Saturday, February 5, 2022

Things that thrill my middle-aged heart

 A few weeks ago, I was bemoaning the fact that it was going to be too expensive to fill the raised garden beds I'd built in the backyard last fall. After days of googling local landscaping supply businesses and their prices for compost and topsoil, I came to the sad conclusion that I was going to have to be content with dismantling the beds and planting my garden in the ground, instead. And since we built the beds out of heavy sections of border stones, moving them was going to be hard work, to boot.  I was so disappointed! 

I mentioned all this to a science teacher friend at work last week. Longtime readers may recall me mentioning her here in the past: she's a certified beekeeper who wrote a grant that got our school a working apiary as well as the head of our 4-H club. At home, she's a keen gardener and chicken keeper who's sold me lots of good eggs over the years. When I told her of my disappointment that I couldn't afford to fill my raised beds, she looked at me incredulously.

"Haven't I told you about the big pile of compost and topsoil they want me and my 4-H students to get rid of? They think it's an eyesore on the side of the campus."

Well, I had heard her mention it, but never considered it had anything to do with me. She teaches two Intro to Agriculture classes as well as running the 4-H club, and last year she had picked up several truckloads of good soil for student projects. It's a big mound. They've filled raised beds, boxes, and planters from it, and there's still a lot left. The district head of maintenance (he's kind of a jerk) told her flat out, "Get rid of that dirt pile or the landscapers will come do it for you!" and so she's been scrambling to find ways to use it up. You see where I'm going with this......

FREE DIRT FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As if that wasn't enough good fortune, the day after we had the conversation, she took one of her Ag classes outside, armed with shovels. Her eyes twinkled when they walked past my desk. "My class is going outside for the rest of this period. Call my cell if you need one of the students." "Okay" I replied. They go outside pretty regularly so I thought nothing of it.

Thirty minutes later the students came tramping back in, and Ms. Howard was grinning. "We just filled the back of my truck with a load of dirt. Text me your address, and I'll swing by this afternoon and deliver it!" I was so surprised! Then when she delivered it, she had her husband and teenage son follow her over, and they quickly shoveled it all onto a tarp I laid down beside the fence. 


This was just the first load. Yesterday she had me drive our truck to work and park by the pile, and once again she took a class of students outside to fill it. Since Gregg had the day off, he came and switched vehicles with me and took the second load home, so the pile is bigger now. Two or three more loads next week should fill my beds nicely.

And it isn't costing me a dime!!! I'm beyond thrilled....about dirt. Hahaha! 

I'm planning to do something for Ms. Howard to show her appreciation for her kindness and generosity. And I may have to make cupcakes for her 1st period Agriculture class, who have done so much work to help out. So far I haven't lifted a shovel even once!

65 comments:

  1. Wow, you hit the compost and topsoil JACKPOT! Plus free teenage labour! This is indeed your lucky day! Congrats!

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    1. Thanks, Debra! Filling these beds would cost a small fortune otherwise. The free labor is just gravy. :)

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  2. This is one of the best news ever !
    EXCITING !
    cheers parsnip

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    1. If someone had told me when I was a kid that one day I'd be thrilled with a big load of dirt...!

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Susan! Judging by the number of comments, other people thought so too. I think a lot of gardeners read here!

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  4. That's terrific! Yes, baking for that class of students is a great way to say thanks! Glad you mentioned your problem to that teacher!

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    1. I'm glad, too! She really came through for me. I'll have to think of something for her and her family. Maybe a gift card to a restaurant or something.

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  5. Oh this makes my heart smile, such a good friend and helpful students. I think only gardeners thrill to the sight of rich dirt. I have raised planters in need of dirt, can you send some my way?

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    1. Hi Terra! I would share with you if I could! Your lemon trees make me jealous. :)

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  6. What an amazing person! The situation is definitely a win-win and uplifting to read about.

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  7. Perfect ending all around. Enjoy that dirt!

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  8. How nice of her, and how lucky for you. Love this,

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bob! It was a real lucky break for me and beyond kind of her.

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  9. WOW perfect timing as it goes! YAY!!! I can not even imagine dismantlement of the raised beds.

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  10. You are going to have a wonderful garden now.

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  11. Replies
    1. Ms. Howard loaned it to me because I don't own one. Another favor from her!

