ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

From Rocks to Riches, Part 2: The Kids Come Out to Play

Updated on April 7, 2015
I carefully built up a mortar edge around the top of the rim during the backfilling process.
I carefully built up a mortar edge around the top of the rim during the backfilling process.

Guido (or was it Vinny?), the Mob boss of the collection of rocks in my yard, had made a blood oath to me. If I’d promise to build a beautiful fountain he’d call off the assault he and his brethren had been making on my lawnmowers, shoes, and offspring for the past seven years. He swore I wouldn’t see any more guerrilla rocks once I mortared them all together into a cohesive army.

Guido and I would have shaken on it if he’d had a hand. But because he was a 9 million-year-old hunk of schist, with a totally bald scalp, no eyes or mouth and a chin that jutted out like the Florida peninsula, we instead consummated our bargain by quick kisses on opposite cheeks. Guido’s kisses felt like a couple of firm swipes of sandpaper on my face. When we were done, I slathered mortar all over him with a trowel and plunked him down on top of a couple of gneiss pebbles on the north side of my emerging fountain’s wall. He has been contented there ever since.

A few more steps remained by this stage, but I had perfected the strategy I would use to finish the fountain.
A few more steps remained by this stage, but I had perfected the strategy I would use to finish the fountain.

After I had completed the outer wall with the facing of rocks I gradually built up the circular inner wall, one section at a time, with concrete held in place by my plywood mold. I then went around the outer and inner rims of the top of the wall with a trowel and wet mortar and created a small bank to confine the top mixture of cement and sand to a clean edge.

By this stage, some two months after I had embarked on the project (I worked only in my spare time—I had a so-called “day-job” back then), spring was approaching. Kids from around the neighborhood, noticing what I had been doing, had often come to watch me while I worked. There was an eager buzz among the youngsters. When the “Grand Opening” took place, the kids demanded that they be notified and given invitations to attend. I started to feel a little like Walt Disney about to turn on the lights and open the gates to a new theme park.

I ordered a cheap pump online that I thought would have sufficient power for such a relatively small amount of water, which I estimated to be about 160 gallons. The dimensions of the circular structure were about six feet in diameter for the inner pool, eight feet for the outer wall, and 18 inches in depth. Then I noticed that the natural gray shade of the concrete (This was long before “Fifty Shades of Grey” achieved popularity), was a little depressing. I wanted something summery and cheerful, so I did something that in hindsight I recognize was foolish. I found some sky blue pool paint at WalMart at around $40 per gallon and stained the interior so that it would look like a larger swimming pool. The kids loved it.

The early April day when the pool was filled and the pump turned on was one of the most exciting events in the history of American exurbia. Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much, considering that nothing exciting ever happens in exurbia, except the grand opening of a Sam’s Club or a new Longhorn Steakhouse. I was bigger than Walt Disney in the eyes of these celebrating tykes. Of course, none of them had any idea who Walt Disney was, but they knew who I was. Jimmy Daddy, the Great Conqueror of Rocks!

To date, the only truly heroic moment of my existence: the grand opening of my backyard fountain in April of 2007.
To date, the only truly heroic moment of my existence: the grand opening of my backyard fountain in April of 2007.

But a terrible thing happened after I finished the fountain, installed floodlights to show it off at night, and got the idea of propping my feet up and resting on my laurels. The kids in the photo went through puberty, amassed zits and started running around with wild girls who had pierced navels and diamond-studded noses. Most boys quickly forget about fountains when they undergo regular exposure to semi-naked young girls with showy body piercings. So my fountain lost its audience. I also discovered a fountain in a wildly variable climate, overhung by massive pines, quickly gets unbelievably nasty. Pollen, pine needles, bugs and tadpoles turned Disneyland into the Okefenokee Swamp by the end of the summer.

The fountain could still be made beautiful, but only through steady and laborious maintenance. Because I was a novice fountain-builder I had not realized the importance of drainage. The bottom sloped, ever so slightly, toward the direction OPPOSITE the spot where I had positioned the drain. Pulling the plug out only meant I still had about an inch of putrid, pollen-colored, bug-infested water left in one end of the pool after all the water drained naturally out.

I remedied this by using a shop vacuum to suck the rest of the water out during cleaning, which was a nuisance. Also, I began spooning pool chlorine every week or two into the water to curb the bugs, kill the algae growth, and maintain some type of clarity. At my daughter’s high school graduation party last May, my personal Disneyland still sparkled.

My daughter and her friends relax in May of 2014 by the deceptively virginal-looking fountain. Getting it back into shape had been a chore for me.
My daughter and her friends relax in May of 2014 by the deceptively virginal-looking fountain. Getting it back into shape had been a chore for me.

Last month all of the surrounding pine trees were removed and I realized I now had an opportunity to correct my mistakes. The winter had been rough on my hand-built monument. The pool paint on the inside was flaking away, the edges around the top were eroding, and some flagstone facing I installed on the top three years ago was coming loose. I needed a way to correct the drainage problem inside, as well as to make the fountain “greener”, more “nature-proof”, better able to maintain its appearance with less intervention and maintenance from me.

The solutions I decided upon will be revealed tomorrow…. [To Be Continued]

© 2015 James Crawford

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jhcrawford profile imageAUTHOR

      James Crawford 

      3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      It took a lot of grueling work, but its value is priceless!

    • Marina7 profile image

      Marina 

      3 years ago from Clarksville TN

      I love this fountain and I wish I could build one. I am sad that I don't have one.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)