Monday, June 28, 2010

Mucking around

You might have noticed a scarcity of posts lately. It's because I have been mucking around - figuratively and, it turns out this week, literally.

My summer "off" - first one in a long time - has meant hanging crown molding, painting, laying a brick wall, and, in a few days, tearing apart a closet and rebuilding it. (It also has meant a trip to Indiana and Arkansas.)

And I have been mucking around literally - much to my dismay - as I fill a long-neglected garden with dirt (after laying that wall). This involves several cubic yards - well, many cubic yards - of topsoil, which involves many 40-pound bags. One finds a certain existential meaning in tossing dozens of such bags around in 90-plus-degree heat. (The meaning that most likely comes to mind is "fool.")

Now, it might be easier to have all those cubic yards delivered, but the dirt still has to be hauled back in a wheelbarrow, etc. And at $25 or more a cubic yard, I'm sure the landscaping places have fine dirt, but at that price I also expect to be able to pan for gold in it.

So we go with the bags at about $10 a cubic yard. Now, I'm not expecting the finest loam from that. But when you open a 40-pound bag from Home Depot and out comes not some granulated dirt, but a wet, sticky mess more suitable for making pottery than spreading about a garden, there is this vague sense that you are getting slightly ripped off - like maybe you are paying for 30 pounds of soil and 10 of water. Even the motorized tiller I've borrowed has trouble getting through it, with the stuff sticking to the blades and the wheels.

Which makes one wonder. How hard is it to sell a decent bag of dirt?

So it's off to Lowe's for the rest. So far the dirt I've bought there, for the same price, has been good, granular, black stuff, if not the finest grade, and it has the advantage of being sold in cubic foot bags, which is easier to calculate for what I still need (which I fear is many more bags).

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At 6/28/10, 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could just compost, though that does require frequent turning of the pile, and there's the risk (reward?) that unexpected plants will come up from composted seed (see: I Think That Squash Plant Might Be A Pumpkin).

You'd still need to buy some dirt, but less.

At any rate, glad to hear you're taking some time off and doing well.


At 6/28/10, 11:41 AM, Blogger Doug said...

I composted for many years - about all I got was a pile of fire ants.

Besides, this project requires cubic yards of dirt - and that would be one humongous compost pile :)


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