Gardening Clearance Cairn


I once produced a small shell midden in my kitchen. Just now I made a small clearance cairn in the garden. My wife has ordered a peony bush from Gansu in China via a plant dealer in Turku, Finland, and I picked it up at a trucking firm the other day. Now it fell upon me to dig the hole and plant the thing. While digging I set aside all the stones I came upon, as lo-tech farmers have done for millennia, only at a smaller scale. And thus my little cairn.

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  1. #1 eleanora.
    October 2, 2010

    Can’t you buy peonies in Sweden, or was this some special variety?

  2. #2 Janne
    October 2, 2010

    You know, you owe it to some far-future archeology student flailing around for a PhD project to plant a 17th century erotic figure and an 11th century coin together with something contemporary under the rocks.

  3. #3 Martin R
    October 2, 2010

    El, this is apparently something quite special. There were peonies in the garden where I grew up.

    Janne, what I really want to do is bury all the stuff you suggest along with something collected on a trip to the far future.

  4. #4 eleanora.
    October 2, 2010

    Failing an ability to travel to the future, you may have to settle for stuff from as far flung places as possible, eg, Janne’s erotic statue – maybe from Italy, some Viking silver work, a Chinese lion, perhaps a stainless steel statue of a fairy or emperor penguin, a carved emu egg (how would you preserve it?) and something that typifies South America – maybe a stone llama or something from a dig that’s already several centuries old.
    This could become a fun game.

  5. #5 Martin R
    October 2, 2010

    Maybe I could get one of my elderly neighbours to kill and dismember another elderly neighbour and then bury the body along with my cache of exotic objects.

  6. #6 blf
    October 2, 2010

    Be sure to include a clay tablet (fired) inscribed with mirror-writing Klingon which translates as “Ha ha! Wrong cache.”

  7. #7 The Phytophactor
    October 2, 2010

    Who cares about the rocks in the way! It’s just soil with some larger than average particles. What kind of peony was it? A tree peony? Come on, give with the good stuff.

  8. #8 Martin R
    October 2, 2010

    A rockii tree peony of a breed named Long yuan zhuang shi, “Dragon hero”. There were actually two plants in the box, slightly intertwined but not joined.

  9. #9 eleanora.
    October 2, 2010

    Very pretty, but I can’t believe the prices quoted on the wbsite I looked them up on!

  10. #10 SM
    October 2, 2010

    You should also dig some post holes at random spots in the garden, interspersed with fire pits, and let the posts rot in the holes. Those poor future archaeologists could get bored excavating 21st century suburbs and landfills and yearn for simpler periods.

  11. #11 Martin R
    October 3, 2010

    My toil at Åshusby in Norrsunda ’92 and Sättuna in Kaga ’08 convinced me that it should be considered a crime against humanity to dig a pit or posthole without putting anything interesting in it.

  12. #12 eleanora.
    October 4, 2010

    So, I guess you should have buried some statury or coins or something under the peony.

  13. #13 kevin
    October 4, 2010
  14. #14 Martin R
    October 5, 2010

    A buddy of mine actually found a modern dildo at a site he dug a few years ago. It was at a highway crossing in Småland.

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