Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pretty trash

This is a picture of food waste soon to be composted. I thought it was pretty.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Delivery Trucks

I am often asked what size dump truck will deliver our products. Although we have access to all sized trucks, here are the three trucks that deliver our products most often.

This is our truck. It is a standard sized dump truck although has only one rear axle. Most gravel trucks have two rear axles (aka tandem) allowing them more weight capacity. Our truck needs a 10’ width clearance and about 18’ height clearance. We can dump on driveways without fear of cracking the pavement. It is fairly agile and can dump in most places. If you look under the rear doors, you’ll notice a bar. This bar hinders our ability to dump over anything (such as a wall, or even a high curb).

We have started referring some smaller deliveries to New Mexico Earth Adobe. This is their truck. It is about 7’ wide and can carry up to 6 cubic yards of our material. Weight is not an issue for this truck either. It is even more agile than our truck. The smaller truck allows it to run more efficiently. It does not have a minimum required quantity.

Southwest Express has been handling our long distance hauling for close to 10 years. One of the largest trucks at our disposal is their 30 yard end-dump. It is a full sized tractor/trailer measuring about 52’ long. The dump bed raises about 30’ in the air and is fairly unstable when raised. For this reason, a delivery of material in this quantity requires a large turn-around space and a FLAT, SOLID surface to dump on to. But, if you need a lot of material, and have the space to receive the truck, this is the most efficient way to go.

Now you know.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Strawberry Theory

I was out this morning picking strawberries for breakfast when it occurred to me that my small patch offers a valuable lesson. Based on the KISS theory (Keep It Simple Stupid), I am developing what I call the Strawberry Theory. Mind you, I am developing it as I write and I came up with it over a cup of coffee, a handful of ripe fresh-picked berries, and a cool moist NM spring morning. Briefly stated, the theory says: If it’s difficult, you’re doing it wrong.

When I look at the instructions for planting, propagating, and harvesting strawberries, I find pages addressing proper spacing, watering, and planting depth techniques. A typical entry reads

“…most gardeners set plants 2-3 ft. apart in rows 4-5ft. apart, let runners fill in until plants are 7-10 in. apart, then keep additional runners pinched off. Keep the rows 20-30 in. wide. “

Huh? How did strawberries ever survive without us? And don’t get me started about adjusting the pH! If it’s that difficult, you’re doing it wrong! For my own patch, I was given three plants which I stuck in the ground and watered. That’s it. Two years later I have a 10’ x 10’ patch that produces well enough to fill my early morning stomach every couple of days. I don’t see any difficulty in that. I don’t see any reason to complicate a process that has worked successfully on its own for millennia.

I am painfully aware that everything in life will not adhere to the strawberry theory. It takes timing, effort, creativity, and finesse to deal with a day. Just getting a half hour of uninterrupted face time with my wife is a three day endeavor it seems. In the garden, there is always a pest to fend off, the heat or the hail to prepare for. My kids love to pull weeds but can’t tell a goathead from a tomato.

But at work, I’ve hit that groove where it’s a safe haven. It must be the combination of fresh air, ingested microbes, and good customers. The enthusiasm of most customers can’t help but buoy me out of the desiccative denseness of daily life. I am surprised when I get bombarded daily by exasperated newcomers to the gardening scene who ask incredulously “That’s it? I don’t have to add blood meal, bone meal, vermiculite, fertilizer ever third day unless there’s a tornado in Iowa?” or some such. I try to calmly explain that the soils here in NM are pretty good, only lacking in organic material. A little addition of compost is really all you need to grow a luscious crop of berries.

I can’t help but wonder if I took a few lessons from the garden, though, if my life outside of work wouldn’t fit somehow better into the theory.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

life at soilutions

There is so much life here. Cranes, crows and nesting ducks have gone. Coyotes and stray dogs, too are now replaced by squirrels and rabbits. There are swallows, sparrows, hawks, lizards and aphids. Soon there will be bees, flies and ladybugs. The trees are the green that only spring offers, not yet beaten by the heat. The iris bloom now, too. Ah, iris. What better symbol of spring!
It is no wonder I find simplistic ease here. Here things are natural and obvious to me. I am carried like a leaf caught in the rising current of a running ditch.