This is how it started. A few months ago I ordered a lovely peony root from jungseed.com. Jung’s sends the root when it is time to be planted. The plan at the time of ordering was to put it in back in a open square where the rest of the peonies live. I went to pull up the weeds out of the open space and saw that some of the peonies had shriveled and died and there was mildew on some of the others. There was no way I was going to doom this beautiful healthy root. This left me with where would it go then. It needs full sun and a lot of the yard doesn’t get a full day’s sun.
Along part of the driveway are evergreen scrubs. Between them and the driveway is a strip of scraggly looking grass 3-4 feet wide — which gets full sun all day long. Not being ambitious enough to dig it all up and work in nutrients to convert this lengthy arc into beds, I decided to call the local landscape company and have some yardage of screened topsoil delivered, which I would have to spread out along the arc at my leisure, as long as I could get the new peony planted before the ground freezes.
The topsoil arrived on Friday, which was a sweltering day. The man who delivered didn’t seem real concerned about dumping it right where I wanted it and instead dumped it a good 6 feet away, where none of it actually landed on the arc and so all of it needs to be moved. Punk!
Immediately I started moving wheelbarrows 10 heaping shovels full at a time at the furthest end, closest to the shrubs side of the arc. After probably 10 wheelbarrows’ worth, something hit me between the eyes. When we moved here 6 years ago, we brought several tons of small to medium rocks of various composition. At the time where to put them was not decided and so they were heaved and rolled under the edge of the evergreens shrubs. Considering they may be lost to sight forever if the dirt was placed in front of them, the movement of soil stopped until the rocks from the as-yet-dirt-not-placed-in-front-of-them were rolled out of the way. On and off through Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, wheelbarrows full are filling in the space nicely. What isn’t so nice is that sizeable congregation of rocks stuck behind the first dirt.
I’m not that old — but I’m not that young either. By my reckoning, an oldish woman with a youngish son needn’t risk the ticker moving at least a couple hundred pounds of small (average size of a foot by couple of feet) heavy rocks when she can call and ask for help. My oldest son lifts things for a living but he’d been lifting heavy things all day, so mother guilt reconsidered and I told him never mind we’d just leave that clump of them where they were for now. He, being the wonderful man that he is, would have none of that, so we walked out to “the job” so he could have a look.
What did we see when we went out there but what at first looked like a very short grasshopper on top of the very part of the dirt my son was going to be walking over with the rocks. She looked like the one in the picture above, except no wings and more upright on the soil. I took a stick and tried to scare her into jumping away but she didn’t move. My son made a motion with his foot as if he was going to stomp her and I yelled, “No!” in a piteous mournful tone so he reconsidered and laughed as if he were just playing around to get me to yell in such fashion. Then, gentle man that he is, he walked to the woodpile and got a small piece of kindling to lift her away. As he attempted to do so, it was then that we saw this “short grasshopper” had her body deep in the loose, rich soil. Plan C: he asked for a shovel; then he proceeded in lifting the shovelful of soil she rested on and placed it further down to the safe part where the rocks had already been moved.
Son then dug away the dirt from the area of hidden rocks and moved them out in no time at all.
Update: since it was too late last night to take pics of the area described above, I snapped some after getting home from work tonight. Here they are:
The pile of dirt delivered, the arc of the driveway and the group of rocks my eldest son got out from under the greenery.
My BIG foot on one of the bigger rocks.
My BIG foot on what started out as 7 cubic yards of screened topsoil.
More area where the rocks will be rolled out of the way and the topsoil moved in (after landscaping fabric is laid down).