The railroad ties were kept in place by wooden stakes driven about 2 feet into the ground and then screwed to most of the ties. My guess is that one of the families who lived here before we did had a swing set and it was set up in the railroad tie square. These days the square is nothing other than a really mulchy weed garden, much to the dismay of our children who dream of a playground reappearing in that space. If we had a swing set, maybe I wouldn't mind maintaining the square (weed-eating all summer long around the edges, weeding within the edges, etc.) but there is no swing set and I do mind.
The railroad ties had to go. So I called our garbage collectors to see if I could arrange for a special pickup. Well, let's just say that option wasn't an option. Their minimum charge for picking up non-standard household waste is $50. For railroad ties (big, heavy, and treated with chemicals) the price would just go up, up, up.
I tried to think of creative ways to repurpose the railroad ties in or around our house, but I couldn't come up with anything compelling.
Then, two days ago I decided to try something new. Craigslist. I've been on the buying end of craigslist a few times, but I had never been on the selling/giving end. I thought maybe, if I offered the railroad ties for free, someone might come get them, so I went out to the backyard and began to dig them up. They came up easy as pie with my shovel. Leveraging something with a shovel is one thing, lifting it is quite another. Boy were they heavy. It took time, but I was able to pile them up near the front of the garage and then I took a picture.
Yesterday morning, I posted the picture on craigslist in their free section. In my add I stated that whoever wanted them would have to come get them--one or some or all of the ties--however many they could use.
Ten minutes later the calls started. The first guy I talked to wanted them all and said he could come after work. I told him I'd save them for him.
I got calls and e-mails all day from people and most were very interested in taking them all. I kept their names and numbers in case the first guy didn't show up or didn't take all of them. I ended up with 15 people on the waiting list. I had no idea that so many people would be happy to take them off my hands. I mean, I didn't want them and that made me think no one would. Maybe it was because I offered them for free.
I love how my yard looks without them. I'm so glad that the people who have them now can put them to use and are happy to have them. I love that the ties are gone at no expense to me. And I love craigslist for facilitating this kind of transaction.