Friday, March 23, 2012

Rocks on the Move

 Ouch, we're both feeling some forgotten muscles again tonight.  The madness begins again, it's gardening season once more. 

This past week's weather was very, very warm for us here in Wisconsin.  Records were broken with temperatures in the 80's.  Being outside gardening in short sleeves and finding ourselves sweating in March was unbelievable.  This turn of events makes me nervous, I still fear we're going to pay for it somehow or other.  Luckily we've had no severe weather at all.  In fact, we could use some rain.

Daffodils are opening up all over the place and Willie the Willow is almost completely leafed out.  I have leaves unfurling on my rose bushes and the wild cherry trees are blooming in the woods.  Today I noted some of our hostas are sending up their shoots, too.  This is way too early and could be disastrous if we go back to our normal temperatures.  

This week we decided to get the twenty+ tons of rocks off of the lane where I'd had them dumped in the beginning of March.  For the last three days Carl and I plodded away at hoisting the stones we could handle by hand on pallets.  The bigger rocks we loaded right onto the forklift teeth of the 574 and hauled to the back yard.  We're still not sure where they're all going yet, but we have a few plans in the making.  Joel and Allison stopped in tonight and with their help we were able to get the last of the rocks moved.  The lane is very muddy, but we only got stuck once.  (That's the beauty of owning more than one tractor, there's two more in the shed and if they all get stuck, well, then we have neighbors we can call.) 

The big rock in the near middle of the above picture was the last one we moved at dusk tonight.  Carl and I wandered all over the garden trying to find THE perfect spot for it.  A rock this size can only be dragged by our equipment; none of our tractors are big enough to actually lift it.  We guesstimate this rock to be over three tons.  There were places in the yard it would look just great in, but we couldn't get to them without ruining the garden by driving the tractor in first.  So we had to settle for what turned out to be a fairly good site in the hosta garden in the end.

The way we move really big rocks is either with our old hand-cranked wrecker or with the other tool in our arsenal, a flashy, red Pontiac Grand Prix car hood.   Luckily for us, with me driving the 574 and Carl shouting out directions, the big rock obeyed and tipped over neatly onto the car hood.  This has to be one of the best behaved big rocks we've ever handled.

 It was getting dark when I took this picture hence the blurriness, but there's Allison, Carl and Joel watching the big rock slide off down the lane.  Joel was just ready to make a sharp left-hand turn here.

And, unfortunately, that's when the big rock decided it didn't want to ride along on the car hood anymore.

It tipped over and the chains slipped off.  

Aww.  Phooey.

Carl to the rescue with the chains.  He is so good at rock-rigging, but then, he's had a lot of practice over the years around here.

By this time, it was really getting dark so we gave up on the car hood and just let the rock drag on the lawn behind the tractor. 
Bye-bye hood!

Slowly but surely we rounded the corner.....

 Joel managed to get over far enough so there was room to unhook the rock and still get the tractor out of the area without knocking over the stone walls on the other side.  The metal stakes you can see beyond the rock are hostas, so we have to be careful not to bury anything.

Carl unhooked the chains and then Joel was able to tip the rock back upright again.  I think this was the easiest rock of this size that we've ever moved.  The whole process only took about 30 minutes.  That's a record for us.

Joel was able to turn the tractor around without a problem and then pushed it back into the hosta bed a little more from the other direction.  We'll be making minor adjustments to placement in the time to come, but for now, it's good right where it is. 

There we have it, the first big job of the season accomplished. 

See, this adds to my workout; yup, I'm still walking with Leslie every morning and weight-training with the rocks the rest of the day.  

And it's only March.

 Oh, boy..............pass the horse liniment.

(Our heartfelt thanks to Allison and Joel for all their help!!)


Sandy said...

It must feel like your all at the
horse races... "And their off"!
Is it time once again for you all
to start garden dreaming?
I think everyone around the country
are thinking the same,, "Where did
winter go"?
Love you wonderful photos and I'll
always be amazed at you and your

Zoey said...

and the fun begins...................

I am hoping the nice weather stays through the weekend, so I can get out there and sweat a little myself. :)

Gatsbys Gardens said...

You guys are really ambitious. With this early spring you will get a lot accomplished this season. I agree Karen, wonder what's in store for us.


Anonymous said...

Good to see you back out in the garden, with the rock workout your going to be super fit. I have just done a 4 mile walk this morning the only thing I'm lifting is a cup of tea!
Mr Rock is going to look pretty smart in the Hosta bed.

Have a good weekend.

Charade said...

I always wonder how they did it when I see a big statement rock in the middle of someone's yard or garden. And now I know. When we get our tractor next month, the dealer is giving me a private lesson in moving rocks, smaller than yours of course.

El Gaucho said...

All is right in the world again when I can see pictures of you and Carl hauling giant rocks with the tractor. You are the giant rock-toting harbinger of Spring.

HolleyGarden said...

Moving that rock would scare me to death! Good that you've got so much practice. It looks perfect. And the weather is unnerving, I know. Last year I waited and waited for that last cold snap, and we never got it. Instead it just got hotter and hotter! Hope you don't have any severe weather - either cold or hot!

Alison said...

I hope your nice weather stays nice and you don't get a late freeze or snow to ruin everything. I would like it, though, if the rest of the country would share this warmth, we here in the PNW are getting just a little snow almost every night, when the temps go down into the high 20s, then barely up into the 40s during the day. Lots of rocks going in here too, but none as big as that one.

Lona said...

What a monster of a rock Karen. It looks good in the Hosta bed.
Hasn't this weather been something else. Like you I am wondering when the hammer is going to fall and send us back into the deep freeze with a foot of snow. LOL! Just not natural. I have enjoyed the warm weather though.
Have a terrific weekend.

Missy said...

That's one good looking rock. I hope the weather stays kind to you. I can't wait to see your garden in full bloom again.

Darla said...

I just scrolled through these photos so fast getting to the comment part, I am sooooooooooooooooo happy I found you again!!! Darla

Jennifer said...

Hi Karen, What a big job! I find that it is great to get this sort of project out of the way early in the gardening season. Can you imagine moving that rock in the heat of July! It would just make the whole thing harder and more stressful in the heat. Enjoy your weekend!

Cat said...

Oh my gosh that's impressive! It feels so good to get a jump on the 2012 projects but I'm with you and a bit worried about what summer will bring. Our winter was just too warm although I'm thrilled and thankful for the rains.

Indie said...

What a fabulous rock! Spring has definitely started here as well with a vengeance,and I feel like I am scrambling to keep up!

I'm rather envious of the tractors. I do wish I had a small tractor of some kind even though it would be way too much overkill for our little lot. I do so much digging and hauling on my little garden cart (which just popped another tire the other day)!

myomyohi said...


I love the big rock, and it looks pretty content right there. It's always nice to have family who can help one another with projects. Looks like we're all getting an early start. It's been nice to feel the dirt under my feet and smell it on my hands.

I can't wait to see what you and Carl do next.


Shyrlene said...

Karen !! That is the biggest friggin' rock I've ever seen in residential landscaping. You talk about it like it's just another day in the garden. Whoa, you take gardening to a whole new level!