We had a successful thanksgiving dinner at my house last week, we had 13 people to feed and I hardly had enough leftovers to send a plate over to my grandmother's house (she hates people and won't come over).
Prior to everyone coming over we did the usual scrubbing of the house. I don't really know why, but I feel like we have to do this crazy cleaning ritual before having a party. Are people really going to look in the closets? After the house was sparkling I decided to work on the outdoor entry area. I had the typical fall decorations up, but it had been awhile since I had refreshed the flower bed mulch. It was looking faded and thin. I typically pay someone to deliver truckloads of cypress mulch, or pecan shells (yes, they work great!) to spread around our many beds. This gets pretty pricey since it really should be refreshed twice a year. I've gone a full year before adding to them, but they look really ragged if I wait.
I was walking around the property admiring the trees, etc. and just taking note that we have eleventy four bazillion pine trees around, which are constantly dropping pine needles on every surface around. In fact, I had spent Monday of last week blowing off the yard and driveway only to find on Thanksgiving Thursday that everything was completely recovered as if I had not lifted a finger! Anyway, on Monday I figured if I was blowing and piling all this pinestraw I should try to put it to use. In a matter of minutes I had filled the entire back of our truck with clean pinestraw. It took 2-3 truckloads to fill all our beds, but this was EASY. The pinestraw was mostly clean (a few leaves to pick out) and it was in abundance all along our driveway. I basically just drove up and down the driveway and piled it into the truck. We have a REALLY long drive so I was able to get enough pinestraw to cover ALL of our beds and it took me a grand total of about an hour to gather it all. It was much easier to spread than mulch because pinestraw weighs practically nothing.
So, for the past 1o years I've spent countless amounts of money on mulch, plus delivery when I could have just spent a few hours time and gotten it all done for free!
Unrelated, but pertaining to pinestraw.....we got two hermit crabs in November of 2008, FINALLY they both kicked the bucket last week. One of them was clearly dead and halfway out of his shell, the other was tucked really far down inside and was unresponsive. My daughter took them outside and buried them under pinestraw, not in a hole. This was because she wanted to go back and see what happened after a few days. I sent her out to take a look and Mr. Crab #2 was GONE!! Apparently, he was not dead after all and had been prancing around our yard for 4 days. She found him not far from the 'grave' and he was alive and kicking. He has since been returned to the cage (and warmth). I am amazed that he did not freeze to death out there. But it also gives a new appreciation to the reason that folks used to hold 'wakes', in case someone thought to be dead were to wake up! It happens!!!