Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Raking Pine Needles and Other Obsessions
It's that time of year again and piles of black trash bags full of pine needles are lining the streets. Personally I don't favor raking. First of all it's work ___ physical effort which I oppose on principle. Then there is the overwhelming likelihood that another storm is right on the heels of this one which will dump as much or probably even more needles. This is one of the corrolaries of Murphy's Law, a related topic which I will not go into here for lack of room. Whole books have been written about this bundle of natural laws which are so germane to our everyday lives.
Finally, with the above two predispositions in mind, it is extremely comfortable to believe that pine needles SHOULD carpet the ground. They were here well before Lake Shastina was and what harm did they do then, hmmm?
Well, some skeptics would say, they pose a fire hazard to homes and bare dirt is much safer. To this blatantly sensible argument I say, humbug. Wildfires are nature's way of cleaning out the underbrush and frankly, some yards around here are pretty trashy and need clearing out.
Of course I rake the lawn. I mean, if one didn't do that we'd look like savages. What self-respecting homeowner has a brown yard? Besides, removing those needles allows the grass to grow more aggressively which in turn requires mowing which I do just to illustrate that I'm not completely against physical work.
Despite all of this rationality, Sally thinks I suffer from another sort of obsessive behavior other than the clean-yard variety. On occasion (and this is not every trip, no sireee) when I'm out and about I will load up the car with garbage cans' full of grass clippings or sawdust. These go onto large piles in our side yard next to an equally impressive mound of composted (meaning odorless) horse manure.
I try and try to explain the concept of stockpiling but Sally isn't buying any of it. The idea of course is that these organic materials are components of a healthy vegetable garden. And when you do the lasagna thing of layering stuff like this, you feed them onto the basic bed each season and avoid rototilling.
On top of all this flawless logic we hope to develop an area next to the existing garden for berries and perhaps fruit trees next year. Where, I ask Sally, could we possibly find time to go fetch such demanding quantities of these ingredients when the pressing task of planting is upon us?
My final grabbing line is that the car always smells like pine needles.
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Bruce Batchelder, Editor
Bruce Batchelder, Editor