LEARNING SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

I thought because I asked someone and got the wrong answer, that you can’t bury a body on private land. As it turns out, it depends on the state in which you live.

Laws vary by state AND also by county. I’m betting Boston is a no-no as is any well-populated suburban area, but out here where we are embarrassed to admit we “only have 4 and a half acres” because everyone else has a much bigger area, you can not only be buried yourself but can start your own private family cemetery.

I suppose this assumes you are planning to stay on that property. I did know a lovely home in upstate New York that had been a rectory. A minister was buried in the backyard and there was a huge apple tree over him.

Small Bobcat excavator

So for the “broke but needing a place to put the body” people of whom, given the insane prices of “real” funerals, this is one more advantage to country life.

Price? The cost of one canvas shroud — I’m pretty sure that’s affordable for most people —  which I assume is a big bag in whatever color suits your eternal mood. Drawstring optional.

Of course, you can’t just stick the body in the bag. You also need a hole in which to bury it. For this, you need a bobcat or maybe a small John Deere. The cost of renting a bobcat? I’m afraid the price wasn’t posted on the site, but our local lumberyard rents them. And you can get ready in advance since this is great equipment for any small to medium-size farm or landscaping venture.

Breaking the ice on our frozen driveway. Local volunteer!

They are frequently used in cemeteries to dig graves. Easier on the back than the whole shovel thing. But you need a hydraulic license, so it might be cheaper to hire a guy who already knows how to use the equipment.


Free shipping and eco-friendly. I think you can get them with wheels so you can roll the body into the hole. Shrouds are used as an alternative to clothing and are suitable for transportation, burial or cremation. The shroud with handles can be used on its own and is lift weight tested to 300 lbs. A sewn-in pouch allows a rigid board to be inserted under the shroud to provide support for the body if desired. Instructions on shrouding the body are available here. Sizes: Large 112” L x 73” W – Extra Large  118” L x 78” W – Please allow 3-5 days for shipping or contact us for overnight delivery.

It can push like a tractor, pull or lift pretty heavy material. It is lighter and far more maneuverable than a tractor front loader. Typically used in light to medium construction as well as landscaping. Think building a swimming pool or a septic system. Or, for that matter, the basement of a house or the extension to an existing house.

You can put various fronts on it, so it’s also great for pushing snow (much better than a garden tractor) and it hauls well. I’ve always wanted a tractor or bobcat. I don’t need one. I just want one.

The only reason I didn’t get one when we moved here was the price. A good tractor costs a bit more than I could justify. Anyway, I’m pretty sure nobody trusted me with my own tractor.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

30 thoughts on “LEARNING SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. Not really. Most of the people we used to know are gone now. People I still see in my head as young. The reality is that everyone is going to die. Everyone. It doesn’t matter how rich you are or if you live in a hut. As one reads the headlines and another person who you remember as young has bit the big one, it isn’t a bad idea to know what you are going to do with the remains. Leave them on the sofa? The cost of funerals is absurd and I can’t imagine my family and friends paying out $40.000 for a box that is going to be buried. Also, most people don’t have that much money. We don’t. So I figure our own property? Why not?

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  1. I am not sure if you are allowed to bury on private property here but I have given the whole death thing some thought and have read about natural burials, there is a cemetery in a suburb just outside Hobart where you can be buried in bushland. In a northern Tasmanian town, there is a “coffin club” for people who would like to make their own casket. I don’t find it a morbid subject. I’d like to have these things planned out so that it is less bother for whoever is going to have to take care of things when I make my final exit.

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    1. It isn’t morbid unless you think YOU aren’t going to die. Because we all are going the same place and it’s sensible to have a reasonable idea of how you’ll manage the cost. I’d love to become part of my woods!

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  2. I’m sure you won’t care one wit, but who is going to buy your house with you still in the backyard? I guess make sure it’s an unmarked grave so your next of kin don’t curse you as they try to unload the house 😉

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        1. This was originally a farming community. There are probably quite a few buried people, cattle, horses, dogs all over the place. No gravestones. Even now, most people own a lot more land than they can use, so who knows who is buried where? We don’t even know who lived here.

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  3. Hey if you get cremated you could put the ashes anywhere and no one would know about it. If Peter goes first, and that is most likely because he is much older than me, he goes into a wine box and the closet. Then when I go our children have been instructed to put my ashes in with Peters. We purchased four separate plots years ago for my parents. It will hold at least 3 cremated remains so we have room for 12. Want to come? chuckle…
    Leslie 😉

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  4. Doug and I have been doing a little death planning of our own and we’re both totally getting cremated. He doesn’t want a funeral or wake but I said that those aren’t for him, they’re for whoever survives him, and he’s got a big family/friend pool to think about. I think the thing right now is to have a “celebration of life” for the dearly departed. Hopefully, we won’t have to worry about any of that for a while, but it’s good to be prepared.

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    1. That seems to be the way it’s going. Unless it is someone really famous, creation and a party of celebration. Who can afford that kind of money? I know that Asians are much bigger about funerals (but small about weddings). But that’s because of the veneration of ancestors. A lot of people really believe it and it’s important. Here? Not so much. Most people would like a little dignity, but not the whole family wailing in mourning or going broke to buy the best casket in town!

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  5. I’m slightly envious that you can be buried on your land. I’m fairly sure that wouldn’t be allowed here. I’ve told my boys to get rid of my corpse as cheaply as legally possible, but I suspect they don’t hear me because neither is particularly good at thinking about mortality. The boy-child I understand; he’s just a babe, but T just doesn’t like to acknowledge it.

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    1. My son won’t talk about it either, but sooner rather than later, he will have to. He’s already 50, so it’s time to start thinking about what’s next. Whatever you believe, there’s no arguing that we are all going away. Where we are going is a good discussion, but we’re all going there.

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  6. Oh, no, did you and Garry have a tiff? This is not the answer, Marilyn.

    However, should I find myself needing to bury a body, I’ll be sure to come visit you. I do have an SUV, and the back seat folds down, leaving plenty of room. If my husband doesn’t decide on his funeral arrangements pretty soon, I may need to take things into my own hands should something happen to him. My dead body’s already been spoken for.

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  7. This is a ‘funny’ subject, for various reasons. In ou society (Switzerland) most people want to get cremated. Hero Husband and I have already given orders to the surviving that we want our ashes strewn on named lakes. And honestly, I would have no qualms about smuggling a paper bag (or an urn) from one country or county to another in the US….. there is much more ‘poisonous/dirty/bad’ stuff going on and transferred all the time, anywhere, anytime.
    When I lived in South Devon, UK, I spent much time in the ‘ultimate green’ town of Totnes where you could already in the 2000th have a wicker casket or a ‘green bag’ with a tree sapling to be buried with your body. My own father is buried (cremated) in an anonymous piece of grass, together with many others, no stone, no cross, just benches for people to sit and listen to the birds in the many trees. I like that much better than those bombastic affairs and I’m shocked at the costs you mentionnend.
    Last anecdote: I visited a youngish widow whose husband died suddenly. We had tea in her kitchen and she said: You wanna speak to Peter? Me: How’s that? She: He’s sitting just above your head on that shelf….. She then continued to tell me his wishes since the beginning of their life together: He wanted her to strew his ashes in little portions at the foot of some of his favourite roses. Bone ashes are an excellent fertilizer and he wanted to do something good even after his death. I found the idea excellent and adorable!

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