Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"BRILLIANT" Idea Number 23...

Sometimes I have these "great" ideas. Sometimes, at the time, I even might think they're "Brilliant..."

And later down the road, I realize (with horror) that they were anything BUT.

Which brings us to "Brilliant" Idea Number 23. A.K.A.: THE MULCH DUMP.

To preface: Hubby and I have a pretty big yard, and when we mow, we bag our grass. (We tried leaving the clippings on the yard a few times and the grass laid there in long clumpy rows and it looked awful). Yet, after a mow, we can have anywhere from six to TEN bags (and I'm talking the huge black lawn and leaf bags, here) of grass.

And we mow twice a week. So what we USED to do, was load all those bags of grass outside with our garbage, stick a $20 in an envelope for their trouble, and pray the garbage guys took it.

So, according to my calculations, we were paying twenty dollars a week, just to have the garbage guys haul our grass away. Then one day I read in a flyer that my town was opening a "Compost Site" which is basically a place you can haul your grass clippings, tree branches, mulch, and any yard waste. For a one-time $15 fee, you can get a sticker and haul unlimited grass to the site, from April to the end of November.

So, $640 vs $15.

It was a no-brainer for me. I went and bought the sticker, and told my kids that they would take turns hauling the bags of grass to the dump with me.

So the first Saturday, I had about twelve bags of grass. I put a tarp down and loaded them in the Expedition, and drove the whole way with the windows down because frankly, decomposing grass isn't that fragrant. We got to the dump, and the guy directed us to this huge mountain of grass, and instructed us to open our bags, dump the grass out, and LEAVE WITH OUR BAGS.

Okay, I hadn't exactly signed up for that. I thought I was going to be unloading my bags into a pile, and driving away. I didn't know I had to tear them open, dump the putrifying grass out into an already putrid WAY STINKY pile, and leave WITH said stinky bags...

But I did it anyway. My kids complained about the smell. They made retching noises and barfing noises and complaints about how they couldn't breathe or they'd barf, etc. etc. I always told them to be quiet and work quickly, and we'd get out of there faster.

Then, YESTERDAY happened. Apparently, the grass pile was getting too "wide" around the base, and they got some bulldozer to scrape it back up into a mountain. Now, when moldy grass and bits of yard waste are rapidly decompising in the hot and wet, how do you think it smells?

When Thing Two and I arrived at the compost pile, we were immediately violently nauseated. I had even parked downwind, (a trick I learned after the first time) but to no avail.

The ground itself was this putrid moldering vile mud that smelled like...pure filthy evil, for want of a better description. I think the Pit Of Hell must smell like this smelled.

Thing Two immediately started crying and retching and telling me he just "couldn't help" and frankly, I was getting very grossed out and sick myself. But we had ten bags of grass that needed to be opened up and dumped, and by golly, we were going to do it. So I told him to breathe through his mouth and it wouldn't be so bad, but honestly, it was.

Somehow we made it through the ten bags (one older gentleman meandered over to see if we were OK because Thing Two was making these loud distressed noises) and we finally got into the car, removed our gloves and hand-sanitizered ourselves to death.

But driving home, the smell was still strong. It was awful. Then I realized: OUR SHOES. They positively reeked!

We left them in the garage and I'll hose them down with Apple-scented Lysol today, in what is probably a vain attempt to rid the Essence Of The Pit of Hell from them.

WHY? Why did I think this was a good idea? At the time, I thought I would "go green" and do my part, but at the expense of my nose?

UGH. I am SO not looking forward to this Saturday...I'm going to have to NOT EAT beforehand, wear shoes I don't care about, and bring a clothespin for my nose.

Still not looking forward to it...


Aimee said...

It sounds like a noble, environmental and cost-effective way to do your part to make the world a better place. Perhaps the solution is to take turns driving and dumping with your husband, and rotate kids in as well? This way no one has to do it every week.

wfbdoglover said...

I feel for you, I remember having to help my parents bag grass as a kid.

I would suggest your own compost, but that would be way to much grass.

