Monday, June 9, 2014

Spending money to make things look pretty -- NOT!


Some of us have a love affair with the stuff. And it costs M-O-N-E-Y

I have a personal joke that you can tell how much disposable income I have by how wide the mulch path is to my front door. If there are tufts of grass sticking through, I'm broke. If it's wide and inviting, I've got cash. I don't have a sidewalk, and the line to my front door is actually a grassy driveway. You used to have to trailblaze to the front door and with a house on a hill, that could be a real ankle-twister. But my then-husband Mark decided the front steps should go (which used to be between the two blazing porch lights in the photo below), and side steps should be built instead to keep people from breaking their necks. He had a good eye. Still there was no sidewalk, so we went with mulch. Later, I added solar LED lights, in case someone needed to find the door in the middle of the night. Quite frankly, the place is lit up like a runway at night.

All the better for me to shoot interlopers by (just kidding...maybe).

Well, this spring I've been paying off NYSEG (electric and gas) from the winter, and mulch is not on the list of things I'm going to invest in. Needless to say, when I saw this I went into a happy dance:

I'd been watching that pile dumped by the utility company for a long while, wondering if it was OK to take any. Apparently we are all law-abiding folks here, because no one touched it until the sign went up weeks after the pile kept growing and growing. And then the entire town pulled out their trailers and pickup trucks and started shoveling. I was the only person I noted with a car, and it was a friendly time at the ole mulch pile. The Kitty Kia is always up to the task and people always smile when a woman backs her car over obstacles to do what any truck can do. I love my town and I love my car (when it runs).

There were two huge utility trucks still filled with chips, ready to be dumped, and plenty left in the original pile before the rain started pouring down, so I'm hoping I'll have an unlimited supply for the memorial garden and to lay in a backup pile for other projects. In the meantime, things are looking nicer around here, just for the cost of sweat and gas. Mulch normally goes for 6.00 a bag locally, or 3 for $10 at the big box places, so this free pile could save me a lot of cat food, or a spay or two. Because, as you know, for cat folks all expenses are measured in food or spays.

Unfortunately I got a little close to the Welcome mat at the cat facility door with my lawn tractor and bit a section off. Oops.


  1. Looks really nice! Free mulch is awesome. I don't know if you've ever posted a shot of the whole house from a bit of a distance before (I haven't seen one anyway), but it's cool to see, and your house is beautiful.

  2. That is beautiful! Long ago, driving rural roads in Oregon, I learned at pullouts everywhere, chip trucks adjusted loads, and would leave small piles. I carried bags and a shovel to take advantage of this. Not so many chip trucks these days and now that I live in the valley, I don't encounter these free piles of chips. I'm glad you stumbled into free mulch. It is expensive. So is garden dirt, which limits gardening on bad cash years here. Your place is beautiful!