Thursday, June 2, 2016

Creating My Own Stone Circle.

Recently Kenny has taken a bit of an interest in Stonehenge and other megalithic type structures from around the world.  I have always shared that interest, and so it is fortuitous that we moved to a part of the province well known for growing rocks.

During initial phases of construction, Grandpa had done the time-honoured tradition of moving rocks out of the way and placing them as borders to mark off paths or zones.  The installation of the new well last fall created a zone that I also wanted to be well defined - a few feet all around the well casing that I wanted to be exclusively planted in grass, somehow I have in my head that a nice layer of solid grass around the well would be a better medium for rainwater to fall through and into my well.  I don't think it would contribute as much decomposing organics as some of the more prevalent plants in that area.

To mark out my "grass only" zone, this spring I ringed the well with many of the stones that had been exposed during its installation.  At the end closest to the cabin, it came quite close to a huge stone that had been split and laid out by the excavator.  After a day or two of thought, I expanded the circle to include this split stone, and that created a natural "entrance", accessed through the area we had been using as a fire pit.

Starting to clean up the "zen garden".
This immediately put it in contact with another stone line that Grandpa had set out from one edge of the fire pit down to the pond.  This increased the area encompassed a bit, and naturally led to me ringing the entire pond with a small line of rocks.  It became quite infectious.

On my own, I encountered a really large rock with a flat top.  I managed to lever it up out of the ground, but that was as far as I could do it by muscle power alone.  I tried using the comealong, but in this area, there weren't too many trees left between the cabin and the sauna, so I didn't really have any places to anchor to, and I wasn't about to use my porch posts!

A long reach with the comealong!
Lots of blocks underneath to make sure it doesn't roll back.
I brought in the ATV with it's new Warn winch and wire rope.  I didn't have any illusions that it could pull the rock in its default state, but I remembered that I had bought a large pulley the first winter we were here to allow me to perhaps winch logs around a corner out in the bush.  I never had a chance to use it in that manner, so the pulley had been relegated to a bin in the garage.  It did take me a good five or ten minutes to find, but I was excited when I did.

I wrapped a chain around the rock first, then attached the pulley to that, and then the wire rope around the pulley and back to the ATV, where I chained it to the front draw bar.  Now I had theoretically doubled the pulling ability of the ATV.  My "secure thought" was that if the rock was too heavy, the winch should have more than enough power to instead drag the ATV forward, long before it would break the rope or damage the winch.  As long as the ATV was on sandy, level ground, there shouldn't be any undue stresses put upon it.

In the right place, now to get the right position.
My pulley all hooked up, commence precision winching...
Nothing beats hands on adjustments though.
I was tickled pink at how smoothly the winch pulled in the rock.  With a few back and forths, I was able to get it into position near the fire pit, and then I used the winch again to lever it up into position.  Now I had the barest outline of a circle at the fire pit, with two huge boulders leading to the "zen garden" area around the well, and another flat topped rock that one could set a chair beside while at the fire pit.

Dusty, but looking really nice!
A frosty beverage would complete the picture - but careful, Doctor said I have to watch my potassium!
There was one large gap left to fill around the fire pit, but fortunately I could see a large rock nearby still exposed by the excavator.

This time I thought it would go easier if I were to lever it up and try to slide a scrap piece of plywood underneath.  I wrapped a strap around the rock and fastened a 2x6 from my wood pile to it.  This allowed me to lift it while Donna carefully jammed the plywood underneath.

Too bad you can't see all the hard work my photographer put into this project too!  Thanks Mama!
I repeated my same system with the ATV, and just as I got started, Grandpa and Mummu arrived to observe.  Grandpa pitched right in, using his tamping rod to help guide the rock across the ground to the fire pit.

Just in time to help guide her to her new home.
10,000 years in the same spot, and then I come along and shake things up!
I pulled it a bit past where I wanted it, and then we dug a shallow hole for the rounded end of it to fit.

Then we reattached the strap and 2x6, and I levered it up into position in the hole.

Archimedes, eat your heart out!
Wishing I hadn't put the strap on so well.
It was leaning quite a bit, and not very stable.  I pushed as hard as I could to get it in the position I wanted, and Grandpa packed stones and soil under and around the base until it was satisfactory.

Ahhh, gravity, my old foe...  We meet again!

We then backfilled it with clay, and a layer of sand.

I cleaned up the area, gave it a quick rake, and felt very pleased with the outcome.

I'm looking forward to another campfire, hopefully with guests, to really re-connect to my neolithic roots!

One can feel the reflective power of this space.

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