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The Dirt Pile
Sunday, 2007 March 25 - 5:05 pm
You load sixteen tons, and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.

So last year, we had a contractor come to the house to turn the garage into a pub room. Since we needed a new place to park the cars, the contractor also poured a concrete parking pad next to the house. In the process, they graded the land and moved a lot of dirt. We had thought that when they finished, they would take that dirt away with them. But no. They left us a huge ugly pile of dirt. So thoughtful of them! The pile is about 25 feet across and four or five feet high.

The neighborhood kids like to play on the dirt pile. (Note to parents: don't bother buying your kids expensive toys! Just get them dirt. They will thank you.) I think one kid got buried up to his neck at one point. So you know, we figured it wouldn't be such a bad thing to just leave the dirt pile there, until wind and weather wore the dirt pile away. Meanwhile the kids could play "King of the Castle", or "Let's See What Happens When You Bury Your Head In The Dirt Pile", or whatever it is that kids play nowadays.

But guess what! The dirt pile, she is strong. It has persisted for months. Grass has started to grow on it. And now the neighbors are starting to complain about its ugliness.

Today I started moving the dirt pile, spreading bits and pieces of it around the yard, in whatever ruts and ditches looked like they could use an infusion of dirt. I had a shovel and a wheelbarrow, and I was determined to make a dent in that pile.

But as I entered the third hour of shoveling, I realized I grossly underestimated the effort in moving that dirt pile. So I started doing some calculations. Remembering our geometry, the volume of a cone is 1/3 the area of the base times the height. In meters, if we say the pile is 8 meters wide and 1.5 meters tall, that makes the volume about 25 cubic meters.

According to the Intertubes, dirt weighs about 100 pounds per cubic foot. (That seems like a lot, but okay.) That's about 3700 pounds per cubic meter, or nearly 1700 kilograms per cubic meter. So the weight of the dirt pile is 42500 kilograms. That's 42.5 metric tons of dirt. 93500 pounds. I figure each shovel full of dirt is about 3 kilograms, so it would take more than 14000 shovel repetitions to move the whole dirt pile.

Have you ever been a dinner guest where you didn't want your whole entree, but you wanted it to look like you enjoyed the meal, so you just pushed the food around your plate until it looked more eaten? Well, by the end of the fifth hour, that's what I was doing with the dirt pile. See? It's not so big any more!

I am now contemplating alternatives.

(a) Rent a bulldozer. Anyone know how to work a bulldozer?
(b) Hire a bunch of illegal immigrants. Anyone know any illegal immigrants?
(c) Ram my car into the dirt pile over and over until the dirt pile submits.
(d) Cover the dirt pile with fur and tell everyone it is a Saint Bernard.
Permalink  5 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: life


Comment #1 from Ellen Brasington (Guest)
2007 Mar 25 - 9:18 pm : #
Hey Ken,

I know someone who might want the dirt, and maybe come get it. How far away are you? Or, is this at your Cary house?
Comment #2 from Noelle (Guest)
2007 Mar 26 - 10:20 am : #
What are the chances of finding someone through your blog that "might want the dirt"? That, my friends, is the power of the internet.
Comment #3 from Jeffrey Smithson (Guest)
2007 Mar 26 - 4:41 pm : #
I know how to operate a Bobcat front end loader (I use to do home foundation repair work). I'll operate it for free, if you rent it! I can move the dirt arround the yard, or any other place you like. In fact, I think they will deliver it to your house and pickup when you are done.
Comment #4 from Phil (Guest)
2007 Mar 26 - 6:36 pm : #
Wow -- I wish I knew how to use a Bobcat.

Re: Option (c) - it's amazing how many CEOs apply similar logic to their own problems, only to discover (far too late) the error of their ways. But it's fun to watch.
Comment #5 from DonnaF (Guest)
2007 Apr 3 - 1:02 am : #
My vote is for option (d).

Comments are closed for this post.

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