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.