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Food Closet participates in regional drive

by Amy Roby
The Carson Valley Community Food Closet is participating in a regional food drive on Sept. 24. At a similar event on July 9, the Food Closet received $2,050 and 358 pounds of food.
Kurt Hildebrand

The COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for food assistance across the nation. September is Hunger Action Month, and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada is joining with a number of area food pantries for a “Feed NV and the Sierra Food Drive” on 9 a.m.-noon Sept. 24.

Requested canned food items include soup, chili, tuna, chicken, beans, fruit, and vegetables. Food donations should be non-perishable and non-expired. Contributions collected at each location will remain and be distributed from that particular site.

This is a drive-through collection effort; donors are asked to place food in a bag or box and on-site volunteers will unload donations from each car. Local participating organizations are:

Carson Valley Community Food Closet (thefoodcloset.org), 1251 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville

FISH Thrift Store (nvfish.com), 1561 US Hwy 395 in Minden

For information on Hunger Action Month and how to lend support, log on to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada website at fbnn.org.

A mulch mystery

I recently stocked up on some mulch for the backyard. It takes awhile to unload and drop the bulky bags in the places where they’re needed, so I usually break up the chore by hauling bags one day and coming back later to spread the woody chips around.

I was surprised to see one of the bags torn open a day after dropping it off in the yard. Mulch spilled out from several ragged holes lining the sides of the bag, and I wondered what might have caused the destruction.

My family occasionally hears something moving around in the yard during the hours after dark, but we haven’t had much luck spotting the noisemaker. Last Saturday morning, my son told me he’d seen what appeared to be “a dog or a fox” trotting along the top of the backyard berm the night before. I immediately thought of the coyotes that frequented our yard this past June in a quest for fallen peaches.

Later that day, I headed to the berm to spread the last of the mulch and found what was left of a different bag, which wasn’t much. All that remained were a few scraps of plastic scattered among a small pile of bark, most of which appeared to have been eaten.

As I puzzled over what could have possibly happened to half a bag of mulch, I saw a small animal bone, stripped clean and lying eerily in the middle of the berm’s pathway.

These clues seem to point to a coyote as culprit. Coyotes are foragers and will consume many things, although I’ve never heard of one eating wood chips. My neighbor thinks a raccoon may be responsible.

Has anyone else encountered anything like this? Are coyotes or raccoons known to ingest tree matter as a food source?

Whatever made its way through that bag of mulch accomplished a remarkable task, given that each bag contains enough material to cover two cubic feet. It kind of lends new meaning to the word, “roughage.”

Welcome the change of season

The autumnal equinox arrives on Tuesday, Sept. 22 and marks the official start of fall for those of us in the northern hemisphere. Each day since the summer solstice on June 20, we’ve been moving toward less and less daylight. The date of the equinox, the amount of sunlight and darkness over that 24-hour period will be about the same. Daylight Saving Time, however, doesn’t end until Nov. 1.