Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rolling Rocks Gather No Mortar

I know I shouldn't complain, because after all, it is November 20th, but I am having a heck of a time getting the garden put to bed this fall.  Sometimes it's a relief to finally get a good snowfall because then whatever is left undone is all covered up; out of sight, out of mind.  Job done.  Get the skis, let's have some fun. 

But until that time, I have this nagging obligation to get as much done as possible.  I spent all day Tuesday cleaning and reorganizing our little barn/garden shed.  Amazing how messy we are, at least it will be ready for next season.
The pond has come up due to all the rain, but I didn't get around to cutting back the waterlilies.  Oh, well.

 Next summer we have a busy schedule for the garden, with two weddings coming here for photography in June on two consecutive weekends.  The last week in June we are part of the Midwest Regional Hosta Convention tour.  Five busloads of folks from all over the Midwest are expected to tour five gardens, and we're one of them.  

I'm going to wish I'd gotten those lily pads cut back come next spring.  But there's ice on the Quarry pond now. 
This past summer our yard was selected for a garden walk to be held July 2014 from a nearby city with proceeds going to the county homeless shelter.  The selection committee said we could expect 500-800 people, depending on the weather.  Oh boy, that's a lotta people trotting through our humble yard...I hope my health continues to improve.  And I have to remember, Stress is not my Friend.  So, since I'm feeling up to it, I'm doing whatever I can this fall to make next spring/summer easier. 

Which brings me to the biggest unfinished mess of all, Castle Aaargh.  We were supposed to finish the silly thing this summer, yippers, that was The Plan.  But we all know that didn't happen.  We did get about a foot of wall done this fall, 'only' another five feet or more to go......

The mess last week Tuesday. People have to walk through this area.  Doh!

Last week Carl and I had a discussion about the rocks lying on the lawn around Castle Aaargh.  Some of the pallets have been there for over three years (why is this taking us so long?) and the grass has grown through the pallets along with bull thistles and even some bramble bushes.  Almost every pallet was rotten and the rocks were in complete disarray.  Carl likes having a huge selection of stone nearby to the project when we are mortaring, and I don't blame him because it is more efficient, but even he agreed it was time to clean this mess up.

We have to be realistic; we're not going to have time to get any stonework done before the weddings/garden walks no matter how badly we want to. By the time I get the annuals planted and the gardens weeded and all mulched and presentable, it will be about five minutes before the first tour bus pulls up.  I know how it's going to go.  It's going to be a zoo.

I wish we could freeze the garden at it's peak and have it ready for tours at the drop of a hat, wouldn't that be great?  The trouble is this garden really doesn't look all that great until late July.

There won't be any of these blooming in June.
 Since we are going to give up on the dream of a finished Aaargh, we decided it was time to sink our teeth into Project Aaargh Cleanup.  

Nice teeth, eh?  Very pointy.
Last week Tuesday I set to the task of hauling the stone pallets off the lawn around Aaargh while Carl was at work.  Since most of the pallets were rotten, I had to stack the rock onto new pallets we picked up from a local business.  Thank goodness for the new pallets; there's nothing worse than having an old pallet fall apart enroute and having to jump off the tractor and reload every stone one more time.

More time spent on the 574.  
Once again, the rocks were hauled out to the Back Eight.  When Carl came home from work, he went right to work loading pallets.  And Joel stopped in for a visit and took over driving for me which was a blessing.  I love driving tractor, but there is a lot of shifting involved and I have a sore knee that gets aggravated after a few hours along with a sore shoulder from all of the steering in reverse. (Ok, I admit it,  I'm falling apart as bad as the pallets.) 

Crates, pallets, rocks.  Get 'em outta there.
How many times have we handled these rocks?  Good grief, we have no idea...I don't think we want to know.  It would be almost overwhelming.    But I guess it saves us money on going to a gym for weightlifting. 

