Having rebuilt the two dry wall rock beds after the vicious attacks from snow plow drivers the last of
these edifices has been conceived, but, as yet remains unbuilt. Remembering last year’s disaster
with the 500 lb Rocky Balboa and my crushed toes the enthusiasm to build another rock sculpture
was in the “less than keen” department.

“Rocky Balboa” who crushed my toes in round 1

For months I’ve looked at the giant rock pile where the developers had dumped all the excess rock
and envisaged many sections through it, over it, and around it. I have also had a desire to build
another flower bed somewhere close to the house where it gets full sun and at the time of all the
ground clearing behind us they said, “You can have ALL the rocks and dirt you want”.

The giant rock pile

Must be a section or two in here?

Anyhoo, yesterday the plan finally came into action and the area was prepped ready for construction.
First remove 2 dead Aspens which for some reason didn’t make it through the savage winter. First
was literally a push over and like most Aspens it broke off at the roots. No 2 was a different matter
and needed a little help from the saw and axe. With the dead trees gone time for yet more jungle
weeding and clearance and by lunchtime the area is deemed ready to go.

Aspens removed, ready for the rocks

The drip system will need a little house

Another walk to the rock pile and some mental selective sorting before attempting to lift some of
these mothers! Humping giant rocks may be all well and good if you are in training for The World’s
Strongest Man Competition and you wish to win the “Atlas Stones” but with unsafe footing this can
easily become a foolhardy task ! However, with a little prudence, rocks of various sizes and shapes
were manhandled to a suitable loading area and the all purpose Cadillac Escalade completed 3 trips
masquerading as a 10 wheel dump truck.

Time for some sorting

Yes, there are ….ing heavy!!

Always fun to wash the rocks and see all of nature’s brilliant colors coming through. By nightfall my
arms and shoulders are shot so the “Lego Land” building can wait another day.

Time for the dry stone walling expert

The rock sorting and placing begins and slowly but surely a design emerges and it looks like it will
work and all come together. I have to build a sanctuary around Brenda’s drip system and then the plan
is to complete the upper rows in river rock for a smooth finish and all the delights of fitting flat smooth
rocks together to show off their best colors…….. I’m already seeing foxgloves in the corners along with
the state flower and some ice plants spilling over the edges with alyssum and perhaps a back row of
lupines or something similar.

From my calculations I’ll be needing 3 cubic yards of dirt and compost to bring the level up to where it
needs to be. As Thursday is Brenda’s day off a late afternoon of pool and drinkies at the Hollywood
was on the menu, and as if by chance we bump into Brandon who has been landscaping the local
Firehouse and just happens to have 4 tons of left over top soil which he doesn’t want. So once more
the trials trailer will be unloaded and then off I go and shovel 3/4 of what is there into the back and
then wheelbarrow and spread same in the gaping bed. A lot of work here but it will save about $60
plus delivery.

Trailer unloaded, hitched on the Cadi and off I go in search of the magic clean dirt. Wheelbarrow after
wheelbarrow is humped into the trailer and at the 3/4 point I think I have enough. Very nice dirt and
hardly any rock or stone in it so I’m well pleased. Problem now is getting it in the raised bed so with
two 5 gallon paint buckets shoveling begins again and it all fits…….. and on rake out I’m 2 buckets
short! With the trailer swept out and bikes and tools put back  time to get those last two buckets and
some flat rocks from their discard pile. A quick stop at the Hollywood to see if Brandon needs a beer,
well he isn’t here, but I NEED one!

Dirt in, now what to plant ?

Another area project complete

Last of the dirt in the corner and all is level and by now after moving 6 tons of the stuff with bucket and
spade my arms and back are beginning to feel it. Overall the bed has cost nothing other than sweat
equity and even though I say so myself looks like a good addition to the front of the property.

While out and about on my travels yesterday I happened by a “hot springs” where one of the clues
will be for the Amazing Race style rally. Someone has removed the hot springs bath/hot tub, well
maybe it got cracked over the winter, …. hope it will be repaired in time for the event. However I got out
of the car and was looking in all the bubbling sulphur pools and I couldn’t resist some spectacular
rocks which have some fantastic blues/blacks and green shot through them……. they are now bedded
in the conifer and heather bed.

The new rocks around a “liberated” fir from the Lizard

Fantastic colors!

The last of the current projects complete, save for planting, and with knackered arms and back, and
the little hand on 10, the time has come………. and so to bed!


What did you think of this article?

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  • 6/25/2010 7:42 PM jim wagner 602 866 7709 wrote:
    Tony call home Jim wagner
    Reply to this
  • 7/2/2010 5:28 AM A master stonewaller wrote:
    Dear Mr Down Whilst we admire the artistic content of your dry stone wall we feel that it’s longevity is somewhat questionable. We would highly recomend that you do not put your trust in gravity alone for it’s integrity, and that some form of a more permanant fixing be used. To this end we have dispatched 5 gals. (UK) of rapid set Araldite.
    Reply to this
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