Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Freecycle and Concrete

Here is yet another plug for Freecycle. I have posted about this organization before, but love it so much I want to be sure to get the word out. As of February 19th, there are 2373 members subscribing to this group's emails in the Clarksville area. That is quite a few folks. I have been a member for about one year, and love it! Let me explain.

Freecycle is a Yahoo Mail Group and the Clarksville Club web page can be found at: There are groups all over the world. It's purpose and primary intent is to keep unwanted items out of the dump. On the converse side, if you have a need for something you think someone might have just laying around, like broken concrete, then you can post a "Wanted" ad and ask for it. All posting is done anonymously and is moderated by local Clarksville members.

I recently posted I wanted some broken concrete. You would not believe how MUCH ends up out here at Bi-County. I have even gone to Bi-County to ask if I could have it, but laws forbid such a thing from happening in the landfill industry.

Matthew, a really nice guy who lives off from HWY 41A responded. He was the same man who posted an offer for PVC pipe last fall. I was the recipient of a lot of PVC pipe to be used somehow in my garden. Already knowing Matthew made things easier for Mr. Fix-it and I to pick up some of the broken aggregate concrete he had in a huge pile by his house. Thanks Matthew and family!

The second picture shows all of the concrete laid out where it is to be dug into the ground. This particular area of my yard is sloped, and just happens to be Mr. Fix'it's 'driveway' to his garage, seen in the background. The concrete stabilizes the soil, helps reduce run off flow, and helped me to level this area out.

Broken concrete really does work well in the garden. I love my path around my deck leading to the side gate (last picture). This area is in full shade and doesn't grow grass well, but is now stable and decorative and I don't have to get muddy walking in the garden. I am hoping for the same effect on Mr. Fix-it's 'driveway' to his garage. I couldn't have done it without the generosity of Matthew and all the other freecyclers who have gifted my garden with their 'junk'. You know what they say, "One man's trash is another woman's treasure". Or something like that!

in the garden....


  1. Great finds Tina --I'm wondering if something like this would work for my mom's house. She has a dirt/gravel driveway and when it rains she gets mud for days. It's very hard to walk to her house from the car. Do you think broken concrete would help that? I feel bad --she has to struggle to get inside when it rains hard out her way. I have been thinking of looking for bigger rocks --it will have to be a spring break or summer project since I don't go up that often. Have a great day! I think we have another winter weather advisory for tomorrow.

  2. That's a great idea! I just joined the local area Freecycle the other day. I'm hoping to find some good stuff for the garden. I never thought to ask for broken concrete. That could have some very useful applications!

  3. Great idea Tina! I have checked out the Freecycle sight and asked the Saint to sign me in but he keeps "forgetting" to. ( I am computer illiterate or I would sign in my self) I think he does not want me to find stuff because he knows it will be more work for him to do. LOL.. Like he needs to do nothing but lay on the couch when not at the office! ha...

    Speaking of not at the office, he came home from work for his lunch hour and we cut down the tree! Wind has been really high and we had a break so our neighbor called and said lets do it! So we did. I fed the Saint a quick sandwich then back off to the office he trotted! When he gets home we will remove the mess behind the shed then hopefully start the Shed Addition. We can get the tree up any time. It is not in the way.

    I cleaned out a flower bed and the Salvia, Drumsticks and Purple Queen are poking their heads out of the ground!

  4. Hello everyone!

    Leave it to you Tina to know about something like this. I know you have told me about it many times and said I should look for one up here but I never have but maybe I should. Like I need more stuff!!

    Dawn did you know about this? I bet you could use it. You know all the good places that sell good new stuff for near to nothing.

    Skeeter if you can do the blog thing and use paypal and stuff you can sign up for freecycle yourself. Come on girl and do it!!

    Glad you got your tree down. Don't know how you did it that quick. We had to have a tree taken down a few years ago and it took all day. It was a big old oak tree.

