Saturday, December 15, 2007

Monster Rock Sculpture Garden

Now here is a man commited to his rock garden and sculpture.One day 36 years ago,

Nek Chand, a humble transport official in the north Indian city of Chandigarh, began to clear a little patch of jungle to make himself a small garden area. He set stones around the little clearing and before long had sculpted a few figures recycled from materials he found at hand. Gradually Nek Chand's creation developed and grew; before long it covered several acres and comprised of hundreds of sculptures set in a series of interlinking courtyards.
After his normal working day Chand worked at night, in total secrecy for fear of being discovered by the authorities.When they did discover Chand's garden, local government officials were thrown into turmoil. The creation was completely illegal - a development in a forbidden area which by rights should be demolished. The outcome, however, was the enlightened decision to give Nek Chand a salary so that he could concentrate full-time on his work, plus a workforce of fifty labourers. Nek Chand's great work received immediate recognition and was inaugurated as The Rock Garden of Chandigarh.
Now over twenty five acres of several thousand sculptures set in large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges, Nek Chand's creation also combines huge buildings with a series of interlinking waterfalls. The Rock Garden is now acknowledged as one of the modern wonders of the world. Over 5000 visitors each day, some 12 million people so far, walk around this vast creation - the greatest artistic achievement seen in India since the Taj Mahal.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Colored rock wall

I came across this rock wall in a collection of photos. I don't know where it is but the variety of the color of the fieldstone is really nice.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ten Reasons to use Concrete in Gardens

Concrete is a great choice for a fountain or pond in many gardens, and the options keep growing. You can get it stamped or acid-stained on walkways, or decorate it with imprints of leaves or nuts. The local garden club recently bought a preformed concrete water fountain as a water feature for their flower garden. Now they will be coming back next year to make a concrete pond to capture the water overflow from the fountain. The nice thing about the fountain was it came in sections , so it was easy to put together.
While some projects require a contractor; others, a handy person can complete. Either way, there are myriad things to love about concrete in the garden. Here are Nine:
*1. It can be made to look old — even when it's new.
*2. You can do it yourself
If you are tackling a basic project, it's easy to learn. Edging a walkway, for example, is a repetitive process just about everyone can do.
*3. It lasts Wooden edging will rot and need to be replaced eventually. Concrete will last forever. (There's a downside to that, too. It's hard to get rid of it if you change your mind.)
*4. It can be modern or rustic
Concrete can look hard and sleek, perfect for a contemporary home and garden. Or it can be treated to look old and textured, more in place near a historic cottage or rustic cabin. Concrete gets a natural patina over time.
* 5. It's weather resistant
*6. Add other materials to it Rocks can be part of the design or a waterfall with just concrete can feel more urban and sleek,
*7.Concrete can be decorated You can throw ice cubes on it before it hardens to give it an unusual finish. Baking soda fizzes and makes it look old. Or add watered-down color (two-thirds water to one-third paint) in a paint sprayer.
*8. You create any type texture Some contractors have texture forms or you can make your own to make concrete look like old bricks, slate, textured brick — you name it.
*9. Concrete can be colored just about any color you want. The color choice is almost unlimited. Different chemicals gotten from a cement supply house will color the concrete differently.
*10. Plasticity The most important reason to use concrete is it's plasticity allowing you total control of the form.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wooden Garden Bridges

