The song Sixteen Tons was playing in my head the weekend before last. The original dates from 1946 by Merle Travis, about a coal miner in Kentucky. The version I know is from the strike-torn 80s and is by The Redskins. This was my ear worm as I spent last Friday evening and Saturday morning shovelling and wheeling a load of top soil from the drive up on to the lawn to fill the raised bed frames. A total of something like forty barrows – which adds up to nearly six hundred shovel loads in my estimation. All this to move only three tons, but it looks like I might need nearer to sixteen.
When I constructed my raised beds I naively imagined them filled to the brim with compost and soil. After shifting that much soil (as well as a ton of compost from the previous weekend) it was disappointing to see that the beds retained the look of a harbour at low tide with compost only getting halfway up the nine-inch boards. Another ton of compost last weekend helped top them up.
Top soil and compost are not cheap. After shovelling all of that, to quote the song, I felt more than just “another day older and deeper in debt”.