This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Word To Use Today: friable.

The soil in my garden is cold, wet, stony, and so claggy that it can be moulded into pots. 

The gardening books keep telling me to rake the soil to a friable texture


Friable means easily broken up, or crumbly, but getting the teeth of a rake into my soil is impossible. If you manage to get a fork into it, all you'll turn up is a fork-width cube of solid clay. 

The soil is not always wet, of course. We do get the occasional dry spell. On those occasions the clay goes rock hard and you can't get a fork into it at all.

Ah well! I'm still hoping that at least one or two of the snowdrops I planted in the autumn will come up, even though all I could do was lever up up a block of clay, drop some bulbs in the hole, and then drop the block back on top of them.

By 4028mdk09 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

I'll let you know if I see one at any point.

Nevertheless, friable is a lovely word, and after forty years of adding leaf mould and compost to my small plot some patches have at least got down to the texture of clinker. 

It's the worms I mostly feel sorry for, you know. I've never seen a truly happy worm. Still, perhaps if I live to be a hundred or so, and carry on adding organic matter to the soil, I might finally find one that's smiling.

I'll keep trying, anyway.



Word To Use Today: friable. This beautiful word comes from the Latin friābilis, from friāre, to crumble, related to fricāre, to rub down.

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