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Ten miles due east of us begins an Indian reservation – the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. At the edge of it is Singh Farms, where we get the bulk of our compost for the gardens. It’s a more beautiful landscape than I remembered, where, after passing through thirty traffic lights’ worth of developed city, the raw landscape of the reservation and mountains beyond reveals itself the instant you pass over a freeway. You pull into the farm to discover heaps of his soil, fine organic remains waiting to serve as garden nutrients. There are also chickens and turkeys, and, I’m sure, many gardens to be explored another day with the kids. I drove in with my borrowed truck and traded two scoops for sixty bucks.
Colleen unloaded the truck bed herself, while I built a brooder for the new chicks – Fly-Fly, Gramma, Daisy, and Hoodsie. The kids helped by mostly sleeping.
We’re farming a 20’x10′ section of our front yard, or about a third. We had just the right amount of compost to go around, filling our backyard beds, my parents’ new bed, and now this one. The Arizona dirt, years without growth and compacted hard, needed to be loosened, which Colleen did with our electric tiller. She seemed to enjoy working the earth. Then she unloaded the last of the compost and the next morning we mixed it in while Ian slept and Lucy and Olive “made gardens.” Lucy declared hers was for Daddy and Olive’s for Mommy, or whoever, herself maybe. She also swung a small rake over her head angrily. Colleen marked rows with sidewalk chalk then carved furrows. The sidewalk in front of it she marked “future garden” for all passing to see.