February 28, 2009
What a grand adventure today! We’ve been budgeting for the garden along with all the unexpected house disasters that can befall an almost 80 year old house. One of the items on the have-to-have list is mulch. Mulch is a requirement for a desert garden to succeed. There is so little moisture in the summer and the sun bakes down so hot, that delicate plants can shrivel into nothing. A thick blanket of mulch helps hold the moisture next to the roots where it’s needed, it keeps the soil a cooler temperature and thankfully it blocks the weeds from taking over the garden. Today we heard the distinctive grinding sound of a wood chipper. Across the street, our neighbors had hired someone to take out a tree and cut some dead branches. The workers were stuffing the branches into the chipper turning them into wonderful desirable wood chips. Albert went across the street and asked what they planned to do with the chips and they replied that they would be taking them to the dump. With a little negotiation and ten bucks, they agreed to bring the chips over to our house. We organized a fire brigade of every trash can we could find; handing the can up to the man who shoveled the chips into the can then hefted it over the side. My son and his girlfriend helped and within less than twenty minutes, we had little pale brown mounds of mulch all over the backyard. They will go on the garden after the plants are visible. We’ll tuck in every plant. Right now there is a gentle warmth issuing off the piles of chips, a reminder of nature at work. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Wood chips to my garden to help make food to feed us this year. In “The Gifts,” Richard K. Nelson spoke of his son being, “joyous and alive” a “boy made of deer.” We will be a joyous family made of wood chips and earth from our back yard garden.