Over the last couple years, the mulch on our dance ground has gotten very thin, exposing the hard clay to a lot of sunlight, which hardens it further. And enables more weeds to grow. The purpose of the mulch-layer on the dance ground is to prevent weed growth, and to soften the earth under the mulch, so that when we rake it aside for dance events, it is soft on bare feet, and level. Without mulching, the rain/sun cycle leaves the ground very hard and uneven underfoot.
We did not get a new mulch layer accomplished before the solstice, and then that week, Hurricane Bud swept up from Mexico, and it poured! A blessing of rain, an abundance of rain, 1.5″ in one day.
Last winter when we chipped up the Epic Stick Pile, we provided ourselves with a significant supply of mulch, of which quite a bit was (and is) left. So at the work party in early July, a team of stewards and interns tackled the fire circle and laid down a 3″ layer of mulch throughout!