The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Trench Warfare

Posted by Exile on April 15, 2019

At least, it felt like it…

I’ve been busy in the garden. It desperately needed cleaning up in what I call “the North end”. Overgrown with brambles and the heaps of old clippings from the hedge, not to mention the footpath which needed expanding to some degree. I’ve been at it for a week. The footpath has now expanded with the laying of flagstones and the clippings and brambles have all been sent through a compost mill. I have accumulated a lot of topsoil from removing and relaying the path and cleaning out an old flowerbed where the new path now lies. All this got dumped in “the South end” of the garden. Where the root crops generally go in. Now it needed to be really dealt with.

Man_DiggingI decided to take my fathers approach to all garden rubbish. He would bury it. The clippings will rot away forming new soil and the earth it replaces can be used as new topsoil. All very ecological and probably good for the garden. Dad, lord rest his old bones, would dig a trench at least twice the depth of his spade and twice the width all across his garden. I decided to do likewise. He was a gardener, not like me, so imitation seems to be the way forward. It worked for him. 
I marked out with string and sticks and proceeded to dig.

In my soldier days, we were used to digging trenches. Well, we called them trenches. They were fire positions. Dig a hole approximately your own height deep and hide in it in the event of airstrike or stand in it and shoot back at any oncoming enemy. It would also serve as your grave if the need arose… So digging is in my bones, somewhere.

The topsoil has been tilled before by own labours, so that came out pretty quickly. I placed this to the right of my digging activity. It was going to be the first soil to be poured back into the trench. The next layer was not so easy. Compacted by nature and never removed before, it was heavy going. I was soon wheezing from the effort and sweating profusely. It took an age. Finally I had a trench. I got down to the clay base that my garden lays on. Claggy grey stuff that won’t move. It is the reason my garden never truly dries out. The lower, new, earth was piled up to the left of my trench. I want to spread this out over the garden. It’s probably never seen the light of day before. It has a nice earthy smell about it.
So far, so good. Time for a brew and a ciggy…

Filling the trench would be easy. Well, one would think so…

I managed to get the huge pile of vegetable rubbish and milled compost material into manageable heaps and shovelled away at it with my usual gusto. It all went in with room to spare. I trampled it down into the bottom of my trench. I then decided that my genuine compost heap, which hasn’t really composted fully, could also go in. More heavy stuff to move then, but probably worthwhile as it will create new space in that area. By now, the blackbirds had discovered my earthworks and were having an impromptu feast of worms and grubs. They are not afraid of me. I mean them no harm and they know it. They live here too.

I was wearing thin by now, I needed more tea, so I left them to it.

Fortified with tea and biscuits, I returned to my labours. Satisfied that all that needed to be in the trench was indeed in the trench, I started refilling with the old topsoil. More shovelling and trampling down. I was surprised as to how much rubbish had gone in. By the time I had poured the old topsoil in, the trench was very nearly full. It needed very little of the stuff from deep down to get back to the old garden level. I finished levelling with the garden rake and admired my handiwork. It looks fine.

I have a heap of new soil to spread over the garden. I have more topsoil from the removal that was necessary to expand the path. This will doubtless help with the turnips, beetroots, swedes and parsnips that I intend to plant in that particular area of my garden. I have no garden rubbish left to deal with. Win – win.
But that’s enough for today. My back aches, my hands are sore and I’m worn out.

All I have to do now, is dig the rest of the garden. That will have to wait, at least, until tomorrow.

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