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Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Dog Hair & Mule Sweat

with Natalie Riehl

editor@rockymountainrider.com

 

May 2012 issue

 

     I know this may seem like an elemental question to some, but “Where did these rocks come from?”

     I’m not talking about the boulders from rock slides up the trails or massive gravel bars in our Western rivers, but rather about average everyday stones that you feel you have cleared out of your yard or corrals a dozen times…per stone.

     I used to have a garden patch that was fifteen by fifteen feet that I turned over by hand every spring for ten years. A small garden by any measure. The first few years, I picked out at least a half dozen buckets of rocks each year containing large and small rocks. I even dug up the old burn pile for the house that was sixty years old, and found part of a toy Roy Rogers pistol!

     I figured that I got out all the rocks that could possibly be in that garden, yet, each spring, the winter had produced more rocks. Winter is the growingest time of year for rocks!

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     Now, let’s move out to the corrals where rocks measure anywhere from an inch to six inches in diameter — and often bigger. Once again, I hear myself exclaiming, “Where did these rocks come from? I picked all of them up last year!”

     Used feed sacks are great for putting those excess rocks in; you know, the faux-gunnysacks made of plastic. I’ll fill the sacks halfway and then take them to Al’s house, which is built on a steep slope. He uses the rocks for “landfill” and has been gradually widening his driveway. Emphasis on gradually.

     [Here is an interesting side note: When I asked my feed dealer, “What’s happened to recycling my old feed sacks?” he told me that there are now concerns about “bio-hazards,” and feed companies will no longer refill used feed sacks.]

     One of the downfalls of my corrals are that, when the barn was built, the excavator brought in loads of what he called “pit run gravel.” It is true that, when it gets wet, the basic clay-like material that binds the rocks together is better than wading through muddy top soil. However, I could have used more clay. There was no screening out of any of the rocks, and it’s impossible to move the manure with my little tractor, without collecting a plethora of rocks in every bucketful. And… don’t ask me how many of these rocks get redistributed in my pastures when spreading the manure! Grrrr!

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     A discussion of rocks must include the friendly, landscaping rocks. Although, at the risk of seeming like Lucy in the classic 1953 movie, “The Long, Long Trailer,” we pick up rocks when we travel. Rick, the talented gardener that he is, has strategically placed them throughout the flower garden, and they are an asset.

     These include river-washed rocks from the Hoh River on the Olympic Peninsula where Rick grew up. These dark gray rocks are oblong and very smooth from having been tumbled in the glacier-melt river. They mark the corners of the garden and keep the hoses from damaging the flowers!

            These rocks, in addition to being objects of beauty, serve a practical purpose… as opposed to the rocks elsewhere on the property that have the mating habits of rabbits!

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Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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