Can I use girl power to move this boulder?

Worse than my need to continually move furniture, I have recently decided I  need to move our 1-2 ton boulder (again) to make room for the kid's wooden playset.

My wonderful parents drove their truck and trailer with the skid steer up a couple summers ago.  My dad yanked this boulder out from under the blue spruce and relocated it for me. 


This 2 ton capacity skid steer had its rear end up in the air while it was man against machine. Man finally won.  Sidewalk and rock lost.  A sonic boom could be heard throughout the neighborhood when the rock dropped on the sidewalk [crack!] and was nudged into position in the yard.  The house shook. Pictures fell off the wall.


At that point in time we had a neighborhood kid who cut through our corner lot (walking right by our window which was creepy). So I thought putting the boulder in this spot would create an obstacle making the short cut, not so short. 

That worked. But the girl graduated from high school shortly thereafter and no longer walked through our yard on the way home from school. 


Fast forward a couple years and now the rock is in the perfect shady spot for the kids wooden play structure we got for free from Craigslist.

We had to disassemble this wooden structure and carry it to the U-haul for transport back home.  Since nails (not screws) must have been de rigueur 20 years ago, we wanted to keep as much of the structure intact as possible.


Not matching the strength of my awesome husband, I showed him some "girl" methods of moving stuff to maximize brains over brawn.  (My brilliant determined energetic mother taught me this!)  

Rolling and scooting are amazingly powerful tools.  And so are super wonder bars!!

So now I'm trying to figure out  more "girl power" methods for moving this boulder about 10 feet. 


The skid steers I can rent have a much smaller load capacity than dad's so I'm not inclined to try that option.

Since I don't have a crane like the folks at grounds trades xchange forum suggest or super powered skid steer like the folks from Southern Green Scapes (see below) and the knowledgeable folks on the lawnsite forum suggest...


A power winch looks like a critical element to my plan. 

Here is a small handmade winch modeled after the kind used to pull boulders the size of small cars that made to pull a boulder out of a stream using the winch, some inner tubes, and tow wraps. 

Nowhere Nevada says "I have seen this thing pull giant boulders out of the ground with ease" and I hope that is true.

Case in point, these California jeep club members managed to move a 4000 pound boulder with a winch one guy had tried unsuccessfully to sell for $80 at a garage sale.


It sounds like I could also benefit from the smartly placed pulley, like this CMI*  Double micro pulley 7000 MBS one recommended by Mephisto from the Canadian Gold Prospecting forum. 

*I worked as a temp at the CMI permanent mold factory after college and could tell some wild stories about that place! But most memorable is the hot, dangerous, working conditions of the guys (women need not apply - your applications got thrown away) on the floor and how one of them got his arm cut off in a press.

I totally love that it is purple!! It's perfect for my girl powered boulder moving system.

Mephisto uses small but "pocket sized boulder puller pulley systems" claiming to have hand winched his truck on his own.

Mephisto says "You need two of these pulleys, two webbing slings, 4 carabiners and about 100' of 7 - 8 mm [7mm kernmantle] static line. You choose an anchor point (truck, tree etc) , attach one pulley to the anchor point via a sling and biner, and the other pulley via sling and biner to the rock you want to move. Thread the rope thru , block and tackle style and start pulling. 4-1 MA, one person can move a surprisingly large amount of weight."


Similarly, Dave McCracken offers a visual diagram of this type of winch and pulley system to move boulders from a stream bed.

I'm hopeful this might work. Off to craigslist for a winch!

Cool links for outdoor education

Public Workshop

What Snowstorms Can Teach Us About Learning, Civic Engagement & Cities.

What Happens When Children Build Their Own Three-Story Playgrounds?

Cornell Garden-Based Learning Program

FoodCorps: An AmeriCorps School Garden and Farm to School Program


Kids Gardening.Org

Subaru garden grant application

May resources


Design a school garden and we'll build it

Recognizing children with sensory processing disorder

Here is a wonderful cartoon illustration to help people recognize (some) typical signs of a sensory processing disorder from sensory street. Of course, not all kids have all these same issues.

