A Boulder Approach

When we first moved in to this house I immediately dubbed the back yard “The Hellhole.” It’s not hard to see why. I’ve written here about its abundance of concrete, sickly aloes, and scrap-yard soil. One thing I haven’t described — until now — is the behemoth that was left sitting in the middle of the first terrace. It’s actually a boulder. Well, maybe a rock. Whatever it is, it has presented a formidable obstacle to improvement.

The thing is huge. It’s also sharp — made of a jagged, pumice-like substance — so getting a feel for how heavy it was turned out to be tricky. When I approached it to gauge its weight it scratched me viciously before I could get a good handhold. Trust me to inherit the Freddy Kreuger of garden globes.

I am no spunky heroine. I decided to leave it alone.

And so it sat. Preventing any progress at all being made on the terrace. What can you do, gardening-wise, when there is a mountainous crag in the middle of your plot? Surround it with climbing plants and call it a trellis? Grow lichen on it and dub it a moss garden? No. You simply give up and cede the territory. Or say you’ll get to it later. When you have more help. Like — when a bunch of weight lifters come over for a barbecue.

Which you won’t have, because your back yard is unpresentable.

Back to ceding territory. Sigh.

But, we have been doing some demolition in the Hell Hole. Most of the bushy, thorny, plants are gone, and the cement slab is getting broken up, slowly but surely. In order to accomplish such work Mike recently acquired a pick axe.

Today, for some reason, he decided to attack the boulder with it.

When he did, (over my shrieks of “eye protection! Please!”), he found that it was crumbly and porous, like an Aero bar. After a few more whacks, he realized it actually wasn’t even that heavy. It seemed to be rolling with each concussion. So Mike stopped trying to chop it up, and instead tried in earnest to budge it. And it budged.

With much encouragement from me and MJ, he proceeded to roll it…

then drop it…

then roll and drop it some more…

and roll it some more…

And finally relocate it.

I think it should be made into a table. (What will serve as appropriate chairs is an open question. Why we would want to sit in a narrow, concrete-walled corner is another. Prison fantasy, anyone?) Mike says we will have to “deal with it for real” eventually. But as far as I’m concerned that day is far away.

Speaking of far away days, I know it’ll be a long time before our back yard is even a little nice. Weight lifters waiting for your BBQ invite — don’t hold your breath. In fact, I recommend you hit a taco truck. We have much, much more work to do before we’ll be flipping burgers in our welcoming little oasis. A frightening amount more.

But not quite as much as we did this morning.

So — and I’m sorry, but it must be said — rock on, Mike!

And if anyone wants a boulder, cheap — you know where to come.

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