Bulldozer of My Dreams

Actually, I think it’s this Bobcat.


It’s small but mighty. It was time to pull up the rest of that darn concrete in the center of the garden. Last year, a man named Steve came to me and asked if I had some work for him. I handed him a dig bar and he pried out literally tons of concrete over a few days of work. Steve was real tall. He also liked poetry, a crow flew by one day and he recited a Mary Oliver poem about crows, “From a single grain they have multipled. When you look into the eyes of one, you have seen them all…”

Second best concrete remover is my friend Hilary, who runs Hulk Hauling. He told me years ago: “When you are ready to liberate that good dark earth from the concrete covering it, just let me know. I thought I was ready. All I had to do was watch, but it was still hard. There’s just something about a big machine driving into a garden. Hilary was really careful and no living thing got squashed, it was just somehow…exhausting. bobcat2action

An old man named Doc left a container to load the broken bits of rubble into. I was happy to hear the rubble will get smashed and reused to make more concrete, instead of going to a landfill. It only took a few hours for the concrete to get scraped up then loaded into the container. By the end of the day, Hilary said it was about 10 tons of urbanite hauled away. I know someone will say that you can build stuff with urbanite. To you I say: come get it. There’s still some left!! I had it surrounding some of my veg beds but frankly, I just don’t like concrete rubble. Weeds grow into it. Rats hide in it. It makes the place look a little messy. Still, come get it if you want some–just email me.

Here’s the hole that was left.

I felt like I had given birth. There’s something about destruction, even of an annoying concrete foundation in the garden, that is mentally taxing. Next day I ordered a bunch of compost, dug out all the rubbley bits until I hit that sweet black earth underneath. Last year I tested the soil and it was all fine–rich even.
The pile of compost attracted my neighbor, Chao, who is a monk at the monastary across the street. When he came over and started helping, my daughter, who wasn’t that keen on loading up a wheelbarrow, suddenly wanted to help. Thank god for men of the cloth.

Next up is to get some free woodchips! My friend Willow suggested putting in some apple trees along the pathway. Let me know what’s your favorite apple to grow! I’m thinking Hudson Golden Gems or Newton Pippins.

12 responses to “Bulldozer of My Dreams

  1. What a momentous day for you that must have been! I bet you feel so liberated in what you can accomplish in your garden now. I love that your first concrete remover was into reciting poetry, what a great image. You can never go wrong with apple trees; don’t know my suggestions would be any use as we’re in such different areas. Something lovely and native to where you are.

  2. Awesome!

  3. Nice! Pink Pearl is by far my favorite apple that we grow. It maintains its gorgeous pink flesh when baked or cooked and has a fabulous tart flavor.

  4. Dawn Pillsbury

    It’s hard for me to recommend any kind of apple but the Cinnamon Spice these days. I still Apples of Antiquity is still the only ones who sell it. Someone found it in a back yard in Bolinas – I tasted ripe ones at Penny Livingston’s old garden during my permie training and was blown away. The mature apples taste like they’re infused with cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cloves.

    We planted ours (they only come as bare roots) four years ago and we got our first “Yes, these kind of taste like it” apples last year. Before they develop the full cinnamon spice flavor, they’re just sweet, crunchy apples.

    It’s in bloom now, and the blossoms smell like some kind of tropical flower, particularly in the evening. It blooms just after our Gravenstein and we’ve never had pollination issues (lots of apple trees in our Fruitvale neighborhood). Fruit ripens around September.

  5. Whew. I know I feel better .

  6. It’s gorgeous! Congrats. Still I completely understand the exhaustion. Destroying to create is a nerve wracking business.

    As for apples, I love my Braeburn. They taste nothing like their supermarket cousins and the tree blooms late enough to miss spring storms and ALWAYS produces a massive crop. Fruit ripens in Oct/Nov so it would be your late variety. My friend Ann’s Fuji likewise produces fruit highly superior to the supermarket ones and does really well in Alameda. Also, John Valenzuela recommended Anders for our area.

  7. I’m for Qgravenstein – they make the best pies and homemade applesauce with very little sugar added. When i make it the children hoard it

  8. Just had to say hi. I stopped reading your blog when you had the baby, and then I had a baby, and now that I have an urban garden to work in myself I came looking for you and I’m so glad you’re back.

    I have concrete to remove, too, and was going to get the Orchard starter pack from Trees of Antiquity- but that cinnamon apple sounds amazing and I might need to get it.

  9. now all you need on that lot is a tiny house.

  10. Satisfying work.

  11. “I felt like I had given birth”I love this line! The feeling must be amazing, to see that beautiful earth under something so infertile. It looks great.

  12. Enjoy your blog – hope you are still posting!

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