I am apparently QUITE unused to manual labor, because yesterday's mucking about exhausted me. It seems like a tiny task, just replant the bulbs i dug up on Saturday. (I am sad to see many of the iris rhizomes are nibbled on, but surely there will be plenty left for the deer to nibble on.) I didn't measure the length of the beds i made, but they are in the 12' to 15' range, stretching between two crepe myrtle trees. I think they should get enough sun. Just as now is not the ideal time to divide and transplant, the location isn't ideal, but i know the driveway work can stay clear of them where they are. So much of my planting seems to have an element of, "and when we do the other thing, will we be trampling *this* location?"
I had a nice rock harvest when turning the soil and i didn't even go that deep. I'm clearly not composting "correctly" these days, after getting hot compost our first days here. I'm hoping the restructured pile might get hot. I did take some of the clearly anaerobically composted waste to add to the flower bed along with some rotted wood chips. Hopefully that will add a bit of nutrients and looseness to the red clay. (Actually, there was some nicer than brick-red soil at the top.)
When i pull out these rocks from the boundary between the "top soil" and the very red clay, i think about how i could very well be the first human to lay eyes on the rocks. They are chunks of slate and quartz, from rocks laid down 600 million years ago, chemically weathered into the bright red clay. Sometimes i break apart a clod of clay and see little crystals of quartz embedded in the matrix, and think of how the clay used to be a rock with pockets of the quartz solution. The passage of millions of years, formation and fracturing of continents, percolated water and chemicals into the rock, turning it into the bright red Georgeville clays. Sometimes i wonder if i'll hit a vein of quartz with gold or emeralds: it wouldn't be impossible. (Georgeville is near the first US gold rush, here in NC.) My main interest in the rocks is to take them and use them for paths, embedding them into the surface of the clay. I've started some stone steps to the garage.
Maybe i'll just stick to raking today. Although there are more things to rescue from the driveway -- more gladiolus, bearsfoot (Smallanthus uvedalius), and the witchgrass (Dichanthelium sp.). And pipsissewa (Chimaphila maculata) if i'm motivated.