Monday, March 5, 2012

The only downside to living in the middle of nowhere

Living in the middle of nowhere is a choice I've made, and I have no regrets. At all. That is not to say I haven't made sacrifices: 
Domino's doesn't deliver, the long and winding dirt road to the highway has put a crimp in my social life, 
and a quick trip to the grocery story takes no less than three hours. These are minor inconveniences 
that I've traded off for the ability to live where my animals and I can roam to our hearts' content.

In the six and half years I've lived out here, I've encountered only one downside, 
and I've yet to figure out a way around it. 

We're talking trash.

Smooch: We're not in Kansas anymore, are we?
Me: No, hon'. We're at the dump.

What does one do with one's trash when one lives in the middle of nowhere?
Particularly when one has a respect for the environment, a conscience, and an innate fear of brush fires?

One sits in line at the dump every eighth Saturday or so or until such time
one's garage can no longer accommodate one more bursting Hefty bag of garbage.

Smooch: Maybe next time we should bring a picnic lunch to pass the time.

Me: Are they afraid of someone stealing the trash?

Smooch: This place is a real eye-opener. Who knew people could have so much trash?

Typically, Smooch and I sit in line for no less than a half hour, behind truck after truck laden with trash. 
We are an anomaly here at the dump – we are females. In the umpteen-many times we have been here, 
we have never seen another female dumping trash. It must be a husband thing.

Living by oneself in the middle of nowhere might be considered risky by some. 
But believe me when I say that nothing is as risky as going to this dump. 
Aside from the creepy, leering males who act as if they have never encountered 
a female before, let alone one dumping her own trash, there is the Pit of Doom.

Here I am being directed to back up my truck to the knee-high great divide, the only barrier between myself and the Pit of Doom – 
a row of open containers 10 to 20 feet below ground level depending upon their level of fullness – into which I will toss my trash. 
I once asked one of the not-as-creepy, leering trash directors if anyone had ever fallen into the Pit of Doom. 
He said, "Happens all the time." Swell. No wonder why I've never seen any other females here. 
They've all met their fate in the Pit of Doom. Seriously? Why hasn't 60 Minutes been here investigating? 
If I fail to post on any given Sunday, look for me in the Pit of Doom.

Smooch: Mom, it's our turn. Stop taking pictures and drive so we can get the hell out of here.

Smooch and I hate going to the dump. It's bad for our health. We each gain weight on the way home 
because we reward ourselves with ice cream at the Sonic drive-through for having endured the ordeal.

Then we get close to the ranch and see our friends gathered around to welcome us home...

...and going to the dump doesn't seem too bad.


  1. Boy, that is a scary ordeal. That 'pit of doom'' would freak me out!

    Here we have dumping stations with various dumpsters set around for various things, so sometimes it's a hassle to get to the right one and around those folks who don't care to recycle. Ugh! Unfortunately our Sonic in the next town over (10 miles away) closed, so no treat for us. We're just glad to get that chore over with and head home!

  2. If found your trip to the pit of doom to be quite, quite fascinating .
    Guess recycling isn't big where you are ?

  3. I have wondered about your safety living in the middle of nowhere. Has there ever been a time when someone showed up at your ranch that made you feel threatened? I think I would have a couple more dogs, a German Shepherd and maybe a Malinois!

  4. At least you have great company in the car with you while you wait!

    (And my dogs would expect a treat afterwards, too!)

  5. I remember having an awful nightmare that my Dad would fall into the dump... but I was 5 then and now we have a garbage man! Although if I move away to where I want to live, then I will definitely have to take care of my own garbage. ;)

  6. Years ago when I lived in France trash was expensive to get rid of. I noticed shoppers at the grocery store breaking apart their packages containing cookies, cereals, or whatever and leaving the plastic packaging at the store. It was to protest all the unnecessary packaging. I never did find out if these protests made a difference.
    Another funny store: If you annoyed your neighbor you would find a bag of trash on the roof of your car in the morning. It was your job to get rid of it. This was a high insult since all the other neighbors would know you were an a$$. Ah those French!
    Best always, Sandra

  7. Here, taking out the trash entails the heavy labor of walking a well-balanced, wheeled bin 100 feet to the curb. There is no ice cream between the curb and the back door, so I don't get to reward myself.....

