Second-Hand Mulch

Free Mulch

We’ve gotten many things second-hand over the years, but I never though mulch would be one of them. Here’s the story that goes along with our latest find:

Our daughters are in separate schools this year. We pick up our youngest daughter, and then 40 minutes later, we pick up our oldest daughter. Since that doesn’t really leave enough time to go home again, we’ve just been sitting in a shady pavilion at the church across the street from the school. My husband and daughter bring a card game or a board game to play, and I read. It’s been a nice use of the time.


Well, when we got there yesterday, there was a landscaper working on the playground next to the pavilion. We talked with him for a few minutes, and he explained that he was having to dig up, and haul off, all the mulch around the playground because the ground didn’t drain properly (they’d put the mulch on top of a bed of sand). Now, we’re talking about a big playground with six-inch deep or better mulch. I can’t even begin to guess how many yards of mulch were there, and it was all beautiful, dark, partially-composted mulch.

So, you know what I did next, right? I asked him what he was going to do with it. And happy day, he responded by asking if we wanted some. In fact, he even offered to deliver it. We only live a mile from the church, so our house was the perfect drop spot for him, and he was happy to see it go to good use.

He’s dropped off two truck loads so far, and he still has one more to go. That’ll make a total of nine yards of mulch, and all he wanted was $40 to cover the delivery. We tried to give him $60, and he wouldn’t take it. After insisting that he take $50, he announced that the load of horse manure he’d offered to bring me will now be free. So, for $50 we’ll end up with nine yards of mulch and three yards of manure. That’s one heck of a deal.

I called our local garden center to see what they were charging for mulch, and it’s $30 a yard. That means it would have cost us $270, plus tax and delivery. And that’s not even counting the value of the manure.

Freshly Mulched Front Yard

Now comes the fun of spreading nine yards of mulch. Maybe free mulch is lighter? Hey, a girl can hope.

2015 World’s Longest Yard Sale Finds

We went to the World’s Longest Yard Sale this past weekend (it’s kind of a tradition for us), and although we didn’t think it was quite as good as it’s been in years past, we still found some things to take home with us. Here’s what made the cut:

Countertop Dishwasher

A countertop dishwasher. This little appliance wonder was waiting for us at the last sale we stopped at, and we paid $45 for it (the current model sells for $219 on Amazon). We plan to use it at the cabin, once we get our running water hooked up.

Inside of Countertop Dishwasher

It’s designed to hold six place settings. I’m envisioning throwing our dishes in there after meals, and getting on to other things. Because, really, who wants to spend time washing dishes when you can hike, fish or porch sit? The fact that we haven’t stocked our pond or built a porch yet … those are just minor details in this plan of mine. We’ll get there. [Read more…]

Spring Curb Shopping Highlights

Spring curb shopping is the best. People get busy decluttering, and we get busy picking up things we need for free. Here are some of the things that we’ve picked up so far:

Trunk Full of Irises

An entire trunkload of irises. I gave my mother-in-law half of them, and kept the rest for myself. They’re deep purple.

I also rescued a copy paper box full of irises from another pile (not sure what color they are yet) and a pot of pink hyacinth bulbs from still another pile. It’s amazing how many plants I’ve gotten from curb piles over the years (sure beats paying for them). [Read more…]

Little Free Library

Little Free Library

My husband and I were headed home from a morning of curb shopping, when he spotted a Little Free Library a block from our house! Do you know about these?

Little Free Library Sign

Basically it’s a little weather-proof box filled with books that are free for the taking. You can borrow books, and bring them back, or you can even keep them. They just ask that you add books to the box. “Take a book, return a book” is their motto.

Inside of Little Free Library Box

When I looked inside the box, there were nine books and one DVD.

Free Books

I took two home with me …

Donated Books

and I took five back. They didn’t have any kids’ books yet, so I figured I’d get their collection going.

I absolutely love the Little Free Library concept, and had been thinking about adding one to our yard. When my husband worked outside the home, we set up a free box at his office, with a “take what you need; leave what you don’t” motto, and it was a big hit with his co-workers.

I checked the LittleFreeLibrary website, and there aren’t any libraries listed in our town, so I’m thinking we’ve found the perfect project for my oldest daughter’s Girl Scout Silver Award. She loves books and recycling as much as I do.

If you’re interested in building a Little Free Library, or just want to see if there are any in your area, check out