In 2017, rains delayed the Christmas tree mulch by a week. However, waiting made the realization more sweet. In 13 trips made over two days, I scored an all time record haul of 61 bags. I can fit four in my Mini Cooper, so I’m a bit more efficient than in 2008 when I had the Miata. The weather was sunny and cool. The atmosphere one of camaraderie and glee. The scent, delightful.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I hauled Christmas tree mulch from Zilker Park. I hauled 44 paper lawn and leaf bags in my Miata, two at a time. I figure I got at least a pickup truck load’s worth, maybe two. I worked hard to beat last year’s haul of 32 bags. A personal best. Some people with pickups gave me a wry smile. One lectured me at the expense of using paper lawn and leaf bags. (In fact, I only bought 15 at less than $1 apiece and will reuse them all when we begin pruning nandina and shrubs next week. This is a lot more economical than buying a pickup or paying for the gas to run it.)
As for those 22 trips. It is about 3.5 miles round trip and in the Miata I probably used less than 3 gallons of gas for the entire escapade. Nor was I the only person with a small car. I kept runnng into a couple with matching Honda Accords who stuffed their cars with every kind of container they could find and then lined the trunks and filled those up. Among the many people I talked to in those 22 trips to the mulch pile, there was a shared sense of glee.
Tuesday some much needed rain was in our forecast and so I spent all day hurrying to dump the final 17 bags of mulch where I needed it. If the bags get wet, they tear easily and I can’t reuse them. The last hour I was working it drizzled lightly. Austin got .09 of an inch, enough to make working in the cold miserable but not enough to do the garden any good.
The last trees (the red oaks) have finally shed their leaves. My strategy is to rake the leaves into future beds and pile the Christmas tree mulch on top. I think this is a type of sheet composting. Or in the case of the old winter vegetable garden, I raked the leaves out of the beds and used the Christmas tree mulch to make paths. I don’t have anything growing in the winter vegetable garden yet this year because it has been in the dark until just last week. Last week I finally planted some lettuce and salad greens. At least it’s all neat and ready now for me to start seeds.
Continuing west from the vegetable garden, I refreshed all the paths I’ve done in earlier years. I noticed that the Spanish bluebells are nosing up. This is a shot at the end of the path looking back toward the vegetable garden and front yard. I didn’t have time to spread the mulch in this section so there are mounds of it all along the path.
If you turn around again and continue west, you come to the wildest section of my yard. I had made a stab at weeding it last August. But there was still a lot of bindweed and ragged turks cap along the west fence. I spent an afternoon and the next morning weeding it and still have more to do (as you can see at the far end of the bed in this photo). I filled one of the bags with all the vines I pulled out. Once I cleared the fence of vines, I could see my neighbor’s garden better. He has a landscape business and keeps a lot of plants in pots lined up against the fence. It’s my borrowed view.
Along the front fence, I continued a project I started last year, trying to level the slope in my yard. I had put leaves and mulch from tree trimmings here last year. That was topped with some of the better dirt excavated when the foundation for the garden house was dug. This is another very dark corner ten months of the year where only bindweed and turks cap seem to thrive. I haven’t decide what to plant to replace the lawn. Probably the only thing that will survive in the hot dry shade is monkey grass or liriope.
After another successful year of gleaning, I’m feeling tired but happy. I can’t help but wish that I had made just one more trip. Or two.