Outside and in the city

I got the raised beds in the ground and leveled today and the compost bin (yes, another one) finished, in and leveled. It’s pretty sweet. But more importantly, I had the most lovely conversation with my neighbor, who is probably a little older than my mom and with whom I have spoken very little in the 11 years we have lived here.

He was very excited about the raised beds and actually worked with his kids today to put in some of their own. (They have more sun and I’m jealous.) We talked about his garden from his younger days when he grew corn and lettuces and Romania tomatoes the size of a heart-shaped fist. He talked about growing up in Lawrenceville and raising chickens and rabbits as a boy in the 40’s, and mean roosters used to keep away rats. He gave me some suggestions on my compost bin, asked if they could feed the chickens extra lettuce, and remarked at how good the eggs were that I gave them the other day after the chickens ended up in their yard.

He does not think I am crazy to plant a tiny garden on what amounts to a sloping rumble heap, to want to use our leftovers to improve our soil and decrease our garbage, to raise chickens for eggs and a lesson on where food comes from. He does not disapprove of clotheslines or DIY rain barrels or the probably dozens of other things that most suburban neighbors would complain about. He made me miss my grandparents.