I wish you could see our house today. Someday I will figure out how to attach pictures, but, for now, I’ll try to paint a word picture.
Our deck, which is just outside our kitchen and diningroom doors, is carpeted in leaves. An orange and gold patterned blanket covers the chaise, where it drapes, slightly askew, as if someone had been reading, reclined, just a few minutes ago. The pots once filled with herbs, annuals, and tomatoes hold an icing of color and sycamore leaves sit on the table and make a romantic table setting.
Elsewhere, the trees, the grass, the drive are all a glorious, golden mess. Leaves still cling to trees, but, they are thinning out, much like an aging rock star. We can see nests that weren’t visible just a few days ago. I thought a small nest had been built in our Royal Frost and laughed when I realized it was a walnut that must have fallen from the tree nearby – or else the work of a squirrel. It is too high for me to reach – I’m sure Antler Man will come to its rescue.
It is too wet here on the cutoff today, with predictions of more rain to come, so, the raking and cutting and putting the gardens to bed will wait for a drier day. The leaves will take a great deal of time and effort to clean up. We usually haul most of the ones in the front to the street, where the city trucks come by, mulch them, and take them away. Huge drifts adorn our road and are really quite impressive. The rest are deposited in a makeshift compost pile in the way back. Wherever the destination, all are amassed into piles and hauled on sheets or tarps. The resident herd must watch in wonder from the places they hide.
I know the leaves are golden, but have been overwhelmed in what to do with them. They are rich and organic and worthy of a fate more useful than mere roadside decoration. When a friend emailed some information about classes with a local garden and landscaping expert (whose garden, home and lifestyle are worthy of a story of its own) I jumped at the chance to attend a class at her home/business on composting.
I was Vickie Nowicki’s only student yesterday and was amazed that she kept the class going just for me. She broke down the art of composting in a meaningful and appealing way before showing me the garden, which takes up the entire property. I went knowing I needed to do something with the rich material we have here – just overwhelmed with how to go about it. I spent a rainy morning sipping apple mint tea harvested from the massive suburban garden, which sustains them throughout the year, taking notes, learning about the soil food web, exudates, predatory nematodes – and how to build a compost pile. I learned of wonderful new uses for Antler Man’s harvest of tree limbs and have practical, rather easy ideas for containing our golden autumn windfalls that will improve our soil and help us to give back to this wonderful property that pleases us in oh-so-many ways.
I am always so excited to learn new things and grow and stretch outside the box. Thank you Vickie, for your great tutorial and example of how we can live a better life and be kinder to our good earth, and thank you, Rosalie, for letting me know.