The very act of gardening connects you to the earth. Digging and planting, watering and harvesting--all the basic gardening tasks require a return to soil. You could say gardening grounds you. In the Lord of the Rings, hobbits are known to "love peace and quiet and good tilled earth."
Having all of 6 weeks experience as gardeners, you'd think we could say we agree. But we've not had the pleasure of working with good tilled earth. Our soil is rocky and full of clay. Little shovelfuls are all we can take. We are constantly prying out little stones. Digging and planting require patience, perseverance, and even physical strength.
Today we worked on planting our largest item yet--a new mailbox. (The township sent us a notice requiring new house numbers for emergency services. But the post was rotting, the flag was missing, and the hole on the top meant our mail got wet on rainy days. So rather than slap some lipstick on a pig by sticking numbers on, we decided to replace the lot.)
The old wooden post was installed on a metal fencepost in the ground, which meant we had to dig a new hole. Kevin was less than enthusiastic about digging a hole in our rocky soil, so I decided to do it. I grabbed a beach blanket, my radio headphones, and a small gardening spade and set to work.
After twenty minutes, Kevin came out to see how I was doing. We measured six inches deep, which was about one-third of the way. Another twenty minutes and we measured again. Ten inches. It seemed it was going to take a while yet. Kevin ran back into the garage and grabbed a rubber mallet and giant screwdriver. (We found this screwdriver somewhere--we can't exactly remember where--and it has proven to be the most useful tool ever.)
This was genius! Now I could loosen the soil by pounding the screwdriver with the mallet. After another twenty minutes or so, I had reached 16 inches, which was more than adequate for setting the post.
What a great hole! Neither too narrow or too wide and deep enough to secure our post for a very long time.
Inside for lunch, a little TV and knitting break, and what turned out to be a very necessary post-digging nap.
Next we had to attach the mailbox to the post for installation. As we were working on this, a thunderstorm rolled in, requiring us to tarp over the hole. But look how smart this new mailbox looks. It's bigger than Kevin's head!
Sometime in the very near future we'll stick the post in the hole, infill it with dirt, and try to level it as best we can. But for now, we will celebrate our little hole in the ground.