40 thoughts on “May 23, 2020: Earth, Soil, Clay, Dust, etc., etc.”

  1. I tried the shovel a few times, but it never worked. Last week, I bought a dirt rake, so we'll see how that goes.

  2. Depends on how big an area and how deep you need to break it up. And what's on it- if it's grass, you are going to have to cut off some sod. I've done 15'x15' areas with shovels and hoes before, it kinda sucks. If you're replanting grass, I'd use dpwy's method and just rake it smoother-ish.

    Easiest way is a rototiller. Borrow one, rent one from a hardware store, buy one if you're going to be doing lots of tiling...

    1. This year my FIL actually hit up the garden with his tractor as he was tilling up his fields. That helped. I've done the rototiller in the past, and highly recommend it - especially if your soil tends more towards clay than sand.

    2. My dad always went with the tiller for his garden "up north". I've been making do with shovel and spade, which is the wrong way to do largish areas unless you are a dumbass like me.

    3. Stake off the area, then tell the neighbor kids you buried a coffee can full of Indian-head pennies back there, but can't remember exactly where.

  3. I chipped up a fairly large stump with a cheap axe and this shovel. I snapped the shovel blade trying to get some brick out of the ground (the guy who lived here years and years ago worked at the brick factory.... and paved the entire back yard.... now every time I try to plant something I have to dig out three courses of brick first). The lifetime guarantee kicked in and I got a new shovel in the mail a week later.

    We made container gardens for our veg beds this year. I stole acquired several milk crates, and sewed ground cloth into bags to fit inside the milk crates. We've got a sweet potato factory, a pretty stellar variety of peppers, squash, basil, mint, and corn stalks (in ground, mostly for the fun of it).

    While we're on the topic, we bought an aero garden around the beginning of the year and that has been bully for sure. We have started almost all our plants via seed in the hydroponic system and transferred the plants to the container garden, all while growing indoor lettuce, spinach and bok choi. We tried to grow some electric lettuce, but the seeds weren't viable. Too bad.

      1. Something that has not yet been decriminalized in Louisiana, but is legal in several other states.

        1. Fortunately Orleans parish decided to stop arresting people for possession of a personal amount (less than 14 oz is my understanding but I guess that the definition of personal and amount is up to the police doing the ticketing). Now, you get a ticket for 40 bucks at your first offense which is capped to $100 after 4 offenses. They can still call in the state patrol to arrest you if they want to, though.

  4. In the course of two days, we've seen a few skinks around the back - a small five-line and maybe a broadhead or little brown. They make a fine addition to the tree frogs on our deck.

    1. The people that I know who have them swear by them. As with everything you get what you pay for so stay away from low cost ones or you'll buy yourself a bunch of future motor issues.

        1. Oh, I agree- steel is real, baby. I’m asking for my folks as they like to ride, but are getting older and looking for a little help from their motorized friends.

        2. I still have a 1988 Trek 400. It's a great bike, though it needs a tube up..

          I'm thinking about getting a new one though. I want something that will fit a wider, thicker tire. I went out for the first time a couple days ago and got a flat within twenty minutes.

          1. I bought my surly on deep discount and have been thrilled with that purchase. Even at deep discount it was stupidly expensive, but I ride it every day and I don’t have to pay for insurance on it. There’s enough clearance to add some pretty fat tires for the geometry of the frame.

            1. I bought my surly on deep discount and have been thrilled with that purchase.

              I thought this was going in a different direction.

            2. I'd love to get a Surly and probably will if a second stimulus package goes through. If it doesn't, I'll have to look on the less stupidly expensive range.

              1. Just after I bought mine I found a Craig’s list post for a sweeter deal on a used one. Surf the marketplaces.

  5. Ha! Watched a rerun of Simpsons and caught an easter egg: store video was recording Lisa trying out a new bari sac, and while it was fast forwarding it showed the store owner pick up "Infinite Jest" and eventually finish it.

  6. Meanwhile, in Minnesota today:

    1. I think we need to take these anecdotal reports as what they are: anecdotes. I’m out probably too much because of my job and the fact I’m working on my house. I easily see over 75 percent of people wearing masks at Hardware Store, Home Depot, Cub, and Kowalskis.

      1. my anecdote is similar for grocery stores; about 60-70 percent wearing masks and trying to be careful. But in my neighborhood, at least half are congregating regularly without masks and without social distancing, letting their kids wrestle with each other, having birthday parties outside. One of those neighbors is a nurse in the school district, and another is a Park Nicollet physician

      2. Yup. The few times I'm at a grocery store or when I'm in the skyway going into and out of the office in St. Paul, I see mask usage of about 75%. (The statewide DVS is in my building and when it reopened this week, it had very long lines but probably 90% of the people in it were masked each morning). In those situations, I'm also wearing a mask.

        However, I am guilty of not wearing a mask when neighbors are all chatting over beers (scattered at a distance and with kids playing socially distantly) or once I'm in my office chatting with whatever colleagues happen to be in the office (again from a distance).

      3. the plural of anecdote is "data". 😉

        but fair point. mebbe public health departments are going to want to start doing some public health surveillance work ("surveying", not "spying") to develop a more systematic understanding of behavior in public spaces.

        residential behavior is going to be a lot tougher to monitor than behavior in public spaces, particularly retail spaces.

        I was on a call with my parents and the kids last weekend. My dad, whose filter has slipped somewhat as he has aged, made a comment about how at Walmart near him in Bloomington "the blacks" weren't wearing masks. Now they are up north, and apparently the good folks at the IGA (or whatever grocery store) in Grand Rapids were also not wearing masks. So I suggested that maybe the issue was not with "the blacks." I think he got the point.

        1. The plural of anecdote is "data".

          You just made my book. It's a deerskin-lined book ( a deer I shot when in college) that contains notable quotes from various books I've read over the last 39 years (1981-2020). This brings you into the company of Camus, Lao Tzu, Goethe, Sandburg, Chatwin, Rand, Lee Finney, Pynchon, Milosz, Hugo, and some others.

    2. i believe i've mentioned elsewhere, but i'm pretty surprised by my community. pretty much every store requires a mask and... people abide! seriously, i'd say there's a 99.7% mask rate here.

      1. Does the state require them? I've seen 99%+ compliance as well but Connecticut requires masks.

        1. county-by-county requirements in California. In my county, compliance has been pretty high, but starting to slip.

          Still, if we are getting ~75-80 pct compliance, that is probably high enough to drive R0 below 1.0.

          1. Oh, I agree. As a matter of social practice, there is probably a higher tipping point where even most of the a-holes will choose to conform.

            But then, plenty evidence on the roads of oblivious people not turning their lights on in the rain even though 90 pct have them on.

            Hidden Brain this morning talked about hand-washing by hospital/clinic staff where adherence was lousy despite camera monitoring. But when the clinic started posting aggregate data on adherence, suddenly staff who weren't responding to mere monitoring began to adhere. The hypothesis was that the public display incentivized staff to care about collective performance enough to actually wash in and out. Go figure.

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