Wooden Garden Bridges - A Beautiful Touch For Your Garden
By Anne Clarke My garden has a simple Koi fish pond, plenty of flowers, a porch swing and a beautiful pine wood bridge. I believe that wooden bridges are a beautiful touch for any garden pond, Japanese-style dry river bed, miniature garden, or even above your waterfall or reflecting pool. The garden bridges I have seen range in style and beauty, elegance and simplicity, length and width, made for all kinds of gardens. A wooden bridge will be a perfect addition for your garden that will best suit your needs for virtually any outdoor dcor, garden design, and can even be custom designed to fit perfectly among the specialized creations in your yard. There are wonderful wooden bridges available to suit the smallest possible waters or ponds to the most elaborate waterfalls, reflecting pools, and they can be used in any dry garden dcor. In other words, you do not have to have a pond, waterfall, or even a dry, stone garden to create a beautiful new look with a wooden garden bridge. When you find a place for the perfect garden, waterfall, a reflecting pool you prefer or if you already have one of these consider a bridge for your garden dcor. There are four post as well as six post wooden bridges designed in pine, redwood and more. Most of the outdoor bridges on the market today are available at very decent prices. In addition you can build your own garden bridges with kits, materials, equipment and instructions. Build-your-own garden bridge projects are not only fun, but they can also save you a lot of money. A wonderful place for meditation, reflection, contemplation, or just to relax and unwind, a wooden bridge contributes to the overall ambiance of any yard or garden. Relaxing at home in your own beautiful outdoor creations, whether your garden is floral, rock, contemporary or cultural a wooden bridge is always a lovely addition. You may be the very best judge and have the very best eye for your own garden, but consider the wide variety of wooden bridges. There are wooden bridges with tall posts and tightly placed together vertical beams, or wooden bridges with four to six poles using ropes or horizontal pieces of wood in between and more. There are tall bamboo railings you can install, and there are bamboo bridges with wooden bases that are perfect for your oriental, stone or miniature garden. The list goes on. Get a bridge for your garden in all kinds of styles and designs to choose from. Have a look at all of the possible benefits of a wooden bridge and the many styles available on the market today. Arch bridges with poles or without poles, straight bridges, bridges with stairways all of these are possible considering the space and type of garden, pond, or waterfall you have. The most important thing about your garden is that you enjoy being there. Therefore, if you love your garden as a hobby you will likely want to have a different kind of garden than one that is lowmaintenance. The point is that when you are able, you have a beautiful sort of sanctuary all your own. Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background includes teaching, gardening, and fashion. For more of her articles on fountains, please visit, supplier of high quality Water Fountains and Pond Pumps. Article Source:—A-Beautiful-Touch-For-Your-Garden&id=48311

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thinking About A Garden Pond ?

Why You Should Have a Garden Pond
By Anne Clarke Are you still having some trouble deciding whether or not to add a garden pond to your yard? Well, I am going to try to convince you that you should most definitely have a garden pond. Here are some of the many benefits and pros to having a garden pond: Visual Beauty. There is something about the sight of water that is absolutely mesmerizing. Add a waterfall or water fountain to your garden pond, and you will be hypnotized for days. Auditory Beauty. After a stressful day of work, there are few things more soothing than the sound of water gurgling, cascading, or even dripping. Again, a waterfall or water fountain will increase the auditory beauty, just as they will increase the visual beauty. Pets. If you add koi to your pond, you are not simply adding a piece of garden decoration, you are adding a pet. It can be very fun and quite intriguing to take care of koi. And if you do get koi for your pond, expect that you will, indeed, have to take care of them as pets. You will need to make sure that they are fed and that the aquatic environment is optimal. Gardening. Most garden ponds do not simply consist of a hole filled with water and fish. They also have many aquatic plants and plants surrounding the pond. You can really have fun with gardening and landscaping around the pond. Easy installation. You can create a basic garden pond in a day. More complicated ones, with cascading waterfalls, etc. can take much longer. But a basic garden pond is very easy to install. You can just dig a hole and line it with pond liner, or get a set pond hard shell. With a little bit of digging and some water and a few plants you have got yourself a pond! Easy to run. These days, you can get solar pond lights, solar filters, solar pumps, etc., making your pond very easy to run. And since solar power is free, you will have no running costs! Interest. There are few things more boring than a backyard that is simply a huge expanse of grass. If you want a grassy field, go to a park! In your own backyard, you have the power to create any sort of environment that you want. Why not make your landscape interesting? Getaway. Adding a garden pond to your yard is the first step to creating your own getaway. Once you beautify your yard, you are going to want to spend more and more time in it. It will become the perfect place to go when you want to escape from the rest of the world. Guests. Although you should build a garden pond for yourself, it is nice to know that your guests are sure to love it, too. Your garden pond can be the center of many outdoor barbecues and get-togethers. Add a few floating candles to your pond, and you are set to go! Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles on garden ponds, please visit Pond Depot. Article Source:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Large Tree Sculpture

This tree sculpture project has been going on for a while. I can't believe the size of these. you can see more tree sculpture here


Saturday, November 03, 2007

10 Reasons for A Garden Not Grass

I got this list of 10 Reasons for A Garden Not Grass over at some good reasoning here.

