There is nothing more satisfying than growing and preparing your own food. I am an Oregonian transplanted to Austin, Texas. I can garden year round here; of course, this also means I am pulling weeds every day. I practice organic gardening principles and enjoy the challenge of outsmarting garden pests. Occasionally I lose these battles, but I don't mind sharing a good meal.
As the old proverb says, one man's trash is another man's treasure. That's certainly true of me. I have brought my scrounging habit to Austin.
When we lived in Seattle, I forced my husband to drive around with me and scavenge broken pieces of concrete. I was building a retaining wall in the garden, you see. In Oregon, we drove around looking for cool rocks (took both of us to lift them) for my raised flower beds. We also drove around grabbing the neighbor's bagged leaves in the fall so I could mulch everything for winter.
I am happy to announce that I have hit the jackpot here in my Wells Branch neighborhood in Austin. Our municipal utility district (MUD) has a yard debris program. All you have to do is place your yard waste in one of their handy containers or pile your brush on the curb, and they send a truck around on Monday to gather it up. Quite a nice little service - and dang handy for me. All I have to do is wait for the weekend warriors to get their yard work done and I pop round in my own truck to gather the spoils. I return home with the loot, get out the pruners and get it all prepped, then get my husband Ed to fire up the chipper. Voila. Mulch. Chips for the paths. Compost starter. Beats paying $25 a yard.
A couple of days ago I noticed that there were cedar fence panels stacked up in a waste area next to a church. They were obviously old boards and next to them gleamed the new concrete wall replacement. I mentioned it to my husband and he said he'd noticed them there for weeks. Silly man, you think he would learn.
Yesterday we hauled the pile to the house. There are plenty of perfectly good boards to use. Anything we can't build with can be run through the chipper. I've already placed my order; Ed is building raised beds for my vegetables. He's already got the first one done and ready for me to fill.
Let's see, chipping, hauling an old fence, building boxes, what else can I find for Ed to do to support my gardening habit? Don't answer!