For preparation of the site, I used the lazy method of removing the sod, I just laid down overlapping layers of cardboard and then took an Olfa blade and trimmed the pieces of cardboard that extended past the wood sides to the exact footprint of the beds. I had used that method in the past in our previous "Homestead," and it worked well enough, so figured I would do so again.
Moving the soil was a good workout, was tiring but felt good, was able to spend the time talking and listening to the kids, and then praying and contemplating life while shoveling (when the kids took a break to play in the woods with the neighbors). I knew that I moved a lot of soil, but felt that it wasn't too bad, then the next morning I picked up my daughter to carry her to Mass, and my arms screamed in protest. So later I was curious and looked up approximately how much a cubic yard of soil weighs, and was surprised that I moved a little more than 1.5 tons on Saturday with the help of Antonio and Julia Belén!