Ain’t no Party like a Free Mulch Party!

“May you live in interesting times”

-Ancient Chinese curse (but not really ancient, nor Chinese)

This is what awaited me when I got home last Thursday night after a twelve hour day. And like the fake ancient Chinese curse, it made for a very interesting logistical conundrum. The city dumps a truck-load of free mulch in the street in front of your house and then the city comes and sites you for having a large pile of mulch in the middle of the street.

At least that’s what I was worried about when I pulled in at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday knowing full well that I will have to be working all through the weekend! But never look a gift horse in the mouth. Where should one look a gift horse in anyways?

Perhaps a little perspective should come into play here. Hey reader! Did you know that the city you live in will provide you unlimited supplies of free mulch!? Well, they do if you know where to look. In this instance, here in San Diego, I signed up for Chipdrop. Here’s the deal with that; you get a free truck-load of freshly chipped mulch delivered to your house… whenever it’s convenient and a chipping project is underway in your general area.

In my case, it took about eight months to receive my mulch. You can opt to pay $20 to have them deliver it a bit sooner if you like as a way to grease the wheels. You can select if you want mostly logs, chips and logs, or mostly chips and you can let them know where they should dump it. Unless you’re like me and have a super skinny anorexic driveway, in which case they’ll have to drop it in the street in front of your house. Continue reading “Ain’t no Party like a Free Mulch Party!”

The Calm Before the Storm: Backyard Progress Report Jan 2017

People keep asking me if I’m sick of the rain yet. I give a resounding, “are you mad!?” Who in their right mind would be sick of rain after six years of drought? So, no, I’m not sick of it. I worship it, I adore it and I dance naked in it. Don’t start peeping over my fence now! The very first thing I did when I bought the house, and stared for hours out into the vast expanse of nothingness, was to re-grade my whole lot. I built dry riverbeds and redirected potential flows of water from one bed to the next. And then year after year of drought followed. Finally, this year has above average rains and I get to put my landscaping to the ultimate test. And guess what, it all works (mostly) perfectly. Not a drop is wasted on runoff to the adjacent lots. It’s mine all mine!! Mwahahahaha!

And now that the guinea fowl population has been drastically reduced and the remaining two are too afraid to scratch a single bed or path for fear of the ultimate and final punishment, I can now return to business as usual. I can now finally replant, transplant, deadhead and prune without the bubbling rage and constant destruction.

Better late than never is the strategy for my winter veggie garden. Today before the next storm rolled in I dropped in some late kale, spinach, bok choy and collard greens. The first of the remaining guinea fowl to even look at this bed will end up in the pot faster than you can say, “never get guinea fowl”.

Continue reading “The Calm Before the Storm: Backyard Progress Report Jan 2017”

A Hobbit’s Compost Bin and the Happy Hens


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I’m so in love with my passion fruit vine. Like, more than like, like. Love!

Not only does it give me bucketfuls of tantalizing and delicious fruit, but it also is always lush with bright green healthy leaves all year round. It is drought-proof as well it seems and the most vigorous grower of any of my plants.  It is the fastest, prettiest, and tastiest way to provide privacy as well!

Not to mention the mesmerizingly beautiful blooms that last for all the warm months here in San Diego.

Passion fruit flower.
Did I mention the passion fruit? So good!

Continue reading “A Hobbit’s Compost Bin and the Happy Hens”