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August 26th 2009

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    I will admit that a person's relationship with potting soil is an intimate one, and after surviving the ludicrous concept of "water grabber" to then find a witches brew worthy only of mulch in a bag describing itself as potting soil creates a circumstance that cannot be shrugged away.

    Nor do I now think it extreme to add Hardware Store to the list of garden pests.  It is an insidious creature, more seductive than the prettiest caterpillar and populated by the many legs of that deceitful question "can I help you?"   Myself, increasingly these days the answer is "No", without the "thank-you".  

    And this because grumpy old men assume we know better.  Even if we are no longer capable of reading small print.  And even if we do annunciate loudly with irritating insistence when confusion is expressed by that peculiar generation of enthusiast who are still gainfully employed.  

 

    

    The answer of course is further advance into stoicism by making potting soil here from this land.  The fume kiln will cure it of devils four cubic feet at a time.  I picture it in an assortment of colorful plastic bags, sealed against predation, and I will become miserly by releasing it one tablespoonful at a time.

    Years ago when I tried such a thing in a kitchen stove, I chose that percentage of earth which potting soil requires from a part of ground that unknown to me a cat had found convenient on cold days.   When cooked, the feces of a meat eater owns a lasting pungency that I think first drove me elsewhere for potting soil.

    "Lessons learned," they are called by the military, and already I have noticed at the hardware store there is an increase in determination to be helpful. Which I guess is yet one more symptom of economic uncertainty, and which in my view is not actually the solution to wanton pruning of costs.   And I say this because contrary to the yearnings of the powerful those of us who want potting soil are not yet idiots.

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tim candler

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