One afternoon I arrived at the new house to see how progress was coming on the demolition of the bathroom and the re-plastering of all the other rooms. I couldn’t find Tom at work in any of the rooms. I didn’t see any changes in the state of the house since the last time I popped in. Work seemed to have come to a halt. But wait, what was that rumbling sound I could hear coming from the back yard? Sure enough there was Tom perched on top of his tractor shoving around piles of dirt. Piles and piles and piles of dirt. Now what?!
Spying me watching him from one of our many terraces, he turned off the tractor and started shouting, “Can you see? Can you see?”  What I saw was a somewhat rolly-polly field that had been scraped clean to a depth of about two feet.  The shock of this only temporarily blinded me to the strange sight of lots of big holes randomly dug all around the property.
“Look!  It’s perfect. It’s’ amazing. It’s stupendous!”
I had not realized how concerned Tom had been about the quality of the soil at our new home. Although I should have had an inkling when he had three wagons of manure dumped at our friends’ barn before we even owned a garden.
As far as he knew there were two possibilities for soil type in our village. Sticky, gooey, impossible clay or boney, inpenetrable bedrock. The house rests directly on bedrock so it stood to reason that the gardens would as well. These prospects had his gardening dreams in a turmoil.
But here after a few hours of testing and moving around dirt he had found gold. Black gold. The perfect, most amazing soil. There couldn’t be the likes for hundreds of miles and here he had the dumb luck to be blessed with acres and acres of it.
For generations this house has been home to gardeners. French gardeners that love and rely on their vegetable gardens. French gardeners that understand that soil is everything.
So hang the electrical work, who cares if the plumbing is precarious, the paint colors will get selected on a rainy day. As long as we continue to have sunny 60 degree days in February we know where we can find Tom.