Just between you and your yard


The carbon wave is getting close. Is your yard grill the best choice? Output at the end of the process, that is, as your 10 filet Mignon cuts turn brown, has been measured:

Gas grills win hands down. In an hour charcoal briquettes emit 11 pounds of CO2 while gas emits 5.6 pounds. Further, briquettes aren’t just wood; briquettes have additives that are not good to breathe. But even authentic wood, which is biodegradable, loses to gas. Like the US Government, (a prime example of divided forever opinion) advocates of charcoal have a low opinion of gas as a flavor enhancer. However, scientists suggest that smoke and briquette debris may change flavor during longer cooking times but in truth is not noticeable.

[Mariner’s personal experience suggests that if a cook needs hot, hot temperatures, for example in an old fashioned Weber kettle grill, charcoal produces a better fire – but this has nothing to do with taste.]


Everyone likes trees until the leaves fall. For several weeks the leaves blow about like loose trash, getting caught in everything from roof gutters to shrubbery to lawns and sidewalks. It is true that in urban areas there may not be a tree in sight, not in whole blocks or neighborhoods. But in more suburban and rural areas, trees and open yards are de rigueur. And so are fallen leaves.

It has been tradition, in the likeness of a Norman Rockwell painting, that each neighbor would gather leaves into a pile and burn them. While this still is practiced generally, many towns and cities have begun a ‘yard waste’ collection day to recycle leaves, branches and typical lawn and garden waste. Some towns have ordinances against burning leaves (and trash barrels).

This new pressure is raised for climate change reasons. Rather than burn leaves and thereby participating with grills in CO2 production, shred them into little pieces and put them into a compost pit or spread them directly into garden patches and lawns. By spring most of the leaves should be well into decomposition and preventing excess CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere.


Many folks still use old fashioned yard tools that require arm and shoulder labor in order to function. Manufacturers, however, have a different vision of yard tools. For most of mariner’s life, gasoline powered equipment was the answer. Still, a person had to separate a shoulder to get the single-cycle engine to fire up. Today things are changing quickly. “In the name of climate change” manufacturers are pushing battery-powered equipment. It is smaller, lighter, self-starting and typically requires a Lithium battery. As the reader may have read in the news, Lithium is a scarce element. So we will see what future prices will look like for toy-sized equipment. A devotee of gasoline powered equipment can still find whatever they may need – for the price of a 2022 Chrysler Town and Country van.

All said, gardening is an excellent pasttime that gets you back to nature, gets you outside and works the old bones a bit. Give it a try while watching over your shoulder for climate change.

Ancient Mariner

1 thought on “Just between you and your yard

  1. Ahoy Mariner,

    This post was particularly meaningful to me as open grilling is limited to park permits and time slots at specified grilling areas here in NYC–these are great for big gatherings and I’m only familiar with the grills at East River Park which is now closed. Closed while they rip up mature trees and raise the entire park by some 8 feet for flood mitigation–That part of the Lower East Side was flooded during Sandy–as well as the social service housing operation my friend worked for on the West side of Manhattan. It was an incredible surge!

    Please qualify your statements on urban areas: ‘It is true that in urban areas there may not be a tree in sight, not in whole blocks or neighborhoods.’ Even Jo Boulware commented on how green NYC was after her visit in 2007. On the fall of leaves: I work in a public housing development full of many species of leaf bearing trees and it wasn’t until this fall that I realized what a project leaf collection is. For the record, there are two Callery pear trees on my street.

    Please know that you are preaching to the choir of gardeners. I started my gardening practices way back in Texas around 1982. The challenge of that particular regional soil was clay deposits, no, mostly clay–great for pottery. . . Clay soil combined with low rainfall led me to jalapeno peppers.

    Be fallow,
    Jeff Boulware

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