I managed to dig up somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the patio circle yesterday. I am impatiently waiting for the rain to go away so I can tackle it again (for as long as Rose is willing to noodle along with me, anyway). My evil and possibly over-ambitious plan is to have everything dug out so we can lay the foundation on Sunday. To this end, I also need to call the aggregates place sometime in the next day or two to order crushed stone and sand.
I've realized that I probably don't need to order topsoil, seeing as how I'm digging 8" down for about 300 square feet. That should give me enough to fill cracks between stones, mix with sand for the pathway foundations, and start at least one garden bed besides. Not sure what to do with the turf, though, such as it is - at first I thought I'd just chuck it at the bottom of the new garden bed and let it compost in, but it seems unwise to do that when the turf in question is riddled with creeping charlie and dandelions. The last things I want popping up in a freshly laid garden bed are infamously persistent weeds. Same problem arises with composting the turf, but it's too heavy to put out for yard waste collection. Hmmmm.