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By Becky Malewitz

By Becky Malewitz

The Garden City Telegram

Some might see it as an old fence fit only to decorate the inside of a dumpster. For 75-year-old Jerry Lalicker, however, one man's trash can be made into something to treasure.

"I just got started about 10 or 12 years ago, and I started picking up old fencing and using it. And so help me, it's keeping me real busy," Lalicker said about the rustic chairs, benches and tables he makes out of discarded wood.

"Why throw it away?" he asked. "I mean recycle it. It's good lumber it can go to good use -- I hope I've found a good use. It's rustic this way, and it's seasoned. It already got weathered. It works, what the heck?"

Although he can't tell you how many pieces of furniture he has made through the years, Lalicker knows that many of the kid-sized benches have found their way into local elementary schools thanks to his school teacher daughters.

"My daughters have given a bunch of them away. You go into Florence Wilson School, walk into the office, you see a kiddie bench up there that's worn smooth. They've used it so much it's smooth," he said, chuckling.

In addition to using the discarded wood to make furniture, Lalicker's backyard features a deck, bird feeders and treehouse made entirely of discarded wood. He has built bookshelves for his daughter's classroom, and installed a large fence around his daughter's yard.

"I buy nothing," Lalicker said talking about his building materials. "People will call me and say, euro ̼̀We're tearing down a fence.' I'll take a trailer over there and park it. They put the fencing in, and I'll take it home and I'll tear it apart. A city man come by here a while back, and he was looking back here where all my junk is, and he says, euro ̼̀What are you doing back here?' And I said haven't you ever heard of recycling? And I brought him in the backyard and showed him my benches, and he said, euro ̼̀Don't you change a thing. You keep going.'"

Lalicker calls his business BC&G woodworking B and C stand for two of his grandsons Bryer, 21, and Cooper, 17, the G, of course, is for grandpa. He is happy to pass on a skill learned from his father to the next generation.

"My dad was a carpenter to no end, I mean, he could build anything. I would go work with him, I would help him, I would do this, and I would do that. We didn't have near the equipment then that we do now. I mean I have every kind of saw you can name, and I use a lot of it," he said gesturing toward the workspace in his backyard, at the time occupied by a bench in progress. "I work on it every day until it gets too hot, and I'm getting old enough that if I don't have to do it, I'm not going to do it. I retired four years ago, and they've kept me pretty busy, and that is what I want.

Lalicker's, who is more than happy to sell his furniture out of his home, also has his pieces at Ward's Garden Center and the Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City and the Pieces of my Heart Gift Shop in Cuchara, Colorado.

(c)2014 The Garden City Telegram