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Good dirt, cheap

I need to buy some good dirt, cheap. This seems a very strange thing to say.

In Knoxville, we have a friend with an urban farm. One day, when we were moving her portable chicken coop, she scooped up a handful of dirt. “See how it holds together?” she said. “This is good dirt.”

Margaret made that dirt. By composting, and moving her chickens, andtree and dirt rotating crops. Margaret’s been in that house for over twenty years, and I doubt she ever had to buy dirt.

Sigh. Bob and I compost, but we’ll probably have sold this house by the time we make enough good dirt for our dream garden. If we want serviceberries and dogwoods, we have to buy some dirt.

Buying dirt, because composting isn’t fast enough, got me thinking about my latest encounter with kidslang. Every year my sixth graders do a project about friendship. They start by listing slang terms for “friend.” Three years ago, BFF was tops. A year later it was BFFL, Best Friends for Life. Now it’s BAE, Before Anyone Else. Apparently, “no one” says BFFL anymore.

Who knew? My grasp of kidslang is like our compost barrel. Way too slow for the age of social media.

One of my favorite dictionaries, Slang through the Ages, categorizes slang by century. And why not? Shouldn’t words last more than a year? Wouldn’t you love to run out to Kroger’s for some cackling farts? (That’s 17th century slang for eggs.) But imagine writing a dictionary of twenty-first century slang. The words are outdated before we finish typing them. We occupy our slang the way we occupy our houses: they’re home for a short while, and then we move on.

Meanwhile, does anybody know where I can get a truckload of good dirt, cheap?

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