Monday, April 8, 2013

No-till gardens, setting rocks and Joel Salatin...

If happy was a flower, it would be growing out the top of my head right now.  I've got dirt embedded in my nails. I've had my shoes off all day long.  And not only did I lay a 2" by 10" no-till garden bed AND a carefully selected, painstakingly leveled, paved rock path through my old herb bed...but I did it in the same time it took my neighbor's son to pace the porch and talk on his cell phone.  While my two adventurous, curious monkeys were eating dirt, escaping down the driveway and trying to kiss the dog...I was happily digging up wild onions, rummaging through the compost heap and trying to tuck my hair behind my ear with muddy fingers...AND, trying to keep my kids from doing all those other things!  So, I was out there a while.  This whole time, the neighbor boy paced and talked on a cell phone...and Joel Salatin knows why.

I started reading "Folks, this ain't normal" last night and by page 6, Joel had validated my upbringing.  Things I used to grumble at as a kid have, in the past 10 years, become great parables.  Moving bricks from this side of the that side of the one of the "pointless" dad-invoked exercises that have shaped who I am.  One of these "exercises" that WAS fun at the time was when dad and I built a stone bridge to fill in a deep ditch in the path we used to drive down to the lake.  We collected rocks from all over the property (and probably other people's property too!) and slowly filled in the ditch, repositioning each rock for maximum flatness so it wouldn't pivot and pop a tire.  It was practically flat once we were done and sadly, I'm not sure I have any pictures of this work.  But it made my task of building this rock path through my herb garden a very simple and fun activity.

There was other childhood "drudgery" that I'm thankful for that old Tecumseh lawnmower with the 50 foot knotted rope attached that I used to mow the back of our 2 acre lake by lowering it down the dam and then pulling it back up again...I'm proud to say I've gathered and stacked wood with my dad while learning about which woods burn hot and fast just like Joel describes in his book.  Reading "Folks, this ain't normal" also made me realize that I'm not the only one that is bothered by the time-wasting aspect of computer games.  I reveled in the shared sentiment of how video games (I know, us older folk say VIDEO....*computer* games then....) are not only an absolute waste of time, but are also to the detriment of the mind, body and soul.  When I see a male-child sitting on his rump, getting all bent out of shape about a computer game while he's quickly inputting "data" and valiantly obliterating every moving object on the screen I think..."Is this the best he can do with his time?"  Even more of a shame while his mother is washing his pants...and making his dinner, while the trash can overflows.  And while we need play as humans...what about playing WITH someone else?  Interacting IN reality?  Getting fresh air, Vitamin D...or, maybe helping your family with chores?

Oh, how I could go ON and ON about that...*sigh*...and we all get caught from time to time on the computer...hence why I don't blog every day.  Anyway, I wanted to sit down today and devour "Folks, this ain't normal" but decided instead to go outside and jump feet-first into my gardening.  It doesn't look like much now, but I started my first no-till "lasagne garden bed" right up against the garage wall.  It's a layer of wet cardboard to deter weeds, then grass, dry leaves and some top soil.  I have a lot of layering left to do, and since the water off the garage roof will drain water right onto the bed...I've decided to make it a flower bed.  I've got a pine tree to dig up, and a pesky lilac that you see sticking up by the corner of the garage.  Not only did it shoot out roots within 5 feet of itself in every direction, but when I kicked over the "dead" had termites inside.  Oh boy!

I've been "lamenting life in the city" lately...I know there's nothing I can *really* do about that right now except try to make what I've got look more like what I want.  Starting is always the hardest part...and today I stepped over that hurdle...

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