My Two Cents

Jul 25, 2022 by Rose O'Keefe

I went nuts over straw bales for mulch and bought 10 or more for several years in a row. They break down quickly, but after several years, the soil gets really rich. I’ve used rubber mulch for a narrow strip next to my driveway to keep down the weeds; coconut mulch for the first time this year for paths between the garden rows and also, what’s called path and play wood mulch to put a wide edge between flower beds and the lawn. No matter how much I get, it’s a good buffer but seldom enough for all the fruit bushes and fruit trees that I have.

This year, my city lot of 40’ x 150’ is doing pretty well, but we’ve just reached the make-or-break-it stage. The spring and summer growth happened so quickly, it took several hours to tame all the excess. The sun has seems hotter than usual and I’ve already lost some attempts like snow peas and chickpeas to the heat.

I’ve made an effort to reduce the lawn in my backyard by a foot for several years now. I’ve replaced our small front lawn with a butterfly garden that tends to get out of control as the summer goes on. As for the the non-profit Taproot Collective's plans to create mini-food forests on vacant lots--I wish them the best.  

It was easy to like and not to like Ruth Sawyer’s Roller Skates that won the 1937 Newbery Award. The easy part was the narrator was a quirky, intelligent and energetic 10-year-old, Lucinda. After finishing the book I was shocked to learn it was a fictionalized telling a of year in the author’s life. What a painful wow. After her parents placed her with two spinsters while they went to Europe for a year, this outgoing girl made unlikely friends around New York City in the 1890s. It was a cross between Little Women and Pollyanna with harsh truths and many kindnesses.

What was hard to like were casual racist references. Harder to take was the crushing conformity that Lucinda couldn’t stand and for which she was harshly scorned by her family. Fortunately, there were exceptions. All the nicknames were hard to keep track of, but her close-up view of city living with its poverty and good people was engaging. There were escapades, a murder and the tragic death of a sweet four-year-old neighbor. The imagery that the family doctor used to tell her about death was breath taking. Absolutely beautiful.

On a happy note, I was delighted to open my city water bill and read an insert for floshare, a new car-sharing service in Rochester. Another wow! I never saw the day coming when someone could rent an electric car for $5/hour or $40 a day. The insert also featured HOPR, a bike and scooter share program. I barely watched The Jetsons as a girl, but this is a more community-minded futuristic technology than I ever imagined.

blog post. #amreading; #RochesterNY; #RochesterDandC; #JustinMurphy; #minifoodforest; #TaprootCollective; #citygardening;  #NewberyAward; #RollerSkates; #RuthSawyer; #floshare; #HOPR; #electriccars; #electricbicycles; #electricscooters;