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[personal profile] rebeccmeister
(title from this Iranian film. If anyone knows how to get a copy of such a thing, please let me know because I want to watch this film again.)

Today was a "chores and errands" sort of day. In the morning, I walked over to the Clark Park Farmer's Market to buy vegetables and eggs. I also signed up for a local kitchen scrap composting service. There are multiple people running this kind of business in the Phoenix area these days: customers receive a 5-gallon bucket and container of bokashi, and then schedule for periodic pickups. You add your food scraps to the bucket, and in exchange you'll receive buckets of compost for your garden.

The person doing this in Phoenix drops off and picks up buckets by bicycle, so it seemed like we might be out of range since we're about 12 miles from downtown Phoenix. The business at the Clark Park farmer's market operates by truck. The guy at the booth had only just had his crash course in operations. He said they'd signed up around 1100 people by now. I'm pleased to see this kind of business take off in a place where there isn't a municipal compost program. Tempe will collect yard waste, but not compost scraps. With my current living arrangement, I can't really set up a proper home compost, so this setup seems like it should be a reasonable fit. Amusingly, we were offering composting like this for friends when we lived at the Farmer House, although without the bokashi because we didn't know about it at the time.

When I came home, I worked on raking the back yard. The central portion of DogTown's back yard is a big dust bowl of dusty, sandy soil. It was probably a lawn once, but recent occupants have just treated it as a large litterbox for dogs, so any grass dried out and died a long time ago, and frolicking dog paws have torn the soil loose. After I moved in, the front tenants kindly picked up the dog poo in the central part of the yard. Around the edges, remnants of various plants and gardening efforts from former occupants hang on. One corner still has some aloe and a couple of small cacti, in the middle of a rock garden, and there's a large bougainvillea along the back wall. There's also a nice, small raised bed that has also turned into a dog toilet, but that I'd like to try and rescue. It's surrounded by an area that had beauty bark at one point.

The problem is that beauty bark and dog shit don't work well together. In the desert, dog shit dries out and fossilizes - it takes a long time to decompose. And it's tedious and nearly impossible to pick the hundreds of dried dog turds out of the beauty bark. Another strategy is needed.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a dirt rake at the hardware store, which worked beautifully today for raking up the beauty bark-dog poo mix. In the afternoon, after another trip to the hardware store for buckets, I shoveled up the pile and dumped it along the back wall, in a spot where there's the start of a hole for some unknown reason (digging dog? Who knows). If you actually want to get stuff to compost in the desert, you have to dig a hole, and then water the hole.

I've been carrying around a jar of sunflower seeds for several years. I don't know if the seeds are still viable, but the bark-poo pile seemed like an appropriate place to sprinkle the contents of the jar.

I also bought another hose at the hardware store, for the backyard plants, so I was able to water the bark-poo pile and the plants, without too much effort.

Later in the afternoon, I tried to construct a gate for the fence I put up to keep the dog off the back patio, where [personal profile] scrottie built the raised bed. That project was only partly successful, and it got dark before I could take any photos.

I will try to take some pictures of the yard tomorrow morning.


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