Chapter 46
Dirt Farm
The Tales of Texas

1a - The Mysterious Ski Rack
1b - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
1c - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
1d - Scorpions, Scorpio
2a - Diet Soda
2b - Riding into the Sunrise
3 - Modest Magazines
4 - Down to Houston
5a - What Does That Sign Say
5b - Just Follow Your Nose
5c - They Call It the Sunbelt
5d - The State Tree
6 - The New House
7a - Billboards
7b - Billboards Again
8 - Stereo Upgrade
9 - Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings to and from Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What's That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston through the small towns
37 - Shoe Story, an Austin Anecdote
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47a - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48a - Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House Is That-A-Way
57 - C.S.I. Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2

Dirt farm, near the airport

2006/07/16 17:00

Airport. Welcome to ABIA, the sign says. "Austin-Bergstrom International Airport." Formerly Bergstrom Air Force Base. Boring. Functional, but boring. I'm tempted to find a way to attach a giant L to the sign so that it says Welcome to LABIA, which is a welcome I can get behind. ABIA, snore. LABIA, okayyyyyyy!

But I digress. Driving back from a day in the small towns southeast of Austin, I happened on the most remarkable landscape. If you drip a powder slowly into a pile, you get a little cone of the powder. This works for any powdery or granulated substance: dirt, sugar, flour, sand. Think of the sand in the bottom of an hourglass, or of a cinder cone volcano. Good. Now drizzle a second one close to the first one so that the two cones blend together but still have distinct peaks. And then another one next to that. And another and another. . . . You end up with a ridge line of sharp teeth like the edge of a cartoon saw blade.

Now do this with dirt, and make the cones, oh, sixty feet high. And line up thirty, forty of them in a row. And three rows of them receding off into the distance, converging to a vanishing point. And all nice, fresh, brown dirt, too, not yet covered with grasses, nor eroded by rain into funny shapes. What on earth is this landscape?

It's XYZ Dirt Company, says the sign across the road. These must be piles of dirt removed from some huge excavations and waiting for new homes in some huge holes.

Or to build overpasses. Like the temporary mountain we had in our neighborhood, which we thought was going to be fill for one giant overpass at the big new intersection. It was about seventy feet high. So tall that the trucks crawling on top of it, making it marginally larger or smaller, looked like toys. No, it was built as storage, then used to fill three smaller overpasses. Little tectonic trucks and dozers built this mountain in a few weeks, then other little trucks and front loaders eroded it back down to ground level over the next six months.

Different meaning for "dirt farm."