I love the dump.
I know, I know, “dump” went out with “negro” and “retarded.” It’s “transfer station,” thank you very much. But “transfer station” isn’t catching on, for obvious reasons. Only the people who work behind the scenes (we call them refuseniks) think of the dump as a place where stuff gets transferred. The rest of us think of it as a place where stuff gets … well, you know.
But here’s the thing – it turns out that you don’t just dump stuff at the dump. You can get stuff, too. There’s the swap shop, of course, where people bring any dumpables that somebody else might conceivably use. But there’s also the metal pile (where we got the lid for our cold frame), the construction material pile (where we found a pair of brand new French doors), and, best of all, the compost pile.
All year long, Barnstable residents bring their yard waste (leaves and grass clippings, no brush) to the dump. Horse owners enrich the mixture with stable leavings, and the refuseniks do the rest. Then, in April, a giant pile of rich, black compost shows up in the parking lot. And get this – you can take as much as you want.
It’s not quite like the compost you buy in bags at the garden center. It’s got some good-sized sticks in it, along with the occasional piece of rubber or plastic. (This year, we found a functioning Bic pen.) It also probably has chemicals, although I understand that the heat generated by composting breaks down almost everything. I’m sure Smith and Hawken wouldn’t touch the stuff with a six-foot hoe, but it serves our purpose admirably. We also compost at home, but it would take us about seven hundred years to generate the amount we need from onion skins and apple cores.
And so we get our compost from the dump, from the dump, from the dump dump dump.