Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mountain Living - Green Waste Disposal

We live on a couple of acres of land. It's mostly very old pear orchard, so old the trees are slowly dying despite our care. We have redwoods along the street side, and a mix of things - mostly oaks - scattered about and along the drainage ditch the real estate listing for the house amusingly called a "seasonal creek".

What do you do with that much land? Mostly you mow it to keep the weeds down. That's it. Sometimes my wife plants a new tree to replace a dead one, or to fill in a space she thought was empty. Mowing around trees is a pain - particularly with a 400 pound high weed mower - so I dislike the new tree thing, but I don't get a vote.

In addition to mowing, however, we toss our green waste out there. We're don't throw anything nasty out - we don't want rats - but vegetable trimmings and the like do get tossed out into the orchard. A day or two in the sun makes most of it dry up and disappear. The rest is eaten by the deer or turned into mulch by the mower.

Nothing about this is offensive. Tonight, for example, it was some onion skins and the trimmed bits of a few peppers. I suspect most of those living up here do the same sort of thing. Mother nature will break this stuff down quickly and it saves room in the garbage. We have a friend - who will remain nameless - who readily admits this behavior, but she's also said she will never be allowed to live in town again. She's thrown whole pumpkins off her deck.

But I digress, and believe it or not there is a point to this story.

About a month ago we discovered that our vegetable peeler was missing. That's not a normal thing to have go on walkabout, and given the introduction you've probably already figured out what happened. We weren't that smart.

We checked all over the kitchen and found nothing. Eventually we gave up, and just yesterday Anne bought two new peelers. (We're going to be processing pears soon, and two peelers will make that go faster.)

This morning I did some repair work on my weed whacker and headed out into the yard to take down the tall grass on the slope near the house. Some time after starting I found the vegetable peeler laying on the ground, in perfect condition, having been thrown out there who knows how long ago.

The usual greet waste disposal event goes like this: the trimmings are gathered on a cutting board or in some vessel, taken out onto the deck, and tossed over the railing. Apparently someone - almost certainly me - piled lettuce trimmings or something on the cutting board, covering the peeler and rendering invisible, and tossed it out into the night.

Now we own three OXO vegetable peelers, a lifetime supply if I don't throw them away again.