dumpster find of the week: scavenging for the kids

Aaah, dumpster diving.  There has been sadly little of it in my life lately, leaving me to live vicariously through the tales of others.  Like this one.  Frugal Vegan Mom wrote me recently to tell me about this crazy-ass toy that her Grandma-ma pulled out of the trash and that her baby loves.  She saw the damn thing a few days later in a store for 45 dollars!  Good job, Frugal Vegan Mom, good job.

Wednesday October 24th 2012, 9:00 am 7 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

dumpster find of the week: another bundle of blankets

I’ve mentioned the phenomenon before, but I’ll explain in a word for anyone who hasn’t been around for that long: bundles of blankets.  At least once every three months I would find one in the trash across the street from Haus Mainusch.  My theory has always been that international students who are moving out were the ones throwing them away.  Why else would you wrap all your bedding in a fitted sheet and toss in in the trash?  If the bedding had been defiled in some way I might understand.  But we’re talking sheets smelling of detergent.  And the universe continues in its absurdity.

Either way, the phenomenon has resulted in an excess of bedding in my life.  These are the latest finds, hung out to dry after a thorough washing.  Coincidentally, many of them were exactly the same color that I have just painted my Wagen.  I’m going to miss that trash corral, now that we’re in Frankfurt.

Wednesday September 26th 2012, 9:00 am 6 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

internet faux pas, moving, dumpster diving, and archery

The weather is perfect.  I love the start of fall.  The outdoors are a’calling (as are a bajillion things that I need to do to my Wagen before winter), and I find little time for blogging.  Perhaps I should take a page from the speed dating book.  A few updates in fifteen minutes or less…

Umm, sorry about that hiccup where the website was suddenly gone.  Whoops. If you tried to come by Click Clack Gorilla the past two days and found scary ugly nothingness, I apologize.  I was a day late paying the renewal fees for my domain name.  This is the second time I have let this happen (though the first time I was traveling, and it took me a long time to notice and an even longer time to get things fixed), and thank frickin cod that nobody seems to be lurking around waiting to scoop up www.clickclackgorilla.com because I renewed and now things are working again.  Having to give that up would be incredibly sad.  Anyway.

We are finally fucking moving.  Like maybe tomorrow.  I had become completely unmotivated again, in all things related to the move.  Then this morning the Beard gets this text message: “We could move both Wägen tomorrow, the baby Wagen Thursday.”  Holy shit!  I felt like springing into action.  “Let’s do it!”  That was me.  “No frickin’ way!”  That was the Beard.  We are hoping to be able to settle on this weekend, if our moving guy can do it then too.  Could be that the next time I write to you, our wheels are settled firmly on Hessen soil.  Fucking finally.  This waiting and preparing has dragged on far too long already for my taste.

Baby Pickles just discovered that she has hair.  Now she is no longer limited to pulling on my hair or the Beard’s beard.  Stroke, grab, pull, stroke, grab, pull.  However, she doesn’t seem to mind when she pulls her own hair out, so I guess this won’t be a lesson in why not to pull my hair.  She also can sit pretty well.  And eat like eating is the same as sloppily putting on make-up.  Peach face! Peaches are by far her favorite.  Soon we’re going to need to get another sack of clothes.  Banana baby!

I did my first dumpster dive with baby!  I felt so proud.  On a walk to get Pickles settled one evening I happened upon a pile of wood that would be lovely for some trim I need to do on my Wagen exterior, and for building stairs.  The following evening I strapped Pickles on, put a little seat for her in a bike trailer, and walked over to get it.  While I pulled useful boards out of the pile, Pickles sat in her chair in the shade and watched.  The boards were a bit long for the trailer, which prevented me from taking as many as I could have used, but damn was I happy to get some decent scavenging done with the baby in tow. I’m going to be even happier to put them to use.

