Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dabbling in Dirt

Having considered the matter these past few days, I've determined that literal dirt, like the figurative kind, is best kept to oneself.

It started with an idea I had last Wednesday.  Obviously, when it came to the excess dirt in the south garden bed, shovelling it into the cart and then bagging it up or whatever was not going to work.  Then, too, the possibility of coming with a pickup truck seemed increasingly remote.  If I were going to get this soil to my friends' house, I'd have to think of another way.

Well, how about this?

I took one of my big wheeled trash bins, and lined it with a 45 gallon lawn bag.  I then shovelled the dirt into it-- twelve scoops per bag worked out all right--then wheeled it over to the side of the yard, tipped the trash bin over, hauled out the dirtbag (sorry, couldn't resist), and slung it up on the rock mulch under the Norway maple.  Where it could lie pending further ideas.

I think there's 16 or 17 bags here, all told

Did three bags like this on Wednesday, and was thinking of asking my friends if they knew anybody with a truck who'd be willing and able to help.  But Thursday came and I was looking at my front yard.  At the need for soil in the new garden bed where the sod as dug out.  At the rest of the lawn where I've dug out all that soil to try to root out the nutsedge.  I'd planned the make up the difference with compost, but unless I wanted to commit myself to a major tilling operation, that wouldn't make sense.  Even if the yellowjackets let me get to it, it wouldn't make sense to try to grow grass in compost.

So I shifted gears.  Mentally, I mean.  I kept on loading up the bags-- even though it was raining when I started and I wasn't all that thrilled about it-- but with a different destination in mind.  For while I dislike being an Indian-giver (i.e., making promises then going back on them), I see I need the dirt from my backyard in my front yard more than my friends in New Brighton do in theirs.  And as depressing and onerous and Volga-boatmen-convicts-hauling-the-barges a process somehow schlepping those bags of dirt to my front yard would be, trying to boost them into the back of my PT Cruiser and unloading them again in New Brighton would be even worse.  Not to say impossible doing it single-handedly, but close to it.

Got the tomato bed flattened out before time to head for work. So at least that was done.
Almost there
That afternoon, too, I talked on the phone to my friends, explained the haulage problem, and begged off.  Happily, it was okay with them-- I think half of it on their part was wanting to do me a favor and give me a place to put the dirt.

That was one very heavy problem solved, or at least eliminated.  Still had to figure out how to get the bags into my cart to get them round to the front.

But today, I discovered I could turn a defect into an advantage.  A defect in my backyard walkway, that is.  There's a place by the Norway maple where one walkway slab sits a good inch or more higher than its neighbor.  So if I tipped the cart over on its front end and dragged a bag of dirt into it,

I could brace the wheels against the walkway lippage, like so

and pull it upright with the bag in it.

That done, I could empty the dirt into the cart, ready to take around front.

So good for me, I got seven bags of vegetable garden dirt (primarily a mix of compost and sand) into the new front garden bed.

While I was at it, I rejiggered the brick border at the toe of the slope so it'd come out square,

Swiped a couple of matching bricks from another part of the yard
and mixed the remainder of a carton of Preen into the lower part of the new garden bed.

We'll see if it does any good-- it was pretty old.

If I had nothing better to do I'd also figure out how much the average shovelful of that soil weighs and calculate how much dirt I moved.

But I do have better things to do.  Like plant stuff in the dirt I shifted.  But that's a separate post.


Mayfair Mistress said...

Not sure if you've followed them at all, but the folks from are doing a talk next friday at Construction Junction if you're interested . . .

Kate H. said...

Wow, no, I remember them from the TOH article (was it really so long ago as 2009!?), but I hadn't thought to look to see if they had a blog/website. The talk would be on a Friday . . . That's when I always have a 12 to 13-hour workday. And missing work hours is not an option. :-(

Karen Anne said...

It's not clear to me where your excess dirt is coming from? Is your yard uneven or something?

Kate H. said...

Karen Anne, it came from my kitchen garden beds, which I'd been building up with compost the past eight or nine years. Time to level them off a bit.