Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Lauren: Dumpster Diving (Again) April 14, 2014

We were dropping off some trash when I saw it–an enormous rosemary bush. We’re talking huge. I had to have it!

I admit that there is already a rosemary plant in my yard, but you can’t call it a bush because it only has a couple sprigs on it. This perfectly good plant in the dumpster would save me years of growing! Somebody’s trash was my treasure.

We were on our way to a party, so we had to come back and get it. And I made sure that we did.

I don’t have any action shots because it took both of us–one to hold it and the other to get showered with dirt, I mean, cut through the humongous root ball.



You would think he would look a little more thrilled, wouldn’t you?


Here is our new plant in the trunk:



And here’s the rest of it we left in the dumpster:


photo (1)


I saw some other good stuff in there, too: a metal shelf, a ladder. . . but Dave said we didn’t need any of that, even if it was free. I tried to get him to go to some other dumpsters for our date night, but he wasn’t having it. I think he just didn’t want any more little scrapes on his hands and arms.

And we planted it. I hope it survives.


How awesome is that?

I think I’m addicted. I wonder what other treasures the dumpsters are holding for me.


Lauren: Dumpster Diving February 12, 2014

I went dumpster diving today. And no, it was not really by choice.

It’s all because we cancelled our trash service. Between recycling, composting, and now, chickens, we don’t create very much trash, maybe a grocery bag a week. So it seemed ridiculous to pay $30 a month for the garbageman (or is sanitation engineer the politically correct term?) to come twice a week. Now we bring that one trash bag a week to the gas station when we fill up with gas, or we’ll go to the dump, or today I used the dumpster behind the butcher shop.

I threw my bag or two of trash into the dumpster . . . as well as my keys. And, of course they sunk to the bottom. I can’t believe this is really happening, I kept mumbling to myself. I’m sure I looked like a homeless person except for my clothes and my kids in the nearby car with huge smiles plastered across their faces. There’s not much cooler to E. than Mom climbing into the dumpster. It’s almost as fun as watching thirty minute YouTube videos of real garbage trucks going about their routes. Almost. I kept hoping I could just reach down and grab the keys, but no. I had to climb all. the. way. in.

I started to imagine what I would have to do if I couldn’t find them. The best I could come up with was going into the butcher shop and, after buying my ground beef and milk, ask them if anyone could help me find my keys. In the dumpster.

Once I got in and moved some bags and boxes, I saw them on the very bottom. Victory was mine. . .  in a loser-who-drops-their-keys-into-the-dumpster kind of way.

I am now seriously regretting not picking up the perfectly fine looking tomatoes I saw in there. Who knows? This might be a new thing.


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