1. Americans spend $30 billion every year to maintain 23 million acres of lawn. That's an average of $1200 per acre, per year. The same sized area could still provide a beautiful space for recreation and feed a family of six if converted to edible landscaping as opposed to traditional landscaping.

2. The food you grow in your garden is infinitely fresher, tastier and nutritionally superior to store - bought foods that travel an average of 1,500 miles to your table.

3. The bounty you obtain will allow you to share the unique gift of homegrown, gourmet - quality fruits and vegetables with your friends and neighbors.

3. You will lessen your dependance on the intolerably wasteful factory - farm megacorporations that despoil our environment to produce carcinogenic "nourishment".
4. You can eliminate the need to maintain an unnatural and energy - intensive lawn and transfer that time and energy to build something that is both functional and beautiful - your edible landscape.

5. The simple act of gardening improves all aspects of health - physical, emotional, spiritual and social - to enable us to build strong bodies, strong families and strong communities.

6) You will have the ability to teach your children, friends and neighbors how they too can drastically improve their health and quality of life through gardening.

7) Instead of merely protesting the negative actions of others which all of us get wrapped up in at times, you can make a direct positive impact on the vitality of your home, and therefore community, and therefore our world in general.

8) Gardening is unbelievably educational - you will learn more about biology, chemistry, meteorology and countless other life sciences and their interaction with each other as you cultivate your nourishing garden.

9) Kids just can't get enough time in the garden! Rather than having your children dull their minds with video games, television and the internet, they can be getting a real hands - on education, develop a positive work ethic, and get a great workout to boot.

10) You will be giving a gift back to nature - providing habitat for native birds and beneficial insects as well as stopping the harmful input of petrochemicals - and she will return the favor in abundance with delicious food as opposed to useless grass!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Survey Shows Homeowners Like the Peace and Tranquility of Ponds

A homeowner survey conducted by California Waterscapes just released showed that the main benefit they perceived they would get from owning a water garden, such as a backyard pond, waterfall or stream was peace, tranquility and relaxation. I would agree with that. At least when everything is working correctly. ha-ha.
They said popularity of backyard water features such as ponds, streams and waterfalls is on the rise. That seems to be the case in my experience, in our little town a few years ago I only knew of our ponds now there are three set ups and what I think will really be a cool one is going to be built next year by a friend who is getting into it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Compact Compost Maker

I came across this compact compost maker at they have the plans for it on flickr it wouldn't cost much for the materials and for a small garden situation it looks like it would work pretty well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

All Waterfall no Pond

A different way of getting a water feature. How about a waterfall but no pond? Basically it has a small much deeper pond where the water collects and is pumped back up. Check out Dan the Pump man for his pondless waterfalls

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trees as Sculptures

I came across this site. It's not in Minnesota but it's really neat. The artist has trained the trees into unique sculptures. Check it out here

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Importance Of A Pond Pump

By Allen Jesson-
A pond pump plays a major roll in any man made pond, with out one the risk of the pond becoming stagnant is greatly increased due to the water standing still over a long period of time with little or no movement. A pond pump not only helps to drive a filter and keep the water fresh, it is also used for many water features such as a waterfalls, pond spitters or statues. Depending on what you require the pond pump to achieve you need to select it wisely, choosing the wrong pond pump could result in your water not being filtered properly or you may have insufficient flow to your water features which will stop them working properly. There are many pond pumps available both in stores and over the world wide web, if you have a specific job in mind for the pump then you can choose one that suits that specific need, if you require it to for fill more than one purpose then there is always the option of a multi purpose pond pump. Pond Pumps are categorized by the quantity of water they pump. This is based on the gallons of water a pump can move in an hour. It also must pump this quantity at least one foot or higher for the same amount of time. Pump manufacturers offer simple to use charts that give details of each pump and how much water they move. Some of the combined pond pumps offer great value for money, look out for those that have advanced design filter housing eliminating the need for a filter sponge, if the pond pump has wrap around filter housing you will greatly reduce the need to clean the pump itself resulting in less damage being made to the motor. Water garden pond pumps are ideal for water features such as running waterfalls and filters, choosing a well known make and model will deliver the high performance needed by modern pressure filter systems to run spectacular waterfalls and features. Having a garden pond especially if you have designed and created it yourself, add so much to a garden, watching the plant and fish grown and seeing what you have created develop slowly over time gives a remarkable sense of satisfaction. To stop your pond turning stagnant or even worse into a man made bog it is worth spending some time considering which pond pump will suit your ponds needs best. If you are unsure what you require then just ask, most garden centres or pet shops will supply a wide variety of pond pumps that will suit your pond. Always try and take as much information with you if asking advise, generally the size of the pond will be paramount but if you have a rough idea how many fish you have or what percentage of the pond is filled with plants then that will help to. Allen Jesson writes for several sites including Seapets, a leading source for Pond Pumps he also writes for hot dog training tips and training for dogs. Article Source: Allen_Jesson

