Every day on the farm I pick up nails off the ground. Little three inch nails to monster fencing spikes, ten inches long, left over from old rotted out structures, corrals, or past shows. Sometimes it’s a thick cache of metal and hardware. Yesterday, I scored finding a weathered crowbar in a bush, rusty, moss growing on it.
In construction I was disgusted by the volume of spent screws, nails, and garbage dropped in the excavations. I would save every screw I stripped, or nail I bent and dump it in the garbage can at the end of the day. The guys on my crew would get infuriated with me when they’d reach into my carpenters pouch but went into the wrong pocket; “What the fuck? Why are you keeping this? Drop it on the ground, it all gets back filled and landscaped anyway.” Every second in construction is money, do what you can to work faster.
Occasionally a laborer would cruise the job site with a big magnet, picking up loose bits of metal. We all wear steel shank boots with the threat of sharp shit everywhere underfoot. I’d hear click click click as I walked and find my sole full of roofing nails and wafer head screws. My soul full of roofing nails and wafer head screws.
On the farm, we recycle and are conscious of what ends up on the ground, not just for the sake of the soil but for the horses and dogs and small kids running barefoot. Not to say the people who use to live here didn’t care about these things but given the amount I find on a daily basis, I don’t know if they thought buried things won’t come back… great… I’m going to give myself nightmares tonight.