Monday, November 22, 2010

How This All Started, Part 15

After scurrying and hurrying to get the Dome built and the Quarry sort of finished for the June 2004 wedding and garden walk, we caught our breath for awhile.  There's always a bit of a let-down for me when events are over; I guess I do my best work under pressure.  When there's no deadline, I find it hard to get motivated and Carl agreed; he feels the same way.  (It's the procrastination thing again.....)

Someone took this picture of Carl and I right after the June garden walk, the dome is just about done tarnishing by this time.
Where's our next crisis?  We shouldn't have time to be just standing around.  2004
 Well, with no deadlines in the immediately foreseeable future, we went back to work on the hill behind the Quarry, hauling in more loads of sand from up by the woods and placing rocks. 

Behind the Quarry...Joel, age 18 on tractor; David age 14 helping get a rock off the bucket.  Teddy Dog in foreground.
More dirt, more rocks, more work.
We kept working on building the hill up:
Joel and Carl
But as we worked along, we found out we were running short of rock once again.  We never thought we'd go through 300 tons of stone, but we did.  C did bring us six more loads, another 120 tons.
New rocks sorted roughly by size, July 2004.  Picture taken from windmill tower.

Carl had told C we wanted some very big rocks in these next six loads and wow, we got ' of the rocks was so big it would not fit in the box of the dump truck.  When the truck pulled into our lane, the biggest rock was perched on top of the sides of the truck.  "Don't say I didn't get you big rocks this time!" C teased.

I went out and looked at the size of some of these new rocks and was intimidated.  We tried to move the biggest one, but the wrecker was not capable of lifting the 10,000 pounds that Carl estimated it weighed.   When we had rocks that were too big to handle with our small equipment, we would take chisels and hammers and split the rocks along their natural fault-lines or even split them against the grain to sizes we could deal with.

The biggest stone we had on this last load was one Carl did not want to break down into smaller pieces; he wanted it for a focal point.   In order to be able to move the big rock from the field to the site, we decided to simply take the top seven inches off the rock in one nice, neat slab.  In the picture below, Joel and Dave are working on putting chisels all the way around the stone, tapping them in a little at a time.  You don't want to rush this job, because then the rock may split the opposite way...we were lucky with this one, it came off in one piece.

If you look closely, you can see the chisels sticking out all the way around the stone, about six inches down.  Dave & Joel, July 2004

After we had it split, we hooked the top quarter to the wrecker and hauled it up to waterfall hill and then went back for the rest of the rock.  Even with a good 2000 pounds off the top, the rock still weighed more than the 574 could pull with chains; the tractor's tires would only spin as the load was too heavy.

So, our next idea was to hook our two tractors up to the rock together.  Joel was on the 574, pulling the rock, and I was on the Super H, pushing it from behind.  We had to coordinate our forward speeds very closely, or neither of us could do a thing.  If I pushed before he was pulling, we both just sat and spun our wheels.
July 2004
There we go, in the picture above, around the corner to the quarry site.  After we got it into position, which took the better part of an entire afternoon....since we had to use wooden blocks and crowbars to guide it into place, we could then put the top back on.  Once the top was seated back on the bottom piece, you can't really tell where the split is unless you know where to look. It fit back together perfectly.  The picture below was taken just before dark. 

Joel, on tractor, and Carl, putting the rock back together, this is the start of the north side of the Waterfall hill.  July 2004. 
As you can see from the picture, we have a lot of trees to work around, too, which caused problems at times.  You can't drive the tractors and wrecker where you need them to go because of the trees being in the way, so many of the rocks were put in by hand after getting them as close as possible.

We continued building the hill with the new rock and finally finished up with the north side of the waterfall  hill.  By now, it was September 2004.  This is where the story is out of'll have to flashback to my earlier post about the windmill, Part 12, because on Labor Day, September 2004, we put the windmill head up.
Rerun picture of Aermotor installation, September 2004.  (see Part 12)
  Ok, the windmill is now up...........We decided to take a little break from all the work for a bit and go on a road trip to southern Wisconsin.  Of course, our trips are always very exciting; some people go to Disneyland or even Wisconsin Dells, but not us.  We went to a much more sophisticated tourist attraction, Rock in the House.  No, not House on the Rock, which is a completely different tourist attraction.  We went to Rock in the House, in Fountain City, Wisconsin.  Click on the link to see all about it:  Rock in the House

There we are: Joel, Dave (looking terrified that another huge rock will come catapulting down the hill to kill us all) and me, hiding behind David, at Rock in the House, September 2004

The people who lived in the house were luckily absent when this 55 ton rock came flying down the cliff and crashed into their bedroom.  No one was hurt......but can you imagine walking into your bedroom and seeing this??  We love rocks, but I guess even I'd draw the line at one breaking and entering the house.

