Thursday, Apr. 22, 2010
Dear Diary:

Ignore any clucking, squawking or wing flapping sounds in the background. That would be the proverbial chickens coming home to roost.

Dratted chickens.

When the spousal unit and I were reviewing this spring's project list it felt insanely daunting. He consoled himself with the observation that at least this year there wouldn't be the endless, endless stone wrangling that went into building the little pond.

After all, the one thing that wasn't on the list was stone work.

*Cough*.

But then spring came unexpectedly early and I found myself walking into the yard one morning, and, and, and

Part of the wall leading up to the pond just looked wrong. It needed to taper more towards the walkway to tie said walkway into the landscape. So I did what any rational person would do and I tore it all down. Which meant the spousal unit came home from work to find a huge mountain of stone and me moving endless wheelbarrows of dirt away from the site.

I assured him that this would not involve rock wrangling on his part. And I want to state for the record that I meant that in my heart of hearts. I was convinced that I could handle this project on my own.

So I made a sketch and dug the drainage trench. The spousal unit was gracious enough to move in the crushed rock with the tractor for me. I looked at the new drainage trench and compared it to the old drainage trench. Much longer. I realized there was a distinct possibility that I would be short of rock, that the rock from the old wall wouldn't be enough.

Uh oh.

When will this end?I decided to brush back that thought and just start building. Maybe I was wrong.

Now the thing with natural rock is that it's not like bricks or man made stone—it's irregular. Some of it is smoother and easier to work with than other pieces. It can take finagling to build a wall from natural fieldstone. The section where I started working was the tallest portion of the wall, the section that would get the most stress from the weight of earth pushing against it. So I used my nicest, most regular shaped rock.

The spousal unit noticed this. "You're going to end up with a buttload of rock you can't use," he predicted. I scoffed at his cynicism. After all, I am Marn, Warrior Princess, builder of rock walls. I would find a way.

Fast forward to yesterday. I have oh, maybe seven, eight feet of wall to go and, well, I found myself with basically unusable rock. You can work an irregular rock in amongst its more stable cousins, but it's really hard to build wall out of all irregular rock, no matter how hard you try to shape it with a stone hammer.

So near yet so far away.I know, because I spent hours yesterday dressing rock to no avail. Oh yes, the chickens had come home to roost, just as the spousal unit predicted.

I hate it when that happens.

Last night the spousal unit came home from work and noticed that the progress on the wall had sputtered to a stop. A lesser man would have made me marinade in the sour wine of "I told you so". The spousal unit is a much bigger person than I am and instead offered to go on a rock hunt with me last night.

We scoured brooks and exposed ledges and found some rock. I'm not sure if it will be enough, but I'm certainly in a better place than I was late yesterday afternoon.

Every year I declare that that year's stone project is My Last Stone Wall Evah. And every year I build another stone wall. Every year it takes a bit more out of me to sling around tons of rock. So here's my cunning plan: no more declarations vis-à-vis stone walls.

Do you hear me universe? No gauntlets are being thrown, no definitive statements are being made. Ignore the woman in the woods. Don't put any more rock related projects into her totally impractical noggin.

Please.

--Marn

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