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Water Lilies

It is not rare, it is just a simple pink flower but so enjoyable. It is water lilies like this that make having ponds fun.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

1990 Pond Photo

I came across this photo of our pond from about 1990. We had a lot of cattails growing in the lower pond at the time. It was a lush summer. One did not have to work so hard to keep plants green or the ponds full.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Building a Pond

There are lots of ways to build water falls and ponds, here is a site I ran across  to they ask questions as to what you want your pond to be like.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Middle Waterfall To Bottom Pond

Here is where the middle pond flows into the lower pond. I have more work to do to cover up the liner around the edges but I really like the way the waterfall turned out coming into the pond. To make it I overlapped the edge of the membrane from the falls with the edge from the pond. I applied black silicone to the overlap and it is just loosely overlapping the bottom.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

No Mosquitos

The only good thing I can say has been good this year about the lack of rain is the absence of mosquitos or 'mooses' as my wife's english uncle called them. Not having mosquitoes in England he said he is not coming back to visit in the summer any more but will only come here in the fall. When he was here a couple of years ago he would get a real infection with each bite. He learned quickly to get the bug spray on or stay inside.
Even though there has not beeen much rain I am surprised at how few mosquitoes there have been

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Middle Waterfalls

Here is the new middle falls and pond, a few years ago we didn't have any waterlilies, my wife wanted one so I made one out of copper, thats it on the left. Now we alwaays have some. We have since added live ones though

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Upper Pond Working

A quick photo of the upper pond in operation


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pond OverLord

This little Pond OverLord has been observing the activities in the lower ponds for many years. Thinking about what to do next.  I found out a long time ago that ceramic sculpture outside in the Minnesota winters had better be high fired or it will absorb moisture and break or moisture trapped in a pocket and unable to drain out will cause it to break.   

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Meditation Rock

This is a meditation area, it is in a quiet part of the garden. There is a rock path to it. When you sit on the large rock you can put the coffee cup on the floating rock and lean into the arm rest. On the left is a grassy hill and my sand garden. From here one looks down the hill. Where all the busyness goes on.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Siberian Irises

It's time to enjoy the Siberian Irises that are blooming right now. With all the pond work I haven't been paying attention to the flowers. That is wrong ! One should always have time for the flowers. They are a very adaptable plant the blue one is in a pond the white one is in a regular flower bed. They do like wet feet. The blue flags grow wild in the swamps.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Fixing the Upper Pond

The top picture is the upper pond, it's quite small just big enough to start the waterfall process. You can see part of the old pool liner that was under the cement. The earth in this area is hard clay, the cement was only about 2 inchs thick , it's purpose was to cover the liner to allow one to walk in the pond and back then I guess I just liked mixing cement. With the winters we have here the cement cracked with the frost, that not being a problem for many years because of the liner. The liner I used at that time as previously stated was from a above ground pool and became quite brittle. Now I am using the .045 membrane. The black pipe comes up from the bottom pond to supply the water.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

