Friday, March 04, 2011

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I have a little bit of lawn and a little bit of garden, such that I can plant herbs1 and then come back from work and discover that the lawn and the herbs have all gone to seed, plus that the lawn-garden interface has lost any kind of delineation. I'd been toying a while with the idea of enforcing some kind of separation of chervil and sod: dig a moat, put up a fence, deadly slugs2, that sort of thing, and had even gone so far as to stop off at a closed garden store to look through the car window at a display of different kinds of bricks available for purchase as garden edging.

While I was in Cambodia I was inspired by the local creativity in making handbags out of out of old feed sacks, crafts from broken motorcycle seats, homes and even fishing trawlers out of what would be landfill in Canada. I decided that I would reduce what I bought and edge my garden in some cleverly crafted reused item, maybe jars or tin cans from the recycling bin.3 I met a friend for lunch and enthusiastically explained this plan. Before I could get into my musings on the aesthetic possibilities of empty pickle jars, she pointed out that there was a pile of interlocking bricks in the alley behind her house, and she'd be grateful if they went away. Well, that would work too. Work better, in fact.

Her bricks turned out to be exactly the sort I had tagged as my favourite at the garden store, so I dug them out of the snowbank beside her garage and hauled them home. When the angle of the sun on the planet cranked around enough that it was possible to work in the garden, I hacked into the grassroot-matted mess around the perennials, dug a brick-sized trench, and filled it in with a line of bricks. It immediately looked better. The only problem, which I discussed with my neighbour while carefully avoiding having my fingers crushed by her two-year-old's enthusiastic assistance with the brick laying, was that I had not quite enough bricks. "Oh you'll find some more somewhere," my neighbour assured me, after attempting to explain to said two-year-old the difference between passing someone a brick and throwing it at her.

I finished up with what I had and drove off to the cow guy's4 farm to get a hundred kilograms of frozen cow bits. Parked in the farmyard I noticed a pile of bricks bigger than my car. Some of the bricks were just like the ones I had run out of. "What are the bricks for?" I asked. They were for an abandoned project, and were unneeded. With the meat, there was just enough room left in the back of the car for ten bricks.

And then when I got home from delivering the meat there was an e-mail inviting me to groundschool for one of the jobs I had applied for. It's not a job offer, but it will get me off the couch, allow me to meet some other pilots, learn about a new airplane, and I hope will lead to a job offer. I think I will go.

1. Being that I'm Canadian, I'd better specify that I'm talking about the culinary rather that the 'medicinal' variety.
2. Being that I'm Canadian, I shouldn't have to specify that I'm talking about the gastropod, not the lead kind.
3. Having travelled to places that don't routinely recycle even office paper or aluminum beverage cans, I should explain that in many places in Canada there is curbside pickup or drop-off depots for many recyclable items: glass, plastics, metal, compost, paper, so recycling is mainstream, not a wacky hippie pursuit.
4. I'm in a sort of mini co-op where we bulk buy farmgate meat, and I volunteered to drive this time.


Unknown said...

I love it how things work out some times! I have been lucky like this too, and it sure does make your day better. I bought some retaining wall bricks, calculated via the old '5 paces this way by 4 paces that way' method, and ended up with 3 bricks over. Couldn't do that again if I tried!

Hope to see you in the air soon again as well! Goolluck!

coreydotcom said...


félicitations!!! j'espère que ça va fonctionner pour toi!

Anoynmous said...

Hey, don't use up all your good luck at once. :)

John Lennerton said...

An entertaining post. I'm still marveling that you have a "lawn-garden interface"; are you sure you're not a computer programmer?

Your serendipitous brick hunt is perhaps a good omen of things to come. Bon chance.

Devil In The Drain said...

Live in western Massachusetts, and most of what you footnoted seemed normal. Except that I thought you ate a *lot* of beef.

Also, yay you! All wishes for the very best luck.

NYJoe said...

I live on Long Island, New York, and I assure you that your footnotes were not needed (though entertaining). We're just regular folks here in New York. Perhaps your notes were needed for some other uncivilized, isolated section of the world. Except I initally thought "cow bits" were fertilizer, though 100 kilos would be a bit much. Good luck on the job hunt!

Anonymous said...

"a hundred kilograms of frozen cow bits". Wow, the visions that pop into my head upon that statement...

D.B. said...

Being British/American with a Canadian family (there's even an Aussie or two somewhere, possibly Australia, but we do move around a fair bit), I found your footnotes entertaining, but not necessary, even reading from Texas.

Perhaps the "slugs" part was necessary, Some of my neighbors have been known to prune trees with automatic weapons.

Aviatrix said...

Okay, maybe I just like footnotes.

In many states they look at me like I'm especially stupid when I'm standing next to a garbage can and ask where to put an empty can or bottle. In my city if recycling cans are not provided at a public venue, many people will put their recyclables on the ground next to the garbage cans, psychologically unable to throw them away. And when I asked where I could recycle expired paper charts in Florida they laughed and pointed at the one woman they all though was crazy; she took office paper to a recycling depot. Everyone else threw it away. When I worked in an office it was illegal to put recyclable paper or cardboard in a regular dumpster.

Aviatrix said...

Oh and the beef was not all for me. I only eat it about once a week. My 15 kg share will last me four or five months, and the rest I drove around and dropped off for the other members of the food co-op.

Sarah said...

Very good on the reused garden border. The only advantage cans/jars would have as a border is that they'd hold snail/slug repellent better. However a border of Geraniums and bricks is almost as effective, and much prettier than a "moat".

Recycling at the curbside is something this wacky hippie tries to do - of course I forgot this morning. It is so much easier now that glass colors don't need to be separated, and of course the pick-up is great.

I hope the ground school went/goes well and good news follows.