Friday, November 5, 2010

How This All Started, Part 6

October 17, 2002  Joel, 16 yrs old, standing in the newly dug hole for the Quarry  
We were now the proud owners of a sandy hole full of water.  Having the Quarry dug was so easy, the easiest thing we ever did.  All we had to do was stand around and watch while the hole was dug and the sand was loaded up to be hauled away to a new pile by C with the help of his two trusty dump truck drivers.  So much was accomplished in under six hours.  Amazing.

After the crew left, we were euphoric, this was great!  We walked all around the hole and peered at it from all directions, the placement was perfect, the shape was pleasing and just look at the water steadily trickling in, we might even have a pond here, too. Ok!  Let's get to work! 

But something was missing.  That something was rocks; more specifically, Big Rocks.  Our enthusiasm dimmed a smidgen.  In all the work of moving trees and the barn and waiting for C to come and dig the hole, we overlooked the most important element.  Big stones.

I called C back again, less than an hour after he left.  I could tell he was overjoyed to hear from me so soon.  "Hey, what do you think we can do about getting some rocks?" 

"Rocks?  I don't know.  I do some work for a quarry eight miles from you once in awhile, but they're pretty touchy about who they let in there to dig around.  They won't let anyone get out of their vehicle while they're operating machinery, so you won't be able to hand-pick it  yourselves.  Anyway, even if you could wander around there, how would you lift or haul stuff that big?    I guess your best bet is to call around and see what you can get.  Maybe they'd deliver some blast to you."

Do you remember my previous reference to 'blast' rock?  I am no expert on quarrying and mining, that's for sure, but here's my little explanation of blast:  Most quarries use explosives, which are plugged into holes drilled in the rock face. When the explosives are detonated, the rock face shatters outwards onto the quarry floor. The resulting blast rock can range in size considerably, from humongous slabs (the stuff we wanted) to quite small chunks.  The rocks are then scooped up by huge loaders and dumped into crushers and made into gravel of varying sizes depending on what the quarry needs for construction purposes.  Some of the resulting blast is too big to fit into the crushers, so those big  stones are pushed into holding piles to wait for another special crusher to be brought into the quarry which can accommodate them.  The big rocks are kind of a nuisance, in a way, to the quarrying operation, because they require additional handling.

We wanted the big rocks on those holding piles.  Badly. 

I don't know how it works in other parts of the country, but around here, if say, you needed some nice gravel to cover your driveway, all you have to do is call a nearby quarry and tell them what you want.  They have their own trucks and they'll bring the gravel right to your door and dump it right where you tell them to; you really can't ask for better service, it's so easy. 
Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way with blast rock.

I called the quarry that C had mentioned.  I asked the nice lady if they had any really big blast rocks lying around, and if they did, could I have some, please?

 I guess I should have worded it differently, I'm sure I sounded like a crackpot, sort of like when you get a crank call, "Is your refrigerator running?  Well, you better catch it before it gets away, ha ha."

"Just a minute," she said.  I was transferred to a man next.  

"Hello, this is Tim, what do you need?" 

"Hello, Tim.  I'm wondering if your quarry has any really big rocks for sale.  See, what we're trying to do is build a quarry here," I said.  "We just had a big hole dug in our back yard this morning and now we need the biggest rocks we can get to put in the hole to make it look like a quarry.  What I need to know is what you are charging per ton and if you could deliver it." 

Dead silence.

"Hello??  Are you still there?"

Tim was very hesitant to answer me;  I could tell he thought this was ridiculous. So, to alleviate his fears, I tried to explain myself.  I mean, really, this wasn't a crazy request, right?

I limped on, "I know it sounds kind of silly, but we've always loved quarries so much!  We thought it would be really neat to have one in our back yard.  So is there any way we could have your biggest rocks delivered here?" 

Once again, silence on the other end.  Finally, I heard Tim clear his throat, "Ah, well, ma'am, yes, we DO have big rocks here," he said slowly and carefully, as if he was talking to a person about to jump off a bridge, "but we don't bring them to your house.  You'll have to call someone else about hauling." 

And before I could say thank you, Tim hung up. 


Now I really had a challenge on my hands.  


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, it is getting prettier and prettier as you go along.


Gatsbys Gardens said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
xoxoxo said...

I love this bottom picture!

Alison said...

Well, at least he didn't say he wouldn't sell them to you...

It's so funny that you never realized that you would need big rocks to fill up the hole once it was dug. I laughed at the end. What a challenge! And that last picture is just beautiful. Looking forward to reading about how you got the rocks, and how you placed them.

Anonymous said...

I love your quarry. The last image is beautiful. We are currently working on a design very similar to your image. It is not at a farm like yours, but at a home worth a couple million. They also dug a huge pond, but funny thing is, their pond got a crack in the bedrock and will not hold water. They have a hole on the property over two acres big. The client owns a company that makes a composite material that will be injected to seal the whole, but it can not happen until spring. So our work has been also rescheduled for spring. The big stonework is being finished, but the rest will wait. Oh, the headaches of working with stone, cracked stone that is.

Great post again. I just love reading your posts. Such humor, is your refrigerator running...lots of laughs. Here we can pick our boulders, but we also are doing the hauling. The quarry people must have all had quite a discussion after talking with you!

Shirley said...

Hmm, I don't see what the big deal is? Why so hesitant to answer your request? I too like your last photo here. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

Karen said...

Thank you, Eileen and xoxoxo, it sure was a long road to finishing the job, though!

Alison, yes, why hadn't we thought of this before? I guess we were just overwhelmed by the preliminary work and forgot the main reason we were building the silly thing, it is all about the rocks.

Donna, I can barely comprehend a pond over two acres in size...they would laugh at our little toy mud puddle! Our pond water levels go up and DOWN with whatever water we get as there is no liner, so some years we literally do have a puddle. The composite material sounds very interesting, hope they have luck with it. I imagine the stone you are using is much larger than ours, too, I'd love to see the project. I'm glad you get my attempt at humor, not everyone does. I'm still shaking in my boots over the snake story...

Hello Shirley, back when we started this project, nobody was using big rocks for landscaping. We were sort of ahead of the trend for once. Not any more; it's commonplace in landscaping now. Thank you for reading along as I wander through the process.

Darla said...

Darn your hide! Cliff hanger here? How'd you get those BIG rocks???

Beth said...

Karen, I am really enjoying reading about your quarry pond and how you developed it. You and Carl have great imaginations and through a lot of sweat, what a place you have built! It is truly a work of art!
Hugs, Beth