My Dad – Son of the Soil
My most frugal father helped lessen pollution. Riding a boneshaker bicycle meant less petrol emissions and more personal health. Employing hand tools equalled no petrol fumes.
A “Son of the Soil”. Vegetable peels, old paper, tea leaves and fruit cores were all dug into a compost to become Black Gold; a natural food for produce. Had Starbucks existed, Dad would have been the first in line to collect used coffee grounds. Fondly, he would have fed nitrogen loving plants. His hand never poured foul cancer causing, water polluting or ozone destroying chemicals.
Loathing anything chemical, he gardened organically long before it became the designer habit. Used washing up water, often along with a few pieces of cutlery were thrown over plants as natural insect repellents. An inexpensive, readily available, effective and natural repellent!
Instead of ingesting pesticides, we ate “organic” – everything from homegrown nuts to gooseberries to Jerusalem artichokes. A natural diet did not stop with feeding his family. Dad traipsed an icy path to feed foxes. The dears cut through farmers’ fields to eat Mum’s leftovers.
Hedgehogs, nature’s pest-gobblers, were encouraged by cutting a natural urchin path through hedges. The angels dined like gourmets on succulent slugs and tasty snails. Even rabbits nibbling tender lettuce were welcome; their droppings fed the soil. Dad abhorred myxoma virus use in Australia to eradicate exploding rabbit numbers. He hated the cruelty and the sheer waste of rabbit meat.
Having fought in WWII as a 16 year old Royal Marine, his mandate was “Waste not, Want not.” Growing up as a child of a penny pinching Brit and a Portuguese Mum who once held poverty’s hand, I was drummed in a worthy form of Reuse, Recycle and Reduce.
We all have choices. My choice is to try to leave the world a better place than I found it for my children and grandchildren. Thus I do not smoke, drive a car or use a petrol driven lawn mower, carefully choosing not to add to the sad polluted air. Dad’s legacy lives on because I and a grand daughter are compost loving non-chemical gardeners.