    I don't think women do the trash in town, either, unless they have no choice.

    Well, aside from moi, who does it often....

    I see women go out to walk the dog, and ignore their emptied bin, leaving it on the curb for their menfolk to deal with later.


    Women don't shovel snow, either. Well, again, aside from moi, and maybe one of my neighbors.....

  8. This is so worth buying an industrial sized incinerator to burn it up, or buy a backhoe and start burying it in a back acre.

  9. Carson, we sent our teenage son to the dump once. He came back shaken and said he would NEVER go back there again! You are very brave!

  10. I love how in the side mirror it looks like you are literally in the middle of nowhere. Wow.

  11. What a story! My relatives in Ga have dumpsters located at strategic intersections in the county. Not very attractive, but at least the regular household trash is easy to dispose of, provided you can get your trash IN the dumpster. You didn't mention the smell?? Guess it can get rather challenging in warm weather!

    M in NC

  12. Now that's the first time I've seen you trash talk on this blog. I might have to give up my subscription (oh, 'scuse me, I have mistaken you for the Albuquerque Journal - my bad).

  13. Ask someone to help you set up a "proper" set of burn barrels, and show you how to use them. The little smoke they emit is much better than all those combustibles going into the land fill.

  14. Dave in St. Louis3/5/12, 6:25 AM

    I can see you would enjoy the trip home FROM the dump with such a reception party. You might enjoy the trip TO the dump more if you played a recording of the Lone Ranger's theme song: To the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump!

  15. I had to giggle at the get the hell outta here
    I too have to go to the dump on occassion and ours is a bit different, we have to weight on the in and OUT..Im always afraid one of those GIANT earth movers will run over me cause they're so huge....there are signs everywhere NO scavenging..WHY on earth not? Stuff needs a home right. I recycle all that I can at the recycle center and the scrap yard and the stuff I cant goes to the trash pile, I know some do use burn cans and then they bury the ahses. Up until recently (when I started working beyond the center's open hrs) I saved all my food cans too, mostly dog food cans and they pay
    2cents a lb for it, I have no place to store it until I get a big enough load to make more than it cost for me in gas to take it to the Scrap yard..and like you I hardly see other women at the scrap yard!

  16. Yup, I can see how that run would be a little unnerving. Sonic ice cream is a fine reward. Good for you in not dumping your trash on your own land---I'm sure many others do that to save themselves the trip to the pit of doom.

  17. Very interesting!! I'am now very greatful for my trash collectors, who are always men BTW, who pick up my trash every week without fail eh! I wonder why there are no women collectors??

  18. I laughed so hard at the camera and the concern that someone would steal trash... in the middle of nowhere?!! But, I guess there might be some valuable stuff to be had???? Our dump was a social meeting place. The dump lady (trash director) would watch what people were preparing to toss into the pit of doom and would cull things to set aside. This was a great place to pick up junk! She also took any fake flowers being dumped and decorated the chain link fence with them! Quite the opposite situation.
    I have never fallen in the pit of doom, but I did have to go dumpster diving when I accidentally threw away the paid bills and kept all of the extraneous stuff that comes with them! That wasn't fun!

  19. Don't you dare ever fall into the pit of doom.

  20. I'm glad you and Smooch are all right.
    I really like your reward system.
    Lynda in Michigan.

  21. You have such lovely neighbors!

  22. Suddenly, my drive across town to drop off my recyclables doesn't seem so bad.

  23. I take a little pride in the fact that between Hubby and I, we only produce one trash can of "garbage" a month for pick-up--everything else is either recycled (plastics, cans, newspaper, magazines, glass, even baling twine) or paper wrapping goes in the [slightly illegal, but locally accepted] burn barrel. I may take one load of ranch scrap (too big for the can) to the dump every other year or so, and sometimes take in a pickup load or two of tree trimmings and other compostables that are too woody for my manure pile.

    And I'm in charge of the trash can going up to the road, 'cause it's MY tractor that takes it up there!

