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"And for each his own pail" by Beth Weick , as published in North Country News, December 2010

If you have a bucket, you have a place to put things. If you have a place to put things, you have a means of carrying, moving, storing, consolidating, growing, containing, hoisting, and dumping things.

Buckets are terribly useful contraptions.

That said, here at D Acres Permaculture Farm & Educational Homestead, we just may have a few too many of a good thing.

Buckets for water, buckets for weeds, buckets for dirt and for compost and for sand; buckets for woodchips, buckets for veggie oil, buckets for coal, for construction scraps, and for gravel; buckets for maple sap, buckets for carrots, buckets for cabbage heads, chard stems, and chicken feed; buckets for basketballs, buckets for drums, buckets for stools and tools and fuels …oh my.

Our storage of buckets bespeaks a natural triage. There are the buckets that we wash each day and return to area restaurants, the barrels that satiate our piglets' lust for leftovers. Then there are the buckets around the house, barn, and outbuildings that wear the stains of use, some carried about frequently while most are simply accumulating, waiting, biding time. And finally, there's the pile not quite out of sight, but which we try to keep out of mind: the buckets bearing such quantities of gunk, smeg, and dirtiness that they are no longer pleasant or possible to use.

This third pile was where I found myself one recent morning. Out of mind no longer. Snow was coming, ice was already accounted for, and plans for winter logging meant the stash was to be ignored no more. So I sorted through the wet leaves, the algae-funk, and the blocks of ice. A trip to the dump was soon to depart.

D Acres, I can announce, is now free of well-aged gloppity-glop and schloppity-schlop, at least as stored in forgotten, five-gallon vessels.

The second part of the project, naturally, was storing all the useable, but over-abundant, buckets in an accessible spot. Check. So now the grand announcement: we'd like to spread the wealth of the bucket brigade. Yes, that comes with a lid.

It may seem silly, but surely you could use a bucket. Give a call, drop on by. Take one, take two, take a whole stack or even more! For the avant garde among you, we can even offer square buckets, short buckets, and one- & two-gallon buckets. That's right.

Grow a tomato, potato, or maybe some kale. Pot up a flower. Keep that leak from soaking the carpet. Collect your kitchen scraps or store some sand in the bed of your truck. You can continue the list from there.

What do you need today?

Beth Weick lives and works at D Acres Organic Farm & Educational Homestead, a non-profit service organization. She first came to the farm in April 2008 as an intern, and now focuses her work on gardening, animal husbandry, and writing. Learn more about the programs at D Acres by visiting www.dacres.org.

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