I finally read Dies the Fire. Which other PA (that’s “post-apocalypse” folks) lit fans have been recommending all over the internet for ages. While it is not literature, not even close, it is a great story, and I am obsessed.  Maybe even OBSESSED.  Good thing S.M. Stirling made it a trilogy, and then wrote a six book series in the same world that takes place a generation later. It is making me both want to write a really long review (coming once I finish the trilogy) and to take up archery. Oh my.

dumpster find of the week: the green lady

I kid you not.  Spotted by the lovely Frau Dietz in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Have you found anything good on the curb lately?

Thursday August 23rd 2012, 9:00 am 1 Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

trash to treasure: a dumpster-dived floor

Way back in February, before Baby Pickles had arrived and when there was still snow on the ground, B brought a new Bauwagen back to the Platz. It looked like this.  He needed more space, and he had been planning on doing the inside up real nice.  But, whoops, no money.  So the trash collecting began, and bit by bit, he pieced together a patchwork floor that, in my humble opinion, looks much awesomer than any regular old orderly looking purchased flooring ever could have.  And it has a chess board!

dumpster find of my heart: twigs for nesting

Sheets and blankets and towels don’t make for good headlines.  But from them I built my comfy sleeping nest (well, not the towels), and my comfy sleeping nest is pretty much the most important place in my little house.  Because we live so tiny (our main dwelling being 7 meters by 2,20 meters for those of you just tuning in), our bed tends to serve as both bed, couch, and living room.  When I’m inside, I’m usually hanging out on the bed.

I’ve written about the bed in my Wagen before, about how I built it out of dumpstered materials, got a mattress from a friend, and then clothed it in dumpster-dived pillows, sheets, and blankets.  And the bed in our main Wagen is pretty much the same deal.  Though the main frame was in it when we moved in, the extension that we added to make it huge (so Baby Pickles could sleep in it with us) was largely dumpstered and the mattress extension was cut out of a bit of foam headed for the trash.

Though I haven’t been checking the trash across the street so often for booty (and the university changed the type of trash cans there, which makes for slightly more work for the diver), I still managed to find one of the recurrent “bed bundles” this season.  What is a bed bundle?  Well, it’s when a student, for no reason I can ascertain, takes the fitted sheet off of their bed, wraps all of the rest of their bed clothes in it (blankets pillows etc) and then tosses it as-is in the trash.  It blows my mind every time I find one, and over the years I’ve found quite a few, and it is the reason that all (with three exceptions, one from a flea market and two old fitted sheets from my mom) of my sheets, the sheets (and towels) that you see in that photo, are from the trash.

As usual, thanks to the wasteful students!  (But really?)  How ironic (is this actual irony?  I have never bothered to really hammer the true definition of that word into my head) that I profit from the same waste that frustrates me so.  Oh those twisted webs.


dumpster find of the week: baby tub

And you thought I hated that color. Well, I do. But when I went out to take out the trash and found this baby tub and (umm, what do you call these things? ummm…) toilet trainer seat thingy, I shrugged and took them home. There are a number of baby tubs lying around the Wagenplatz that would have worked just fine as well, though many of them were a little on the big side, and none of them had a drain plug in the bottom. (Note to self: do not get cocky and use inside the trailer where it is bound to somehow come open and flood everything.)

What have you found in the trash recently?

Read about why I do a “dumpster find of the week” series here. Or check out some of the other treasures I’ve pulled out of the trash here.

Wednesday March 28th 2012, 9:00 am 4 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

the weirdest thing i ever found in the trash

I’ve posted this picture before, but when I came across it in my blog archives I thought: now there’s a story worth telling twice. So here goes. Once upon a time I took a long Sunday bike ride through some nearby fields. Those nearby fields are also near some big box stores. I had never checked out their dumpsters, so I biked behind them, finding nothing until I came to a huge high-security fenced in trash area. This is what was inside, and for a good thirty seconds, I actually thought it might be real.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in the trash?

