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 Somber Feast: Roasting My Troubles Away in 2017

The other day I let you guys know that I was no longer playing games with my game. That 2016 was finally going to end, along with the lives of my flock of guinea fowl.

[urlpreviewbox url=”https://mindyourdirt.com/2016/12/30/to-cull-a-mocking-bird/”/]

Well, I was mostly true to my word despite the shakiness of my convictions. On the last day of 2016, I was unable to sleep in at all. I knew what the day would bring and I was nervous about doing the dirty deed that needed doing.

I was up before the sunrise and began the mental preparation. I enlisted the help of my friend Kevin for the day of hunting. I needed help catching these high-flying screaming ninjas, but I also really needed emotional support. I caught one early that morning, but couldn’t bring myself to kill the little thing quite yet, so I let it go.

When Kevin showed up, the hunt was on and I was resolved as much as I could be. It wasn’t going to get any easier for me emotionally, so I had to suck it up. So we armed ourselves and headed out into the wilds of my urban backyard.

We had a few clean shots in the beginning, but the bow and arrow proved to be utterly useless for the dead-eye accuracy we needed. With a few shots off, the guinea fowl were on to us and quickly took shelter in the giant pepper tree.

This meant that I had to run around the front of the house and down the back of the dirt lot next door. Up over a cinder block wall and up into the tree. I climbed about 20 feet up to the top where I could scare the fowl down to the ground.

This time we tried to use the crossbow. But here’s the problem, you can’t take a clean shot unless the arrow will go into the ground if we missed. And missed we did! The sight was no longer calibrated properly so we had to do the best we could. We did manage to kill a shed and a metal door with the bolts, but not a single shot hit it’s true intended mark. I had about five shots that would’ve surely killed a fowl, but it was too dangerous to take them with all the houses around my yard. It just wasn’t safe enough to try the crossbow much longer.

So we improvised. We tried to catch them by hand. I would climb the tree or hop a fence to try to scare them towards my friend. After about three hours, I estimate that I had climbed the tree over eight times and hopped over about twenty five walls or fences.

It was just impossible to catch them and I was getting crazy tired and sore. It was just like watching Ninja Warrior. Except it was three hours long. The sun was beginning to get low in the sky and all four guinea fowl were about four houses away from us at this point. I couldn’t press any further for fear of getting shot myself by wandering into a strangers property.

With much weariness and frustration, we called it quits. Guinea fowl 4, humans 0.

I was saddened that I couldn’t finish this dark deed before the end of the year, but couldn’t figure out any other way to snag the beasts. So, we questioned our manliness and hunter/gatherer status and made preparations for new year eve sorrow drowning.

My resolve was tested and my promise to you readers was broken. In shame and defeat, I decided to drink heavily at a tiki-themed party in Mission Hills. Continue reading “The Somber Feast: Roasting My Troubles Away in 2017”

Taylors of Harrogate’s Grand Beedabest Hotel

Tip top and Bristol fashion
Bristol Fashion

In order to write this one properly, I had to get myself tip top and in Bristol fashion. You’ll know why soon. Cheerio!

Since I began Mind Your Dirt back in October of 2014 there have been so many wonderful connections made from all over the world. People of like-mindedness and equal fervor in global stewardship have reached out to share ideas or simply talk shop. I’ve helped a woman in Mozambique find a way to save her coveted coastal coral tree. I’ve received amazing support from students at the University of California San Diego. I’ve had countless amazing correspondences with so many people in need of inspiration, tips, or just to talk shop. My recent post about the poor monarch butterfly needing a new wing has created an outpouring of support from the scientific community as well as families around the world all determined to come up with a design and material for synthetic prosthetic wings. Very cool!

I’ve been so energized to continue this little experiment by so many of my readers and there’s no signs of it slowing down. So thank you one and all. For your support, your guidance and just for being you! I love you all dearly. I’m writing this today because another amazing connection has been made through Mind Your Dirt.

Last week I was contacted by a representative of Taylors of Harrogate.

Bettys and Taylors of HarrogateTaylors of Harrogate is a Yorkshire-based family business devoted to the craft of outstanding tea and coffee since 1886. Tea experts at Taylors of Harrogate have decades of experience in seeking out the very best teas from the top gardens in the world and skilfully blending flavour-packed fruits and herbs to create beautifully balanced infusions. Using premium ingredients carefully sourced by Taylors and certified by the botanic experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Taylors of Harrogate Fruit and Herbal Infusions range and Green Tea range are both blended to deliver pure and natural flavour. Taylors is proud to be a founding member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which helps producers meet internationally recognised standards.

Taylors of Harrogate has just completed a wonderful project that promotes the care and conservation of pollinators. Specifically honey bees. They’ve just released this campaign today and they’ve asked Mind Your Dirt to collaborate on their amazing project! What providence.

They stumbled upon my post about making your own bee hotel and wanted me to join the cause. Which is quite an honor for little ol’ me. But it says a lot about the changing tide of good stewardship that I keep raving about. It gets me all excited. By the way, if you missed that post, check it out!

https://mindyourdirt.com/2016/05/30/we-have-a-vacancy-building-an-bug-hotel-for-solitary-bees/

If building your own bee hotel doesn’t suit your fancy (although I can’t imagine why, I had so much fun making mine!) there are many places to buy one for your yard! Here’s a few… (shameless plug warning)



Taylors of Harrogate partnered with Kew Gardens (who can boast the worlds largest collection of living plants by the way) to created something that is nothing short of spectacular! They’ve built the most amazing luxury bee hotel ever! Also while creating great a homage to Wes Anderson. It makes my hotel look like a decimated flea-ridden two bit motel. But I don’t mind being shown up for such a wonderful cause. Although, admittedly, I may have another agenda here.

You see, I have two hopes for this collaboration. First and foremost, to help spread these conservation efforts into everyone’s backyard and provide safe heavens for these essential pollinators. But also to come one step closer my lifelong dream of getting knighted! Anything to garnish attention towards that impossible dream would be smashing! Partly because I’d like to be referred to as Sir James Gielow, but I also want a sweet sword! Does it come with a sword? I know, I know: silly colonists can’t be Sirs. I can dream can’t I?

I digress m’lords and ladies! Back to tea and bee hotels! Just take a look at the video they’ve made that shows the Grand Beedapest Hotel. Prepare to have your mind blown!… Continue reading “Taylors of Harrogate’s Grand Beedabest Hotel”