  5. Hi Skeeter, glad you got your tree down. Hi Jean --good to see you --just had to tell you your daughter is WONDERFUL. She made my youngest boy so happy with a special surprise --a little furry one visited. He loved it and it was so cute --but now I have no idea how Tina ever got pictures. That little ball of fuzz didn't stay still for too long. It's all he can talk about now:) THANK YOU Tina for making our day and thanks for the advice on mom's driveway. I didn't realize how often you would have to put gravel down --it kind of disappears after a bit here.

  6. Thank you very much Anonymous. I agree that she is wonderful. When your kids are small you hope for the best and like I just said a short while ago on a comment from the other day....I thnak God every day that I have such 4 Great daughters. In todays world that is quite a thing and it is my biggest fairy tale to come true. I believe in fairy tales!!!

  7. Glad to know they are in the area...

    I wanted to use my broken up sidewalk but can't lift big pieces of concrete like I used to...

    It was delightful meeting you last night...we will have to have dinner before a pps meeting, after would be late for your drive home.


  8. Oh my goodness, One of the peonies is popping up too!

  9. I'm getting quite jealous Skeeter that you are having more spring than me:) I know I have to be patient but tomorrow is supposed to be an icy mix:( I just make the usual walk around and enjoy seeing the tops of the tulips and lilies barely breaking thru the dirt, lol. I know it will be here soon enough --then the not so fun stuff --mowing and weed trimming, hahaha. But, it isn't bad mowing with that red beauty --it's that darn weed trimmer that gives the old arms a workout. Who needs a gym in the summer? hahaha

  10. Yes I joined when Tina mentioned it before , not only about her rabbit but about the books she gave away. My area has more members than Portland! Can you believe it!? It is easy to join, just give your stats and tell them why you want to be a member. Its yahoo mail, they post the "wanted" and "taken" right to your account. Its nice.
    Yeah, skeeter we all are becoming jealous--no, just kidding, love peonies but won't see one in bloom til late june. It must be nice to live in warmth, everyone up here gets bad cabin fever this time of the year, throw in the full moon and LOOK OUT!

  11. The moon is doing an eclipse as I type. Really cool stuff to see!

  12. Skeeter,
    glad you got your tree down. Now comes the fun part. Depending on what kind of tree, maybe Saint could cut the tree in slices & you could use them either or steps or use to "fence" off a flower bed. A temp solution as I know wood rots--but in the meantime!!!!!
    I didn't know we were to have an eclipse of the moon to night. Rats, I missed it.

    Great idea Tina. I used rocks in N.C. for paths. Went to river & picked up some pretty good flat ones. Some others not so flat---I brought them home to Fl.
    I will have to check out the freecycle here & see if they have one.

    In N.Y. in the Spring you can go & get for free the stuff that is picked up. They pile it up for compost. Great to grow stuff in-if you are filling up a raised bed.

    Hi Dave, Anonymous, Dawn with Peaches, Gail & Jean. Hope you all had a great day.

  13. hi guys!
    anonymous, it was nice visiting with you and the boy this morning. my little pup is a sweetie and little boys and pups just go together. glad he got to see her and i hope the others aren't too upset they missed baby. you can bring them by sometime when it warms up-maybe this weekend. i promise, i will make the jimster clean the yard! don't know about the house though.

    dave, freecycle is great for gardeners. i got a whole pick up truck full of stella de oro daylillies last summer. the guy didn't want them in his garden (just bought the house) as he found them too hard to weed. his loss, my gain. come spring there will be lots of posts and i also give flowers away.

    skeeter, i am glad you saw the eclipse. it was SO cool. i always get a thrill from them though i have seen many lunar eclipses.

    glad you got that tree down! i saw it, pretty big. i like lola's idea of making some stepping pads out of it. i think it would last a few years and would fit well in your woods maybe by the stream to the treehouse or something?

    spring is sprung, can't wait to see your peonies and everyone else's that grows them. lola, you will have to enjoy our pictures though if skeeter can grow them in georgia maybe you can in northern florida? worth a try.

    mom, you are too old to believe in fairy tales, but if that is your wish-what harm could it possibly cause? actually, i believe in happy endings, most of the time so i guess i do too.

