You Load 16 Tons…

I’m about to find out the exact, precise, functional weight of a ton of topsoil. It may happen that this will be dumped in my driveway some time today. This means I will begin hauling it into my yard and dumping into a raised bed.

It’s a story like this one. One thing leads to another in increasing scale…

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow
I don’t know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – Perhaps she’ll die!

I bought the raised bed kits the first year I moved here. Then, feeling daunted by the whole prospect of putting dirt into them, I took them apart, put them away in the garage, and went on with my life. All was well until last fall I decided to repair the leaking roof (replace) of my garage. This led to the Great Garage Clean-out and THAT led me to haul the raised bed bits outside. I looked at them and thought, “The easiest thing to do with these things is use them.”

That led me to think about what to plant. The answer was obvious; “Wildflower seeds!” I like stuff to bloom, but I don’t want to work very hard. The bed is near the bird bath which is next to the bird nursery that is my lilac hedge. Before long the wildflower seeds had arrived and are now waiting in my kitchen for the dirt to get here and for me to fill the raised bed.

The problem of the dirt led me to think, “How am I going to haul that dirt from wherever they dump it to the raised bed?” I thought yearningly of a wheel-barrow that I left in California, but there’s no going back. I found a miraculous wheel barrow on Amazon (cheaper on eBay) that does (nearly) everything a strong guy can do. It’s a wheelbarrow, a dolly, a rock hauler, and a snowplow. It can be converted to a wagon. I doubt I’ll pursue that direction, but it’s still cool. I am most interested in the wheelbarrow and snowplow features because it’s been a while since I played with dollies. (Ha ha)

It was easy to put together, with none of the problems I anticipated dealing with Allen Wrenches and various other so-called “tools.” That made me happy.


Worx Wheelbarrow/Dolly

And, the box in which the wheel barrow was packed was a good addition to my Earthworm-friendly, cost-effective, corrugated cardboard weed barrier.

Then there is the compost. I have a composter. I never composted before now. Of course, during the winter, the composter was an outside freezer, but most of the time it’s been composting leaves and coffee grounds. Some of that will go into the raised beds, too, but not much. Wildflowers don’t especially appreciate is rich, fertile soil.



My first garden ever was in Denver, behind my apartment building on Downing Street in Capital Hill. At the time I was living with my second husband AND my brother and life was often pretty annoying. The manager of the property — a really great Irishman named Jimmy Hobbs — came to me one day with a $20 bill and said, “Go to Sears and get some plants. You might like to take care of that garden.” There was one at the end of the parking lot. “No one’s taken care of it in years. I’ll put the tools out for you, too.”

My first reaction was, “Huh?” But I spaded up the soil. The ex went with me to Sears (that story will be another blog post, “How I Taught My Husband NOT to Look down Other Women’s Shirts by Getting Out of the Car at a Red Light and Walking 2 Miles Home in Sandals”).

The garden turned out to be a sanctuary away from the husband and the brother. Who knew they wouldn’t want to hang out there? I think Jimmy knew. I think he understood the craziness of my living situation and gave me a way out. The garden became my peaceful, happy place and things grew.

My garden has retained that purpose in my life. I’m not a serious gardener. The only food I grow are tomatoes and basil. My garden is just a small thing where something good happens in the uncertain maelstrom of life.

11 thoughts on “You Load 16 Tons…

  1. Good luck, a good idea. I would love raised beds, no more back breaking work, but now too late. I am glad that Mr. Swiss mows the lawn now and again.

    • I wish Dusty would try to mow the lawn, but I’m afraid the absence of opposable thumbs and his insistence on walking on four legs precludes that. I’m stuck with the job. 😦

  2. I’m YOUR kind of gardener. We built our garden from stones and topsoil. Same idea, different substance. But no matter what I plant, wildflowers are what eventually take over. The flowers rule through May. After that, the wild ones take over.

    • Yes you are!!!! I like this assortment of seeds I got because it includes perennials and annuals, and a lot of annuals will reseed themselves. I actually like wildflowers best anyway, and, if I want, I can stick something else in there.

  3. I do love a great garden. Luckily, I planted mine when we moved into our house 20+ years ago. I don’t have the energy to get out there like I used to. Now it mostly pruning and general “clean up.” Raised beds are wonderful. Good luck with this, Martha! Looking forward to the photos.

    • I think this will be fun once it’s fully installed. I tried out my new wheel barrow today and it’s as awesome as all the advertising said. I love it. I used it as a dolly and as a wheelbarrow to help me clean out the garage some more.

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