|Joel is cranking the Manley Crane and Carl is guiding the rock into position|
|September 2003, putting the 'walking rocks' in place, backing the tractor and wrecker down in the hole was nerve-wracking.|
We couldn't afford to line the pond, though we did talk to a pond specialist once after the quarry was in place for a few years. He said it would be possible to put a liner in despite the fact the ground water rises and falls so much. Oh, there was something about baffles and specialized pumps and equipment mentioned as he outlined our options. I started to glaze over but jolted to attention when my checkbook burst into flames when I heard the estimate. He was a very helpful person and I highly recommend talking to a professional to anyone considering a pond. Unfortunately, we operate on the Flimsy Shoestring Budget and our shoestrings were starting to fray. I doused the flaming checkbook and we thanked the man and left.
We have put rocks much lower in the water in recent years, trying to make the 'pond' more attractive as the water levels drop, but well, we weren't very successful. Over the years, many a visitor's favorite comment has been: "Your pond would look much nicer with more water in it."
Yes, it would, but without a liner, there's no way to keep it at a constant level. We just live with whatever Mother Nature provides. I'm certainly not about to stick a hose in there and run our well dry trying to keep the pond pretty.
In this picture, taken in 2005, we have very low water conditions. We were also using dye in the pond at that time, with mixed results. This was taken before the north quarry hill addition..
We had to pass on having a gorgeous pond. Carl said the water level in real quarries fluctuates a great deal with the ground water levels, too. We aim for reality here at Quarry Garden...that's our motto. Cheap Reality. (And yes, sometimes reality bites....) Hey, it's all about the rocks anyway, at least for us.
Ok, back to east wall construction:
Finally, in late October of 2003, one year after the hole was dug, we had the lower quarry itself done. In the picture above, David and Carl are standing on the east staircase, the third and final stairs Carl put in for access in and out of the quarry.
By now, it was approaching mid- November 2003. We took a look at the waterfall again. We weren't satisfied with the way it looked (and still aren't, sigh) and decided we needed something behind the pile of rocks to make it look more natural. Not that a pile of rocks in a flat, former alfalfa field ever looks really natural, but that was our goal, ok?
We had to begin to haul the 30 dump truck loads of dirt from the quarry excavation back to the quarry site one yard at a time from the pile up by the woods. We needed the sand to build the area up into a hill so we could keep putting rocks in place behind the waterfall rocks. This is the way it worked: Joel and the Super H would head up to the sand pile, a quarter mile away in the Back Eight, and I would follow with the 574 and the dump trailer. He would load my trailer and I'd drive back down the lane to where we were working. Carl would tell me where to dump it and I'd head back up to the woods for the next load.
Talk about being happy to have a tractor with a loader on it! Consider this: the average dump truck holds around 30 yards of soil. We had 30 dump truck loads hauled to the woods, and our little trailer only holds a yard. So, over the next six years, we hauled home 900 yards of soil one load at a time for the quarry garden additions. 900 trips one way. But at least we didn't have to shovel them.
|Joel, Super H and the ever present crowbars, rocks and sand adding dirt for the next part of the project, the Quarry Hill. November 2003.|