In general, I like to dig. It's a full body workout and when you're done, you've got a great hole that you can put a gravel path in, or plant stuff in, or put a fire pit in, or pour concrete in. We're doing that last one again now.
Bending under pressure is bad. [Another life lesson brought to you by Rurification]
I split my first shovel last week. As in, the metal tip was split in two from digging through roots and hauling tons of gravel, etc.
We're hard on shovels so we get good ones with fiberglass handles. Around here, a very good shovel is a reasonably inexpensive investment for what it'll do for you. Eric prefers the regular long handled shovels. My shovels are the shorter ones with the handle parallel to the ground. The girls like those, too. They're easier for short people to handle. The green ones have a nice wide edge for your foot at the top of the blade. You're less likely to injure yourself with one of these. They're a bit heavy, so K2 prefers the lighter, yellow one.
Notice on the far left a flat bladed spade for scraping things up. Very handy for some jobs. Also notice the rake in the middle. Rakes are great for moving dirt and that rake is one of my best loved tools in the garden.
Recently we started a project that involves moving a lot more dirt than we typically move at one time. These new holes are 50' x 30" x 30" or so. Deeper in some places.
Not exactly shovel type of holes.
This is me running a Bobcat back hoe. The first three hours, we could have dug with a shovel faster than I could dig with that thing, but then I got the hang of it and after I'd spent 15 hours using it, I was moving some serious dirt with a lot of finesse.
Finesse is important when you're using heavy equipment. Finesse is what allows you to put the dug dirt right into the wheel barrow to be hauled away instead of knocking the wheelbarrow over with the machine. [Did that.] Finesse is what allows you to not break the window you're working right next to. [Didn't do that, thank heaven!] Finesse allows you to lift the ginormous rock that some nitwit buried next to the front door and move it to exactly where you want it to go. [Totally did that. Got a standing ovation from the family.] Finesse is good.
It will take at least another day and a half to dig the other holes, but I'm much better at it now and will hopefully be able to get the job done pretty efficiently. Efficient is good. It's one of the things I really really loved about the back hoe.
And here's another thing I noticed. When I'm digging with a shovel, I get pretty dirty. But when I dig with the back hoe, I stay a lot cleaner. Clean is good. Yet another reason that I want one of these babies for Christmas.
A girl can wish.