Dave wasn't really a big fan of our vacations.........I wonder why?  (Poor kid.)  Oh, we did see other things besides rocks....there was Devil's Lake State Park, uh...ok, there's rocks there too, and of course we toured through many cemeteries, looking at polished rocks..........uh.....ok...never mind.

After we got back from vacation it was mid-September and time to get cracking again.  We were done with the north side of the quarry, but now we had a  bunch of rocks left over.  Can't let good rocks go to waste.  Hmmmmmmmmm.... but what could we do next?

Time to CAC.......Create A Crisis.  Here we go again.   I decided I didn't like the barn where it was sitting.  Yes, we had moved the barn once already to get it out of the way of the Quarry construction.  But where the barn was placed now was causing problems with photography, it seemed as if every picture taken from whatever angle had the barn in it. We had two more wedding parties come for pictures in 2004, and no matter where they stood, the barn was in the picture. 

Joel's Aerial Windmill View 2004

In the aerial picture, above, the north waterfall hill addition is in the lower left-hand corner.  The barn is to the west of the quarry itself and to the north of the Formal Garden.
Panoramic picture, July 2004
   From every angle, there was definitely a barn in the picture. We decided it was time to move the barn next.  If there was ever a difficult move to make, it was moving the barn out in one piece again.  Especially now that we had the quarry right in front of it!  We couldn't go forward with the building because there wasn't enough room, and to tell the truth, there are no pictures whatsoever of the move itself.  What we had to do was saw down several trees behind the barn and take it out backwards.  We put the same home-made trailer under it as we did the first time:
Rerun picture from 2001 when we moved the barn the first time.  Same trailer, same people, same dumb job.

We jacked the barn up off it's concrete slab foundation, stuffed the trailer under it and hauled it out backward.  Then we picked up all the broken concrete slabs and moved them to the new location, over by the windmill.  After the makeshift foundation was in place, we towed the barn to its next new home.  (The poor barn was destined to remain there for a few years, until we moved it yet AGAIN in 2009.  More on that to come...suffice it to say, Joel is not a fan of my barn-moving requests.) 
Here is the barn before the move:

 And below, is how it looked after the move.

 Though it is hard to see, the barn in it's new setting  is near the middle of the right-hand side of the picture above.
Aerial shot, November 2004--barn gone and start of the escarpment on right.
And here is the start of the Next Thing.......the Escarpment:

Now that the barn was gone, we were free to put in the next part of the garden...what we call the Escarpment, which is basically just a free-standing stone formation.  We thought it would tie into the Quarry and make it look more natural; plus we had so many nice stones leftover.  At least we thought we did....

  We got about this far, as seen in the picture above, before we realized we were running out of stone once again!  I ever so cautiously called C, gee, this was twice in one year.....and asked him if he could maybe, sort of, um, please? get us some more rock?  Loading stone this size is not easy on anyone's equipment and even though his machinery was more than big enough to handle the job, the stone wears out teeth on buckets really fast, too.  (He is such a good sport.)

Luckily for us, he wasn't too busy and agreed to go to the quarry again.  This time, C hired a rock hauling semi-tractor trailer to bring in the stone.  Oh, what a difference it was seeing this rock come in!
We've hit the big time now, it's a semi!!  November 2004
The nice big semi brought us six more loads
Joel stayed home from school that morning just to see the first load tipped out of the truck.  The earth definitely moved again.
Heads up! Rockslide!

In this picture, you can see the box much better...this is what is known as a 'rock box'...the bottom is reinforced and the side are rounded so rocks come out more easily without getting wedged in the truck.

When Carl got home from work that night, he was so happy, hey, we all were......there's just something about new stones to play with.
Carl, age 46, outstanding on one of the six piles of new rock.   November 2004
Once again, while the guys were at work and school, I was out in the field, sorting stones by size into pallets and tossing the smaller stuff into the trailer.  I had no need for extra exercise while doing this sort of work; though I have never been thin, there's something about throwing rocks around all day that builds muscle.  (I need to get back to throwing rocks!)  When Carl and Joel came home from work and school, we went back to work placing stone for the Escarpment.

Late November 2004.  As far as we would get with the Escarpment.
 Finally, the weather started turning colder again, it was late November and time to quit for the season once more. 
Time to head into the house and get ready for Christmas 2004.

Stay tuned for what happened in 2005.


Sall's Country Life said...

