Appalachia Chatter and Chitter

A Giant Pile of Mulch

pile of wood chips

I’m so thankful to have a giant pile of mulch in my front yard! I’m even happier it didn’t cost us a dime.

I’m still working from home, but I have to go to the Folk School about once a week to take care of a few things. About two weeks ago when I returned home from work I saw the EMC were cutting trees and I couldn’t get up the driveway. I headed on up to Granny’s to wait for the road to clear.

I stepped out on her back porch to get a better look at what the men were cutting and noticed they had a chipper with them. Before I thought of asking them what they were going to do with the chips they loaded up and left just as it began to rain. I was disappointed because I figured they’d give me the chips instead of dumping them somewhere else.

Oh well I thought I just missed out.

Fast forward to about two days later.

The girls and I heard chainsaws and quickly realized the EMC was back to finish their line trimming…and they had the chipper with them again.

Chitter knew I wanted those chips for our garden and the girl has never met a stranger so she took off down the hill to see if they’d give us the wood chips to use for mulch.

The girl is also a natural born story-teller so I’ll let her tell you about acquiring her momma a giant pile of mulch.


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  • Reply
    May 16, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Good job, Katie! I wish I’d been a little less shy the time a good-size red oak came down in the road in an ice storm, and the town road department fellows came and cut it and took it away before I even knew it. That wood would have lasted me most of a winter, and it was a tree from my own land. Every time I see that stump I remember to be a little bit bolder in future!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    Now that story is plum Awesome… 🙂 ,so glad you didn’t miss out after all. Miss Cindy said it just right … You go girl !!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 15, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    You know people buy that black mulch and think it has been aged when actually it has been dyed to look like that. And a lot of topsoil people buy in bags is made of a mixture of rotten wood chips and sand. It might be good to add it to your soil but as it is, it won’t grow much of nothing.

  • Reply
    Brenda Moore
    May 15, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Yep she’s a good story teller. Loved it!
    I’m gonna love it a second time here in a minute; it’s a keeper!a

  • Reply
    Gaye Blaine
    May 15, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    That youngin could sell refrigerators to the North Pole inhabitants. And sunshine to the Floridains.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    May 15, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    well done a great idea

  • Reply
    May 15, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Now I am confused. I was always told to not use fresh sawdust for mulch, as it was too strong for your plants. Our community garden used and still has available a pile of seemingly fresh wood chips which they used around blackberry and blue berry bushes for mulch with no problem whatsoever. The wood chips are there for us to use if we wish. Anyway, that was wonderful getting free mulch, and I am certain you will figure it all out, as you seem to be one who is, “on top of things.”

    • Reply
      May 15, 2020 at 5:14 pm

      PinnacleCreek-it is generally accepted garden advice that fresh mulch can rob nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes-therefore actually hurting your plants instead of helping them. Most folks wait a year or so before they use their fresh mulch directly on garden plants. Although there is another school of thought that doesn’t think fresh mulch hurts your garden plants all 🙂 Its another one of those things in life you have to gain your own experience with 🙂 We will use some of our mulch on garden paths this year and let the rest sit to use as we need it in the coming years. My favorite kind of compost to use as mulch directly on garden plants is mushroom compost, but it seems like this year they sell out as soon as they get a load in.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 15, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Isn’t it sad that I kept thinking that I hope they didn’t have the virus? Anyway, that’s a great pile of chips and a great young woman!!

  • Reply
    john t
    May 15, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Miss Katie is so nice. If I was that foreman not only would I have given her the wood chips, I would’ve probably given her the wood chipper as well.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 15, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Got a riddle for you!

    What insect got mulch for her family’s garden?

    Answer: Katie Did

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 15, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Well, you got a story. Chitter got a story. The EMC man got a story. And to top it all off you all got a big pile of mulch. I shouldn’t be surprised if the EMC fellas remember a handy place to put chips. My neighbor grows landscape shrubs and he has spoken for all the chips that get made around here.

