Monday, August 1, 2022

Being Neighborly (or Crazy Weed Lady Strikes Again)

Neighbors walking their dog by my moringas
Dan and I are blessed to have good relationships with our neighbors. One reason is because I chat with them when I am out tending my yard. As anyone who walks down my street knows, I love to talk about our "edible food forest." Our neighbors know all about the edible weeds in our yard and how our native trees and moringa are flourishing in our rainwater harvesting catchment basin. One neighbor gamely tried purslane and then planted it in her own yard! 

In a previous blog, I shared how Dave allowed Dan to install gutters and a downspout on the overhang so we could collect the rainwater in our cistern. The overwhelming response on Facebook was, "Good neighbors!" And Dave is a good neighbor. But it was also mutually beneficial. Directing that water into the cistern prevented unwanted erosion in his yard. 

On the other side of the house, our neighbors leave their kitchen scraps for our compost pile. Again, mutually beneficial because it doesn't stink up their trashcans and occasionally they get some of what we grow in the garden. And other food items are distributed over the wall as well... veggies from a big haul at Produce on Wheels, soup (made from food scrap broth), even desserts!  

In the other blog I shared how I will pull the weeds in my neighbor's yard (especially nasty goat heads.)  After the big storm that filled the neighbor's yard with palm fronds, I picked up some and cut them into mulch for our yard. You see, our woodchip mulch has broken down over time and become a part of the soil. So last year I cut our horse purslane into mulch. (It looks like straw...) I decided to take advantage of the palm fronds until the horse purslane grows back and makes living mulch. I wouldn't really recommend it. For the amount of mulch, it really wasn't worth the effort.  

You can see the horse purslane starting to grow back in the picture below and some of my makeshift palm frond mulch. 

While I was in my neighbor's yard I spotted a bunch of palo verde sprouts. To them, they were weeds. To me they were yummy sprouts.  So I picked them and washed them to eat. Again, mutually beneficial!  I even convinced the gals to try them.  They liked them so well, that we split the bounty! How cool is that?! 

Picking the palo verde pods led to the easement where I found my favorite edible weed, purslane, and Dan's favorite, amaranth!  Dan and I gathered a bunch.

That's our dog Pooh, not Dan. This is an old photo.

We gleaned enough for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Saturday we had amaranth scramble with eggs and potatoes. And Sunday we had sautéed amaranth and mushrooms. YUM! FYI Amaranth tastes a lot like spinach (only it's healthier!) 

While I was out watering my yard, I noticed that the bermuda grass in Dave's yard was growing like crazy from all that rain.  So I decided to give it a trim and maybe use it in my compost pit. 

While I was at it, I pulled some sticker weeds. 

I pulled some grass out by the roots and gave some a trim and collected it all for the compost pile.

I should have gotten to it sooner, because some of it had gone to seed. Live and learn...

So I spent an hour going through it and taking out the seeds before putting the grass in the compost pit. (I was curious how much seed was in there, but I won't be doing that again.) O.K. I admit it. It was a waste of time.  But while I was out there I had a nice conversation with the neighbor across the way about not using RoundUp. While we were talking another neighbor came up and told me that she has stopped using RoundUp out of respect for me. 

You can see why Dan calls me the "Crazy Weed Lady." lol  I don't know if that title has caught on with the other neighbors.  But they don't seem to mind my ramblings too much.  I recently found these two gifts at my front door. Aren't neighbors great! 

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