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  • Last modified 181 days ago (May 17, 2018)

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Another Day in the Country

Recycling joy

© Another Day in the Country

When I went out to check on my tomato plants and give them a drink this morning, I was so pleased to see them standing tall, green, so obviously like happy campers.

The day I moved them from the back porch to the garden, it was windy and hot. My sister felt so sorry for them, being whipped around by the wind, that she fashioned makeshift tents out of cardboard to try to shield them.

You know what happened then. The wind blew the cardboard all over. But the tomatoes have survived and are thriving, for now. You never know what’s next in Kansas.

“It must be the chicken manure,” I said to myself.

When I say chicken manure, what I really mean is a mixture of chicken mash, bedding hay, and chicken droppings, which over the winter was ground up in the hen’s housecleaning frenzy. The hens squander mash, it seems to me, scratching around; but I should not complain because my plants in the garden are happy because they got a liberal shovel-full of this miracle growing concoction when they were planted.

I’m a believer in natural fertilizer. I used to tell my husband that if he wanted to please me on Mother’s Day, or any other day he wanted to do something special, all I needed was a couple wheelbarrows full of manure for my gardens. In those days, horses were the main provider and it was quite a hike from the corral to my garden.

Really, I should have identified him as my ex-husband because after 30-some years he was gone — having never really gotten the drift of how to please a partner. I didn’t need diamonds, just an assist with gardening fertilizer.

In preparation for a happy marriage in his future, I told my grandson that there were a couple of things he should learn to do:

Know how to give a massage — or even a decent foot rub.

Learn to dance — and I’m talking the kind of dancing where you both know the proper moves and no one needs to be drunk in order to do.

Maybe I should add a third —be willing to haul manure!

Using chicken manure in the garden is my way of recycling. I don’t eat my chickens (which is one recycling mode), but I eat their eggs and recycle the shells back into their food supply and then their droppings get put into my garden to nourish the tomatoes and peppers that I eat, which gives me energy to make money to buy mash that they eat. It’s a ‘mutual admiration society.’

I’ve written so much about chickens in my life, recently, that David said they were going to take up a collection and buy me a dog so that I’d have something else to talk about. Oh, dear, here I was talking about chickens, again, for the fourth week in a row, and truly I didn’t start out to have this as the subject matter. Look at the title, if you don’t believe me. It’s about recycling!

This is the time of year to recycle things in the closet. It’s quite a shock to wake up to 90 degree weather and you still have winter clothes on your hangers.

While I’m doing the shift from winter to summer, I’ve been trying on jeans to see if they really fit. I’m trying to be ruthless, sending them to Goodwill if they are too tight!

The other day I found myself recycling someone else’s castoffs back to my house. I walked into an antique store in Abilene, just for the heck of it, which is such a dangerous thing to do that I limit how often I indulge. Jess and I were taking a rambling “day off” and she said, “Let’s just go look.”

You know how that goes.

Walking the aisles I came upon a little set of china for two — dinner plates, salad plates, cups. They were white with blue tulips, an unusual design, tied up with a blue bow: $10, just waiting for me. I bought them because they looked like spring.

I’ve had so much fun using them, imagining who they once belonged to, wondering if they had a hard time giving them up or were they found in the cupboard after they’d died? I think that maybe some lady, like me, had decided she just had too much stuff and wanted to do some recycling — sending off these last two plates with joy, (the others in the set having been broken ages before), hoping someone else who only needed two plates could use them.

And here I came and swooped them up, even though blue is not a color I usually choose; but it just so happened that my Aunt Naomi had given me (recycled) a set of blue drinking glasses many years ago, and my mother (who loved blue) had a table cloth (recycled) that matched, and so using my new blue (recycled) plates with the dainty morning glory design, I set the table and I invited my sister for supper (which we still have in Kansas) on another day in the country.

Last modified May 17, 2018

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