The project began with a Friday telephone call from my daughter, “What can she do with the pile of rocks in her backyard?” Her expectations were few; clean it up, easy to maintain and look nice. I had seen the rock pile before but had never paid that much attention to it. I knew it was approximately a five to six foot circle and had small, medium, and large rocks and was unattractive. We tossed a few ideas around on the telephone and set a project date of the next Tuesday when we were both available. I pondered on the project for three days with her expectations, ideas and now a completion time.
It was Tuesday morning I collected my garden tools which consisted of my rake/hoe tool, small shovel, pruners, grass cutters, scissors and an old screwdriver all are stored in an old Christmas popcorn tin. At nine o’clock in the morning I arrived with my tools in tow and ready to begin. We made the walk to the rock pile discussing, plotting, and planning what we were about to start. We discussed the overgrown pine tree that was directly behind the rocks, I viewed the “pricker” weeds all near the front and side of the rocks and the large patches of stems and weeds that were stealing all the rain and sunshine they could. We needed larger tools, to the garage we went and brought out the large shovel and rake, tree cutters and lawn bags. Back at the rock pile we began digging out the pricker weeds down to the longest root, they seemed to be multiplying as we continued to dig. We would shovel a scoop full of dirt from close to the base of the weed and as deep as we could, used the screwdriver to locate the longest root, picked it up and shook off the dirt. It works well this way and you can replace the dirt back in its original hole, as not to leave holes all over her yard. My daughter gave the long handled pruners a workout on the lower branches of the pine tree and she used the rake to pull out some of the long stored leaves. While she was doing this I was attacking the weeds and grass in the rocks also trying to get out the whole root. We started a brush pile and bagged up the leaves and destroyed weeds. The rock pile was now taking shape and already cleaner with weeds removed and lower branches off the rocks.
We began discussing what to put in the rocks for decoration, wheelbarrow, wagon, shepherds hook, flowers, etc. It was time to go shopping! The trip to the chain store garden center is only thirty minutes round trip and we shopped for an hour. My daughter was set on a decorative wheelbarrow or wagon, but none could be found on this day. She settled on a shepherds hook, three prong and very pretty, a purple and yellow pansy hanging basket and a couple of hosta plants.
Back at the rock pile she decided to put the shepherds hook in the center between two of the larger rocks. We moved and dug rock until we had a hole twelve inches deep, dropped in the shepherds hook and pushed and stepped on the lower brace to insert it into the ground. This gave us sixteen inches of depth and stability and we used the smaller rocks to brace around it. Next we determined the placement of the hostas and again dug and moved rocks and placed one on each side of the shepherds hook and put up the hanging basket. We stepped back and viewed the much improved rock pile but it was still lacking something.
Looking around her yard we tried putting her bird bath in, it just didn’t look right. What else did she have that we could put in there? She has quite a few of the nice yard decorations and there it was, a boy and girl in a wagon sitting right by her house. We put that in the rock pile next to the shepherds hook and we liked what we saw and braced that with the smaller rocks, stepped back again and were satisfied. Her expectations had been met, clean, easy, nice, and she can also always alter her decorations. Goal achieved by three o’clock in the afternoon with discarded brush, lawn bags, and tools taken care of. We were proud of our accomplishment – it took only six hours, fifty dollars, a little labor and our goal was met.
I will treasure this day forever because what started out as a project became a great Mother/Daughter day. Needless to say we are looking for another project that we can again – do together!