Dirt, dirt, and more dirt. Also, dirt.

By September 20, 2010 Insects, My Garden 2 Comments

I occasionally stop and think that it’s a damn good thing I have no sense of how large most of my grandiose schemes are, or I would never ever do them. Fortunately, by the time I realize how over my head I am, I’m halfway done, and I HAVE to finish. (See: Digger, red living room, Dragonbreath series, other garden bed…)

The new bed has taken a lot of dirt. I go to Lowes, I get a dozen bags of manure and topsoil, I bring it back, I dump it out, and then I wonder how something that took so much effort to haul and lift and lug and dump produces so small a patch of plantable ground.

Still, it’s nearly done. I’ve been putting in between one and two hours a day on the project, and it should hopefully be finished by Wednesday, which is good because I fly out on Thursday for a panel in Daytona on Friday, and then they fly me to Baltimore for another panel on Saturday. (I frequently question whether my presence for a single hour is really interesting enough to justify planes and hotel rooms and all that. But then again, Penguin’s paying for it, so I’m happy to go where they tell me.)

Someone who, y’know, was of a get-this-done-now mindset could do this in a weekend. I, however, work on the method of What Ursula Can Do Before She Gets Exhausted Or Bored, which involves small loads and frequent switching of jobs. So I rake up some leaves and dump them, then put on a little manure, then lay out a little more manga or spread a little mulch, and eventually the bed takes shape.

One neat thing about my slow and puttering method of bed construction–the butterflies are going CRAZY. The unmulched sections of composted cow manure attract dozens of butterflies, which are sipping the moisture or feeding or something.  Whenever I walk out there, a small cloud is swirling over the bed.  I can’t ID half the species–there’s skippers and admirals and red-spotted purples, but there’s also the chartreuse things and the bright yellow things and the teeny little black and orange things and the wee miniscule blue-gray things. So eventually I give up and just enjoy standing in a cloud of butterflies, like a Disney heroine gone wrong.


  • Sara Klips says:

    That would be the adult male butterflies feeding on nutrients. They pass most of those nutrients to the adult females in the spermatophore. It’s usually referred to as “mud puddling”.

  • Michelle says:

    Have a dump truck bring you a big pile! It’s far cheaper that way.

    Butterfly photos, pretty please? I’m gonna have to find me a source of cow poop next year. 😀