3.10.2010

Down & Dirty

With the great weather we had last weekend - sunny and high 60s - we couldn't help ourselves and spent nearly all weekend outside doing yard work. This is the first time in my life I've been responsible for a yard. Although because we have quite an extensive "yard" - an acre and a half - Daniel insists on calling it "land". But land work doesn't sound right.

Since neither of us has ever been in charge of taking care of any land, we have pretty much no idea what we're doing. As a kid I would mow the lawn once in a great while, but I never gardened or trimmed or pruned or mulched or composted or even raked leaves really. I was an extraordinarily lazy kid when it came to chores. My mother can verify.

Not only is our collective yard work experience limited, but we have (well, had, at this point) ZERO tools to accomplish any yard work we feel compelled to do.

So we went to the place we always go. The place that we find ourselves at nearly every weekend since purchasing our first home. The place that eats up cash like nobody's bidnez. Yes. The Home Depot. For better or worse, our Home Depot is a measley 3 miles up the road, which makes it ridiculously convenient.

At Home Depot we purchased a garden wagon, which if you are unfamiliar is a friendly alternative to a more traditional wheel barrow; a shovel, which one of our neighbors helped us pick out; a weed whacker, which I think is actually called a trimmer; a couple of small gardening tools, a few bags of potting soil, and one pair of gardening gloves.

We also went to Nashville Metro's Public Works facility and bought an Earth Machine. Nashville offers curbside recycling of all recyclable materials (except glass which you have to take to one of their recycling facilities), and promotes backyard composting by offering composting tools at a discount to Metro residents and free classes.

Here's what we picked up at our Public Works department:



We are now urban composters, or backyard composters. Again, neither Daniel nor I have ever composted. My family didn't compost - I don't think it was fashionable in the 80's. However, both sets of my grandparents composted...sort of. They were/are old school composters. I vividly remember being a small child standing next to my grandma as she shoveled dirt over kitchen vegetable scraps in a pile out behind her garden, next to the woods. She didn't have an Earth Machine. She just had a big ole pile of dirt and leaves and grass clippings and what-not that she would tend to. I also distinctly remember asking her what it was for and her telling me that she was making "good dirt".

My other grandparents, for as long as I can remember and still to this day, throw all of their compost straight into their vineyards where it decomposes all year long and gets tilled a few times a year. They always have, not only high yields every year, but a higher sugar count than many of their fellow grape farmers.

So, we're going to try out this composting thing. It doesn't seem too hard or even very demanding. And who doesn't want good dirt?

We have nearly three years of neglected yard work to catch up on but we definitely made a dent in the process last weekend and it felt delightful and invigorating to be outside in the sunshine taking care of our land. Renewed flower beds and tame monkey grass are on our immediate horizon and on the distant horizon I can even see, maybe, someday, our own garden full of good dirt.

4 comments:

mom said...

That looks like a pretty niffty composter. My composting consists of a big pile of horse poop, then I mix it with coffe grounds, egg shells, and all that other good stuff, stir well and spread. AHHH, nothing like "good dirt".

cathryn said...

Horse poop!? Where do you get horse poop?

The coffee shop up the street from us routinely gives away their coffee grounds to anyone who shows up with a bucket :)

Mars Girl said...

Buy a horse. It would serve a dual purpose: compost and keeping your lawn trim. You'll never have to mow!!

HeyBetty!! said...

you guys are nuts! put a pool in and cover that green mess with concrete...get your self a hydroponic garden, no dirt, just water and nutrient tabs....nutrient tabs...mmmmmm