12 Things About Building A Pond

Yesterday my wife pointed me in the direction of one of the TV show she was watching on building a pond and waterfall. Ponds are in the air because then the daily paper came and it happened to have a article on rebuilding a 12 year old pond. They interviewed a pond shop owner, here are 12 points he suggests you should consider when building a pond.
1. Make your pond larger rather than smaller, as they feel larger ponds are easier to maintain.
2. The pond should be 2 1/2 feet deep to keep fish and plants over winter.
3. Place the pond in the yard so people can enjoy it.
4. The cost, they suggest a 11 by 16 foot pond will cost from $2,200 to $3,600 and if it were professionally installed it could range from $ 4,900 to $7,900.
5. Use the lay of the land to decide where to put the pond , avoid building a mound to have a waterfall.
6. Avoid the lowest part of the land to prevent runoff of lawn clippings and fertilizer into the pond.
7. Use correct size of pump.
8. Use a skimmer to filter out leaves and grasses.
9. Maintenance of skimmer once a month.
10. Chemical treatment of pond once a month.
11. Add lights, plants to add another level of interest to the pond
12. Use good materials.
These are some good ideas, I have to think about some of them thou.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fantasy Waterfall

This is a fun new service I just had to try out. I must confess this waterfall is just a touch higher than the one I am rebuilding right now.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Old Ponds

The decison has been made to rubberize all the ponds including the dogleg. The bottom pond while still working pretty well is being encrouched upon by plants around some of the edges breaking the concrete. So it can't be filled to it's max depth. So with a sale on the rubber happening we decided to go for it. I am going to have to shrink size the bottom pond a little as the measurements are a little over 10 feet. Not wanting to special order the membrane size adjustments are in order.
There are a lot of sites that show how to build ponds, I am curious what others look like after a long period of time. Ours has gone through many changes over the years. I'm sure others have also. One thing no one seems to hear as how high maintenance they can be. I'd love to see pics of other folks ponds.

Friday, May 25, 2007

New Liner New Pump

I finally aqquired a leak in the top pond, after all these years. That was also a concrete pond it had been recemented several times over the years so I broke down and bought the rubber membrane for this like I did for the middle pond last year. I buy this at the nearby farm store where they charge $4.95 a running foot. So thats a one foot by ten foot .045 mill thickness of EPDM from Rubberall That's quite a good price. As long as I'm on the subject. The pump we are using and still works good is a Wayne 1/3 hp sump pump. Again we went with the sump pump because of cost. The 1/3 hp, when I bought it many years ago was $69. I have gotten lazy the last number of years and don't even take it out of the pond in the winter. Believe me here in Minnesota my pond freezes to the bottom. I have been impressed with it's durability. it's rated as 3450 GPH at 5' Head. It is a good 15' head difference from the bottom pond where the pump is to the upper pond. Now that we have revived the middle pond my wife wanted a faster water rate so we switched to the Wayne 3/4 hp stainless which is rated at 4200 GPH at 5'. $150 at the farm store. We can really tell the difference. The only modifications made were to take the float off, turn the switch on, leaving it on, as we plug the pump in to use it. So here's my video of that. Still got some tweaking and fine tuning to do.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Watering THe Garden

A little trick we've been using for a few years in the vegetable garden. Comes in handy, especially when we have had dry weather like we have had this spring as well as conserving water. The combination of the felt like material, recycled from a paper mill and cut into strips, holds the water really well. I made a drip line out of .5 inch plastic electrical pipe, which was half the price of regular plastic pipe. One end was capped , the other end has a plastic to hose thread adapter, not regular pipe thread. Holes were drilled about every 5 inches. The water drips out along the length of the pipe.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

First Video of Waterfall

We made this video before we even got the new pond finished but what the heck. It's there.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Changing the Waterfall

A couple of photos of where the water came out for the middle pond. The black pipe coming out of the back supplied the water, pumped from the lower pond. The pipe was connected to a 'T' that was 18" long with holes drilled in it, to spread out the water as it flowed over the large flat rock. Moving this rock proved to be quite a chore.
The pond after all the plants had been moved out. Getting ready for the next step.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cleaning the Pond

This is last summer when we started to clean out the cattails and plants out of the middle pond. It had been very dry, so the bottom was dry. The roots had twisted themselves up and created a mass 5 inches thick. The bottom against the cement base came up like a carpet. I found out the best way to take it out was to use a large knife and cut it out in sections. If you look close I am almost hidden in the cattails.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Buffalo Berries in Bloom

The Buffalo Berries are blooming. These are tastey little berries a little bigger than currents. They make a good tasting jelly. I understand there are several varieties of these. We believe what we have are the Canadian Buffalo Berry (Shepherdia canadensis )

