Mulch pile, 5 feet high
We were able to convince a local tree trimmer to dump some well-shredded former trees into our driveway for free. Our city charges the trimmers for putting their mulch in the dump, and so it was a win-win-win situation all 'round: free mulch delivered for us, free dropoff for the trimmers (with no time or gas wasted going to the dump), and tree trimmings getting used on garden paths instead of rotting in the city landfills. I estimate the worth of this pile at about $100-125 + gas from trips saved, more if purchased in little plastic bags from Lowe's Depot.
However. It did take us many an hour to haul the piney mulch all around our property. We used it everywhere except in garden beds: garden paths, around trees, in the front landscaping. The mulch keeps down weeds, helps retain moisture, and slowly turns into compost, nourishing the plants. For added help in keeping down weeds, put down newspapers or cardboard under your mulch. I usually do this, but with the rush to haul the mulch I didn't get the chance.
I like to do physical labor when I'm down about some kind of news. Which lately, is every kind of national or international news - financial, economic, climate, war, failing public transit, farm financing, etc. I count my blessings that our families seem to be weathering the economic storm so far (knock on wood, please!), but I am depressed that so many other people are getting the shaft. I suppose that includes my kids, my grandkids, and myself in about five years, when we get called on to start paying back this stimulus package for the next three hundred years. Or maybe we will wake up one day to realize that the value of the dollar has been cut in half.
Considering that I have two kiwi vines and a persimmon tree that I need to get in the ground, perhaps I should get off my blog and go PLANT something, for goodness sake. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to plant I go...