02 September 2010

Day 159: My Empire of Dirt

My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm by Manny Howard.  ISBN: 9781416585169.

I have almost no desire to spend time outside, particularly doing something like gardening.  I am decidedly beyond domesticated, I am leisure-ized.  However, I do have a bit of experience in gardening and there is some small part of me that enjoys it.  The other part just wants to go back inside, pick up my book, and have a beer.

Anyway, my most recent gardening experience was a little more than a year ago.  Anticipating a period of unemployment I took on odd jobs on top of my 25-30 hours of paid work, 10 hours of unpaid practicum work, and 10-15 hours of homework in order to pad my savings a bit (I left graduate school with about $5000).  One of those jobs was weeding a fairly large yard for a former professor, now former coworker, and still good friend of mine.  I had done previous work for her that included feeding her laying and meat chickens when they were still chicks, watching the house, taking in mail, and feeding/caring for her 7 cats and 3 dogs.  The longest stint was for about 2 weeks and I was ready to go home, and this was before the chickens.

So having a good rapport and being familiar with her home already, she asked if I would like to weed her flower beds.  Since she was and is a good reference and an even better friend, I agreed.  Besides, I could use the money and the forced time spent in the daylight and the dirt.  There is definitely something to be said about working with the ground and plant matter.  I received a great deal of satisfaction watching the weeds pile up and the beds start to look less cluttered and more cultured.  I even enjoyed correctly identifying the poison ivy, although the resulting blisters were much less enjoyable.

But the idea of maintaining a yard for a long period of time has absolutely no appeal to me.  I would feel guilty not being out in it if I had a nice yard, and feel even more guilt when the yard goes to pot, which it inevitably would if I had one.  I enjoy the benefits of lawn and grass and beautiful flowers, but I don't like the necessity it creates.  Which is funny, because this blog necessitates the crap out of me.

My first encounter with this book was via the Colbert Report.  However, I found this to be a pretty accurate review, although I only gave it three stars.

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