then there's the preparation of the soil in the yard. we've decided to expand our garden this year. it's going to be about two to three times the size of what it was last year. this is partly because of our desire to know exactly where our food comes from. what better way to eat local and organic than from your own back yard? and also partly because we love gardening! but expanding also means eight to twenty-seven times more work!!!
for now we are laying new beds and turning the soil, adding our compost and making sure the beds are well aerated/moist. and part of digging up new beds is unearthing unknown territory. patches of grass that have been that way for years, decades even. and what i dig up has sometimes made me question the people who lived here before, has occasionally made me frown and has certainly made me smile.
when we dug our first bed last spring we were very surprised to find a very high quantity of
a) glass, and
b) red roof tiles.
now when i say high quantity, i mean high quantity. since digging the new beds i have become literally astounded at the amount of junk we have found in our dirt. we have found enough red ceramic shingles to roof at least one house, probably two. these are almost never fully intact, but they are large enough chunks to wonder how the heck they ever got into the dirt? was the back yard just littered with roof tiles and plates of glass and someone decided "hey, let's throw a ton of dirt on top and problem solved!"?
the glass is a mystery to me, too, because it's not just window glass or beer bottle glass. it is glass of EVERY imaginable color!! clear, of course, but also browns, greens, blues, hues of red, even something somewhere between an orange and a yellow. where did this glass come from? at the beginning i tried to pick out every piece of glass i ever saw glimmer in the winter sun, but this soon became exhausting! now i grab the medium to big sized pieces and any little pieces near my trowel, but don't go out of my way to search & rescue a tiny glimmer in the middle of the plot. it could be like finding the jackpot of all jackpots of beach glass, except dirt doesn't erode as quickly or efficiently as sand. these babies are sharp, trust me. you would not want your children digging in our dirt. even i won't dig in without gloves on anymore, which is too bad because feeling the dirt under your nails is one of the best parts of gardening in my opinion.
so why we find the things we find in the garden remains a mystery to me. but i'll keep digging and maybe someday i'll find an answer. hopefully i won't. it gives me somewhere for my mind to wander during all those hours of zen in the garden.
so here it is. a comprehensive list of every little treasure i have dug up in the garden so far:
- at least a small shopping cart full of red ceramic shingles
- glass (clear, green, brown, blue, red, orange/yellow)
- a rusty sardine tin from the 1920's
- two marbles (one standard size, one a mini and slightly chipped; both of the toothpaste variety, one white & brown, one white & orange/yellow)
- a whole series of what appears to be mini marble-sized balls of red metal, possibly copper or just super rusty. i have found at least twenty of these and have not yet figured out what they could be for. maybe something for the nutrient-content of the soil? i don't know.
- blocks of what appears to be home-made concrete, complete with cement, roof tiles, glass, old magazines/cardboard/paper, large rocks, pieces of scrap metal & nails. super safe, no?
- seven clothespins, some made of colored plastic (easter pink, yellow and blue), some made of wood
- a very rusty rather large nail
- plenty of cigarette butts
- occasional tippen poop
- a bit of trash
may the treasure hunt continue!!!