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Cool stuff rescued from the side of the road

 
pollinator
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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure!

One thing I love about biking everywhere is that I can stop if I see something neat by the side of the road. I've found some great things over the years -- carpenter's pencils, reflective vests, an F-clamp, a machine belt, circular saw blades, electrical tape, ballbearings, marbles, bungees, you name it. This thread is for photos and discussion of neat things that have been rescued from the side of the road and given a new life (one that isn't being crushed by traffic!)

I'll start the thread off with this neat marble I found on the side of the road while biking to work last week.

What have you found?
cool-marble.JPG
Marble I found on my way to work
Marble I found on my way to work
 
pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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- Snow shovel that blew off the back of someone's truck

- A fancy stretchy headband that runners use in cold weather (a little Lysol, a little soap ...)

- $150 fancy polarized safety sunglasses (somebody was no doubt crying about those -- I put up a sign but no luck)

- Bic lighter, full of butane

- load tie down straps from big rigs (only if safe to stop and pick them up)
 
M Broussard
pollinator
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Here's a first for me -- a mint pack of golden birthday candles. Tons of upcoming birthdays, so will definitely get used; I'd actually been thinking about getting some as I only have large taper candles.
gold-candles.JPG
An unopened pack of gold birthday candles
An unopened pack of gold birthday candles
 
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One morning, I awoke to find a huge swath of detritus spread along the highway shoulder in front of the property. Cursing the foul litterbugs, I got my wheelbarrow and headed out to clean the mess. Much to my surprise, it was mostly clothing.. in my exact size! Four pair of Carhartt pants, several nice t shirts.. and about 30 pairs of brand new heavy duty socks! This was at a time of low funds, and the pants I had been wearing were shredded and repaired to the maximum limit. Probably my best roadside score..
 
master steward
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Well, I have never gotten a full wardrobe but about every 60 miles I pick up a 5 gallon bucket.
 
M Broussard
pollinator
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Location: North Island, New Zealand
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Here's a find for today -- a 100 yen coin!

I also found a box of cream-coloured tiles, but they were unsurprisingly damaged. Still a heap of big pieces, and would have suited mosaic making, but as I'm not into mosaics, I gave it a miss. Never seen either of these by the side of the road before. 2023 may be an interesting year for roadside biking finds!
100-yen.JPG
100 yen coin
100 yen coin
 
Posts: 56
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Most of the time it's broken push mowers that are simple to fix and resell for $80 to $130.  And broken weed trimmers that need a little more TLC and sell for $40.  Plenty of appliances and bikes out at the curb too.  

Sometimes I get lucky and find those DishTV antennas.  These can be repurposed for all kinds of good things.  I joke about writing a 101 ways to repurpose DishTV antennas.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Brian Maverick wrote:Sometimes I get lucky and find those DishTV antennas.  These can be repurposed for all kinds of good things.  I joke about writing a 101 ways to repurpose DishTV antennas.


Dude, you can't just lob out that teaser and not dish on the details. Start a thread!
 
Brian Maverick
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I got a thread already on this out here:

https://www.tractorforum.com/threads/home-made-attachments-for-your-yanmar-cut-show-yours-here.32652
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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I got a good chuckle out of your dish hiller for garden root veggies! It's the only good use I can think of for television equipment.
Dish-Potato-Hiller-2.png
[Thumbnail for Dish-Potato-Hiller-2.png]
 
Brian Maverick
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Once the weather warms some, I'll have it build.
 
Posts: 104
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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My most exciting find were five 12"x12"x1" squares of solid steel, that have been useful for lots of things - they currently are stacked with pieces of I-beam next to my wood stove as additional surface to warm and store pots on while acting as thermal mass.

I think it's important to clarify: we're not talking about things people intentionally placed by the road in front of their place as trash or for someone to take, right?  This thread I assume is about random things that were accidentally dropped or left.  Otherwise, I found some nice pieces of I-beam in a free pile by the road.  And most recently, a nice rocking chair when I was driving through san francisco on my way home a few weeks ago.  

Lots of bits of rope and ratchet strap, gloves.  Berries?  Lots of berries :p
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Philip McGarvey wrote:I think it's important to clarify: we're not talking about things people intentionally placed by the road in front of their place as trash or for someone to take, right?  This thread I assume is about random things that were accidentally dropped or left.  


