Ode to a change in plans: My motto these days…well, ok, always

People who know me are accustomed to my decisions part-way through a project to shift directions. I label it “flexible.” The original plan for this corner, after I cleared it of weeds, broken tile, a few odd marbles (?) and broken pottery was to line the edges with the gray brick pavers, and concrete the center portion. Then the plan was to put a planter or planters in the space since nothing but weeds wanted to grow in this corner. [Note: I might decide to do a ‘pre-quel’ to why that is the case at some point, but be advised it has to do with dishonesty and duplicity, but not on our part.]

Randy wants to extend the front porch (which is just a narrow galley) out with a deck and take it around the above corner to the screened porch entrance at the side of the house. Now knowing Rando takes a while to “get a round tuit” I did not want to wait for him to build said deck and meanwhile have to look at the mess that was this corner. However, I also did not want to go to a lot of work to have it covered up in the event he finds a round tuit by spring, thus, simple concrete that would do the job in the meanwhile.

If you have been following this project through the digging, sub-base, sand and gravel bases, then you know the weather turned rainy and cold before I got the concrete poured. I half-jokingly said to my friend that I might just lay Grandma’s rocks and fill with paving sand. Apparently, the half that was not joking said why not? When Rando gets around to building that deck, I will have sufficient time to remove the rocks and set them aside for use in another place.

Note the fossils embedded in the rock in the lower left corner. I have 2 of those, plus a number of smaller ones that came from my maternal grandfather’s farm. They fascinate me.
The large and small flat rocks, rectangular shaped larger rocks, the petrified wood and the round core sample are among the ones from my paternal grandmother. I have many more of hers waiting for the dry creek. She loved rocks and everywhere she went, she picked up a rock or two, along with gathering many of the sandstone rocks around her home in Young County. Dad dug up the petrified wood pieces.

I tried out different placements, with an overall goal in mind. First, a solid and flat surface that would remain stable in the event I stepped off the sidewalk. That was also the purpose of the placement of the large fossil rocks in each corner and anywhere next to the sidewalk or driveway. I embedded them enough to keep them stable, stepped on them to check they would not roll or otherwise move, and compressed them into the base with weights. Second, I wanted a center flat space that would allow me to either step safely into it if need be, or to set a plant on it should I want. Third, I wanted an arrangement that was pleasing to my eye, and used rocks of importance to me.

Papa’s fossil rocks anchor the northwest and southeast corners. The rounded river rocks in the northwest and northeast corners, midwest, exact center, and lower west third were from Colorado on a trip with Mother and Daddy. In the center, you note a bird, and a tiny piece of concrete with rocks embedded in it.

My grandma made almost everything she had for most of her life. She built flower beds with all the rocks and petrified wood that surrounded her fenced back yard, in front of the house, down the side of the house, a large circular one in the back yard, and a small one around a tree. To me as a child, they were beautiful, and I never tired of looking at each rock in each flower bed, my imagination running wild. She once built a birdbath of stacked rocks cemented together, with an old harrow disc for the bowl. That little piece of concrete embedded with rocks sat in the center of the disc to cover the hole that attached it to the harrow so the bowl would hold water, and made a safe place for the birds to perch and drink. She had an old metal bird perched atop the tallest rock, painted red, to symbolize a cardinal, or what we always called a “red bird.” Grandma lived near Red Bridge over the creek that ran behind her house, and it was common to see red birds as we drove down the dirt road to and from her house. “See a red bird, make a wish.”

After Grandma and Grandpa could no longer stay home, she told me to go get any of her rocks that I wanted, knowing how much I loved them as she had. On one of my last visits, I noted the birdbath bowl had finally rusted through, and only the remnants were lying on the ground. I picked up the small center concrete piece–the cardinal was long gone by then. I placed it in a center spot, and put a bluebird next to it to symbolize its original function, but giving honor to Mississippi bluebirds–the first I had ever seen were here. This little corner will be my touchstone for a while, until it is time to move it again.

I finished the laying of rocks Friday, and it began to rain, which was good as it could settle the sand/gravel base before I added the paving sand. Yesterday, I finished it up with paving sand and compression.

It is freezing tonight and below freezing the next few days, so the next section will have to wait for drier and warmer weather, but as always, “I have a plan.”

This entry was posted in landscape architecture, Mississippi, Texas, Young County and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Ode to a change in plans: My motto these days…well, ok, always

  1. Betty says:

    I love it! It is very pleasing to look at, and I love how you have infused meaning and memories into it. The story of how your grandmother made everything she owned reminded me of our visit to the Quigley castle (near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.) I wrote a post about it, but you may not have been following me then. I think the resourcefulness of our elders is a precious gift passed down to us. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzassippi says:

      Thank you, Betty. My family will sometimes laugh at me, and call me Grandma. I take it in stride: she taught me to love history, writing, and making things out of nothing or things no one else wanted. You are right, their resourcefulness was a gift.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Suzassippi says:

      Oh, and I do not recall Quigley castle, so now I will have to go read that one!
      Update: I felt rather like I was going home to Grandma’s to read the post. Thank you so much for directing me to it. It just kept making me smile, along with being a wee bit teary-eyed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. peggyjoan42 says:

    Lookin good. We often shift our ideas in the middle of projects. Makes life more interesting. Love stories of memories of family members.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. socialbridge says:

    I just love the family connections to the rocks etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth says:

    It is lovely and I love the story behind the cherished pieces. When our plans change it is because of creativity and letting our inner voice speak to us. I think yours did in a very positive way!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. janebye says:

    Love it and your flexibility in creating just the right thing for the place and time. And I love hearing about your grandmother. The bluebird is my favorite little part of the whole.

    Liked by 1 person

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