I’m A Rock Star!

Don’t worry; it’s safe to stick around – I promise not to sing.  I wouldn’t do that to you.  Hell, I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy.

No; my rock-stardom isn’t related to music (for which we can all be thankful).  It’s related to… well… rocks.

Our new home site is basically a gravel pit, which is good for a house foundation but not so good for gardening nuts like us.  The rocks are so plentiful and so interlocked that you can’t even dig into the “soil” here with a shovel – you have to bash it apart with a pickaxe or hoe.


You can dig it up with power tools, woohoo!

My latest toy (rented, sadly – it’s a little too pricey to own).

Playing with an excavator is a blast for a gearhead and toolaholic like me, but my excavating services won’t be in demand anytime soon.  After the first hour, I could make the machine do what I wanted about 90% of the time… if I worked with intense concentration and at the pace of a crippled snail.

The secret to not causing major damage with an excavator is:  If anything goes wrong, TAKE BOTH HANDS OFF THE CONTROLS.  (That stops everything from moving.)  But I’ve spent far too many years operating tools and vehicles where you NEVER take both hands off the controls.

So when things went awry on the excavator I usually remembered to let go with my right hand; but my left hand clung stubbornly to the joystick, causing some amusing and occasionally alarming gyrations.  But hey, I didn’t wreck anything – I only knocked over one little aluminium garden stake; pshaw.  And I did get the grade the way I wanted it.

One of our projects was contouring the rhododendron garden before I started hand-placing rocks and wheelbarrowing soil:

About half done. Only a few more tons of rock and soil to go…

The paper sunshades are to ensure that our poor little rhodos don’t fry in the 33C/90F weather we’ve had lately. The wheelbarrow and pickaxe and hoe and shovel are to ensure that I sweat enough to look as though somebody dumped a bucket of water over my head before rolling me in gravel dust.

A couple of days ago I dragged my filthy-but-triumphant self into the coolness of the house and announced to Hubby, “I’m totally rockin’ that garden!  I am a rock star!”

He chuckled.  “Do you want help?”

“No, thanks.  I have a system.  I load up some rocks, wheelbarrow some soil, then go and get my rocks…”  I paused, grinning at his widening smirk.  “…off.”

Which, of course, was a nod to my favourite rock stars from long ago, Dr. Hook.  Even clowning around (or maybe especially clowning around), those guys were amazing musicians.  A few decades later, Dennis Locorriere (the guitarist and usual lead singer) is better than ever.  Sadly, Billy Francis (the singer for this song and, um… ‘exotic’ dancer) went to the big jam session in the sky in 2010, but the scenery was mighty fine back in 1975 when this video was recorded!  (Relaxed-fit jeans must have been a male designer’s idea.) 😉

So… this week I’ll be rockin’ to ‘Get My Rocks Off’ while I rock my garden.

Rock on!

36 thoughts on “I’m A Rock Star!

  1. Pingback: Power-Trippin’ | Author Diane Henders

  2. Pingback: I’m Gonna Need A Forklift… | Diane Henders

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    • Years ago when I got that Bobcat, my boys–probably eight and six at the time–both went on and on about how they couldn’t wait to get old enough to drive it themselves.

      The older one said, “Boy, I’ll bet you could do a lot of good real fast with that thing!”

      A moment later the younger one, a sort of far-away smile on his face, said, “Yeah, and a lot of bad even faster…”

      Guess which one caused a decade or so of late-night phone calls that started a few years later. Anyone? Anyone? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        • I probably shouldn’t leave it like that about my son. There were a lot of those phone calls. That is true, but it all came to a halt. He grew up. And I mean all the way up. He’s married now, ten years and counting. Great husband, great dad, excellent skills, excellent worker, takes great care of his finances. I couldn’t be more proud of him.

          I’m more proud of the men my sons have become than I have words to express. Just so you know.

          Liked by 2 people

              • We are blessed with three wonderful daughters and three great son-in-laws….of the three we had one that was a challenge (so reminded me of myself at that age….my poor parents)…she has turned into a very successful business woman, wife and mother……I count my blessings every day!!