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  12. I was thinking of free ice creams or chocolate bars all round but then I read cup cakes = my mouth is watering.

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    1. My mouth waters when I think of the tomatoes I'll grow later this year!

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  13. Brava! As a gardener, it is a thrill to get dirt !

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  14. congrats! We're expecting to see you do wonderful things with your dirt, you know?

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    1. I'll do my best to have a blog-worthy garden this year! Thanks!

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  15. Solid gold! Amen! I just love this story.

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    1. I couldn't wait to "tell" you about it, Mary!

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  16. This is wonderful, for everyone involved! I see a lot of cookies in the ag dept's future. I cannot believe this topic is even taught any more.

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    1. It's an elective, Intro to Agriculture. I think those kinds of classes are so good for young people!

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  17. when we had the city garden a few years back I called all the places that had landfill companies etc. and told them what I was doing and would they consider giving me some free dirt..first phone call got me so much dirt I was having people come get some for their gardens..sometimes all you have to do is ask.

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  18. That would thrill me beyond compare!! Great that the students got in on it too. -Jenn

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    1. I was thrilled to begin with, and the free labor is just the icing on the cake! Thanks for stopping by, Jenn.

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  19. Cupcakes would be a great thank you.

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    Replies
    1. I thought so, too. Kids love candy and sweets. Hell, who doesn't?

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  20. WOW!!!! I'm thrilled too! You know what you should make them???? Dirt cups!

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  21. Lucky you. Isn't there something called 'Mud Cake'?

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  22. See, that is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I told you about how we filled the raised bed for O.K.‘s Mum 😁
    This is so cool, and I am sure the class will love your cupcakes!

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    Replies
    1. I was hoping Ms. Howard might have some cheaper suggestions for me. You can't beat FREE!

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  23. A great story. What are you planning to plant in all that soil? Veggies or flowers?

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  24. This is so exciting. Science Teacher sounds like a good egg herself.

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  25. That's awesome! Sounds like you're surrounded by good people there. (For the most part. :) )

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    1. Unfortunately Ms. Howard is leaving at the end of this year. She and her family are moving to a beautiful large piece of property in the NC mountains. I will miss her.

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  26. This is like magic! Mrs Howard is an angel disguised as a science teacher. No wonder you laid down beside the fence.

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    1. Sigh. Trust you to find the awkward sentence!

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  27. In this country, if you want to get revenge on someone you order 3 tons of manure in their name and tell the driver to tip it outside their front door. They have to pay twice for it - once to deliver and again to clear away.

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    1. I wouldn't mind that as long as they paid for the manure! They'd be welcome to send it my way! :)

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  28. Yay for great teachers like Mrs Howard and her AG class students, too! So glad you will be able to maintain your raised gardens for another year.

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    1. Filling the beds was going to be crazy expensive.

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  29. I'm tired just looking at these pictures! Im glad you solved your raised garden problem though. Also, I don't know you know yet, but sad news. I got word and did a post on Friday for Anne Marie's husband Arteejee (Todd) I got a text on Friday morning he passed away on Jan 25. I thought you might want to know.

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    1. Thank you Maddie. I've been behind on reading blogs and I just found out about Todd this afternoon. It's so sad. I can't believe they're both gone now.

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    2. I thought you popped in on his blog too. I was in touch with him since Anne Marie's passing since last year, but right around Christmas I noticed the phone calls, the tone had changed. I'm sure his three hospital stays didn't help, and on our call after Christmas, his health, and his missing Anne Marie was taking a toll. He was saying he just wanted to give up and was tired, especially since they couldn't pinpoint his health issue. I was practically in tears and felt helpless. But the next call, he sounded better... but still had me worried. That was to be our last call. He never returned the other two and I feared something was awry.

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  30. I'am glad to read the whole content of this blog and am very excited,Thank you for sharing good topic.
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  31. This is wonderful! Bless Ms. Howard and her very helpful class!

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  32. What a wonderful tale, even if only about dirt! I can so relate- my wife and I jumped for joy very recently when we learned there was a somewhat-newly opened free public composting facility nearby. Daily, we joyfully add to the 5-gallon bucket sitting in our kitchen. Simple things, hmm?

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  33. WoooHOOOOOOOO! Even though I'm a bit envious, I am very happy for you. And sort of relieved since I'm not doing all that shoveling.

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