Friday, July 31, 2009

Crap Piles and Wabi-Sabi


I always get excited during these big projects like the driveway/fence/carport/porch/walkway one that we are in the midst of because I know that I am going to get a new crap pile out of it. Any wabi-sabi gardener worth her salt loves a good crap pile.
When they dug up the old garage floor and pseudo-driveway there was a LOT of concrete. Big chunks and little chunks and some slabs as well.

That's one of the reasons I was able to get my new front porch and walkway. They took most of the dug up stuff and filled the porch frame with it. Voila! No landfill trip, a new porch and a new crap pile! The rest of the concrete I am using in the what-is-someday-to-be a bird/butterfly/bee/frog oasis. I'm using them to line the paths. The paths themselves are being made from the mulch of the hackberry trees that we cut down.
Could we digress and talk about hackberry trees for a minute?
I know, I know, but they're trees and I, for one, do not cut down trees. Well, yes, you have a point, I did cut them down, but not without much wringing of the hands and gnashing of the teeth and drinking of the beer. Those gazillions of hackberry trees shaded my property somewhat fierce. They were full of bugs and birds and critters of all sorts and I do not take the razing of homes lightly, even if it is a home belonging to a bug. Alas, we did have to take some down to fit the new driveway and the new fence in, but we left a lot too. The ones we killed I mulched up.
Another digression - the terrifying industrial mulcher. I hated running that thing. It was like a wild and starving monster who used tree limbs as bait to get the good stuff - my limbs. I finally had to beg off and let Tom Cruz (yes, Tom Cruz is my yard dude) and Jackdaddy do it while I stood there fretting and worrying that the monster would eat them. But, I got a big ole' pile of mulch out of it and I feel glad that they are still in my yard in spirit. I wouldn't call it the prettiest mulch you've ever seen, but it was free and I love free.
Here's the pile (with Jackdaddy's new fence going up in the background):

Here is just one wheelbarrow full of the 345,698,938 stones that I have moved from the side yard into the someday-to-be bird/butterfly/bee/frog oasis (now officially known as the STBBBBFO).

This lovely pile of crap will someday be something cool like a bean pole tee pee. Another idea I may use is copied from Pedernales State Park's bird blind. I love their idea of using dead wood as bird feeders. They just have old logs and branches laying around and they put the bird seed in the crevices or on any flat spot. They all look so pretty and natural and the birds love them. Promise me if you go out there you will go to the bird blind. (I keep typing "bird bling" which seems really funny to me.) If you like birds and stuff, that is. If you go out there to drink beer and listen to Lynrd Skynrd, the bird blind might not be your cup of tea. Your cup of beer. (I'm not saying that's a bad thing.)

Here's my use of the busted up concrete as path liners. Again, not so beautiful except in a wabi-sabi kind of way.
I see such beauty in reusing what was already here. This house is so incredibly dear to me. I have been a gypsy since the age of 18. This is the first house I've lived in for more than 2 years in twenty-eight years! There is just something about this house that makes me feel really and finally at home. Knowing that I am only the second owner also makes me feel a special kinship with it and the yard. Every time we change something I think about Mr. and Mrs. Luetkenhoelter. They were once a young couple with a young family just like us. They must have planted and pruned and planned and dreamed just as we do now. So when I reuse everything I feel like I am keeping their spirit here, in a way. I like knowing that his garage floor is now my garden path and my front porch. That his gnarly old shed now has a fresh coat of paint and a bamboo door and it houses all my gardening stuff. I mean, it's still a gnarly old shed, but it is so wabi-sabi because it is functional as hell and I love it. Here's what it used to look like:

We did get rid of some of their stuff cuz there was a lot of stuff. When I did part with something I made sure it stayed in the neighborhood. Interestingly, everyone understood when I told them why I wanted to keep whatever-it-was close by. This hood has a lot of history and most of the people I run into here are really into that aspect of it. I thank the Luetkenhoelters often (not to worry, in my head) because they must have infused this place with a lot of love and care for it to feel so intensely right to me. I don't really believe in heaven and all that, but I do like to think of them as knowing I'm here and that I'm taking care of their place. And, based on what was here when we moved in, they would be really happy that I am continuing the fine tradition of crap piles.


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