Could you blame me for posting “No Trespassing” signs on my Mount Vernon woodlot?

Walk with me now on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon as we pick up the trash thoughtless lawbreaking slobs tossed onto my woodlot and the adjoining land of my neighbors.

First into the trash bag is a large plastic bottle of Mountain Dew — half full. Did you know it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose? I picked up a lot of them — and can report that trash-tossing idiots drink a great deal of low-fat milk.

A few steps further, and we find the first of 10 Bud Light cans. We’ll also pick up Bud Light bottles and cardboard containers. Bud Light rules the rural highways these days.

As an enthusiast for Maine’s microbrews, I am proud to report that I didn’t find a single bottle or can for a Maine-made beer — although I did find a copy of the August/September issue of Brewing News. I paused beside the road to read it.

Next into the trash bag is a rusted highway marker with a red flag attached, a golf ball and a huge amount of shrink wrap, followed soon after by our first coffee cup.


Today’s pickup confirms that coffee drinkers prefer Dunkin’, but most of the area’s purveyors of the dark liquid are represented.

It is apparent that the fast food and drinks purchased in Augusta run out just when people get to Mount Vernon, and out the window go the containers and bags.

Now we’ve found the first of many cigarette packs — Marlboro being the preference of drive-by litterers. And here we’ve got a black hiking shoe — in good shape. I toss it into the bag even though I know if I’d left it, the shoe would have decomposed in about 80 years.

Did I tell you I’m writing all of this down? We’ll have more than five pages of items before we’re done.

Energy drinks are numerous — it takes a lot of energy to toss them out the window — along with wooden debris, plastic pieces galore — and hey, here’s a Black Cat Ammo Clip container. Alas, the clip is gone. But nearby we find a plastic container of fish hooks — with four hooks still in the container. I keep those for my grandsons.

I get excited just for a moment when I find a bottle of Elmer’s Wood Filler, nearly full and partly buried. But the fill has been exposed to the weather and is no longer any good.


The wording on a nearby McDonald’s drink container really irritates me: “Here’s to YOU. A toast to your wisdom, clever drink buyer. You have selected a classic fountain beverage, precisely mixed for maximum refreshment. I’m lovin’ it.”

Well, I’m not lovin’ it — or the slob who tossed it here.

Suddenly I get an idea. I’ll package up the waste from each Augusta fast food restaurant, drive there, and spread the trash around in their yards. Well, I’d probably just get arrested. But no one will be arrested for dumping the trash from those restaurants on my land.

Instead, I take a close look at a McDonald’s bag, on the side of which is a phone number and the question, “How are we doing?” I called them to tell them just how they’re doing. But after a long rigmarole of recorded instructions and no chance to talk to a live person, I gave up.

Something shiny blinks at me and I reach down to pick up what appears to be a plastic container for a condom — sans condom. The language is foreign but the word SEX is there along with a photo of a naked couple enjoying — Ahem. No, I did not linger over the photo.

I pick up two tires, one still on the wheel, a spent shotgun shell, a flower pot, a paper plate covered with slugs, duct tape, broken glass, and then spot two full bags of garbage, sitting down over the bank. They turn out to be full of decaying frozen food. I have to rebag them because the food is oozing out.


And here’s another plain paper bag with the message, “Fill it with old newspapers to be recycled.” Apparently this person can’t read. He filled it with a plastic six-pack container and three empty Budweiser cans.

Hauling the trash homeward, I stopped to visit a neighbor, Betty Whittier, who thanked me for cleaning up the roadside and then spotted a bit of trash in the weeds out by the road. It turned out to be an advertisement for North Country Environmental Services.

Where were they when I needed them?!!

George Smith is a writer and TV talk show host. He can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected]. Read more of Smith’s writings at

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