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Middle Pond

This is from last summer. Just before we started work on cleaning out what we call the middle pond. For a number of years we had let it become a 'bog'. Rain water would keep it damp. It naturalized itself, with cat tails and all kinds of other interesting plants. We planted some siberian irises in it , they did very well. for a couple of years we tried cardinal flowers, they did beautifully the first year but would never come back. I built up the soil so they had wet feet but were not super wet. I have given up on them for now. Any ideas ? Anyway we decided to bring it back to a pond and modify the waterfall. Oh, notice the glass blown hummingbird feeder. It's beautiful. We picked it up at the U of Mn Arboretum the hummingbirds come up to it, try and figure out how to feed out of it and go away. I've tried different angles moving it around, I guess the hummingbirds around here aren't hungry enough.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ducks and Cranes

I had this fantasy, at the time of ducks flying in for a rest on my pond. I made this pastel drawing in '86, as I was in the building process. The simple railroad ties bridge didn't last more than a few weeks. The ducks never came. But believe it or not, a few years after we had built the pond, had koi in it. I came out of the house one day out of the corner of my eye was this huge dark fluttering, of what was wings. I think I was more scared than the crane that was in the pond. He took off in a flash. He came back one more time a few days later, going after the koi. We though he had gotten they as we didn't see them for a good week or more. The crane had a flightpath that came over our house for quite a while that summer, but he never came back for a visit. When we did see the koi again one of them had scars on it's side. And that's the truth.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pond In April

This is what the pond looks like now, on a fine April day 21 years later. Waiting for the rest of the snow to melt.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Digging The Pond

The date on this weird photo says it all. I don't know who the guy is :0 The liner I used on this pond was from a friend's pool. I got it thanks to his kids who thought it would be a good idea to let their black lab into the above ground swimming pool. This worked fine for them, until the lab wanted to get out. As you can imagine, the side walls were shredded in the process.
This area of the yard is very sandy, so after I dug it out. I put about a one inch coating of newspapers down, which I am told would jell into a clay like material. Second layer was an old carpet, then the pool liner. I wanted to be able to walk into the pond, which I probably could have done with just the padding. Getting carried away with it I decided to apply a 2" -3 "layer of cement. This was done by hand mixing the cement in a wheel barrow ( making for a long day) and embedding chicken wire into it as a added strengthener. I don't know that I would recommend that but the slab is still there after all these years, working well. . You can see where the bridge is going to be.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pre-Garden Pond

A pre-garden pond photo from about 1969 . To give a bearing, where I am standing with the wheelbarrow. Today I would be 6 feet lower and standing in the middle of the long pond. The concrete retaining wall is gone, the area lowered 5 feet , is now where the North Dakota Arch entrance to the lower patio

Friday, April 06, 2007

Early Pond Photo

I can across this photo from about 1988. The ornamental cherry tree was planted in the round rock enclosure. Luckily this whole area has a sand base, as the rocks used for the patio are not thin flat rocks but split fieldstone, each like half of a basketball or bigger. A lot of digging went on here. I had just finished the third pond seven feet wide at it's widest and twenty plus feet long. It is partly elevated above ground level, by two feet. It worked well for a number of years.
On the hill about half way up is a raku kiln I used to have. Now all that is left is the swinging door of it. It frames the lilies that grow there now. The big basswood trees aren't there yet. The sculpture above the rock tiers is a early version of the Specture. Made from stainless steel, I had been experimenting with painted sculptures then. [ha ha, did you clean your screen ?]

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Mushroom Experiment

A number of years ago, we would get 'spent' bags of mushroom spore bags, no longer viable for commercial use. From a area commercial mushroom business. They sold these by the pickup truck load for $5 [at the time I had a 3/4 ton long bed pickup] so we definitely got our moneys worth. The initial reason for getting them was to use it for mulch. I had just built this shed so I thought it would be a good idea to see if we could get any mushrooms to grow. It was hot that spring, I hosed the bags down with water and hung them up and shut the door. I was really amazed a couple of days later to open the door to see a forest of mushrooms growing. Needless to say that summer we got our fill of mushrooms that summer, and as the old saying goes be careful what you wish for. Our appetite for mushrooms went away for a few years. Of course when we tired of the bounty we used the straw filler for mulch

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Manufactured Rock

Now isn't this something. My son is building a house, wants a rock front. I have heard of the 'manufactured rock' before but when I looked at it years ago the quality was quite poor. This stuff is quite another matter. It appears to be a cast concrete, the coloring is very convincing as natural fieldstone and I must admit installing this would be a heck of a lot easier. The question is time or money. Knowing the right farmers still gets you the fieldstone for free. Most will let you 'hand pick it' right from the field, yet :) and there is a certain amount of pleasure in combing rock piles for just the right stones. He on the other hand is pressed for time, so buying it at $6 to $9 a square foot and hiring out the labor is the way he will go. Expensive was a question, compared to what ? Time or Money......

