Empty gallon jugs were a precious commodity at our house while I was growing up. Since we didn't buy milk, collecting empty jugs was challenging and slow.
Every time we finished a gallon of vinegar we would cut off the bottom, throw away the lid, and then slide the jug onto the rope where all the other empty jugs were hanging in the basement.
Once spring arrived and it was time to plant the garden we would place these empty jugs over some of the less hardy plants. The added warmth gave them more of a greenhouse affect and helped them grow faster and stronger than the ones we didn't have jugs for.
Once the plants were at the point of outgrowing their cozy shelter we would remove the jugs, wash them, and string them back on the rope in the basement. They would hang there waiting until the next spring with hopefully a few more jugs being added to the collection.
The bottoms of those empty jugs were just as precious to me as a little girl, as the tops were to my Mom. They served as plates, bowls, and pie pans in my playhouse and the sandbox.
Many sand pies were made in them, carefully decorated with pine needles and dandelions.
Back then I never imagined the day would come where I'm throwing several gallon jugs away each week. Even after all this time I almost feel bad every time I discard one, but I have no use for them so into the trash they go. It's also just a little sad that my children never got to experience the feeling of thankfulness as another empty jug gets added to a slowly growing collection.