the food. She would come off her nest ready to take on the world, feathers spread, back hunched and looking like a charging bull moose. After the food, water, bath and dump out of the way and the fun would begin. She would go back into bull moose mode. Wing feather spayed whole body puffed and she was off on the hunt for the perpetrator of her perdicament.

Men should be so lucky when they are hen pecked by their wives and partners. Muscovy pecked takes on a whole new meaning. Poor Sammy, my big rough and tumble man duck would cower in a corner as she started to stalk. She was looking for him and she let everyone who got near her now she was on a mission to balance the suffering she was feeling trapped on a nest 23.5 hours a day.

He would be trying to protect his head as she began her libations of unfair job roles. His head would be pushed into a corner, so only his neck was available to her. She didn’t care, neck was just as good as she began pulling feathers out. She would grab a beak-full, ending up with only a couple and spit them out and grab again. The whole time screeching at him.

I could just imagine her saying. “You put me in there, it’s your fault I have to sit on these eggs. You strutting around like you are in charge. I WILL SHOW you who is IN CHARGE!!!” and the girl was.

The whole moment was hilarious. Sammy would take his medicine and as soon as she had disappeared back onto the nest he would be strutting around like he owned the world. Those two and their kids gave me hours of entertainment.

Back to the serious side.

They are the size of small geese and are good flyers but need room to get lift with their large wings. I recommend them to anyone who is considering raising ducks for meat.

I did not want to raise ducks as pets and would never have intended to make pets of Sammy and Sophie but it is how I am. My intention to raise them for meat meant that I had to learn to also follow it through to the freezer and table.

It is not an easy chore for women to dispatch living things, we are nurtures by our very natures. But to deny that dispatching was part of the ‘raiding animals for meat’ concept felt as if I was copping out.

To make sure I was achieving this in the fastest most humane way I asked a friend for help. In exchange for a duck in his freezer he showed me the best way to dispatch a large duck or goose should that need ever arise.

I will save a description for dispatching for another day.