Gravel For the Mature User

I never liked gravel when I was a kid. It was like a sly dog, pretending to be asleep, so it could nip embed itself in knees and abrade skin from palms.

Growing up on a farm/ranch, the roads were dust, grit, and red dirt. This was the proud home of the dust bowl, after all. In election years, the county magnanimously dumped a truckload or two of gravel along our road.  Some yahoo on a big CAT grader would fly by doing 30 MPH, extending the granite misery as far as he could.

My bike was a hand-me-down. Frankensteined together with baling wire and cart parts.  It wobbled like a drunk on Fourth of July, but when I hit the gravel patch, it jerked to a stop, tires spinning in one place like an exercise bike. Of course, my body kept going. For years, I was petrified of bicycles. I have the scabby knees to prove it.

But now, in my Grace Kelly arc of life, gravel is my friend. Mud in front of the compost bin?  Toss some gravel in front of it.  Poor drainage area? My old friend, gravel, to the rescue. I buy it by the truckload, hands-on-hips, saying things like: “Dump it here,”  “You sure this is ¾ inch?” and “Who ordered this much?”

I needed some gravel the other day to teach a mischievous little embankment that its sliding days were over. So I went to my local gravel boutique where it was $2 a bucket. By the 15th scoopful, I was pondering the stupidity of paying money for broken rock. It’s a free range commodity  like air, water, and dirt.  But, I’ve been stupid enough to buy those too.

The lot for the new grocery store was full of homeless gravel, living in uncared for piles. But…I suppose it should stay there and become part of a parking lot. Finally, Cowboy Fan helped me complete my project with a gift: A DYI gravel kit.

Gravel appreciation is truly for a mature afficionado.

  •  Adults who don’t want to stomp in mud.
  • Adults who want straight posts for taut fence lines.
  • Adults who like to stretch their arms an inch longer, hauling wheel barrows of stone to the back 40 acres.

And Adults who’ve already destroyed their knees. Now they’re working on their backs


About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in A Laugh, Home Repair, Smiles and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Gravel For the Mature User

  1. Margie says:

    The road to our cabin, the driveway up to our cabin, the parking lot at our cabin – all gravel. Disappearing gravel. I don’t know where it goes, but every few years some more has to be added.


    • Barb says:

      That’s easy, Margie. It jumps into every crevice of whatever travels over it. If your vehicle tries too defend itself, it will be pocked with scars. Same for knees and elbows. I’ve given up and simply dive first onto a gravel road to get the battle over with. My advice is to stop buying more gravel for your driveway and lot. That’s the only way to kill it.
      Thanks for stopping by. Send pictures of your gravel-warrior vehicles.


  2. Spectra says:

    Alas, I did not grow up with gravel, in my middle-class, suburbia El Dorado. The streets weren’t paved with gold, just some nice, hard aggregate, with sparkly quartz embedded which glittered like diamond fields after summer rains. I am, however, in the habit of having mulch mounds and compost heaps poured into my backyard via dump trucks driven by sub-human (tho congenial) delivery guys.

    The last pile of dirt has been sitting there since May, just waiting for the perfect weather/conditions to spread it, and make a new grass lawn. I dislike heavy yardwork, but dislike the idea of what an offering male would expect in return if I let one of them spread that dirt for me. What else might they want to spread? Hm? (the love? heh!)


    • Barb says:

      Aha!!! You see, this is EXACTLY why gravel is for the mature user. Women of our caliber should not be expected to fling rock pieces about (unless they’re diamonds);. Of course, you could simply landscape around the mounds calling them “berms” or some fancypants term. New grass is highly overrated.


  3. Rose Lefebvre says:

    I like the sound of a gravel road. You can hear people coming long before they arrive. Rather like an announcement! I can almost hear John Denver…country roads, take me home to the place I belong…


  4. Jenny says:

    I’m supposed to get to work and here I am enchanted with your humor. Got to get dressed. My worst gravel experience. sliding out of control on gravel when grabbing Soozie’s phone and ending up with a side full of broken ribs.


    • Barb says:

      Let me help by dispensing some fundamental wisdom that you didn’t ask for. Stop playing grab-it with other people’s phones. Putting your hands on another person’s communication device is THE TOP method to spread disease and disaster. Didn’t you see the movie Contagion? The second big method for spreading germs is going naked to work. It’s great you’ve conquered the cultural changes and now cover your gumbas for professional endeavors. Being fully clothed won’t prevent broken ribs, but it does cut down on the abrasions..
      Honestly, it’s great to hear from you. I know you’ve been busy.


  5. Gravel and motor bikes are a poor mix too. Some years back when the smaller portion was knocked from his bike (darling I’ve hit ANOTHER motorcyclist, what should I do?) the gentle caring nurses at the local accident and emergency centre took a scrubbing brush to his back. I am wincing now just thinking about it.

    Nonetheless, this post has come some way to reconciling me with the dreaded gravel. Thanks.


    • Barb says:

      Okay Elephant’s Child. You win for the most visceral comment that makes my toes curl, my stomach clench, and my teeth hurt. I MUST write a gravel and scrub-brush scene sometime. Yeow-ee. I’ve got it listed in my notebook of “Discomforts.” Thanks. I’ll be contacting you when I need more toe-squeezing ideas.


  6. Roxie Matthews says:

    I love, love, love the do it yourself gravel kit!!

    In central Oregon, we had red cinders. You knew you had your summer feet when you could run barefoot on cinders that had been heating in the sunshine for 8 hours. A friend’s mom checked out our calluses and suggested it would make more sense just to take us to the farrier in September, since we would just outgrow any other shoes she bought.


  7. momaescriva says:

    I bet that rock by Roger Rook Hall never had a lovely bow before you honored it!


  8. Alice Lynn says:

    Gravel roads. I grew up with them too, right here in Oregon. When I was about six, my brother and I sat in our yard and watched the paving of Hardcastle Street (Avenue)? Fast forward to me as a mom. I remember taking my kids, buckets in hand, out to walk down a nearby gravel road in the rain, looking for pretty rocks. There were lots of agates in the mix and we loved those treasure hunts. We even bought a small rock tumbler to make them smooth and shiny, the way they were in rock stores. I even had a bracelet and earrings made from one beauty. But it’s true, about bikes and gravel. They don’t go well together.


    • Barb says:

      Isn’t that a wonderous stage of life, when you can entertain kids with pretty rocks. How cool that you have jewelry from your treasure finds. The only thing my kiddo picks up are bolts, and animal teeth.


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