    gail, you strike me as someone who could easily lift some concrete. what did you replace the sidewalk with? i eventually want to replace mine and could use some ideas.

    dawn with peaches, do you like freecycle? not only can you help someone out by taking "junk" off their hands, but you can get rid of your own "junk". that is important and you don't even have to haul it to goodwill, though they do encourage folks to give preference to non-profits first. good idea. no, i can't believe your area has more members than portland. maybe because it is more spread out?

    lola, i think you will enjoy freecycle. i use my yahoo and it really works well. you don't have to open the message to view what it is. quite convenient.

    lucky you to be close to a river with some nice river rock. i love rocks too. i don't have many but i also like the look of concrete. admittedly most folks don't. but this is my garden and it works for me. and it is convenient if you don't have river rocks around too.:)

    pup update: my two pups (bruiser and cj) are at the vet's getting altered. they should be transferred next thursday in nashville. i will be heading down there for the lawn and garden show so that works well for the handoff. baby will be with us for a while. but one is NOTHING compared to three. the jimster is giving her lots of love and she is hardly in the crate. fortunately she is not yelping when she is in the crate though. did i say she can be VERY LOUD? hurts my ears. she misses her siblings but is getting better.

  14. Tina,
    I have concrete around here--step stones, driveway etc. The river rocks were nice for N.C. with split rail fence--which I'd always wanted. I also was able to have baled hay/corn stalks, pumpkins & all the trimmings for the fall. Can't have that here as corn stalks are nothing by that time of yr.

    Glad the pups are much better & 2 of them will have homes. So important for them.

    I probably could use freecycle when I get done in the house as I will have a lot of stuff to get rid of. If I can't take care of it I don't need it.

  15. Lola, good ideas on using the tree in the garden! It is pine so we will not be burning it in the fireplace. I am thinking maybe have the logs standing on end bordering the flower garden! That is, if we can get them through the soggy yard to the garden.

    The area we have set a side for the veggie garden has been standing in water since the big rainfall on Sunday. Dont know if it will be the best place for a garden or not. Will really have to think of the raised beds that Dave was talking about. This is going to now cost more with lumber and bringing in dirt! If the deer, squirrels and rabbits get all the food, I will be very unhappy with the expense involved. Then I will give up and never try a veggie garden again while living in the woods with the wild critters as my friends!

    Glad to hear the pups are doing well Tina. I sent another donation a few days ago. I hope more are coming in as I know it must have been so expensive...

  16. yes lola, check out freecycle down there. people are almost willing to take anything as long as it can be used somehow. are you remodeling the house?

    i am thinking that if you veggie garden has been standing in water for four days now, it is NOT a good spot for the garden. raised beds would help and i would think, if prepared carefully would enable you to plant there.

    dave did a great post on raised beds and why they are good. but how to do it? you DON'T have to have wood frames for the beds. you can double dig, add some compost, and if done right it should be 4 inches higher than the surrounding dirt. you need to dig down 2 feet. remove the first foot of soil, set aside. turn the next foot of soil, then readd the first foot of soil. i know---long process. i will prepare a post on double digging and the French intensive garden method very soon! hopefully i can outline it better. i really is not that difficult-just backbreaking.

    so you wouldn't need to go to a great deal of expense. i hate to think you may get frustrated with it and give up the whole process as you a good gardener and would love the fresh veggies. i would fence my garden with some rabbit fencing at the very least. i have mine fenced. it works for looks and is functional too. enough rambling now. but consider either a new place for the veggies or raising those beds. but don't spend a ton of money. and you can always look at it this way, if you have a shotgun (seem to recall you do), let the critters eat the veggies-then you eat them! just kidding but it is a possibility?! lots of folks do you know. not me.

  17. Oh Tina, you know me, I could never harm an animal. Not even the stinking moles and voles! I love all animals to much. That is why we never had a veggie garden until now. We loved our garden in Germany but once we moved here, we knew we would be fighting the animals and after all, we have moved into their woods and they were here first so we have not had a garden for fear of the fight.

