Some years ago the idea of multiple intelligences was big news to educators. Physical, social, and artistic giftedness were recognized as having as much value as extraordinary skills in math or language. In a world of declining energy and huge problems with waste management, I think we may find a new giftedness category in adaptive creativity, the ability to figure things out.
Bruce is an adaptive genius. He would never throw anything out until he had made sure that it had truly reached the end of useful life. He made the shelter for curing our potatoes and garlic out of old shutters, the canvas top to a discarded camper awning, used lumber and chicken wire. He even scavenged the loop and hook locks form some old doors. A solar cover for a swimming pool became a heat sink for the north side of our greenhouse. When our yard swing broke after being blown over in a windstorm, Bruce not only repaired the swing but found some rescued rebar from another project and figured out a way to anchor the swing to the ground with it. His projects never look sloppy or unkempt. He takes much pride in his lovely gardens and would never tolerate anything ugly out there. His shoes are repaired with Shoe Goo, his gardens filled with plants that were rejects from other’s yards, our deck graced with furniture that he made and our food stored in the root cellar he built with no capital outlay at all.
I have a dear friend who has taken reduce, reuse and recycle to a whole new level. I go into town every two weeks and I now have to stop at our local brewery on my way home to pick up thew huge plastic bags. The hops used in the beer making come in these bags and, in the past, have been thrown out. Leni asked if she could have them to distribute as trash bags. We have hundreds of them. I can’t see that I will ever need to buy another trash bag. I use them for my recyclables and to line my garbage can and we’re passing them out to anybody who will take them. Now I empty the garbage into the compactor and return home with my bag. I can rinse it with the garden hose if necessary and can reuse it forever as it’s far heavier than anything Glad puts out. Our garbage has been cut in half from a few years ago. The food goes to the compost, the chickens or the pigs, we buy a lot of our food in bulk which cuts down on packaging and we try not to buy anything without really needing it.
Phoebe recently played with a handheld game system. She loved it and, of course, asked if she could have one. I said no. I suggested that the world was filled with these systems that kids had used a few times and tired of. Sure enough, we found a kid with just such a system gathering dust in her room. She handed it off to Phoebe who enjoyed it for about a week before putting it aside. I have now passed it on so another parent can save their money, the game will stay out of the landfill and the kids will learn a good lesson about the difference between true value and transient pleasure.
I have a couple of great scores in the past few weeks. My son and his wife sang at the wedding of a friend. The decorations were a country theme with flowers in mason jars on each table and more flowers affixed to chicken wire background. I was offered the mason jars and lids (never used) and the chicken wire and the heavy gauge wire, all of which I gratefully accepted. Another friend owns a small grocery store and has an abundance of 1/2 gallon jars and plastic buckets to give away. I have plan for a completely reorganized freezer space and I have already made a terrific storage for my dried beans. Now I am going to gather up my courage and ask the owner of a lovely cafe what he plans to do with mason jars he’s using this summer as table decorations. If they are headed for a landfill I will gladly take them off his hands.