Home Composting, Roubaix, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I spent many years living in western North Carolina, very near Winston-Salem. If the name looks familiar, it should. WS is the home of the Reynolds tobacco company and the local NC farmers grew some of the best tobacco in the world.
When I was a young Girl Scout, our troop took a tour of the Reynolds tobacco company and saw the manufacture of cigarettes first hand. At the end of the tour, each girl was presented with a ball point pen with “Camel” stamped on the outside.
That was then, this is now when all of us are more aware of the peril of tobacco products.
Both of my parents smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. Every time we took a car trip, my siblings and I would get motion sick, or so we thought. I realized years later it was the smoke they exhaled in the mostly closed car. My Mom died and 56 and my dad at 79 from heart disease. My Aunt Audrey told me the reason she lived into her ninties was because she never smoked. I tried smoking when I was younger, but became deathly ill. I never tried again.
This past few weeks, as I walked my dog, I smelled the scent of tobacco. The neighborhood is permeated with it. If it were stronger, it would smell like Winston Salem in the fall when the tobacco farmers came to town to sell their crop in the auction houses.
But, its not tobacco, its composted leaves and yard debris called “Black gold” owing to its color. All over the neighborhood, you can find piles of Black Gold. The smell comes from the tannic acid found in all brown leaves. You smell it in the fall, on walks through wooded areas. Composted it smells like honey, earthy and warm.
Thursday (4/19/13), Dick Klade, The Gabby Geezer, at http://www.gabbygeezer.blogspot.com wrote about recycling. A great story about a wonderful effort underway here in the States.
My county (Arlington VA) takes recycling very seriously. Everything organic and many inorganic things are collected for reuse.
The county collects plastic, glass, and paper (including cardboard). Residents are encouraged to set up compost bins to handle yard waste, and rain barrels to help control runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.
Yes, we recycle rain water too. A few years back, David set up five rail barrels. With my help, we built a system of underground drains to channel the rain water we don’t capture into the lowest part of the yard where we built a flourishing rain garden. We often experience sudden storms during the warmer months and the water would be overwhelming without our system of rain barrels and drains.
The county encourages us to build back yard bird habitats, and preserve old dead trees for the Woodpeckers. In the fall the county collects yard waste we cannot compost and hauls it to the central composting station where it becomes Black Gold.
When she was younger, I helped my granddaughter Joy set up earthworm “homes.” Joy, who is majoring in Agricultural Science at present, was president of the Ecology Club at her school. With her help, I planted many native flora destined to attract local wildlife.
Today, The Washington Post ran an article by Barbara Damroch, one of our local garden gurus, about the future of food and kids in college studying agriculture. I thought you might enjoy it. Check out the link below:
About those tobacco farmers? Many are growing organic foods today.