    You all chatting about veggie gardens got me in the mood to grow food again, so we are giving it a try this year. I do think the raised dirt (double digging) will be the way to go and I had decided not to go with framework (more costly) as the area will be so small this year. If we have luck, we may extend it larger next year. We did get a small fence to keep the rabbits out but I could never kill them. They are my buds and I chat with them when we are in the yard together... At times I say I am going to kill the moles and voles but I could never follow through with that threat… LOL…

  18. I haven't got anything off freecycle yet, due to post shortly, stove and fridge. I think my group is more than Portland because they are less willing. I was surprised how large mine is, almost 800.

  19. yes skeeter, i know you and my suggestion was tongue and cheek. it might be hard to tell on the blog but it really was! it is good you are starting small. limit your veggie choices too. it will make it easier. double digging is the only way to go with veggies because veggie gardens work so hard for so long. it will make it easier in the long run. just need that mulch. my veggie garden hadn't had any sides until this year. then i just reused old boards. it worked fine all those years but since i had to move it for mr. fix-it i figured i would simplify it by encasing it. it is neater but that is okay.

    almost 800 whole folks in maine on freecycle in your area! wow. that is a bunch.;) wait until garden season and i bet folks will be offering plants. it happens all the time in the spring and summer down here. i have gotten the best plants. one lady, susan, started a ton of red hot pokers from seed. she wanted to get rid of them and they were so beautiful and big! i ended up with at least 50 plants once separated. i gave a bunch to garden club friends. i can't wait till they take off. you should look for some delphiniums because you can grow them so well up there. you'll have no problem unloading your old appliances. it is convenient because the person gets something for free and usually come right away to take it because they are afraid someone else will get it. no labor for you at all. just supervise.

  20. skeeter,
    Good idea sitting them on end. Then you could sit pot of flowers on top. Have any kids? Let them roll the pieces to where you want them. I've found if you make a game of it they will do most anything. Big help. Watch out for sap.

    Not redoing the house just trying to put things in perspective since nothing has been done for last 2 yrs. I had a path to puter. Getting dangerous. Can't get to sewing machine. Got a lot of that to catch up on. Got a new baby in family I want to do some sewing for. A little boy. I have all boys here but my brother has all girls. 1st boy for them. It was a fact everything was just piled up in this room which has to be multi-function. You know how it is---to get something done you gotta do something else.

    one yr. our garden stayed under water for weeks. That was a fluke & it covered a big portion of back yard mainly because there was a swamp down in the woods.
    Either way the fresh veggies will be worth it.

    Hi Jean, Anonymous, Dave, Gail hope you had a great day.

  21. hi lola! i love it, "you know how it is--to get something done you gotta do something else." yes, that is the part that overworks me, but i always do a little at a time and slowly work toward the goal. takes time though! whenever i go to the garden i cannot just do one thing, two hours later i am finally coming in! it is that time thing again. i hope you clear it out and can start making some clothes for the babies!

  22. I agree with this so much. I live on the Gulf Coast and we lost everything just about. If we didn't have this list in our communtiy, we would not have recoverd so quickly. Someone would give us somthing and we would share with each other. It was a blessing.
    Another benifit was getting all my Pampas grass dug up for nothing. I gave most of it away and people were happy to dig it up. We both got what we wanted, That stuff is hard to dig up but in the end, I had a place to put in the plants I wanted and they went away happy with thier plants. Good deal for everyone. I love it.

  23. Hi Eve!
    So sorry to hear about your loss! I have a connection down there as one of my best friends lived in Diamondhead and worked at the Gulfport post office. It was a mess down there! She lost her job due to all the moves and had to transfer somewhere else. I am glad Freecycle helped you get back on your feet. I love it! Never knew about it until last spring. Digging Pampas grass is hard. Glad you found great homes for it and didn't even have to dig it! You know they were great homes because anyone willing to dig it really wants it. I love it too but it will not grow for me.