Grit: YAWA Dictionary

Yesterday I caused Susan at Bike Garden some confusion when I said:

Hurrah! The road round the corner is getting a grit bin. Too bad it's not in time for my expensive prang last week.
I wonder if she had something like the picture below in mind: I fondly remember breakfast style grits (which we know as polenta here in the UK) from various holidays we've taken in the USA...

Image courtesy of sashafatcat via Wikimedia Commons.
However, the grit I was talking about comes in one of these...

Being in the nether regions of a modern housing estate means not only are our roads not gritted when our wintry weather gets bad, we're also too far away to get the benefit of any salty runoff coming from the roads which are.
I usually walk when that happens, but I overslept after last week's GMG Awards excitement. So an undue haste to get to my beginners pilates class despite the snow whirling down at the time, meant I literally took my car for a spin.
The road round the corner from us is on a slight slope and I must have caught the edge of some ice beneath the snow. My car did an elegant pirouette halted only when I hit the kerb as I was too close to it to steer out of the spin in time. The result of my 'prang' (another word Susan didn't understand) by hitting the kerb turned out to be bent steering to the tune of £256 to repair :(
That road is always an ice rink in bad weather and now it seems the council have decided we're to have our very own grit bin, so we can be all neighbourly and keep the road clear ourselves, just like my dad and neighbours used to do when I was little. As the road's on a major route for pupils walking to school that probably helped them make the decision.

So now we'll have lots of grit (aka crushed rock salt) available to help us clear the road: as long as someone reminds the council to top it up whenever supplies get low...
At least Susan and I have some common ground (do excuse the pun) as far as grit is concerned when it comes to gardening, because when I asked her if anyone uses it in that sense in the USA her reply was:
Do you mean as in a mulch? Or as in a soil conditioner? and she added later...
...we'd use sand-sized grit to amend soil (tho not where I live, since plenty already), and pea-sized for topping.
Phew, international harmony has been restored. We know what we're talking about now, though I see the term amend might need looking at by the You Ask, We Answer team at a later date. Isn't our English language wonderful?
The YAWA Dictionary: Adding meaning to your garden blogging


  1. I think I would eat the rock salt grit before I would eat grits again. Had some with my breakfast when visiting my wife's family down south in Georgia USA, well wen I say some, it was one mouth full...Yuck....don't know why, but they love the stuff over there.

  2. expensive fender-bender! who gets to insure that the grit bin is kept filled? cities in my area used to keep sand bins placed strategically to help drivers keep traction, but a few would turn out in the middle of the night to steal the sand for private use. more bins.

  3. Stone Art - so there's a definite North:South divide in the USA as far as grits is concerned? Do you feel the same way about porage (or porridge) i.e oats boiled in milk?

    Petoskystone - good questions because I saw plenty of these issues reported in various regional newspapers when I was researching this piece plus reports of full bins being stolen during last winter's harsh weather. I believe it's up to us to monitor when the bin is getting low on grit and phone the council to request a refill.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if the bin doesn't arrive until after winter!

  4. We have a grit bin opposite our house. It snowed last Thursday. The council sent someone to fill it up...on Thursday afternoon! A neighbour did say she'd reminded them that it was empty back in October...

    so good luck


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