  24. I've been to every kind of dump I can imagine and even back in the years when you could actually pick up someone else's discards. How do I know this? Let's just say I have a husband who often sees things he can use in unusual places... Nuff said. Thank goodness they no longer allow that. Sometimes I'd go along and sometimes not but I've seen other women there also which might be the regional difference. I haven't actually had men leer at me there but maybe if I had been alone I'd have been more alert to that. We did have one come over to help us get a very heavy hot tub out of the back of our pickup. I guess we could have done it just the two of us, but his help was much appreciated. I agree they are smelly places but it is satisfying to see everything disappear into the trenches-- other than thinking about how much junk it means we acquire and will acquire again.

    Antelope photos are gorgeous.

  25. Estella from Co.3/5/12, 7:44 AM

    Linda, when you do go in town isn't there someone you know or maybe the local groc. store would allow you to bring in your trash to put in there dumpster? I'm sure you don't have that much trash. I do so admirer you for your life style. Hugs to the kids

  26. Sandy from Edgewood, NM3/5/12, 8:27 AM

    I'd go with a burn barrel... just have a nice screen on top so nothing flies out... I grew up in the country... way back when and we only had burn barrels. Even the tin cans melt!

    I hope you carry a concealed gun! I carry whenever and whereever having the concealed carry permit here in New Mexico!!! Just gives me a peace of mind that I can take care of myself.

    Smooch is the BEST Ranch Security I've seen... does she hire out?

  27. good thing you take Smooch along to protect you from scary dump guys!


  28. That dump run would be very scary, good thing Smooch comes along to provide security. Your neighbors and their "yard" are beautiful. I have to haul the bins to the curb here, and there is no Sonic within 10 miles of here.

  29. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. I used to take our recycle every couple of weeks. There were no leering men though. Now our street is on a pilot program to see if they want to provide our county with a recycle pickup program. Out of 23 homes only three seem to be participating... sad.

  30. I wonder if the dump off the Manzano Expressway between Belen and Meadowlake Road might be closer for you. Although trash has always been a "guy thing", there are lots of women that take their trash to that dump -- including yours truly accompanied by one or another faithful Cardigan.

  31. WE make trips to the dump a couple times a year to get rid of that extra stuff. They are flat cement buildings and they scoop up everything with a loader into the big bins, so no drop offs! LOL

    Oh and I too noticed the air freshener!! too cool!!!

  32. Many of the homes we've looked at in the more rural areas have trash compactors.
    Is there someone you could hire to haul your trash?
    Would it be less crowded if you went during the week instead of on a Saturday?

  33. I want to live in the middle of nowhere, but I WOULD miss being able to get like 20 types of food with just the click of a mouse.

  34. I figure a hot, soapy shower might remove the lingering effects of icky, leering trash guys -- assuming the ice cream didn't take care of it ;-]

    As long as the icky guys can't figure out how to find you, and it can always become a funny story, I would consider it a small trade-off for living in a wee bit of paradise. I'd do it in a heartbeat if I could.

    By the way, LOVE LOVE the air freshener on the mirror!

  35. Going to the dump. It is kind of a guy thing. I used to love going to the dump back 30 or 40 years ago. It was like a shopping trip. I almost always brought home more stuff than I dumped. People throw out good stuff. But now, we're all environmentally PC so they don't let you wander around and dig in the trash anymore. That's just one more good thing that's gone modern.

    I'm 72, read your blog every day and enjoy it very much.

    About security out there, get yourself a good 12 gauge pump shotgun and have the barrel sawed off by a gunsmith to the legal length. That's an eqalizer that'll take the leer out of some slimey leering dingbat. This is the same thing I'd tell my own daughter.

    Jim from Texas

  36. A minor inconvenience for the privilege of living in such a heavenly place. We have to do the dump run too, but it's not as scary as yours. Carla "mans" the gate and there's never a line up. We don't have a Pit of Doom, either, rather one Mound of Shame where the garbage goes and several other places where various items have to be separated out for recycling. It can get quite complicated. I confess, the only times I've ever gone there, have been as a passenger. The Frenchman does the dirty work.