Free purse patterns plus one

Make an adorable little boxy purse with free instructions from Three Bears (and cleverly modeled by Annie of Blue Gables on her blog.)

Make your own sassy "Betty" (in honor of mad men) purse with yet another amazing free pattern from Lisa at U-Handbag

PLUS ONE: Make your own natural aluminum-free deodorant using this recipe from The Angry Chicken similar to the lush creme version shown here.

Real gift for mothers of kids with autism-spectrum and autism-like challenges

Reading this wish list gave a lift to my sad self today. 

Selfishly, it's really good to know that I'm not alone in my struggles and my wishes. It's such an isolating journey. 

And my mothering heart absolutely broke and I fell into sobs reading the reader responses.  There is so much pain and suffering out there.  So much of it stems from that very isolation.

As parents we are isolated from family and friends who, at best, don't understand our children, and at worst, belittle, criticize, ostracize, or judge us or our children.   

We lose the friends we have. We have no energy or space to develop new friendships, especially with those who understand our children and won't get mad if we have to cancel or rearrange a play date at the last minute because a meltdown over socks prevented us from getting out the door and caused uncontrollable sobs for the next hour and a half.

As parents we are isolated from the care we desperately seek for our children from "experts" and "professionals" who disregard our insights about our own children, and whose ignorance and disbelief about our children's conditions makes us question our own sanity.

As parents, we watch our children desperately seek friendships but unable to forge them.

Friendless, isolated, alone.  That is our journey.

And because it is difficult for many of us to "be" in society with our kids much of our emotional support comes from others via the internet

I'm thankful to be living in this time with access to that support or surely I would have shriveled up long ago.

So as the author intended, this wish list helps us laugh and commiserate together. 

By the way, my husband excels at #4 and #9 plus doing all the cooking and grocery shopping! Thank you! 

I used to wish for #1 and #2 but I learned that this goes against the official rules according to the very helpful unauthorised dad handbook.

A Special-Needs Mother's Day Wish List, By Terri Mauro

I know you're trying to figure out a Mother's Day present for me (and if you aren't, take this as a big, fat hint).

Jewelry is a lovely thought, but not exactly practical, given that our child might steal, break, perseverate on, or require us to hock anything nice to pay for medical expenses.  Candy is always appreciated, but since I've just consumed all the children's Easter sweets to save them from obesity, diabetes, and allergens, I'm not really in the mood. Instead, honey, why not pick one of these gifts I'd really love. They may take a little more effort than something in the Hallmark aisle, but they'll make a big difference to me.

1. You know that material I've been asking you to read about our child's disabilities, that stack about 500 pages high? Read it. Now. Really.

2. Do some research of your own for a change and bring me something I haven't seen before. Then explain it to me.

3. Find the home number of every specialist and educator who ever dissed me and make some really good prank phone calls.

4. Offer to stand guard duty at the bathroom door while I take a nice, long, hot bath, free of constant cries of "Moooooooooooooom."

5. Buy some sturdy boxes for storing all the children's school papers, and then believe me when I say I have to save everything they've ever done for possible documentation of learning progress.

6. Buy some sturdy notebooks for storing all the children's specialist reports, and then organize them for me so I can always find the exact one I want in a snap.

7. Sit down with me for one hour to discuss decisions we have to make about our child's behavior, treatment, schooling, and/or future. No TV watching, newspaper reading, or dozing allowed.

8. Next time you're tempted to make some crack about a neighbor or a teacher or a family member that you just know our child is going to repeat out of context at the worst possible time ... don't. Just don't.

9. More precious to me than diamonds and rubies is a good long nap. Make it happen.

10. Next time we have a dispute over discipline, I win. (What's that? I always win anyway? It's the gift that keeps on giving!)

Space saving bathroom cabinetry

Due to a "DIY project gone wrong" a few years ago we need to replace some bathroom cabinets in our teensy bathroom.

To enhance the visual space of the current open floor space (a mere 5' by 2.75') I'm looking for some space saving options. 

Compact - This Massina vanity has a very small footprint at 24" x 22" x 34.6" and would free up more space than our existing standard size vanity.

