If you’re local to the San Diego area, you may have seen this week’s reader with a rather odd cover photo. A beautiful and majestic fuzzy-butted silkie hen that my regular readers have come to love and admire. Alongside some random mustachioed schlubb that as no business being on the front of anything.
as to the former, you are quite welcome. For the latter, my humble apologies, it will all be over in a week’s time so hang in there. If you plan on using it as a liner to your birdcage, or are getting creative with a Sharpie, I’d love to see photos! If you are not one of my local readers, you can see the story on The San Diego Reader’s website.I won’t attempt to re-writing the article here as it is already done by a far better writer than I, but it talks about the neighborhood community garden that I helped set up and all the amazing work they’re doing for the community. Something I’m so proud to have been a part of.
Sharing an idea about my dream chicken coop/run setup for the garden. Photo by Matthew Suárez
hard working gardeners. Photo by Matthew Suárez
The noble plan. Photo by Matthew Suárez
a bountiful masterpiece. Photo by Matthew Suárez
Although I am historically hell-bent on being a giant goofball, there are a few things that I’m serious about. Quality of food is one of them. In this article I talk a lot about this “fast food” society we’re living in and how destructive food deserts are to communities and the health of its populace.
This attention from The San Diego Reader is such a welcome shot in the arm for communities like mine that are surrounded by so many awful food choices. I truly hope that this resonates with everyone so that together we can fight these patterns and continue to find ways to keep our family happy and healthy no matter your income. That’s been my driving force in the last five years of writing Mind Your Dirt. To show that you don’t need to spend money to bring back a natural balance to your surroundings and the food on your table. Mostly because I’m broke as hell and necessity is the mother of invention.
Our community garden not only provides fresh and healthy free produce, it also teaches anyone who visits how to bring these techniques into your home gardens. Between Mind Your Dirt and the Ocean View Growing Grounds (as well as all community gardens), we will always be here to help you keep your family healthy and loaded with nutrients.
So a huge big Thank You to The San Diego Reader, Barbarella Fokos (writer), and Matthew Suárez (photographer) for taking the time to help this noble cause! To everyone else, get busy with that Sharpie!
Part One: Violet and the Ghost of the Great Pepper Tree
Violet doesn’t belong here. She wasn’t invited. And neither was her brother, Squats for that matter. These were random chickens that were squeezing their tiny fluffy butts into my garden through a gap in the fence.
Just big enough to fit little peeping babies that would peck and scratch the shit out of all my garden beds and make a hell of a mess on my manicured pathways. My precious, precious pathways.
This I could not abide for long. An action plan began forming in my head and I decided to set up some chicken traps and capture these usurpers of my calm. I set up a net at the end of my long cement makeshift patio. A tunnel of many confusing obstacles leading to a hidden circular lobster net. I then went inside and waited. Maniacally so.
After a few hours, I went out to find them in my veggie garden picking, scratching and eating all my vittles. Our eyes locked and all three of us were frozen in the timeless dance of predator v. prey. I pounced, barefoot and snarling. As planned, they leaped out of the raised bed and began sprinting down the long cement pad with me slapping bare toes behind them.
They hit the hidden net like so many drunkenly applied darts into pub dartboards. *thunk, thunk*. With wings flapping uselessly, they could do no more than submit to my gentle yet firm grasp.
After some moments of gentle cooing, I placed them in my little elevated chicken coop for newbies. And there they remained. The day was won!
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!”