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Today was a quiet Fourth of July for me as there was no downtown Parade in Garland Texas.  I miss that.  Firewheel just isn’t the same feeling of old time Americana that we get in downtown Garland.  I really prefer the feeling of small town local when it comes to the Fourth of July.  I remember a great Fourth of July a few years ago with my family.  There was the wonderful parade and then the festivities continued in Central Park.  It was so nice.  No one was in a hurry and it didn’t feel crowded.  I would like to see those kinds of celebrations again and I’ll bet a lot of people are with me on this opinion.

 

Old Glory flew down at the Garland Community Garden today.

In lieu of a parade, I took our flag down to the garden and spent a few early morning hours futzing over the plants.  Most of the blackberry bushes are spent so there was pruning to do and of course watering—always to be done in this weather.  I enjoyed chatting with my friends Burgi and Jane who were also there.

Then I came home and finished reading ELPASO, a large and somewhat historical novel written by Winston Groom, also author of Forest Gump—an interesting story that I would give a B-.

After that I made three shopping bags from feed sacks I got at Roach’s last week.  Bubbles decided to get in the photo too.

 

As part of my research for Eco Makers (a maker cluster segment of Garland Area Makerspace), I continued reading about recycled materials—plastics in particular.  Plastics and gardening are inexhaustible topics. Even if I had two lifetimes it’s not likely that would be enough time to learn all there is to know about either plastics or gardening.  There is much to learn; however, both topics although seemingly polar opposite may be closely linked to our survival as a species.

While 80% of plastics can be recycled, only 10% is recycled.  We have some work to do.  We are about in the same neighborhood when it comes to food and protecting the environment that grows our food.  95% of the food we eat is grown in soil.  Today 33 percent of the Earth’s soils are considered degraded (symptoms include increased crusting from overuse of herbicides, increased erosion often from overuse of herbicides, decreased nutrient cycling, and increased desertification).  All symptoms of degradation result in a decrease of a given soil to support the full potential of a plant.  Another thing about gardens is that urban gardens in particular will become increasingly important for communities as we move deeper into the 21st century. 

Community leaders need to wise up with their codes and write a few new ones—not nitpicking rules about whether someone’s lawn is up to snuff but rules that really do make a difference such as not allowing residents to haul off organic matter such as leaves from their yards.  Leaves should remain as close as possible to where they fall.  They can be mulched and doing is a lot less labor than raking and bagging them to be hauled off to a landfill where they will be taken out of the natural cycle and sequestered for hundreds of years.  Those leaves represent organic matter for future topsoil.  Much of the soil that is left will eventually be carried away and down our storm sewers through erosion. 

Another good rule might be to put some limits on the amount of herbicides and pesticides citizens can pour on their lawns and plants.  They aren’t the only ones they hurt when they do this. 

Cities all over the world are becoming pesticide free zones.  Paris is one of those cities.  After 10 years now, the dense urban area of Paris has more honeybees than its surrounding agricultural areas that also follow the industrial monoculture type of agriculture practices found in the USA.

We are leaving our children our legacy of waste.  If nothing else, it seems like we should do all we can to teach them how to clean up some up our mess:  how to recycle plastics and how to reduce use of it as well as how to grow some of the food they eat.  When people grow some of the food they eat, they are more aware of the interrelatedness of their behavior to the cycle of life.

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