Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I raked up my leaves weeks ago. I made one big pile, let the boys jump in it for a bit and then I distributed the pile under the new fruit trees in my yard. I guess the way I look at things is that trees drop leaves for a reason. The leaves compost and make good soil, so why don't I make piles under my trees to improve the soil. It seems a lot like how mother nature would do it.

So I haven't put any leaves in bags or anything. It is now the time when neighbors are putting their leaves at the street to get picked up. So I asked my neighbor if I could have his leaves. He thought it was a little weird, but we've got chickens in the backyard and giant rain barrels collecting rain on the sides of our house. He's used to weird.

The neighbor even loaned me a giant drop-cloth to pile the leaves on and drag them to my house. It worked great. I had a huge pile of leaves over to my back yard in 4 trips. As I was dragging piles of leaves across the street, I got two comments. One was from a lady that asked, "What are you doing with the leaves?" I responded that I would use them as compost. She was OK with that and said that if I wanted to clean up any more leaves and haul them away she had some in her yard that I could have. As much as I like the idea of using the leaves, I declined her offer.

The second comment that I got was from a teenaged kid. He asked, "Are you keepin' them?" I answered, "yes". He continued, "For what?" I said that I would let them rot into dirt and plant a vegetable garden in my yard. His final response, I think meant that he was OK with the idea, but the nouveau slang was beyond my understanding.

It strikes me as peculiar that people don't understand that we would keep the leaves that fall from the trees. It's like the leaves are nothing but a burden. As if the tree spends lots of energy through the spring and summer just to produce leaves to drop and annoy the person who has to clean them. How do people not think of why the leaves would be dropped. How do we not think of an alternative short of cramming them into plastic bags and sending them to the dump?

I'm excited to be using mother nature to prepare my garden for next year. I have a long ways to go and will need all the help I can get. I might as well find help with lots of experience and inexpensive materials.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Losing Nature

While I have been pleased with our move to Kentucky, there is one thing that I've recently noticed that I miss. I have lost a feel for nature in my life. When I was in Spanish Fork commuting to Provo daily I was on my bike outdoors at least 2 hours every day. I was acquainted with nature. I knew the phase the moon was in. I knew the direction the wind was coming from. I was getting a feel for the weather brought by different winds. I felt at one with nature. I felt like I was part of nature.

Here in Kentucky we've been blessed with a home close to my work. I only commute for about 15 minutes each way, and most of my commute is through the city. I don't have time to see the moon. I'm in well lit areas so I don't see the stars well and there is virtually no wildlife between home and work.

It may sound like I'm complaining that my commute is too short, but that isn't entirely true. Sure, I wish I was riding my bike more, but it's not like there is a shortage of roads here. It wouldn't take too much effort to add some distance to my morning and/or afternoon commutes. It wouldn't take much to get out into the countryside and see some beautiful stuff, but I don't because I don't have to.

This turns more into a frustration with myself. My job is to encourage and help people to make changes to improve their health. In most cases that means weight loss, but not always. Here I am struggling to make a change that I feel is important to be made. Sure I would rather be home with my family and when I get up early I don't like being dead tired when I get home. ... And I'm supposed to be helping people make changes in their lives.

Whenever I think about riding in early it comes down to the fact that I don't have a locker at work. Showers and lockers are available, but only for day use. I wouldn't be able to keep anything overnight. So I would have to keep stuff in my bag which makes the bike ride less attractive. Then I would have the fear of having super-wrinkled clothes all day. And when you get to work all decked out in spandex and shoes that you can hardly walk in, how do you look professional as you enter the building? There is the list of excuses that I have. None of them are that great of excuse.

It would seem that I would need to exercise to help with my personal weight maintenance, but that doesn't seem to be an issue. Last week I dropped below 140 pounds without any effort. In fact, I am now making an effort to eat more so that I can stay away from the emaciated look that accompanies my weight loss.

This week I'm going to work on refinding nature. I want to experience the moon and stars again. I want to feel the different winds and be able to tell what that says about the weather. I want to know about local wildlife. I don't care what I can learn on a nature walk, I want to know the places on the road to expect to be buzzed by an owl or come toe to toe with a skunk. I want to know the animals that are out and about in this area. I'm on a search for nature.