Richard has been ditch diving to clean out several years’ accumulation of leaves in the drainage culvert by the Ruritan building. He also volunteered to clean the Ruritan’s roach coach, which was apparently really roachy. Not many people get so much joy from helping others and doing dirty jobs, and not many are so willing to work so hard all alone.
He was all ready set out mid-day on Monday to begin these tasks when I reminded him that the garden still needed tilling, but getting the tiller started proved to be as problematic as starting the tractor had been. The tilling would have to wait until the repair shop completed the equipment repairs, so he was off to the Ruritan building.
He returned to the roach coach several times, stopping in at the house to consult with me with on cleaning methods and collecting equipment. Even after the cancellation of the event for which he was cleaning, the cleaning continued. He never accepts his “at-a-boy” until the job is complete. Unfortunately, the grill that he hoped to display as like-new is pitted, so he probably won’t even want to admit that he’s the one who created the cleanliness.
Richard and I have been learning enough about how back-breaking traditional crop-raising can be and how difficult it is to continue as we age. This has led us to many a discussion regarding alternative planting and growing methods. We had both been contemplating raised-beds, especially in light of the trouble getting Mamie’s fifty’s era tractor and ninety’s era tiller ready to roll.
When I went over to weed, I spied a book, The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book in Mamie’s kitchen. Pointing to the first chapter heading, “Throw Away Your Spade and Hoe,” I declared that the book seemed like a must-read to me. When I asked to borrow it, Mamie declared, “You read it and tell me what it says.” So I am reading it and telling her and Richard exactly what I’m gathering from it.
The author promises that heavy mulching will eliminate the need for composting, plowing, tilling and most weeding. This is similar to the “lasagna gardening” that Mountaintop Mary has mentioned.
Even though I often accuse Richard of never hearing a word I say (to which he replies, “Huh?”) he must have been listening. He informed me that the reason he volunteered to unclog the drainage ditch was that he figured the mostly composted leaves could enrich our garden soil.
Every day, for the last week, Richard has pulled his trailer to the Ruritan building with his now well-running Bronco II. Every day for the last week, he’s come home with the load of leaves to wait out the rain. Every day for the last week, he has gone over to the garden and neatly distributed the leaves on a previously plowed and harrowed patch.
Now Mamie has informed me that I really must move the butternut squash plants and might want to consider planting another stand of corn. What I thought was going to be a beginning of next year’s garden method is going to get its first run this summer.
Richard and I are both absolutely ecstatic about his leaf relocation program.