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Love thy neighbor October 29, 2008

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It doesn’t extend to loving their trees.  Our neighbors have about eight cotton wood trees about six feet or less from the fence line we share. 

They planted them about ten years ago to help cool the house in the summer (they are on their south side.)  A very good and environmental friendly idea.  I also enjoy the trees in the summer.  They help to keep my car sitting in the drive cool along with providing shade for my plants in the heat of summer. 

But come fall the leaves from all those cotton woods trees don’t seem to know what side of the property line they belong on.  Each fall I rake as many if not more cotton wood leaves than I do from leaves on my own tree.  I know, I enjoy some of the benefits so I shouldn’t mind some extra leaves.

But I do mind.  I’m not even sure why.  I really like the neighbors.  I don’t mind the trees any other time of the year, but I hate those leaves.

Good Intentions October 26, 2008

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Well, I had big plans yesterday for the yard.  Instead I was attacked by a cold Friday afternoon.  I’m feeling much better now, but nothing got done outside yesterday.  And of course the weather isn’t near as nice today as it was yesterday. 

Later this week it’s supposed to be real nice again so I’ll try and tackle some of the leaves then.  I’ll either have more to rake or maybe none at all if the wind blows them all away.

Raking up the Gold October 24, 2008

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Okay, not real gold, just gold colored leaves.  But I’ll be raking them up most of the day on Saturday.  I really don’t mind the leaves, but we have this one tree out front that grows these long bean pod things.  They are a royal in the ___.  They’re about 12 inches long and when they dry out they are be sharp as spears.  Not fun, not to mention all the holes they put in bags. 

Okay, I just had a side thought, (it happens sometimes) does anyone make canvas leave bags?  They would be SO MUCH better than plastic.  I don’t throw my leaves in the trash, they all go in the compost, but I use the bags to get them there.  I can reuse a plastic bag about 6 six times, but canvas, that would be cool. 

Back to raking now, it’s supposed to be a nice on Saturday and the raking will get me out of the house so I can soak up some sunshine.

Fall Color October 15, 2008

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When most people talk about the fall color in Colorado they are referring to the changing leaves in the mountains.  Not me.  When I talk about fall color, it is the changing farm fields that get me excited.

Yesterday I took a different route home so I could enjoy some of the fields.  To truly appreciate them it helps to drive on a road that has rolling hills going through the fields.  The hills allow you to see more of the landscape.

What I saw on my drive was winter wheat just breaking through the soil.  It almost looks like grass, it has the same green color.  A harvested corn field lays bare the dark colored soil with the off white or tan color of the pieces of stalks left behind.  Freshly cut hay is a darker green than the new winter wheat.  And of course the pumpkin fields are orange with the vines turning dull green and brown.

Yes there are trees.  Almost all the farm houses are surrounded by them.  When you top the last hill about a half mile from the town I live in you will see lots of trees.  They are not in town, although we do have quit a few, but the ones I’m talking about are along the South Platte River.  The colors range from still summer green, to gold, yellow, red and brown.

Yes I really love the fall color of farm fields.

Backyard Ecology October 13, 2008

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I’ve been reading a lot about ecology lately.  Not a subject I would have thought I would have been interested in a few years ago.  But a few years ago I wasn’t practicing organic gardening.

Knowing some basic ecology and especially micro ecology helps to put some of the organic practices into prospective.  It amazes me how many little critters can live in a teaspoon of garden compost.  It also amazes me how delicate they are and what a wonderful job they do working in the garden. 

Trust me, after reading just a couple of books I will never look at fallen leaves or dirt in the same way again.  I know now just how many critters they feed or house.

I also have a much better understanding about underbrush around our trees and just how important it is to an entire different set of little critters.  I now realize that while a nice and neat garden may look lovely to me, it doesn’t offer much protection or as much food to the animals that live in my garden.  

Sometimes I think we get to concerned with the big picture.  And while global ecology is important it will help a lot if we all start in our own backyards.