    I’m proud for you, as the old timers would have said. I’ve been through several rounds with mulch here; buying a truck load dumped, hauling a similar amount in my pickup, raking up chips from my tree that fell into my neighbor’s pasture in the hurricane one year and this year raking up the chips from the stump grinder. I put those on the garden, though I am a little concerned about the acidity. But I put oak and pine chips around the azaleas, blueberries and strawberries (which are supposed to be acidified anyway) and hickory and black gum chips in the garden. It is helping hold down the weeds so far.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 15, 2020 at 9:19 am

    And Chitter,
    You are a Good Storyteller. Folks of Appalachia are like that. I enjoyed your story very much and I’m like the foreman who couldn’t hear as good as once. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 15, 2020 at 9:15 am

    A tree service was trimming Duke Power right of way around here and when I heard them I had the same idea you did. When they got to my house I went out and struck up a conversation like Katie did. It was only the trimmers so far. I told them that if they need a place to dump their chips I could use them. They said they would tell the chipper guys and asked where did I want them. I told them “in the ditch here” and went on my way hoping they wouldn’t forget me.

    Well, what do you know, a little while later here comes a truck and dumps out a big pile of chips. I was pleased with myself and went of to run some errands. It was after dark when I got back home so I didn’t get to examine my prize.

    Next morning I go out to see what I had gained. There it was! An amazing mound of mulch! “But what is that beside it? It has a twin! No it’s triplets!” While I was gone those guys had brought two more truckloads.

    I had no intention of using the wood chips right away though. I wanted them to go through a “heat” first to kill all the seeds, insects and fungi that I didn’t want on my garden. I waited a year before I even touched any of them and then I only used them in walkways and such. That was going on three years ago and my wood chips have composted to a point that they can be used for fertilizer or mulch. I am tickled to death!

    I would recommend that you not put the fresh wood chips on your garden. Let them rest until next year. You’ll be happier for it!

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    May 15, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Love this. I have found the EMC to be kind and generous most of the time, but Chitter could probably have those guys helping in the garden if she had asked. Who could resist?

  • Reply
    May 15, 2020 at 9:01 am

    With a story like she told, who wouldn’t give her momma a pile of chips? The guys probably went home and told their wives about this beautiful girl they saved from getting a whipping. LOL

  • Reply
    May 15, 2020 at 7:51 am

    In my area any gardeners use this website for free mulch. It also saves the tree service money on dumping fees:

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    May 15, 2020 at 7:49 am

    That Chitter has a winning way about her, doesn’t she???? Now a beautiful, charming young lady in need is always someone young men want to help! Chitter is so sweet and PURTY in fact that a feller might chop up a whole forest and chip it just to get on her and her mommy’s good side!!!! Chitter is a humble soul too it seems and full of goodness. I really like you people and feel like we could just hang out on the porch drinking coffee and lemon aid!!! You’re wonderful, Chitter, and I wish you were my kin!!!! You got a good youngun maw and paw!!! Be proud as you gaze upon the chips… God bless you in NC!!! BTW, if Chitter is single, a tree man is a good catch because he works hard. Just like a YENTA to be hooking Chitter up I am.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 15, 2020 at 7:23 am

    Chitter sure is the talker of the family!
    You go girl!

  • Reply
    Stacie Waters
    May 15, 2020 at 6:55 am

    Yes, a natural born story teller you have there!!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 15, 2020 at 6:31 am

    That’s what I want, a free pile of mulch. Hoping to catch a tree trimming outfit close and direct them to my place. Around here at the big stores mulch is $2.00 a bag and I’m too conservative to pay that. Now if I was as purty as Chitter and had her winning ways I’m shore I could get a free load of mulch.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2020 at 5:57 am

    Wood chips make a good mulch you can scatter them around to help keep the weeds out of your flower garden, it takes a while before you can put them in your garden because they need to go thru a heat or they will suck the nutrients out away from your planets, you’ll literally see the steam start to rise on cool mornings, adding grass clippings mixed in will help speed the process. Bet they never been ask for chips quite that way before, I guess your Daughter convinced them you all were in desperate need of those chips, hehehe.

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