Thursday, February 7, 2008

It doesn't pay to recycle... because people suck!

Everybody see the dump truck buried in my driveway? Ever seen gravel make wake like water? God damn it...

Okay, here's the story:

Yesterday, as we were coming home from our errands, our little old lady neighbor had visitors walking around on the side of the yard picking up branches from her tree. The storm had caused the tree to shed a bit, it needs to be pruned rather badly. As we passed by them, they gave us the dirtiest look imaginable! Expectedly, we were confused but paid it no mind.

Well, it turns out we hadn't picked up everything we needed while we were out and I jumped in the vehicle and headed back for the missing items. Upon returning home, a City Service Vehicle was parked in our driveway and my wife was standing in the doorway chatting with a strange man. A very worried look was on her face.

It seems that Terry L. Dendy from the City of Manchester Health and Codes Department was a Zoning Compliance Officer sent out to investigate a complaint dealing with our Lasagna Gardening project. He hadn't heard of the technique but stated that we were welcome to speak with the Director, Paul Guess, and discuss things with him. Terry's job was to simply follow up on the complaint regarding our paper-products in the yard. According to city codes, paper products are not to be left on a property within city limits, because of the potential for them to be blown onto another resident's property.

We showed him that the cardboard in question was not only held down by 5 gallon buckets, but garden staples as well. The fact that the cardboard was quite obviously set out in an overlapping pattern and a obvious garden bed shape also was of no consequence. Regardless; we were in violation and had ten days to correct the situation or further action, i.e. fines and court dates, would be taken against us by the city.

After discussing it with Paul on the phone(who had actually used Lasagna Gardening before), we came to the conclusion that if we covered the cardboard up within the alloted ten days, they would have no complaint. Terry was very agreeable to this solution as well and said he would follow up with us when the project was completed. All in all, both were professional and courteous in acknowledging that normally this wouldn't be an issue, but SOMEONE complained to them and made it an issue.

Alright, so the plan of action was to cover up the cardboard with dirt and finish the beds earlier than we expected to. After some running around to construction sites today and calling multiple topsoil delivery services, we finally found somebody to dump a truck load of dirt onto our property. Our plan was to then wheel-barrel this dirt into the garden beds, covering the boxes. Problem solved, right?

This picture was taken from my back deck. The driver and I had discussed where he'd best be suited to dump the load. We agreed that going through the lawn would be a bad idea, as a 24 ton truck loaded with dirt would likely become mired in the soggy soil. Of course, we thought, the driveway would obviously stand up to the weight of the truck much better than the soggy lawn. So he backed down the driveway, clipping the sugar maple in the background and the pear tree in the foreground, and began dumping. When he had dumped half his load and needed to adjust, he found that the axles were below ground level...

The moral of this story? Don't try to recycle because people won't understand and will trigger endless amounts of frustration, and money, for you when they bitch about it. The truck load of dirt was $250, I don't know how much it will be to fix the potholes in the driveway. I have more pictures of the damage. If you'd like to see them, comment or message me some how and I'll send you the lot.