|October 17, 2002 Joel, 16 yrs old, standing in the newly dug hole for the Quarry|
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."
"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.