Making mulch – saving the planet
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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Making mulch – saving the planet


This awareness of Global Warming is a real pain in the neck. At every turn I am reminded that I must be more resourceful. Life was so much easier when blundering around in ignorance. So, here is my current problem, I receive a great deal of junk mail. What are you gonna do?

I don’t know how these folks find me. I have lived in this house for three years and I think it took about two months to be outed. Do the banks, Realtors, and mortgage companies own their own junk mail divisions? I have a library table by the front door – I get the mail and pile it on the table, waiting for the ritual of mail sorting. The junk mail is often offers from loan sharks parading as legitimate business – all of this mail goes in the junk box. We can’t just throw it in the trash – the wackos are hiding in the bushes waiting to pilfer the trash – looking for an identity to steal. Not to mention the landfill debacle of America.

I bought one of those office shredders. A couple of hundred bucks at the office supply store and I thought my troubles were over. The problem is that the daily ritual of shredding escapes me, and now I have a box full of mail waiting for destiny’s decision. Yesterday was a quiet day around here so my shredder and I tackled the box of junk mail.

The shredder is mounted on a standard office size trash can. By the time I had shredded the first layer of mail out of the box, the trash can was choking with the packed litter. It does not take Einstein to realize that there is probably 10 to 20 cans of trash left in the box. The bulk of junk mail grows exponentially with shredding. I looked at the packed trash can and wondered if those loan sharks used condensed paper just to taunt me and my shredder. I looked closely at the small print and noted that the paper was made from trees that had be given growth hormone treatment – activated by shredding. That debate aside, what do I do with the shredded paper?

You know that I enjoy my flower gardens. I have a couple of dozen varieties of perennials that I have nurtured into a source of future gardens. Eight new trees have been planted in these three years, each with their own skirt of perennials. I invested fully half of my yard time this past summer in harvesting, creating new gardens. Generally my perennials rest in beds of natural ground cover, like myrtle or periwinkle – but the initial planting requires some extra care to keep the unwanted intrusion of immigrant weeds. I see a dandelion in my garden and I think, “There goes the neighborhood.”

The local grocery store runs a parking lot green house in spring and early summer. Last July they were closing their parking lot business for the season and all things garden were on sale. I loaded my truck with cypress mulch ($.65 a bag – a great deal). But it was not enough for my ever expanding outdoor friends. The neighborhood is threatened by illegal immigrant weeds. No visa, green card, nothing.

Enter the shredded junk mail and Global Warming. I have been busy covering the neighborhood with shredded paper; surrounding my friends in the garden with a protective covering. Blissfully going about my business of saving the planet, I looked up to see my neighbor looking over the fence, watching me dump trash in my yard. I looked behind me at my trail of trash and it looks like winter has come early to Missouri.

I am going to Home Depot today to get some cypress mulch. A thin layer of cypress will disguise the shredded paper. My neighbor will be happy. The planet has a reprieve. And the growth hormones will feed my gardens next spring.


There Are 4 Responses So Far. »


  2. I really enjoy your tone 🙂

  3. That is a great idea. Another reason not to buy Cypress Mulch is the fact that it is being harvested unsustainable. A problem so large, Wa-Mart has recognized the lack of sustainability and is taking steps towards curbing the harvesting and sale of the product. But there are many other retailers that continue on in some kind of ignorant haze and we need to let them know.

    Please visit

    BTW: works great. There is a free services too It works, I’ve used it myself!

  4. Thank you Jeffrey for the response above about cypress mulch. Here is another link with information from National Wildlife Federation:

    It kills me every time I see that (admittedly beautiful) mulch and I think about the trees that it used to be. There are many other alternatives.

    Laurie Johns

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