Redneck Sustainability: A Lesson in Reuse

yard-junkUppity folk may call it offensive, but rednecks just call it home.

There are a lot of different names for it these days.  Some now call it reuse.  Polite, cute little title.  Some still call it salvage.  Some call it practical stewardship.  Some call it scavenging or hoarding.  I just call it pickens.  Whatever title you give it, rednecks have always known about the sustainable reuse of material goods.  The ranch I grew up on had an advanced system for it.

First there was the barn.  High value items such as lightly used check valves and well rods were stored in here.  Pipe and copper that might be too attractive to other redneck scavengers were stored inside as well.  Next there were the ordered piles in the pasture behind the barns.  These included a pile for cedar posts, used pipe no longer good enough for wells but still good enough for fencing, and railroad ties (that had been scavenged after civic upgrades on the nearby rail).

Lastly there was the dump.  This was a gully that had been dredged and then filled with random debris.  Granted most of this stuff just sat there, and is probably still sitting there.  But sometimes valuable uses could be found for some of this material.  And if you ask me (hey, thanks for asking), one of the most valuable reuses of this material for a redneck adolescence such as myself was target practice.  Even as a twelve year old I understood that such materials as headlights and vaccine bottles could have exciting secondary uses.  With a little imagination, a dirt embankment and a .22 caliber firearm these magical objects became splendid displays of showering glass shards.

Now, on the ranch we had thousands of acres available for the organization of our strategic sustainable reuse program.  I realize that most rednecks are not given such vast resources, and thus the origins of pickens:  (Pick’ uns) n. — apparently careless collection of random objects in a redneck’s residential yard.  Required objects include car frame, ceramic toilet, and bed springs.

Before you lift your nose and hold your breath the next time you drive through redneck territory try opening your mind and making a note.  There is a lesson in sustainability here for those of us willing to learn it.  Everything has a use.  With a little imagination and cheap, half-assery everything has a reuse.  Rednecks now it.  Now so do you.

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