Joel moving rocks, Spring 2012
Outside circle around Aaargh....these have to go too.
I didn't really know where to go with all the pallets once I had them loaded up.  We have a real disaster out in the Back Eight to clean up some day. 
Pallets here, there, everywhere.
Take them from here and..........
Plop them out there.
There were rocks on both sides of the yellow cedars, all the way around the 100 foot circle.
Getting dark, but getting done.  See the bare spots on the lawn where the pallets were?
Finally, DONE!
I think I counted just over fifty pallets.  It took us three days to get done hauling them out to the Back Eight.  I don't wanna think about hauling them all back up again next summer.  But for now, we can enjoy being able to walk around Aaargh without breaking a leg.

Maybe the grass will recover in time for the festivities in 2014.
Aaargh was a great pipe dream.  Too bad I tried to bring it to reality.  Someone should have smacked me back into reality, but Carl's too kind to tell me it was silly back then. 

It looked easy on paper....heck, I 'built' four renditions here back in 2005. 
Early days.......lotsa pallets.
Dusty togetherness, two years ago.

We're only throwing in the trowel for now. 

 There's always next year, right?


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh Karen ~ You and Carl are such hard workers making your dreams come true. Sometimes, a lot of times, it takes longer to become reality. At least you got all of the rocks moved out of sight for the weddings, etc. next summer.

Love and hugs to both of you ~ FlowerLady

Peonies & Magnolias said...

I'm so glad you are feeling well enough to work outside again, I sure that continues and you feel better and better.

We are trying to get our garden ready for winter also and even got a little done for next spring. It feels so good doesn't it.

Have a great rest of the week.


El Gaucho said...

Holy Buckets is that a lot of pallets of rocks. I can't believe that you moved them all. You guys (Carl and Joel included) are one heck of an impressive team.

You're not giving up on Castle Aargh though right? I assume the after next years crazy festivities, you'll be back mortaring rocks.

Alison said...

It's really good to hear you're getting stuff done in preparation for next year, that means you must be feeling better. It does look so much nicer cleaned up, and in the spring you'll be so glad you got a jump on the cleanup.

Netty said...

That sure was a lot of stone to move! I think Castle Aaargh looks wonderful, even in's beginning stages. You will be so glad you did all that work... I'm sure once spring comes and that tour is more of a reality you will be glad too :) said...

I know the feeling... projects that just don't have the time. I also personally know the health issues too. Work is like that on the farm and they even have hired help. Being involved in many garden walks, I don't fear getting the gardens ready for the visitors. I guess I have done it just so many times. Will all the visitors be bussed in? That is an advantage of the ones I have worked, 1000s of people come, but not all at once. I hope your health gets better.

Pamela Gordon said...

Oh, that is a LOT of work Karen! Have you thought of building the rest of the castle out of wood timbers?? Sorry, just trying to save you some hard labour on the rock pile. :) It's a good job done for now though.

Chad B said...

Someday this castle is going to get finished and when it does, I think you should have a party inside it.

My Garden Diaries said...

Yes there is always next year! Your garden is unbelievable!!! WOW! I hear you with having a snow fall to cover unfinished bits up but if I had your garden I would want to look at it all the time!!!

Pam's English Garden said...

I KNOW your garden will look wonderful for the tours! Wish I felt the same about mine -- I have tours booked too. But my garden is only a fraction of the size of yours, so I don't have a valid excuse. We expect snowflakes this Saturday -- the snow is so forgiving. Enjoy the winter break, because you are right 'always next year!' P. x

Sue said...

Hi Karen
I hope you're not getting too discouraged. My gosh, I look at your beautiful photos and am so envious of all you've done.
Silly question--would it be possible to hire the rest of Castle Aaaargh done? I know this was something you guys wanted to do, but maybe it's time to pull the plug on it?? When it becomes a JOB-----it's time to rethink it.
Just saying.
I really admire you guys and all the hard work you do. And, obviously, everyone else thinks so too. So maybe hiring someone to finish the job option.