For some forty years I have called the space along the road, where the weeds grow unobstructed then die and collect, and the litter collects, and the water stands, and the dead road killed animals end up, and the stalled cars park; the bar pit.

That is what I heard it called when I moved to the country.  That is what I still hear it called and that is what I will continue to call it.  However recently I was corrected as to just what the title of that strip of real estate actually is.  But before I relate to you what and why it is what it is here are some other misnomers.

What is the difference between a flapjack and a pancake? Well in my line of thinking a flapjack is cooked while camping and cooking over an open fire and a pancake is made at home in the comfort of a kitchen with running water. I enjoy a flapjack with all the camping additives that go along with the outdoors—fun and frolic, campfires and getting dirty and bugs and laughing… But I also revel in eating a pancake, on Sunday morning, in my jammies, with the only fire around being the one in the wood stove keeping me warm and cozy.

How about this.  Is it called ice melt or ice melter?  Since it is February this one is on nearly everyone’s mind.  Well I say it is ice melter as I use it to melt the slippery slide-y frozen winter that at this time of the year seems like it will never recede.  If I do not want to come crashing down with my feet pointed up to the sky I use ice melter. It sounds funny to me to say I use ice melt.  Ice melts when I use ice melter. Am I wrong?

Whoa, then there is high flutin’ food discussions.  This one is just for fun rather than a real “which way to call it” debate.  Is it goose liver pate’ or is it just some “you want me to eat what!” on a cracker?  The second is what I recall calling it the one and only time I was at a gathering at which the goose was cooked—uh so to speak! Clean the pate’ off your palate and lets’ move on…

So about the bar pit.  I was given a class in the true name and reason for the bar pit while, again, we were on a road trip. Seems that what I know as a bar pit is actually a barrow pit.  Well that sound weird to me.  Barrow can only go with wheel as in wheel barrow. Not barrow, I was told, but a borrow pit. This is getting way too deep.

Okay a borrow pit.  Why?  Here is the story I was told and I’m sticking to it.  In the long ago, when the railroads were being built, the builder needed to build up areas and create the base or rail bed to build the railroad on.  To build that they needed to drag dirt up to make the mounds of rail bedding. The place alongside the rail bed was said to be the place they would borrow the dirt from causing a pit to remain thus; a borrow pit. Ta da.

Now if you want to call it a barrow pit you would of course refer to the amount of material collected from the borrow pit, as a barrow is the amount of material that a wheel barrow holds.   And that same theory crosses over to road building, making what I can now call a barrow, borrowing, bar pit. Nice circle right? Try explaining that with words why don’t you!

Okay to recap: I can eat many flapjacks in the summer because I don’t have to worry about using ice melter and there will never be a dead goose’s liver on my cracker as I sit and contemplate how many barrows of dirt were borrowed to build a road and create the bar pit!

How was your last long car trip?


Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada.  Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle.  Share with her at