Sunday, June 16, 2024

Clean dirt vs dirty dirt, by J.C. Kavanagh


The award-winning Twisted Climb series!
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Have you ever driven past a sign on the road that read, "Clean dirt wanted." I have, and each time I would laugh out loud. "Clean dirt?" Is there such a thing?

Apparently, yes.

My partner and I recently purchased a country property. When we inspected the property in February, there was fresh snow on the ground. It was a beautiful sight. When we moved in the following month, the snow had melted and we discovered the rear portion of the yard was not topped with grass, but with gravel and sand. And even worse, the south perimeter of the yard was surrounded by a clay-bottom, water-filled moat. 

Oh dear.

We live in one of a gazillion 'mosquito capitals' in Ontario and if you have stagnant or standing water on your property, it's a perfect breeding ground for these blood-sucking pests. 

But back to the dirt.

To eliminate the breeding grounds, we have to fill the moat. Before we fill the moat, we have to shovel out the clay bottom. Clay is so dense that water will not penetrate easily, thus the standing water. So we put on our Schwarzenegger arms and dig out enough clay to fill dozens of wheelbarrows.

Next, we research the best material to fill the moat. Sand? Gravel? Dirt? Ah, and that's where we went down the rabbit hole. There's six types of soil, three kinds of dirt and countless types of gravel and/or sand mixtures. We need to fill the moat with something that drains well, so sand was the best option. We ordered a tri-axle truck load and distributed it using a wheel barrow, shovel and rake. A very hearty work out.

Tri-axle dump truck carrying 20 yards of fill which equals 25 tons or 50,000 pounds

Since the back yard was sloped into the 'moat,' we decided to truck in additional loads of dirt to level the area and totally eliminate any ponding. Again, we went back to research and found that 'clean dirt' was the best - we could spread it and then add a good layer of top soil before seeding for grass. Clean dirt is composed of rock, sand and grit and has no compostable material in it. Whereas 'dirty' dirt may contain garbage, waste material and unknown substances. Steer clear of the dirty dirt!

Me on one load of 'clean' dirt

Three of six truck loads of clean dirt

Six truck loads later... we have almost half the back yard filled and levelled. 

Please, somebody hand me a beer.

In the Twisted Climb series, there are volcanic rocks and stone cliffs but the holes in the ground found in the dream world do not lead to rabbits; they lead to the Un-World. Order the series today and set yourself up for a fantastic escape into the adventures of Jayden, Connor and Max. And the Protector.

In the meantime, stay safe and don't forget to tell the ones you love, that you love them! 

J.C. Kavanagh, author of
The Twisted Climb - A Bright Darkness (Book 3) Best YA Book FINALIST at Critters Readers Poll 2022
The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends (Book 2) voted BEST Young Adult Book 2018, Critters Readers Poll and Best YA Book FINALIST at The Word Guild, Canada
The Twisted Climb,
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers Poll
Voted Best Local Author, Simcoe County, Ontario, 2021
Novels for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)
Instagram @authorjckavanagh


  1. Sounds like a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end. Enjoy your new property. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Vijaya. I'm pretty sure I would win an arm competition!

  2. Sounds like hard worrk. The reward will be in a great yard and no mosquitos.

    1. Yes Janet, we're excited to have a dry and (mostly) mosquito free yard!


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