Oh my, the incredible amount of work!! You guys certainly love playing with rocks and moreover, know how to make them look gorgeous. I loved how all your vacations somehow include looking at rocks! Glad to see you're escaping bullets and still able to write (previous post). We too are surrounded with deer hunters!! Hope you're getting preparations made for winter, it's 17 degrees here today. I'm staying indoors!! Enjoying the stories. Thanks.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Now that is a lot of rocks Karen. LOL! So worth all that hard work. The snow picture of the dome is so beautiful!
You and yours have a wonderful and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, I just love that gazebo! You are certainly someone who has a vision and sticks with it.


Darla said...

Seriously, how many magazines and or papers have ya'll been featured in?

Alison said...

Holy cow, the way you keep adding to it amazes me! That truck with the curved bottom is the same kind of truck that brought the rock they built our stream and waterfall with. Except, we only got one truckload. I actually prefer the barn in the background of the quarry pond.

Those pictures taken from the top of the windmill are cool!

LC said...

I like the aerial views Karen! L

Anonymous said...

What an adventure, incredible. I was amazed to see your kids at their young age moving these big boulders.

Rock in the House had to be a great place to see for your family, scary funny.

xoxoxo said...

I too like the barn behind the Quarry! Looked great there... cannot wait to see if it goes back :)

Karen said...

Lisa, thank you! yes, my blaze orange worked; so far, I'm bullet-free. Gosh, your temps are low there, I know that's headed our way too.

Lona, thank you and hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful!

Thank you, Eileen, but I have to stop seeing things for Carl to build. (Stay tuned for my next folly...Larry knows what it is)

Darla, no magazines--though I tried to win a tractor once and entered a 'backyard makeover contest' but lost. (We were so bummed!) Oh, and one magazine lady called me and wanted to put us in an article, but the magazine went out of business before they could come out here, lol. (I am still waiting to hear from the TV people...I probably broke their camera.)

Thank you Alison...aren't those rock trucks neat? Joel is always climbing the tower to take pictures, and I'm glad he does (as long as he's careful).

Thank you, Larry!

Donna, yes, we put the kids to work at a very young age, shame on us. And I'm glad you got the humor in our silly me, Rock in the House is just one of many other rock-infested locales we traveled to. Dave's the only normal one.

xoxoxo, I told Joel what you and Alison said about the barn looking better where it was.....oh, I think he will be writing a comment before long....he was ready to wring my neck for moving it the second AND third time! I'm just giggling writing

lifeshighway said...

Holy Smoke, that was quite an undertaking. In fact the whole thing left me a little breathless. Beautiful stonework and lovely pool, you left me yearning for better peaks of the final project!

Zoey said...

I thought the barn was quite charming in the background. But I guess not so much for a wedding picture.

You guys are masters of rock building. I could never do one-tenth of that work. You should have your own reality show.

I went to the rock in the house site. It's a good thing that rock did not come down during the night. Scary!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope you are taking a break from all the work.

fer said...

Wow, those are a lot of rocks!
love the aerial photo and the panoramic, I hope we get to see many more like those to show how it is now.

Andrea said...

Those are amazing works, i can't imagine the hard work! But the products are wonderfully and beautifully awesome. Congratulations. I love rocks but just looking at them, not moving them like that, a bit frightful...of the expenses, hehe. Thanks for picking on my post too.

Karen said...

Thank you lifeshighway, I'll be posting some 'after' pics again soon.

Zoey, there's just something about rocks; like potato chips, we can't stop. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving, too.

fer, thank you and I will post some better pictures of the way it is now soon.

Andrea, thank you, and you're right, rocks can be frightening at times, lol.

Chris said...

Hello, Karen, thanks for visiting my blog. My goodness, you have achieved so much. The dome is quite splendid! I love the snowy pics too, really interesting to see the garden in different seasons.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Oh, my! I knew you'd been moving rocks around, but am not sure I realized you'd been doing it that many years. Those rocks are HUGE! Your husband is much more patient than mine. He would not put up with moving a barn. I can see why you wanted to move it, though. It brings a new meaning to rearranging things.

Well, your work has created much beauty on your property!

Jean said...

What an amazing amount of work. No wonder your landscape is so beautiful. Amazing! Jean

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Karen, Corner Garden Sue sent me a link to your blog. She thought I would enjoy your rock moving escapades and she was right! Very impressive. If Sue thinks ours even begin to compare, she is so wrong. Pamela

Corner Gardener Sue said...

LOL, I thought if Pamela's hubby saw the rocks you all moved, he would feel he didn't have to work so hard to move his. His were moved by hand, though, so I could be wrong about that.