That's my take on it too. Dropped, lost, left or found growing wild by the roadside.

I know spots where I can cut lilacs growing feral in the ditch (love the smell!) and pussy willows on nice long stalks from diamond willow trees.

There's often pieces of 4x4 dunnage lost off of big flatdeck semis. Good stuff. Sometimes it's rough cut oak hardwood.
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 13932
Location: SW Missouri
9392
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goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
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I'm a big fan of things on the side of the road, but one of the random things I got is still in use 25 years later. It was a box of stuff that dumped all over a busy intersection where most of the traffic turns left. I danced through the traffic picking it all up, waving thanks at people who were careful not to hit me, I assume they figured it had fallen off my truck. They are hooks for something like bungee cords. They are made of heavy duty metal, with a figure 8 base, that you can run any rope or cord through. I use them to hook ropes or cords anyplace I can. I can add them to a premade bungee cord to give it 3 or more tie down points. There were something like 50 of them in the box, and scattered all over. That's been one of my most useful finds ever. Better even than the tools I have picked up over the years.

You can see them, sort of, in the pictures of my cargo net modification. Cargo net tricks I can move them around so the net is always hooked tight, and they are MUCH better quality than the plastic ones that come with those nets. Wonderful things! I'm glad someone loaded them badly! :D
 
M Broussard
pollinator
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Last week, I found a whole pile of old (pre-1988) copper coins all in the same intersection. This is from back when New Zealand still had 1 and 2 cent coins that were actually solid brass/copper instead of the modern copper-plated steel. They're worth 2-3x their face value in copper at the scrap yard these days. Given how expensive copper is at this time, these will find use either as plant tags (once flattened and smoothed out), or melted down and cast into something new. There are two good-condition coins, one 2c, and one 1c, and I'll add those to my collection of miscellaneous coins.

The 20c coin will go into my wallet instead
copper-coins.JPG
a 20-cent coin, and heaps of pre-1988 copper coins
a 20-cent coin, and heaps of pre-1988 copper coins
 
pollinator
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Two different 5 foot long pinch bars, one directly in front of our house. I heard a distinctive noise (having dropped one once or twice) of that one being run over and over by traffic one morning. I hurried to put on some shoes and ran out to claim it. The other on the side on the interstate on-ramp (a hard left turn, and a frequent location for finds... like a 21 foot long chain link fence pipe just last week, tow chain, a 9/16" wrench...)

Does a parking lot count as the side of the road? sort of? okay, then $111 cash.

 
pollinator
Posts: 374
Location: zone 5-5
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Stopped and picked up a metal wood splitting wedge this winter.
Looked brand new like it had never been hit.
It has some dings in it now.

I've found some pairs of gloves.
More common to find one glove, which works for me, I don't care if my work gloves match.
 
M Broussard
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Last week I found a concrete drill bit, a palm-sized section of steel plate (to be a new nail header). I regularly find drill bits and scrap plate steel.

A new find for me was this -- a little screw driver bit. My work is always losing this bit from our set, so it'll be good to restock it.
screwdriver.JPG
things found at the side of the road
 
Posts: 31
Location: Over Yonder
5
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Brian Maverick wrote:Most of the time it's broken push mowers that are simple to fix and resell for $80 to $130.  And broken weed trimmers that need a little more TLC and sell for $40.  Plenty of appliances and bikes out at the curb too.  

Sometimes I get lucky and find those DishTV antennas.  These can be repurposed for all kinds of good things.  I joke about writing a 101 ways to repurpose DishTV antennas.



I wouldn’t mind a nice thread on repurposed dish and satellite ideas. I take them down on a regular basis and they end up in a scrap metal pile that gets recycled. I would be confident in saying that I have removed well over 500 direct tv dishes in the past two years.
 
master steward
Posts: 6626
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland. Nearly 70 inches rain a year
3173
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transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
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I've been walking past a fruiting Japanese quince bush for years whilst walking down to my shop. This year it has really fruited well and I picked up a couple of the fruit that had rolled through the fence into the ditch. No good for eating (yucky!) but lots of good looking seed to try and propagate. I reckon a bush grown from seed from a variety that fruits locally has to be better than a random variety chosen out of a plant catalogue! This one has quite dark red flowers, rather attractive, although I don't know whether that is likely to be the case in the offspring.

