After a week of thunderstorms, the sun has finally come out. My current project is the back flower border. Once upon a time , someone thought it would be really nifty to dump a bunch of white stones on it without putting down plastic first. My mission is to sift through all the dirt and remove the stones so I can plant flowers, tomatoes, whatever. Also to remove all the dead branches from the shrubs above the garden.
I thought about various titles for whatever I was going to write today. “Blisters.” Even with leather gloves, my hands have blisters on top of blisters. “Sticks and stones.” I certainly spent a lot of time cutting large branches into small branches. And there is no doubt I am going to ache tomorrow. But why do I go through this year after year?
It’s the dirt.
Yes, the opportunity to take off my sandals and shove my feet into the dirt. There’s nothing that smells quite like freshly turned soil. That and the warm spring breeze.
When I first moved to Illinois, I heard the price of farmland here was $3000 an acre, compared to $300 an acre in the area where I grew up. So this is it, the most expensive dirt in America.
Here is the “before” picture–soil full of stones and broken glass. You wouldn’t even want run your ungloved hand through that.
Nobody else is going to care about this. All they want is something shiny with bright colors–and they will have that in time. Already they are asking if I can paint the flagstones. But I care about the cool gray color and the cold chalky limestone texture of the flagstones. And the rich damp soil full of earthworms. That’s the backbone of the garden, the part that doesn’t show.
Now for a nice bath, some neosporin for all the scratches, and a small glass of wine.