I know my yard is way smaller than yours, but what I usually do is rake the clumps into the grass. Could you try that with the kids? Or let them have a "grass fight". Fists of grass thrown at each other, would certainly spread it around.

ello ppl!!@@@@@@@@@@@ (that was my 11 year old)

I was just taking a break and thinking about this... Do you collect your grass while you mow so you can bag it? Maybe try not collecting it, then go over it again with the lawn mower. That second time will spread it around and it won't be in clumps. They do recommend leaving it in the lawn, as it is a natural fertilizer.

Another thought is paper bagging it, then putting it in the plastic bags.

Lastly, why not call your town hall and tell them your situation and see if they can help you come up with another alternative.

I feel for you!

P.S. At the hardware store, they have those mask face covers for sanding and what not. Last resort, those would aleast allow you to breathe.

Anonymous said...

Ew. Ick. Yuck. Gross. Right there with ya.

So glad we have a yard debris can to dump grass into. It smells, but only when it's opened for loading in grass (and other debris), and 13 does that when he mows. Of course, I've been on a five year quest to GET RID OF THE GRASS IN OUR YARD. No one listens to me.

There has to be a way around this. Maybe a mask? Like the kind you wear for painting? A clean bag to bag up the gross ones...something you can seal to keep the smell down? Bag the clippings in paper first? Though all of that adds to your "cost" and cost-cutting was the point, right?

I don't know how big your town is, but try talking to your city council representative. They're usually more responsive than the trash company (who will probably be happy to keep taking your $20 each week).

Anonymous said...

Get a low-rimmed, wide pan to put in the garage. When you get back, put about 2 inches of disinfectant in it, and then leave the shoes in it.

When there was an infection spreading at the track, we had to walk through those pans all the time. I started using them at home to disinfect my shoes.

It works.

Lowa said...

Girl, I feel for you! I know EXACTLY the smell you are talking about.

I am confused about the people suggesting to use paper bags first?? I am wondering how that would help?? Just make more work, won't cut down on smell at all and then there are TWO bags to empty. No one said she could leave paper bags laying there with the grass, if that is the thought. And as I said, the smell would still be there, gagging you all.

Your husband has a treasure in you. I would NEVER do that. Here, that is his area to tackle and he needs to find solutions. I do the indoor stuff.

If you have a fenced yard, I would honestly get a few goats. Save you the mowing, fun for the kids and honestly, picking up goat poo is a lot less smelly than that horrid smell you are dealing with now! Plus...the milk is yummy! Of course, you could just get a a few males, save yourself the milking. Just build yourself a little shelter for them and you are good to go. Feeding them would not cost much either, especially with all that grass they would be eating!

Michelle Miles said...

I'm sorry - I can't help it. I giggled through the entire post. But you are SO RIGHT about the yucky smell of moldy grass. I feel for you. Maybe a gas mask is in order?

Good luck Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Your blog made me howl today. I can just see poor #2 doing his protest thing. :-)


wfbdoglover said...

Ideally you should just bag in paper. Where I live, we bag in paper and set it on the curb and I guess we are lucky enough that they take the bag too. Yard waste must be placed in a paper bag or a reusuable container.

If you put it in paper, and I don't buy the ones for the store, I reuse the ones from the grocery store - they should be able to dry up a bit. Grass stored in a plastic bag creates moisture and thus the smell. If you left it in the paper bag, then bagged it in plastic before you left - you wouldn't have such smelly grass to deal with.

I do not think you would be able to put the bagged paper bags in the vehicle, as they would topple over and create a bigger mess. The plastic would prevent a mess in the car.

It actually was just a suggestion, although it may seem like a bit more extra work, you would not have to deal with the smell.

No one said you couldn't leave the paper bags either.

Best bet, is to contact your City Administration or asked the guy when you drop off your next load for some suggestions.

I hope the suggestion clears up any confusion.

Lynn Sinclair said...

Wouldn't it be great if we had artificial turf instead of the real thing? In my town, we aren't allowed to put grass clippings at the curb for pick up -- I suppose it's too darn smelly for collection.

A couple of suggestions:

Cover your car's floor mats with with plastic so the mess doesn't get ground in after dumping.

If you put the grass in the large paper bags, you might not have to dump them out because the bags will decompose.

Someone suggested raking out and leaving the clippings. Apparently, it's one of the best things you can do for your lawn.

If you use plastic bags, leave the bags open until you transport them -- that little bit of air circulation might slow down the decomposition.

I hope you find a solution because hauling those bags to the dump sounds like a real chore.