Posted on August 6, 2020 Posted by John Scalzi 33 Comments
Living as we do in the country, we have a long driveway, which is made of dirt, on top of which is a layer of gravel. The gravel has to be relaid every couple of years, and today was that day: A nice man came by in a really huge dump truck, and laid several tons of crushed rock of various grades into the driveway.
As a result, the driveway is now super-smooth if a little treacherous to walk on — the gravel will compact a bit for the next couple of weeks, and then will be easier to get down without worrying about turning an ankle if one is not careful.
But regardless, our driveway is now squared away and looking pretty nice. One of the weird things about being an adult is being excited by a new load of gravel, I suppose, but here we are. One adult, happy about crushed rock.
Which adult would that be?
I misread the headline as “Grovelling Day” and I was really puzzled because I’ve never heard of you grovelling.
Have you thought of having it sealed? Though I imagine that will cost a fair bit
Good to know one of the Rhadhamaerl when you need graveling.
Do you have them grade down ruts and dips as well? Back when I lived in a house with a long gravel lane, we had to do that periodically, and in between times aim our wheels so as not to scrape the chassis.
But new gravel day is always fun — if slightly treacherous to the ankles!
I read this as grave-ling, like duckling but more goth. I was delighted at the baby goths!
I had to read that 3 times before I could not read it as GROVELING day. Had been wondering what the heck was going on now! Super pretty gravel!
And I misread it as GAVEL-ING! Thinking it had to do with the mallet – maybe Athena using hers for the first time.
I remember that when my grandparents did this, the gravel would end up in the grass from mowing and be treacherous underfoot until it all sunk down. But it makes such a wonderful sound under tires.
I tore up many a knee on gravel while i was growing up. Funny how nostalgia will make the weirdest thing into a fond memory.
You got’a hand it to the guy. He’s got stones!
I remember when I was very young that watching that gravel being delivered would have been the high point of my day. Of course I’m old, so there was no internet or video games, and there were only a few TV channels available and there was only one TV in the house…
Coal delivery was the excitement for us….
I’d always assumed your driveway was paved with the bones of your enemies.
We got our gravel load yesterday for our driveway and it was the highlight of the day, nay, the highlight of summer. So far.
When we moved to the Charlotte suburbs a few years ago, we were surprised to discover that the local standard for driveways is concrete, even for the long ones. Our previous driveways, in Northern Virginia and the Boston suburbs, had been blacktop and kind of a pain; they didn’t survive winters for very many years. Given the apparent length of your driveway, concrete might have been expensive, but you wouldn’t have to redo it every few years. The cost would have been absorbed by your mortgage.
Strangely enough, I once spent more than a week of jury duty on a case that was entirely about rock (no one called it gravel). It was a civil case between a developer and a gravel pit operator and somewhere buried in my brain is all the information you would ever need to know about rock. It was actually pretty interesting. And the judge was the same judge who had married my wife and I a few years previously.
Brings back memories of my Grandparents place in Western NC where the gravel was all nicely rounded river rocks. Lots of cool retaining walls out there with bigger river rocks, too.
Must have been a gravel quarry in the Pigeon river or something.
The kid in me wants to ask, “Where does all the old gravel go?”
I’m in my early thirties and had a good day today. Which, now that I think about it for a second, apparently means ‘picked up some new storage bins, got lunch at the vegan deli, went for a run, and booked a dentist appointment’.
My inner child is deeply unimpressed.
I hope you have someone to plow it in the winter. That would be a long job to shovel.
I am familiar with a gravel parking lot at our church. The gravel works into the ground, and we have another load put on top of it. It works for a while, until that load is needing some replenishing. Gravel lots still have wild animals pass through it. A friend killed a snake out on the gravel once. It was a poisonous snake. The man was wearing boots. He took a chance, and killed the snake.
It must be so nice to get away with just re-graveling every few years.
In Texas, we have to deal with caliched roads which need road-grading regularly in order to even out the ruts and flatten the centre humps, plus periodic haulings-in of new caliche to replace what’s washed away downhill in storms.
I grew up in a dirt road so I understand. Congratulations on fresh gravel.
With regards to being excited as an adult about things you’d never have expected when you were younger, one of my favorite memes says something to the effect of as an adult you have a favorite burner on the stove. It always makes me laugh – mine is the front right.
Neverending story‘s rock eaters munch those gravels away. Mystery solved.
How many tons? How does that compare to the most massive thing you’ve ever bought that wasn’t gravel?
What goes into the decision to gravel vs. pave? (I often wonder this when we visit DH’s family in a different rural town in the midwest.)
As a small boy, I was always excited to see the grader go by, down the public pike. Our own driveway though, was bottomless. All the stones from our big garden went there, to no avail.
I dimly remember dumping wheelbarrows of gravel onto dirt trails, to no avail.
The public sidewalk was dirt, bounded by two-by-fours. In the frost the stones would all sink (not be heaved up) and there would be an inch of ice reaching down from the dirt, that you could see around the holes of the sunk stones.
A cheaper alternative to full pavement would be two parallel tracks with grass in between. What do you think about that?
Maybe some patches of prairie for the animals to play in? Tall grass and wildflowers can be cool too, as well as helping all the pollinators. Most of the “tallgrass prairie” plants are found in meadows all over the northeast. And instead of mowing, you burn the patch every year or two, which is exciting.
Pedantic question: Most of the folks here, including @scalzi, appear to be using the word “gravel” interchangeably with “crushed rock”. My family’s rural driveway* has been gravel as well, which I define as “naturally rounded small rocks”. Any thoughts on the difference in vocabulary?
* The road had been dirt until getting paved in the late 1990’s.
Gravel is cool, but tell me about the lawn. How long does it take to mow and who does the mowing?
I really appreciate this post, because we *have* a gravel driveway, yet somehow we’d missed this memo, and it explains a lot.
*heads off to look up driveway gravel, local sources*