Treasure From Dirt


I dug a hole in my front yard last summer. My brother had given me a clump of ornamental grass, the ten foot tall kind with fluffy white plumes on top, you know the type. I’m trying to plant as many bushes and trees and shrubs in my yard as I can to help eliminate the lawn. I think an empty space around your house with grass growing is a terrible idea. We have been duped into thinking we need to have a flawless lawn, a lawn to be the envy of the neighborhood, to be sought after, to be worshiped. And we spend hours and gobs of money on fertilizers and herbicides to get it that way. And more hours cutting and trimming the damn stuff. Not only is it a disaster for the environment and detrimental to bees and other productive insects, an empty lawn is just plain boring. So I got some ornamental grass. Nice stuff. And I dug a hole for it.

The hole was about the size of a five gallon pail, laid on its side. As I was digging I noticed stuff in the dirt. Here’s what I found: a silver plated spoon, a large rusty hinge, four rusty nails and a piece of pottery with a white finished side that says, “China” and has a unicorn on it. After some research I found that the pottery piece is probably Ironstone from an English company. All in a hole about the size of a five gallon pail. I immediately wanted to dig up the rest of the yard to see what else I could find. After some consideration I realized how much work that would be and wondered how much it cost to rent a backhoe.

I didn’t rent a backhoe or dig any further. But it was fun to find stuff. I can see the allure of archeology. And owning a metal detector. It’s digging up history. Someone owned the plate that the pottery chip came from. Someone used that silver plated spoon. Who were they? What were they like? And how did those things come to be lost? All questions I can’t answer but would love to know more about. As far as my lawn goes, I’m going to talk to city hall and see what the laws are about letting it grow wild. I’d like to plant wildflowers and just let it grow naturally. I’m not sure I can do that but I’ll find out. Oh and the ornamental grass? It didn’t grow.

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