Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Entropy and Yard Work

www.sxc.hu - free image

A few weeks ago my husband was returning home from his daily run and chatted with our new neighbors.  They, like my husband, are scientists.  My husband commented on the other man's yard work, to which the man replied "just taming the chaos, for now".  Ah yes, good old entropy.  Both men are aware and accepting of the universe's natural path to disorder.  Especially in the yard.

It appears that the wealthy of 17th Century England and France were the beginning of the modern lawn.  Apparently only those with wealth could afford the human labor to tend to the yard.  Over time machines and chemicals decreased costs and aloud the lawn to spread into the lives of the middle class.  And so you have it, the middle class spending large chunks of the weekend cutting, trimming, hauling, etc.

I,like many, love a reason to get outside and "work in the yard".  This fall I have discovered that it is a great activity with the kids.  They shovel leaves, water flower beds, pull weeds.  It is great fun for all of us.  But that entropy thing keeps cropping up.  Yards tend toward chaos.  Hours of work can be undone with gusts of wind or the perfect blend of rain and sun......didn't we just cut the grass?

As we move through fall into winter, my plan is to kill some of that 17th Century English and French inspired lawn.  In its place we we put down the foundation for a yard that works with entropy, not against it.  First I will put down cardboard covered with a layer of mulch.  Next Spring I will add more mulch and compost before planting native plants (I love the idea in the above link of planting chamomile and or thyme).  Plants that require minimal watering will find a home here!  There are no photos to share at the moment, but I will post as this evolves.

My first order of business is to track down mulch; the cardboard is stock piled in our garage.  I know bulk is more frugal, but I don't have the time or means to haul it around the yard too easily.  Time for creative juices to flow, and I'd love suggestions.

How about you?  Do you work with or against entropy in the yard?

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