Clutter Free - It maximizes storage to keep visual-space-hogging clutter at bay with its three drawers.

Small Sink - Unfortunately, it might be difficult for users who wash their hair in the sink or for filling up buckets for mopping.

Raised profile - The sink has a raised profile meaning caulk is needed and cleaning more challenging.

Roberto Fiore Basel Vanity - $498 from Cabinets To Go

Size - Unknown other than 30" across.

Single piece sink - This aides in cleaning and provides a sense of visual openness.

Open to floor - The legs give the illusion of more space in the bathroom.

Storage - Two functional drawers provide significant efficient and usable space to keep clutter out of sight.

Findley Meyers Baria Vanity - $466 from Cabinets To Go

Thin Profile - This Baria Vanity has an even smaller footprint at 23.5" x 18" x 34". 

Open to floor - The visual space underneath the vanity adds more sense of space as well.

Continuous surface sink - The single inlaid sink means there is no visible caulking or profiles to struggle to clean.

Skinny sink - But the thinner sink would make it even more difficult for users who wash their hair in the sink or for filling up mop buckets with water.

American Standard Generations Furniture Style Vanity - $735 from Lowes

Standard Size - This vanity is standard size (30' x 21.5' x 33.25') but offers some other space saving benefits.

One piece sink - This makes cleaning much easier.

Eliminate need for step stool - With the pull out step stool on the bottom it could save tons of space by eliminating the need for additional step stools in the bathroom. This one can be hidden out of sight when not in use.

Not quite tall enough - Unfortunately, I don't think this step stool is nearly tall enough to accommodate our shortest user!

American Standard Tobacco Cascada Furniture Style Vanity - $758 from Lowes
Standard size - This vanity is also standard size (30' x 21' x 33.25') but offers other space saving benefits.

Serious storage - The amount of usable storage space is incredible. There are three usable drawers which are generally more efficient that doors anyway.

Open to floor - With the feet at the bottom it also enhances the sense of space because of the openness.

Single piece sink - This makes it easier to clean and with no visually disrupting surface changes

Standard size - This studio style vanity is only slightly smaller 30" x 22" x 35" than standard size but has other space saving benefits.

Open to floor - The visual space created underneath the vanity gives the illusion of more space in the bathroom.

Linear design - The horizontal lines can also add the illusion of space by moving the eyes across the space.

Single piece sink - This low profile sink makes for easy clean-up and minimizes the amount of vertical space used.

Small doors - The small door size means there is less space needed for the doors when opened.

Clutter potential - The two door rather than drawer design provides less optimal storage and could create "clutter" sight lines with the open concept in the middle.

Standard Size - At 30' x 21' x 34' this is standard size but does offer other space saving benefits.

Openness - Not only does this provide open space underneath the legs, there is also an open shelf below the drawer. This gives the illusion that the vanity takes up considerably less space.

Single piece sink - This provides easy clean up and does not provide the vertical visual distraction that a top mount sink creates.

Clutter potential - There is only one drawer which could suffice for some toiletries.  Depending on how the bottom shelf is used for additional storage it could contribute to the creation of visually distracting clutter.

Cheap Swag Lights -- Lighting on the Cheap (but colorful!)

My 70's house seems destined for swag lights.  I'm sure it has had its share of them over the years.

It came without overhead lighting and given it's small size there's not a lot of real estate to devote to floor or table lamps.

Although I do have my original 70's swag lights from my childhood...but that's not cutting it for me.  I need something trendy and colorful.  Oh, yeah...and cheap.  If it involves crafting...even better!

And look what I found!!

This beautiful and crafty straw pendant light is courtesy of and comes with directions for DIYers.

And for more inspiration, we always look to apartment therapy, and they don't disappoint.  Unfortunately this one doesn't come with instructions so you are on your own.

If you don't mind missing out on the crafty part of making your own swag light you can try these economical alternatives,

OM gallery has lots of silk and bamboo lanterns for great prices (2.2' lanterns for $17.99 at this writing) and they come in lots of colors and shapes. They also offer a selection of paper lanterns and cord kits for more flexibility.

IKEA has the reliable solutions like this MELODI hanging pendant light for $12.99.

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