I moved a very large rock
today by sheer stubbornness and stupidity.
Long story. Nothing grows on the west side of the house because it's shaded by the house in the morning, but there are a lot of tall trees on the west side of the house so it doesn't get afternoon sun either. Said trees also suck all the water out of the ground and there's not much that grows in low light and low water conditions. As an added bonus, the side yard is also fairly steeply sloped because the front of the house is about 3' above ground level but the back of the house has a walk-out basement, so I would guess the ground slopes down 7' or so in a distance of about 30'. I'd been meaning to do something
with the side yard, but then a week or two ago part of it was dug up to access the water and gas (all of the utilities come in on that side of the house), so I decided now was as good a time as any to work on terracing the slope. I landscape with the notion that, if it looks terrible and nothing is growing, I can't possibly make it worse.
I decided to build the terraces out of a combination of fence posts and rocks because we have a whole stack of old fence posts and an awful lot of rocks. Turning a slope into terraces is a lot of work, but manual labor is cheap. I had spied a rock in the ground over near the pile of fence posts that I thought I could use, so I started digging it out. Turns out the face I could see (6" wide and 18" long?) was not the large face, as I anticipated. I expected the rock to be 4" or maybe 6" thick but no, the rock was buried at least 16" into the ground. By the time I'd dug enough to see just how big the rock was, I was invested. I'm not entirely certain how I managed to ever get it out of the ground because I couldn't get under it well enough with a shovel or mattock to get any leverage. I did finally get it out of the ground, though, mostly with brute force. I left it there for a while then, after lunch, decided that I could manage to move it. I don't have any good idea of how much this rock weighs because I can pick up and move 80 lbs and I know what that feels like. Carrying 80 lbs is something I'm going to feel, but I can carry it. It took everything I had to lift one side of this rock and flip it over. There was no thought of being able to pick it up. I brought over the wheelbarrow, laid it on it's side, and finally managed to flip the rock over a couple of times to get it into the wheelbarrow then, with great effort, got the wheelbarrow upright. I got the wheelbarrow across the yard and up the slope far enough to reverse the process and lay the wheelbarrow on its side again and eventually flip the rock out and into position as part of the retaining wall. I may never be able to get anything to grow, but at least I have a very large rock
that isn't going anywhere.
And I wonder why my back hurts all the time.