Monday, July 11, 2005

Skim and burn

"Why are you removing all the grass?" she asked.

Ruth, the 7 year old daughter of my neighbour had rolled up on her bike, bored in the sunshine to see the strange sight of me apparently vandalising my own garden.

The front garden of all the houses here are split in two by the driveways. I was busy removing skimming off the soil, with the grass and weeds from one half of the front.

"I'm taking the grass off because I'm going to replace it with bark", I replied?


"Because the weeds can't come through the bark." Not strictly true, if the seeds are in the soil and have sprouted a but, they can push their way through. What I'm hoping for is a layer of mulch being in place to prevent most of this years weeds to take hold. It's also going to compost itself down so that in two or three years time I can mix it with the builders clay (if you've ever seen the garden left by builders you know what I'm talking about) in two or three years time. Hopefully I'll have planted a few more things in there by now.

"Won't that be boring?"
"No, I'm going to put in some plants to poke through".

"Can I help?"

Now then, a seven year old doesn't have much heft when it comes to digging, skimming or carrying buckets of clay around. I said as much to her (actually she tried to do some digging with the spade, and gave up) and suggested she came back when I was doing the planting.

Actually, she wasn't much use at the planting, but she was good with the watering of the plants and the spreading of the bark.

"Can I see inside your house?"

How do you explain to a seven year old about the dangers of going in to strange people's houses when you are a relative stranger to them? More to the point, how do you explain it in such a way that there won't be a mob showing up that night with flaming torches and pitchforks.

"The place is a mess. We haven't unpacked everything and there are boxes of stuff everywhere."
"OK" and with that she was happy, if a little muddy.
Clay and water mix too well.

take care,


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