Mel and I dug up one corner of our yard this Saturday. It may become a flower bed and it may not.

There is a place where our back patio and the house make an inside corner and where there is never any direct sunlight. A window looks out on it and all we’ve ever had there is sparse shade-loving grass. It has also always been slightly sloped toward the house which makes for a damp foundation which is always bad.

So several years ago I borrowed a friend’s derelict tiller and grubbed up the place and moved the dirt somewhere else. I filled a raised bed with some and I hauled away two pickup loads to the yards of those who had erosion problems.

It was almost enough.

So Saturday we did some more tilling and regrading and put in some edging stones to make that corner into something more attractive to look at through that window.

Then it started raining and we stopped working.

But the rain brought out a sad fact of my yard that I had forgotten: my soil is mostly clay. It drains poorly and when it gets wet becomes as slippery as ice. If it weren’t for the grass stabilizing it and adding a couple of inches of good soil, it would be unfit to live on. I attempted to deal with this in our new bed by adding some topsoil purchased at the store but what I appeared to have created is quicksand. I went out into the rain-soaked bed to pack it down and my feet just sank and my shoes became coated with it.

I guess mother nature will eventually take care of it herself since plants with roots will stabilize the clay and now that I’ve got the slope away from the house, water will not pool.

The best solution is probably just to move but I think this is a common problem in this part of Oklahoma. When I went to see a friend’s house under construction, I remember sinking in up to my calves in similar dirt so I don’t know what the real answer is.