                Liked by 2 people

                • I *do* love happy endings. Or middles, rather. Here’s hoping that the ending is still a ways off. 😜

                  Three girls, huh? Wife’s little sister has three girls. Two were easy to raise. The third was precisely as wacko as her mom was. 🤣 But like her mom, she grew all of he way up, too. All three are beautiful young women, marvelous wives, superb mothers, and rising in their profession. But we’re glad we had boys. I’d be dead broke and my wife “doesn’t do foo-foo” as she puts it. 😁

                  Liked by 2 people

  4. Just an FYI here. You mentioned 90 degree weather. We were in Denver, CO, over Labor Day for a family thing. NINETY-SEVEN DEGREES. Here at home, it was 92. In the oven. Where we thumb our noses at Phoenix, AZ.

    Well, to be completely accurate, we don’t thumb our noses at Phoenix because of the temperature. It’s, well, forget I mentioned that, okay?


    • That’s what it felt like… if “vacation at an archaeology dig” isn’t too much of an oxymoron. Come to think of it, the last time I visited an archeology dig I was much cleaner and less sweaty. 😉


  5. I always thought it would be fun to try one of those little machines! You are a talented lady. Multi-talented might be the better word.

    I love how you have used the rocks to your advantage in the garden. Looking forward to seeing it as things progress!

    I don’t think those guys in the band really took themselves too seriously, did they! No fools, no fun …


    • Nope, they weren’t too serious at all. I think that’s what I loved most about them back then – they always seemed to be having so much fun!

      And the excavator was a lot of fun, too. If you ever get the chance, give one a try. 🙂


  6. Any day spent playing with cool machinery is a day well spent. There is no possible doubt. And avoiding manual labor while doing same is even better!

    A hunnerd or two years ago I owned an early-model Bobcat 610. Thirty-horse air-cooled V4 engine, manual clutch levers on each side for direction, a variable-pitch belt drive for a transmission, and foot controls for boom and bucket. Holey cows, that was fun! Completely bulletproof and reliable, and dirt-simple to repair if one managed to wear something out. A marvelous machine, that.

    After that, I got to work for a heavy equipment manufacturing company as a development engineer. The little three-wheeled portable forklifts you see mounted on the back of trucks? Yep, I got to help bring one of those from the drawing board to production. A 50 hp VW Diesel engine, hydrostatic three-wheel drive, high-end hydraulics everywhere. Totally bulletproof and an absolute riot to drive! And even more fun to recover when we broke something in testing. We had a huge, all-wheel-drive, rough terrain forklift as a recovery vehicle. We’d drive it out into the mud bog or up on rock pile, drop a chain from the forks of the big one to the roll cage on the little one, pick it straight up out of the mud, and drive off with it. The first stop would be the wash bay to hose off nearly a thousand pounds (no kidding!) of mud, then back into the shop to see what broke. Tweak the design of the weak part, build the new part, install it, and go burning sideways back into the mud bog.

    Did I mention I loved that job? The only downside to developing that vehicle was that the design was so close to perfect in the first place. Thus, we didn’t get to play with it as long as we wanted to. A couple of brackets had to be redesigned, and that was it for the mechanicals. The worst hassle was finding hydraulic hoses and fittings that were tough enough. We popped lots of those before we were through. Thus, lots of trips back to the wash bay dangling from Big Bertha on a heavy chain. After that, it went straight to production with no further mods needed.

    I’d wager the soft drink of your choice that the folks who got to do the development on that excavator enjoyed their work, too. Probably not as much as I did, of course, but still… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, you have done the COOLEST jobs! You’re the kind of guy I love to stalk (in the least-creepy way possible) – just following along to soak up all the best tips and tricks and tales. But don’t worry, it’s nothing personal – any time I find an expert in anything, I pepper them with questions as long as they’ll tolerate me. Or until they file one of those pesky restraining orders… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a blast! I would have loved to have had more time to play with it, but we only had 10 hours machine time on the rental. I did a couple of hours of work and then turned it over to Hubby to accomplish the rest of our scheduled projects much more efficiently. But next time I’ll be ready! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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