One thing I learned from growing lots of vegetables with no use of powered machinery was how to make efficient use of my time and energy. When facing back-to-back-to-back 12 and 14 hour days of manual labor, one figures out how to be effort-thrifty. Here is an example that I’m sure most of you know already, but with a few subtle notes.
The other day a landscaper dropped off a large pile of grass clippings in front of our home. I wanted to take them around the back, so instead of six to eight wheel barrow loads I grabbed a “tarp” (large plastic bag saved from our insulation purchase).
I’ve found the easiest way to load the tarp is to hold down the front edge with my feet and rake through my legs. I used this technique when raking leaves in New England.
The loaded tarp is ready to go. Note that in this case the bottom has been cut open but the top zip tie has been left in place. By pulling from the bottom end the top bundles the grass so it does not fall off the back while transporting the load. The rake stays on for the ride if it is needed at the other end of the journey.
I decided I would add the grass to an existing compost pile to heat it up and finish it. The first tarp load I pulled to the edge of the compost pile and lifted the back of the tarp over.
Because the pile is in a corner, I could not repeat this on the other side, so I pulled the edge of the tarp to the top of the pile and then lifted the back over the top.
Nothing revolutionary here, but an example of a quick and easy way to move a load of lightweight material. By using lots of effort-thrifty techniques like this it is possible to do 12 hours of work in 10 hours and with the effort of 8 hours. When your personal metabolism is the energy source, every bit counts.
And on a final note, I always store plastic items out of direct sunlight. Many plastics are UV sensitive and break down in the sun over time. Even a plastic bag from insulation – what many people would toss in the rubbish on day one – can be saved and re-used for years.
And there are many uses for sheets of plastic like this. Do you have any good ideas? Please post them.