Wednesday March 21st 2012, 9:00 am 1 Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

dumpster find of the week: a sled

Did I get this from Sperrmüll (that’s German for “big trash left out on the curb”) in Frankfurt or in Mainz? I can’t remember now, but I remember being excited to find it. And it’s in perfect condition except one tiny wooden bit that’s been broken off—probably the reason it was tossed in the first place. Well PISHAW. We know how to fix broken little wooden bits, and because we’re willing to do so, we now have a sweet old-school sled. Though I do remember the plastic saucer sleds being more unpredictable and speedy, which is always a plus when you’re a little kid with a quick healing time.

Have you been sledding yet this year?

Read about why I do a “dumpster find of the week” series here. Or check out some of the other treasures I’ve pulled out of the trash here.

Wednesday March 14th 2012, 9:00 am 5 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

dumpster find of the week: apocalypse, dark mountain, and rima staines

“Welcome to the end of the world as we know it.  The advertised future has been canceled, due to unforseen circumstances.  All around us there are signs that our whole way of living is passing into histoy.  This is a book about what we do next.”

What could I say about this passage, about my excitment for the book that this statement graces the back of, that wouldn’t sound cliche, that could really communicate the excitment that I feel fluttering in the marrow of my bones at reading these words?  Nothing.  Silence, in fact, is the answer.  A quiet nod at what I can only imagine is a damn fine publication created by people who I would really enjoy sharing an evening with.  Meet the Dark Mountain Project.

Being hopelessly out of touch with everything—even things that interest me passionately—I first heard about the project over a year after the second Dark Mountain anthology was complete, from fellow sometimes-small-houser writer dreamer painter and dream weaver Rima Staines.  (Whose work you might remember from this post.)  The group publishes hardcover anthologies of end-of-civilization writing and art, puts on festivals, and generally deserves a lot of hat-tipping and praise.  As usual, they’ve already described the project well themselves, and I quote:

“We are citizens of the most destructive civilisation in human history. That civilisation is in the process of destroying much of life on Earth in order to feed its ever-advancing appetites. As it does so, it appears to be destroying itself.  All around us are signs that our whole way of life is passing into history.

“In times like these, an honest cultural response is needed. It is through stories that we weave reality. The progress of civilisation itself is a story; as is the centrality of homo sapiens to life on Earth, as is the inevitability of human life getting better, of technology and science digging us out of the hole we are in. These old, creaking stories are now killing us. We need new ones.

“The Dark Mountain Project exists to write them. We aim to question the stories that underpin our failing civilisation, to craft new ones for the age ahead and to reflect clearly and honestly on our place in the world. We call this process Uncivilisation.”

dark mountain and dumpster diving

In a roundabout way, it all comes back to dumpster diving.  Rima painted the cover for the first Dark Mountain Anthology.  On a piece of wood she found in the trash.  And another dumpster find of the week post was born.  Isn’t it purdy?

As for where she scavenged the wood, Rima had this to say:

“As for the Dark Mountain painting….well the piece of wood came from a skip in a rather special place we have in our community called Proper Job.  It’s a community recycling yard or landfill redirection—basically, a kind of heavenly junk yard with piles of old stuff, portacabins and compost… they take all the stuff we don’t want any more, and do house clearances too, and then sell it back to people who do want it.  There are books, clothes, textiles, antiques, old tools, furniture, compost, and all manner of unnamable items, bits of metal, wood, and more…

“If you live round here, you generally tend to go there every week or few to see what’s appeared, and the longer you live in this area, the more you see items passing round to other people. Most of my clothes these days come from there, and friends exclaim when they see their old garments on me. Pieces of furniture make their way round many households in the village, and all in all it’s a great place. They have a skip for old wood that’s not obviously usable and people can take it for firewood for a donation (you can see where the skips are here).

“And that’s where I found the piece of wood for the painting. I love to paint on wood best of all—canvas is too springy, and often I like to keep the bark on (as with my handmade wooden clocks).  Also, I really really love the worn wood aesthestic, flaking paint, and mottled broken colour. The older and more weathered the wood the better, which is why a skip is a better place to find wood for a painting than a wood yard. The weathering gives it soul I think.”

You can see more photos of the painting, as well as read more of Rima’s magical words over at Into the Hermitage.

Have you ever turned scavenged materials into art?

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