Over the Labor Day weekend, I realized that my Saturday was uncharacteristically free. Whee! A blank calendar square! My elation lasted for about 5.7 seconds... and then I promptly filled the square with two perfectly normal, suburban commitments: I shuttled myself off to pickup... bales of straw and aged manure.
I'm continuing to put the pieces into place for my Great Adventure into Permaculture. It's actually becoming a great adventure in community-building as well.
Perhaps ironically, my quest for straw to use as an ingredient in building up our soil quality led me to the very farm that's fighting for the continued use of the soil it's been tending for 30 years. I had a lovely visit with the farmer, who even helped me load up. Driving there, and then back home with my fully-laden car, felt like a bit of a pilgrimmage. I took my precious bales home, enjoyed a spot of lunch while Mr. Truffula helpfully unloaded, and then headed off to my next destination.
The easier approach for my compost procurement would have been to call up a local retailer, and to arrange for a truck to deliver several cubic yards. But, we have a farm animal rescue not too far away, and the hoofed residents generate large quantities of, em, compost ingredients. The need for manure takers is great, and conveniently, I have a great need for manure. Yes, I could have ordered up that truck, but then I wouldn't have had the opportunity to introduce my neighbors and a friend to the rescue farm. And, the four of us, plus the elder TruffulaBoy, wouldn't have met up at the farm to wield shovels for each other. The TruffulaBoy wouldn't have visited with his favorite goat. And, I wouldn't have gone over to the neighbors' property to see what nice projects and plants are shaping up in their yard. Mr. Truffula, who kindly helped me shuttle (heavy!) buckets of compost from the neighbors' vehicle to our yard, wouldn't have had the chance to chat with said neighbors.
Forget about how many grocery sacks you can squeeze into a Honda Fit; the important fact to note is that you can get exactly five 42-inch bales of straw in there. Other useful facts to tuck away in case they come in handy are that while you could double-stack containers of compost, resist temptation -- you'll hit your loading weight limit long before you run out of room. Finally, when your neighbor offers you fresh figs, accept -- they're a treat for the tongue.