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What's Wrong On This Picture ?

One very lost Flamingo

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ready For Summer

All I can say is I am ready for summer.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tall Rock Sculpture

My computer hard drive ' broke' a couple of weeks ago and it has taken me this long to be able to get back to posting. It's amazzing how much stuff a person has on their drive without backing it up !!
I'd seen in the corners of farmers fields, where they had used heavy wire as an enclosure, filling them with rocks. They are basicly corner markers. I thought of modifing the idea by welding together a wire framework, it's about 10 feet tall and the column is 4x7 inches. I am not finished with it, looking for more quartz rocks for the flower on top. It is well embeded in the ground.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Big Rock Wall

This wall has a interesting history. The granite fieldstone rocks were originally split by a local stone mason during the 1930's, to create a retaining wall for a playground area at the local school. They are all what I would call basketball size. They were split by hand, there is a definite trick to splitting granite. People tell me there is a grain to these, but it takes a real trained eye to see it. They had built a new school and converted the building into an assisted living facility. The playground area was split up and a individual was going to build a house on the side where the retaining wall was. I was driving by one day and the wall was being bulldozed. Now with my penchant for rocks, I went back and asked what was going to happen to the rock. I was told they were going to have to pay to have them removed. I asked if I could have a few , sure help yourself, was the answer. The rocks had been cemented together but in the process of breaking down the wall, I suppose since they had been there for 75 years, or maybe the fieldstone were not washed when it was built, there was not the super bond to the rock and a lot of the cement broke off. This made them easier to work with. As I cleared up the loose pile. The next day the owner had taken the skidloader and used it to looseen up more of the cement off the rock. It took me more than a week loading the rock by hand on my little truck and hauling them home, piling them up. I did not have a plan for what to do with them yet. I wound up with a huge pile of rock, most of which had one flat side. As that was the reason for the original splitting purpose, the wall being flat. I got the idea that one end of our garden that had a retaining wall of old railroad ties would look better if it was made out of rock. That took another week of digging out the old ties and cutting back the dirt to prep for the rock wall. The plan was to make a stack wall. By using the larger boulders on the base. and making the wall so it leans back into the hill a slight degree, made the wall very stable. It took longer to build as I had to find rocks that were compatible to being next to each other and I also wanted the flat side to be on the surface. The main wall is about 3 to 4 foot high and aproximitely 30 feet long. I had enough rock to build a 18-24 inch wall around the rest of the garden as well as a composte pile area wall. I feel really good about this project. I couldn't see all those rocks being wasted. I am a big believer in recycling materials. Plus I like the history aspect of the use of these rocks. If you made it this far on the post, thanks for your patience.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Garage Rocks

I had a little rock and siding left over when we build the new garage a few years back. I'm really glad we went for the larger single door. It allows for much better use of interior space. I was running out of rock at this point. But we managed to find enough for the front.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

North Rock Wall

This is the north wall, a whole nuther summer. One blistering hot day when I was working on this wall. All of a sudden a van stops. Out gets my wife and a couple of our friends. They don't say anything, but unpack lawn chairs, pour themselves drinks and beers and just sit there watching me work. Well, that pretty much gave me the hint it was time to stop for the day. I did finish my load of cement, it was to much work making it to waste it.

