black gold was delivered this morning.. no, don’t look at me like i’ve taken all leave of my senses!! I’m not talking about oil – i’m talking about gardener’s gold, silly! Compost!

I’d arranged for one tonne of compost to be delivered, and although they turned up early (catching me off guard – i was sipping coffee, without my hearing aids in, and she woke up a rather grumpy Michiel… oops) she backed up to the gate and tipped the lorry up.. it took some shifting, i think it had settled during transport and at one point she had to climb up and knock it loose with a spade. it was soon deposited on the ground. unfortunately she didn’t have change for my notes, so i promised to pop round to the office and drop it in – how nice of them to be so trustworthy! (mind you i suppose they know where i live..).

After coffee, breakfast and walking Jess (and taking some photos) i got to work. out came the wheelbarrow, fork and spade and i soon made light work of 6 wheelbarrow loads. Hard work, though, hard work on the back, but infinitely easier than the previous year, when i’d had half this amount but in bags, and no wheelbarrow! then, it’d taken me days to shift it all. what was clear is that we wouldn’t be able to close the gate while the heap was there: i had promised Michiel i would have it shifted in 2 days. So when i got to 10 wheelbarrow loads, i took a break – after a drink and a 20 minute break (to allow my body to cool) i was soon back at it.

I developed a rhythm quite quickly. i worked out it took around 20 shovel-loads or 14 fork loads to fill the barrow, not to the point of bursting, but so i could comfortably lift/tilt it without straining.  I took another break after 14 barrowloads, mostly to have lunch – i hadn’t had a big breakfast and knew, at the rate i was working, that i needed food. Tuna mayo with cucumber on ryvita while i chatted to friends in #woodchucks, then back out again. I got to 20 wheelbarrow loads before i had one more break, about 40 minutes later, for a cuppa tea (its got to be tea then) and realised i was very close to the end.

About this time, Adam & Harriet showed up, and later on, Conor. They’re young children, around 8 or so (Conor a little younger), and Adam has always had an interest in the garden, he often asked me questions last summer, so they cheerily asked if i could help. I’m nervous about letting them help in the garden, mostly because i’m worried about them hurting themselves. so i tend to keep them on the other side of the fence: they can ask questions and chat all they like though. Adam ran to get a toy wheelbarrow and spade, and promptly helped with the compost that had spilled onto the pavement, Harriet ran to get a dustpan and brush to get the rest of it up, Conor brought a broom from home (I can only hope they asked their moms about this!) and they proceeded to help get all the itty bitty bits of compost up off the pavement, off the ground – i swear, by the time they were done, it was cleaner than this morning! Harriet proceeded to very solemnly and proudly tell me allllllllllllll about the life cycle (bless) and was absolutely fascinated with earthworms – especially when i told her that the way they move around is very similar to a slinky. big round eyes.. “wowww”, i think she liked that idea a lot. (she didn’t like the earwig she found so much though). Adam had a whale of a time – i think he’s a budding gardener or archaeologist. he likes muckin out in muck too much! and little Conor didn’t say much, just swept.. and swept.. and swept.. while i finished the heavy work and raked the compost sort of level in the bed.. and then.. it was all done! (and Harriet was so polite – she came back and said “thankyou for letting me help”.. such a lovely girl!). I think i might make them each a little cake, all decorated with a “thankyou” on it. or something! they deserve something, i think. or maybe a bulb in a pot.. something they can grow themselves? hmm. have to think on that one.

so either i’m getting fitter or the wheelbarrow does help, but i honestly never expected it to be done all in one day – and i did it all by myself (with the exception of a wheelbarrow load from the children). So proud of myself!

Photos behind the cut, as usual…

there be gardener’s gold here, mateys!!
you can see how much of it there is here, and how wonderfully crumbly it is. Very woody, but great stuff – it steams!! and the smell is wonderful. 
You get the idea of how much there is with this photo.. 
A close up – see how woody it is? This will keep composting in the ground. great stuff.
One wheelbarrowload
Six loads later..
After 10 wheelbarrowloads, getting smaller!
Getting a bit messy now
After 10 wheelbarrow loads
After 14 loads. you can see the road again!
After 14 loads
All done, swept up and dusted. Aren’t the children good?
The right end of bed 5
The left end
All done. tomorrow i may put some bulbs in. Depends on the weather i think.