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Betty from Louisburg, NC

February 15, 2010

The last time I picked up litter, I think, was when I wrote to you in January.  In NC our normal average temperature during the winter months is 50 degrees.  This winter, we have had rain, snow, wind and temperatures mostly in the 30’s.  I’ve been about to go berserk not being able to get outside and walk.
 
Today’s temperature got up to 45 degrees but it was very windy. Yesterday we had wind gust up to 50 mph and our yard was a mess with pine cones and twigs so I decided, regardless of the cold I was going to get outside and clean up the yard.  Tomorrow is looking much better for picking up litter as the wind is suppose to be calmer.  
 
I picked up about 2 bushels of  pine cones and filled a big baby pool twice with limbs and twigs.  It felt so good to be outside working in the sun. Even though it was quite breezy I decided to walk down the road and pick up the litter.  I got in a good walk, not quite a mile, and filled half a bag with litter. Tomorrow I plan to walk the road in the other direction and get that cleaned up.
 
Today, when I got back to the house, I took the bottles and cans out of the bag to recycle and put the remainder of the trash in a 5 gallon bucket and decided to take a picture.  After taking my foot and pressing the trash down in the bucket, I poured it into a Wal-mart bag.  Then I flattened the recyclables and put them in a Wal-mart bag for comparison.  The two bags are equal in size.  The difference is if I had not separated it and it all went to the landfill,  the trash would decompose but the bottles and cans would be there forever.
 
You can put me down for another bucket.  I would not have been able to do all this cleaning up today without my reach extender.  It’s a must have tool for picking up litter and yard debris.

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Week 69 – Underdog to the rescue!

February 7, 2010

Watching the Saints come marching in for victory was great!  Gotta love the underdog.  New Orleans definitely deserves something to cheer about…not to take any kudos away from their athleticism, sheer bravado and tenacity.

We showed our tenacity by running offense at our usual spot.  We’ve been trying to dominate the area by penetrating deep and delving into the line of scrimmage.  Unfortunately our coverage was blown and the other side had field position.

We could barely make a dent and their field advantage overcame us at one point.  But not to worry, just because they had the momentum meant that we could apply the sneak attack come from behind.

What we lacked in rushing, we gained with our double coverage.  We learned that as long as you have the drive and don’t mind encroaching on that neutral zone, anything can happen.  Two buckets in five minutes!  Now hit the showers…

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Week 68 – Bucket All!

January 31, 2010

On Saturday morning Lori and I revisited a littery site on 35th in West Seattle. We quickly filled two buckets around the bus stop and returned home to get ready for a fun night in Olympia with Mom and Dad. When we returned home on Saturday night, we passed our cleanup site and were dismayed to see fresh litter on the ground just six hours later!

Perhaps there are places in every city that are just litter magnets. I was taught that cleanliness begets cleanliness but alas it ain’t always true. Of course we’ll head back to this same spot sometime in the near future, maybe someday we’ll win the battle.

Recently we added a new Bucket Head and are still hopeful that there are others out there who will join the team. Since my Mom was confused about the rules of entry to this elite group allow me to elaborate:

1) You simply need to fill one bucket or bag with litter and email us with a quick story including where you cleaned up and if possible include a picture or two of your clean-up. You do not need to fill a bucket every week (though we certainly won’t discourage you from doing so).

That’s it, there is only one requirement to join the Bucket Head Brigade, now get out there and bucket all!

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Week 67 – Litter-ally Speaking

January 24, 2010

We added a new “Bucket Head” this week (welcome to the club Betty!) and were reminded how we should all make the time to do what we can, when we can.  Ben and I have been double bucketing way too much lately. Life has gotten in the way.

We had a month long preparation for Ben’s Mom’s birthday, which usually includes a cultural theme and a skit of sorts.  I was frantically trying numerous dim sum recipes while Ben sculpted and painted his homemade Dragon for our humorous Chinese New Year/Birthday extravaganza. Life has gotten in the way.

Ben was sick for a few days and work was overwhelming for both of us lately….Life has gotten in the way… But no, “life” has NOT gotten in the way, excuses have.  As they say, there’s plenty of time to rest when you are dead!

Even though we were tired and yearned for home, we realized that five minutes out of our oh-so busy lives to pick up litter was just a drop in the bucket….literally.

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Betty from Louisburg, NC

January 20, 2010

We live in the country and a lot of the litter my husband and I pick up comes from folks hauling their household trash to the convenient site located at the end of our road. Some don’t secure their load and it does not take but one to make a big mess.

We keep 3 sections of roadside clean making a total of 2 miles. One of the sections is where 4 roads come together all leading to the convenient site. This is 5 miles from our home and we can’t keep it spotless but we do try to clean it up once a month.

The last time we had cleaned this area was in November as December was really busy plus very cold.  When we picked up in November, we were surprised to see that someone had thrown a big bag of trash over in the weeds beside a farm path near the road.  I told my husband that we needed to get it up or they would be adding to it.  We were not equipped to cut our way through the briars to get it and we didn’t get back again until the middle of January.  Sure enough, someone had added 4 more bags but lucky for us those 4 bags had not been there long.  They were still in tact and were not in the briars. Ray and I have been keeping this area clean since 1995 and this is the first time we have had to deal with a dump.
After getting that done, we walked the road and filled 6 more bags with litter. I have attached a picture of this load of trash.  It took only an hour and a half for the two of us to clean up this much litter. Makes me proud.


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Week 66 – The King and I

January 17, 2010

What a whirlwind weekend.  My poor Ben who hasn’t been feeling well, getting ready for a big shin-ding next weekend and with all the ups and downs at work this week, I’m amazed that we survived without medication…or meditation. 

We happened to find ourselves lost around the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle and ended up heading South on I-5 and Ben thought it would be a wonderful tribute to pick up litter this weekend on MLK Blvd.  Since we skipped last week due to illness, we had four buckets to pursue and found no problem whatsoever getting our fill.

We actually picked up a bucket of litter right under a “Adopt a Road” sign for litter pick up.  It’s enough to make a person cringe.  But, as we celebrate (by working) MLK Jr Day it’s also a day we can think about the difference one person made.  Our litter pick-up may be minute in so many ways but it takes one step…one man or woman…one vision…one dream.

” Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”  Dr. King

Watching the images and the tragedy of Haiti this week makes our tiny donation also feel minute, but we hope that the cumulative effort of many can make a difference.  Where’s your bucket?

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Week 65 – Nought to be forgotten

January 3, 2010

With the “Nought’s” coming to a close, it is apropos that we think about the New Year and even better, the new decade.  But before we look forward, it is always best to look back and reflect.

The last ten years has been fraught with greed and gluttony.  The amount of waste and disregard for our planet has shown the disconnect with our world and the people who abuse it.

We are reminded every week as we revisit the same places in West Seattle and feel like we are picking up that same piece of litter.  A viscous deja-vu cycle…or recycle.

Looking forward, Ben and I realize our task is daunting and we may get discouraged at times, but the good we feel after filling two buckets is worth it.  Here’s to a safe and Happy New Year.

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”  James Thurber