(This isn't my best ever Permie road find though, I'll see if I can find pictures and post that another time.)
IMG_20231222_152542.jpg
roadside found fruit seed
Chanomeles Japonica found fruit cut in half showing seeds
 
pollinator
Posts: 137
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Old broken up farm desk...rehabbed and re-antiqued with some robin egg blue paint and waxes.
IMG_4572-(1).jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_4572-(1).jpg]
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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^ Nice!
 
John F Dean
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I had a 90 mile drive yesterday coming home from the Big City.   I picked up 3 five gallon buckets from the roadside and 1 wood  spool …. The right size to wind up several hundred feet of extension cord.
 
Nancy Reading
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I got paid well for litter picking today on my way down the road to my shop: I picked up what I thought was a discarded wrapper and to my surprise it turned out to be a £5 note! Thank goodness for plastic notes.
 
Nancy Reading
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Nancy Reading wrote:This isn't my best ever Permie road find though, I'll see if I can find pictures and post that another time.



Would you guess what this is?

I just had to pick it up! A giant puffball just starting to spread it's spores. I managed to give some away in the UK and cut up the rest and spread it around the tree field. Maybe a spore or two took?

This was pre-Permies for me, but I'll let you know if I get another one. It should fruit every few years.
puffball.jpg
Giant puffball fruiting spores
Giant puffball fruiting spores
 
Posts: 62
Location: South Central Virginia
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Many years ago I felt something sliding under my foot as I got out of my car in a parking lot. It was pitch black and just starting to storm. I reached down and to much surprise picked up 6) $100 dollar bills and 2) $50's. Me being me went around to all the local businesses and posted a notice that someone had dropped a large amount of cash and if anyone could describe it I would happily return it. I waited a full month no one claimed it. So the notices came down and I bought a used motorcycle.
 
master steward
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My son is the big "finder" where roadsides are concerned. Just the other day he wandered back from a hike with a (well used) rubber mallet. I'm guessing it was formerly in the possession of a painter. It's smaller than the one we already own, which can be an asset, particularly for me as my hands are small.

Our roadsides are mowed by the Municipality, so we like picking stuff up, and see others doing the same, as most things don't like being eaten by industrial sized flail mowers! I suspect the mowers aren't keen on it either!
 
Posts: 80
Location: Upstate NY; reluctantly
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I pick up a lot of 5 gallon buckets because they're dead useful. Recently I found a garden cart and a smoker while out on a run and carried them home for a walk break.
 
steward
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About 10 years ago we were at the feed store and I noticed a silver dollar by my car as I was getting in the car.

Then I saw some in the ditch by the road.

I can't remember exactly though I feel it was about 5 of those silver dollars.
 
pollinator
Posts: 223
Location: Southwest VT, zone 5a slope ~10°-30°
99
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I went out biking specifically for this purpose the other day, and came back with one backpackful and one sackful of wood chips (which amount to about the same) and three plastic pots, one of them broken and destined for the recycling. I’m also interested in looking for roadkill, because if I gathered up enough skins I might be able to make a fur blanket. But I’m still not quite sure of the legality, and apparently when the fish and wildlife department can get larger roadkill, they give it to families that need food, which is really good, and stealing from charity doesn’t sound very good. But I’m not sure if this includes only deer and turkeys, or also smaller animals like possum and raccoon. I saw those two before I researched and was thinking about taking them back for the fur blanket project but didn’t have the space.
 
Maieshe Ljin
pollinator
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There is so much that you can see on bicycle that people in cars just speed past! I also saw on the trip to get the wood chips (masticated trees left by the roadside by road work people) some beautiful lungwort flowering next to a ditch. And other things can be seen: litter to be picked up, all sorts of botanizing and interesting plants, and of course random treasures.
 
pollinator
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Not quite by the side of the road, but all over sidewalks during my days living in NYC I found tons of coins & bills!
But the true “trash picker heaven” was trash day in the wealthy areas of Manhattan & NJ where the garbage held a treasure trove of very good, very cool stuff - kitchen ware, furniture, tables, lamps, tools…you name it…it got picked up, cleaned up & used in our home!  
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If you have a bad day in October, have a slice of banana cream pie. And this tiny ad:
Native Bee Guide - now FREE for a while
https://permies.com/wiki/140436/Native-Bee-Guide-FREE
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