Mar 26, 2010

On Moving a Mountain of Dirt

Large pile of topsoil, pile of dirt In the past few years my gardening and landscaping efforts at Château Brooks found me raiding underused portions on my one-third acre of urban paradise for topsoil. This year I decided that I no longer wished to shuffle dirt around my yard, and I ordered four cubic yards of topsoil from Dennis Topsoil and Gardenland on Dorr Street.

The truck delivered the fresh topsoil in a speedy fashion yesterday, though I neglected to consider the effects of an inch and a half of rain on the weight of the topsoil I wanted to spread in various gardens and low spots in my yard. I think I only moved six wheelbarrow loads full of mud yesterday before giving up.

The sun returned today and after teaching I plowed into my work (pun intended) with renewed vigor. I estimate I have moved about 1-1/2 cubic yards of topsoil around my property, and it is amazing for me to look upon the cache of soil I still have left.

The only downside to my decision to have the dump truck driver deposit the topsoil near the street was an absent-minded (or malicious) city trash truck driver. The clown drove right through the dirt pile, spreading dirt approximately the next 30 feet away from the pile. The more I think about it the more I think the plowing was intentional, though of course I would be unable to prove such a claim.

I ended up spending almost as much time sweeping up the still-heavy splattered topsoil-mud mixture as I did actually moving the dirt to useful places. Still, it was excellent exercise: a hearty blend of aerobic workout and weight-lifting that gave me a sense of physical tiredness I have not experienced in over a month, since the last heavy snowfall.

There is also something satisfying about working hard in dirt, something both primordial and visceral. Now, I am not ready to walk away from academia, mind you, especially since it took me almost decade to get where I am today, but I always enjoy getting my hands dirty with the patch of land I call my property.


microdot said...

A mountain of dirt...hah ha hahhh ha hahhhhhh!
I've got a mountain of dirt to show you...I'll have the pictures up next week on my blog..
It involves a collapsed stone barn wall, digging new drainage ditches...well, I've gone mad, obviously...ah hah hahhh hah hahhh hah hah!

Mad Jack said...

As my dear old mother used to tell me, "Mad Jack!" She'd say, "Mad Jack, if you keep skipping school and hanging out at the pool room, you're going to grow up to be a ditch digger. You don't want to be a ditch digger, do you?"

By the time I was ten I knew what it was to move a pile of dirt like the one you're fooling around with. I did it without help, one wheelbarrow load at a time. I did the same thing with gravel, and dirt is easier.

But actually, ditch digging didn't look too bad to me. There was heavy equipment involved so the work wasn't all that hard. You didn't have to work in the rain. There wasn't all that much that could go wrong. No, being a ditch digger was okay by me. I was smart enough not to tell mom that, but it was true none the less.