After the construction of our big, beautiful raised beds, I called around to find out who would deliver dirt. After a bit of research I found a company whose dump truck wasn’t broken (that is apparently a common issue around here) and they delivered a big, beautiful pile of soil just a few hours later.
I knew we needed to get the dirt into the beds quickly because rain was expected in a couple of days. I decided to put our freedom as homeschoolers to good use and designated the next morning as “math” “horticulture,” and “P.E.” all rolled into one!
The possibilities seemed endless…How many 5 gallon buckets of dirt will it take to fill a 6 x 10 x 2 foot garden? Who has better upper body strength, a basketball player, runner or ballerina? What about stamina? Which is more tiring, hauling soil or shoveling it into the buckets? (Opinions definitely varied!)
Why do we need good core strength? How do we keep from hurting our backs? Ok, to be honest it was me asking that question because, well, mid-life. I did have the forethought to go to the Chiropractor (and Starbucks) that morning.
Why is there a combination of colors in the soil? Why did we line the beds with cardboard first? Why should we remove the rocks? How deep does it need to be and how much compression should we expect when the rain comes? Why types of plants are we going to grow and when should we prepare to plant them? Compost: What is it and why is it important for our garden? What do we put in the compost bin and what do we leave out?
And the most important question of all…
Exactly what do we get in exchange for doing all this manual labor, Mom?
The answer? Ice cream. Any size, any flavor.
And character. Because hauling soil for hours will most certainly build character.
At last, after four solid hours of hauling dirt, we deemed the garden “full” and hit the showers…
As we worked, I had my Apple Watch counting calories and I burned 1,205 during our project. 1,205 calories! I had absolutely no guilt over the Reeses’ Blast (or the Salted Caramel Mocha) that I consumed that day.
Ice cream hit the spot after our labors and we gladly transplanted the scraggly, root-bound plants that had been struggling for weeks in metal bins to finish out their lives in spacious comfort.
I had every intention of getting a photo of my three hard-working kiddos but I failed to do so. We were all so exhausted that we just stumbled inside and tried not to be grouchy. My youngest daughter never even made it into any of the photos. But she was certainly there, working hard, and they all earned their sugar fix. We had sore muscles for days and bruises from carrying the heavy buckets.
But we also had the satisfaction of a job well done, and just in time for the rain that moved in that very evening.
It was good work. It was satisfying work. And I’m sure I’ll never be able to convince those kids to haul buckets of dirt again. I will remind them, though, of their part when the harvest comes next summer. As they bite into a tasty, salsa-laden chip I’ll tell the stories from this day. I can’t help but believe it will make the flavors of what we gather from the garden all the richer.