The Rock addiction: A cautionary tale
I am posting the following as a warning, a cautionary tale of the depths of depravity that this here innocent-sounding Rock Garden business can lead. I hope that by recounting my miserable story, others will avoid the same sad and terrible fate.
I have 6/10 of an acre. When we moved here, there was not a raised bed in sight. Now only a few square feet of lawn remain. There are now two smaller finished ponds surrounded with rock gardens, and we are now working on the "Mother of All Ponds" in the back yard. It is 60 feet long, 35 feet wide by 10 feet deep. It will have two gigantic waterfalls plunging into each end, roaring down the 30 foot "mountain" behind it. They are fed with two gigantic 9000 gph pumps. The excavator removed the dirt and built the 30 foot mountain behind the pond, and brought in two dump trucks full of large boulders to surround the pond. Nothing wrong with this part. This is all within the normal range of human behavior. My description of the despair and degradation is contained within the following paragraphs.
We have also brought in 70 trailer loads of granite boulders with a tandem axle car trailer, which now suffers from a bent axle housing. We loaded them all by hand with a Harbor Freight 700 hundred pound capacity handcart (we have brought back 3 absolutely-mangled ones for replacement, and now have "rebuilt" one entirely for rock hauling. On a handcart that cost brand new $45 we have spent around $150 installing heavier duty wheels, tires and axles, as well as having the frame beefed up by a custom metal fabricator) and a heavy duty wheelbarrow that is on its way to the fabricator to be similarly beefed up. That will turn a $20 Craigslist buy into a $200 or so heavy duty one.
We have built around 20 raised beds with granite boulders that covers most of the property that is not covered with ponds. We blew the rear-end out of a Ford F-150 3 or 4 times overloading the trailer with boulders, and now have TWO (TWO!!!!) Heavy Duty 3/4 4x4 trucks to pull the trailer. One has a big block chevy 454 and the other a Ford 460. They are ravenously hungry for gasoline. They are both getting airbags for the rear axles, helper springs, anti-sway hitches. We are now installing heavy duty disk brakes on all four wheels of the trailer, as well as installing heavier duty axles and and axle housings. We have destroyed 4 high-lift ranch jacks, four floor jacks, and at least 6 hydraulic bottle jacks raising up gigantic boulders to mortar them into place. We have blown up 6 brand new tires on the trailer in two years.
Two weekends ago, we found a farmer with manure to spare and rented two gigantic dump bed trailers and hauled 75 yards of composted manure. After reading Ruth Stout's books, we have hauled in two tons of hay and are planning on hauling in 140 bails this weekend (4 tons). We bought 200 knockout roses two weeks ago, now our property rose total is around 750. We have hauled around 125 yards of compost in the last two years for the roses.
They have been rebuilding the north/south highway about 10 miles from here and have unearthed thousands of gorgeous speckled-granite boulders. We have hauled about 20 trailer loads out since June. We spend our summer weekends in hot, filthy locales, sweating like swine loading 500 pound boulders to exhaustion, and then placing them around the property with the handcart.
I feel like my story may be helpful to others in avoiding the same fate. If you see yourself heading in the same direction, please I beg of you, stop yourself now. There is help out there.