(Oddly enough, there is a definitive theme of receiving from the parents of coworkers...)
Example 1: This past spring, the mother of a former colleague of Michael's was trying to sell her house and needed to get rid of some fencing to help de-clutter the space. Coincidentally enough, we needed fencing for our chickens. So we headed over one rainy Sunday and loaded up the truck with wire, fence posts and a rain barrel. Cha-ching!
Example 2: Straw isn't that expensive, but we've never had to buy it. The parents of a colleague of mine dropped off four bales last fall that we've used to suppress weeds in the vegetable garden. This spring, some neighbors who were moving were clearing out outbuildings and loaded us up with four more. They also handed over more fencing and some chicken feeders.
Example 3: Yesterday, we stopped by the former mother-in-law of a former colleague who was clearing out her attic and bestowed us with 14 boxes of canning jars, a hot water bath and pressure cooker. She was so excited to give them away to people who would actually use them and continue the tradition she had carried on for many years. They did such a great job of caring for their belongings that the original instructions were included in the original boxes!
Examples 4, 5 and 6: Plants are another area where we're glad to accept donations. The asparagus is four-year-old roots from a friend, moonbeam and daylillies from another friend, and the irises and lamb's ear divided from a former coworker.
Examples 7-?: Our career paths have also been beneficial to this endeavor. Mike scored leftover metal from a downtown garage project his company designed, while I've brought home numerous pots, gloves, seeds, knives and organic garden aids, as well as nearly every piece of cardboard that comes into the office (for the rows in the vegetable garden). And, of course, there's the famous Scotty I picked up at the Flower, Lawn & Garden Show that we'll fix up for family vacation or sleeper on the Back 4.
Thanks to everyone for getting organized and deciding you no longer need or want certain things. If you've got something else, let us know. Just don't try to give us anything that meows or barks!