Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Immovable Stone Versus Irresistible Forces

This week began with a visit to my Primary Care Physician.  A focus of our discussion was the condition of my lower back.  For the first time the doctor uttered the words back surgery.  My age and  past choices of activities have left their mark on my lower spine.  My passion for building walls with native fieldstone was identified as a possible contributing factor to the back pain.  Later that same day I discovered this beautiful rock at the edge of the woods.

Where our fields approach the remains of the bedrock ridge, the torrents of glacial melt water cut a shallow ravine.  Occasional springs are now common there so the area is always interesting.  A break from garden work found me looking down into this depression.  At my feet was a rock of unusual beauty.  A quick hand check revealed the massive nature of this stone since it would not move even a tiny amount in response to light carefully applied pressure.

Stones this large are seldom the cause of injury since it is obvious that just man power will have no impact on them.  I returned with a pry bar and a block of wood to see just what was at hand.  A cautious 90 degree rotation showed just how massive this rock is.  There was no way that I could move this one.

Closer inspection revealed a crack that extended the entire length of one face.  Past experience indicated that a clean split of the rock into two pieces was within my skill set.  The resulting thin piece of the stone did not appeal to me since the charm was its massiveness.  Various options for moving it intact were considered.  All involved big machines that could be rented or coerced from a neighbor.  I am more of a do it myself kind of guy.

Careful work with the block and pry bar created a narrow opening under the stone where the end of a log skidder cable would pass.  The cable was attached to the hitch on my trusty Ranger.  A journey of one half of a mile moved the stone into my woodland bower near the road. The path of the stone left quite an impression.   The skidding cable suffered serious damage rubbing against the lane surface but the stone shows only a single mark from its contact with the cable.  A new replacement cable will be here in a couple of days since  the frayed cable will injure the hands that hold it.

A disconnect was required to move the truck to the far side of the bower trees.  The distance between the rock and the truck required three cables and a section of rope to pull the stone near its final position.  The rope only broke once and my knots of the moment could be easily untied.

Here the treasured stone has found its place at the edge of the woodland garden.  The nearby stone displays about the same surface area but it is just a thin slice that was moved by hand.  Rolling it on edge  probably caused more injury to my back than the effort made to move the much heavier neighbor.  The only time that my hand touched the monster was to push it over into the hole dug to receive it.  Perhaps a couple of Jacob's Ladder plants would look good planted near this stone.  That leaves space behind and at both ends for other plants.  Time trapped inside this winter will be spent finding just the right woodland plants for this spot now made special. 


Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Yikes! It is a beautiful stone, and your stonework is impressive, but do be careful!

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

A very resilient post. You are told by your physician that moving stones has harmed your back so you go home and take life easy? No! You move another wacking great stone!