I was getting a little loony I think when I got down to this part. See the wave pattern and look close.

you can what I mean here. I had this urge to place this ceraamic head into the wall. People do not see it, until it is pointed out to them.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Another View

A view from another direction. Showing the newer rock path. We, dug up a perfectly good cement sidewalk and replaced it with this [ at my wife's instance] a wavy rock one. I do admit it looks neater and the water from the roof has some place to go. See where the drain pipe comes down from the gutter in the middle of the picture ? It goes into a plastic garbage can for watering. A added feature was when I punched a hole about half way down from the top of the barrel. I inserted a hose adapter, attached a flat hose, the kind with holes in it for watering. I had to enlarge the holes because the pressure of the water in the barrel was a lot less than what one would get from a normal pressured hose. This flat hose is strung along the ground the length of the house. Watering all the plants that don't get watered because of the overhang.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Rock Siding

The front of the house is pretty much covered with softball sized rocks. This was a summer project a number of years ago. I decided to make it unique in that most of the time when you see a rock siding it is made of much larger rock. Which would save much time installing.
I never had a cement mixer so all the cement was mixed in a 2.5 cubic ft. wheelbarrow. This took me a whole summer to do. Our daughter was dating a farmer at the time. I suppose first being a nice guy and maybe getting a few points with 'dad'. He dropped off a couple of loads of rock that were the result of spring rock picking in the field. Anyway it worked for me. But it was a very slow process. The main problem was you could only lay up a couple of feet of rock , then you had to let it set up. There is a lip of the foundation that sticks out, which created a footing and every foot or so I would pound in long cement nails into the underlying block wall to give it a bond.
The upper part is made of old deep cut wavy cedar siding, that was salvaged from another building. I'm told one can not buy this type of heavy cedar siding anymore.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More Rock Paths

An other rock path. It splits to the left and right while leading up tp the center pond. The one on the right goes south then east up the hill turning north for about 200 feet, almost all across the property. Ending at what I call my Zen Garden.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I just had to borrow this . It's true !

Why Minnesotans will survive the next Ice Age

60 above zero:
Floridians turn on the heat.
People in Minnesota plant gardens.

50 above zero:
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Duluth sunbathe.

40 above zero:
Italian & English cars won't start.
People in Minnesota drive with the windows down.
20 above zero:
Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats.
Ohioans complain of freezing weather.
People in Minnesota throw on a flannel shirt.

15 above zero:
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Minnesota have the last cookout before it gets cold.

People in Miami all die.
Minnesotans close the windows.

10 below zero:
Californians fly away to Mexico.
People in Minnesota get out their winter coats.

25 below zero:
Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Minnesota are selling cookies door to door.

40 below zero:
Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in Minnesota let the dogs sleep indoors.

100 below zero:
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Minnesotans get upset because they can't start the Mini-Van.

460 below zero:
ALL atomic motion stops.
People in Minnesota start saying..."Cold 'nuff fer ya?"

500 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
Minnesota public schools will open 2 hours late.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Rock Paths

These photos show some of the paths we have made. They go around the front of the house and in the back area is a winding one going up a slope. We have found our grandchildren love to use the paths, chasing each other and just checking them out to see what grandpa and grandma have done now. I have grown partial to rocks over the 25 years I have been collecting them from farmers rock piles. Many a time I was invited to come out into the field to pick my own 'fresh ' ones. I resisted, chosing to pick through the piles that were stacked in the 'back forty' . Rocks rocks of all kinds, one problem with rocks around here is they are all fieldstone in the sense of granite, roundish kind of stones.
I wanted to built some walkways of rock and after building a patio area out of ones that had naturally split in some fashion. I decided to buy some flat ones. Now rocks are sold by weight. So while .20 cents a pound does not sound like much. When I went to buy the first pallet of speckled sandstone, which weighted about 1500 pounds it cost $280. Needless to say my poor truck did not want to hall it home 30 miles. Dragging and swerving it's tail all the way, but we made it. Over the years I've picked up 3 more loads . The last one cost $360, inflation even for rocks I guess.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Moon Phases in the Garden

This stainless steel sculpture called "Moon Phases" was made a number of years ago. A composer I know from Minneapolis, Paul Dice, liked to experiment with percussion sounds. At the time. He dribbled pennys over it, used different sticks and mallets to get different tones. He even took it on the road, borrowing it to play in several performances of his. Even at the State Fair one year. This summer I moved it and created a homage to Paul's Art. I sprinkled about $10 in pennys on it letting them fall where they may. My grandkids had a little trouble dealing with the idea that they were not supposed to pick up the 'money' which now I view as integral to the sculpture, repeating the the larger forms. With Hostas growing around the base.