Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sodbusting On Sunday: Man, Our Ancestors Were Tough!

Our new neighbors were cleaning up the yard this Sunday. The main problem they faced were some raised beds and half-casks, all very overgrown becaue the house had been empty almost a year.  I wandered over and next thing you know I was helping them clean up. It just happens that way sometime!
The neighbor yard
minus the raised beds
The new people's plan is to rent the house to a relative who's a student, so they wanted the yard to be as low-maintenance as possible. I can understand that these raised beds would be too much of a complication; in contrast, I positively want raised beds, but that's because I want to spend time gardening.
This all worked out pretty well for both of us. They had to get rid of the boards for the raised gardens; I wanted boards for raised gardens. They're now in my back yard for sorting, de-nailing and reuse.
But I worked for the boards. Prying the raised beds apart wasn't all that much work, but the dirt that remained behind was a very solid mass of grass roots. Basically, half the yard consisted of dirt mesas that very hard to disassemble with just a shovel. Fortunately, I remembereed that I had a mattock in the shed, which turned out to be just the right tool. There was still a whole lot of labor; basically we were digging up half the yard, but we got it all done in a couple of hours.
Then we went to the Triangle for beer and chow. I'll definitely work for Big Al's Smoky Porter and the Triangle's Bee Special!

This effort gave me a great appreciation for the original sodbusters. I can't imagine clearly a field with a mattock; it was real work, striking the soil, pulling it back, and moving the tightly laced roots to a discard pile. I'm sure a plow would have been helpful, if attached to an ox, but on the whole, I think I would have fallen over sideways in the old days!

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