Monday, September 20, 2010

The Creek

If some of you thought the pond had a lot of rocks around the edges, check out the creek. These pictures are taken from the bridge and the rocks go all the way to the blue barrel (at that point the creek wanders onto the neighbors property.) And just to win all the pity I possibly can from each of you, each rock was picked up in the field, placed in the tractor bucket, dumped in the creek bed, picked up again to be put in place, usually set aside because it wasn't the right rock for the spot, picked up again, put in place (sometimes with success, sometimes, not), and on and on and on! Are you feeling the sore muscles yet? Maybe someday I'll count the rocks...just for fun! Of course, if I do, I will have to double or triple the number to be more in line with how many rocks were actually picked up! We also narrowed the creek a bit, so extra loads of dirt from other parts of the property had to be brought in and packed behind the rocks to create a new bank. It took quite a while to accomplish. I think when the grass starts to grow and we get some trees and plants put in place, it should look pretty good. Oh yea, and maybe water flowing in the creek!! Anyway, I'm onto my next rock project...making raised planting beds around some of the established trees to the east of the creek. I don't know, maybe I'm just tired, but the rocks I'm using now are different than the ones in the field, and I really think they're heavier rocks! I'll post those pics when I'm finished. Oh, and just to be fair to Monty, he has had more than his fair share of hard (and dangerous) work on the property. When I'm down playing with rocks, he's up making roads on the bulldozer, clearing trees, stumps, and blackberry bushes, moving huge rocks that make mine look like pebbles, and hanging out in the poison oak!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Pond

On the north side of the bridge is a small waterfall. We thought it would be nice to have it flow into a pond. So, we intentionally placed the culverts higher than the original creek so that it would back up and create the pond that we wanted. Since there is no shortage of rocks on the property, lots of rocks, I lined the bank with them. As soon as I get more pictures, I'll post the rock-lined creek. Let me tell you, I have lifted more rocks this summer than ever before. Who says you need to work out at a gym!!

The rock-lined pond taken from the bridge.

The moss-covered, tree root water fall.
It's really pretty cool when the water is flowing.

Big Toys!

We rented a cat, crawler, or bulldozer, if you prefer, to do some heavy duty work on the property. We cleared a lot of brush and hawthorn trees from the property. Monty was able to create several roads for the quads around the perimeter and throughout the property. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of him on the beast, and he did all the scary work! I stayed on level ground, too afraid to do anything else. Moroni spent hours on the thing and did work on flat and sloped areas. Monty did the most daring things, making roads where there were none, removing stumps, clearing rocks, etc. We were able to discover some really neat areas of the property that we had never been able to access before. I'll try to post pictures of those at a different time.

It's a good thing that dozers have hand controls so that six year-olds can operate them!

Building a Bridge

We have a seasonal creek, actually a few seasonal creeks, on the property. Several of them have simple concrete culverts over them, but this is the main one you cross over so we wanted to make it special. With no shortage of rocks on the property, and I mean lots of rocks, we decided to build a rock bridge. Five days, 4000 pounds of mortar mix ( that's two tons people!), lots of water to drink (since the weather was in the mid to high 90's all week), and some help from each of the family members and Bro. Hatch, who is an experienced stone mason and just so happened to need the work, and we end up with a fun bridge that will hopefully give us years of enjoyment. Eventually, we will plant some trees and shrubs around it, but that's for another time!

This is where we started once Monty and McKay put in the culverts and the gravel trucks brought in the gravel.

Monty and Bro. Hatch worked the first day scraping away the extra gravel with the excavator, setting up a plumb line, and placing the first stones.

This is how far we got at the end of the second day.

Day three was spent on the other side.

We decided to put some sort of cap on top of the rocks to make them look more finished. We spent day four finishing the caps on the first side, then going to work on the second side with more stones.

On day five, everyone one had the "blessing" of working, including Hyrum!

Monty mixing up one of the many batches of mortar mix. We used over 50 sacks of mortar mix...80 lbs. each. Thanks Grandpa Mel for the use of the cement mixer and generator!

Placing the capstones on the second wall. That was a LONG day!

Of course, with the hot weather, one of the coolest places was inside the culvert.

Hyrum had fun in there, too!

If you had to be in the sun, a hat was essential. Hyrum is sporting his 50¢ garage sale hat. So cool!

At the end of day five...mission accomplished!