“I don’t like these rocks” said me sometime in 2015.
“Me neither” said Andrea also in 2015.
“Mulch?” says me.
“Yes, mulch” says her.
“How the hell am I going to get rid of two tons of rocks?”
Well, I figured out a way. I used Craigslist. This is how I did it.
Menace To My Backyard
There is no other explanation as to how the rocks would get into the middle of the backyard besides squirrels doing a Rucksack Challenge.
They’d get stuck in my bomb ass McLane 17-PH-10 push lawnmower. I’d step on them when walking barefoot. My two year old started to throw them. And they looked like crap.
The previous owners paid a landscaping company to lay them three inches deep, three feet wide, on all three sides of the fence line in the backyard. And they tucked them in all nice and tight around the bushes too!
My guess is rocks were better than dirt/mulch/grass because they had big dogs which ran the property line barking at other dogs and the rocks wouldn’t turn into mud.
One of my neighbors said they made the arc into the yard because grass will not grow under pine trees. Later we would find out that indeed grass does grow. Trick is to cut the bottom limbs off.
Not My First Rodeo
I’ve sold 100+ items ranging from $3 to cars. But this was going to take some creativity.
My bright idea was to dig up all the rocks and sell them on Craigslist at $1 per orange Home Depot bucket. I’d even help shovel. What a deal!
This was a huge discount for whoever wanted to buy them. My guess is there was over $1000 in rocks out there.
Problem for me is the rocks were placed on landscaping fabric which was old and falling apart so I couldn’t use a shovel. I’d have to get on my knees, dig by hand, and separate the rocks from dirt.
I knew I couldn’t do the whole “free rocks but you have to dig them up” listing you see in the Free section.
Before I could list the rocks I’d have to have some merchandise ready to sell with a nice picture.
I had been watching the show Gold Rush for a few years at that time. And from watching the show I knew I’d have to either buy or make a rock sifter. Because that’s how you separate the dirt from the rocks before you wash them.
Headed up to Ace Hardware, bought some wood, casters, staples, and chicken wire. This is what I came up. I named it the “uuuuuuhhhhhhh Travertine”.** Tony Beets would be so proud (probably not).
So much work. So many calories burned. So many rocks. And it did not help that it had rained.
But I kept at it for a couple of hours a day over the next week and started to make progress.
After many loads I created this enormous pile of sorted and washed rocks.
Sell Sell Sell
I posted that picture with the following listing.
Within an hour I had three people contact me with one saying he could be at my house in an hour.
Holy shit. This is working.
I had a few people show up over the next two days where each would take a bucket or two. Each said they needed some for fire pits or small rock gardens.
I’ll Take It All
And then I was contacted by a guy who lived in Trenton (if I remember correctly) wanted to know if I still had some left. I said about half the picture. He said he’d be at my house in an hour.
After showing up with an older Dodge Ram he looked at the pile and said he’d take it all. Turns out he was building a very large pond on his property and needed rocks for the bottom to cut down on weeds growing before he filled it in with water.
We spent a good thirty minutes filling up Home Depot buckets and dumping them into the bed of the truck. And man was that truck squatting. He’d have to take surface roads all the back. It came out to $75. Not bad.
He then asks if I have any more rocks. I had only done half of the backyard at this point. “Yes”. He wanted the rest of them. I told him I’d need at least two days to dig up and sort the rest. When I was done I’d call him.
After two days of digging, sorting, and washing more rocks I created an even larger pile.
Called him back up and told them they were ready. He was at my house that day. Instead of keeping track of how many buckets we filled we agreed on $125 for all of it.
I hope he made the 20 mile drive back ok. He had to ask a buddy to bring his Toyota Tacoma with an upgraded suspension for this load. And even that was almost squatted out.
He got a huge discount on the rocks. Probably saved $800.
I got $200 back for 20 hours of digging, sorting, and washing rocks. None of which is important.
What is important is we were able to get rid of the rocks we did not want because of creatively using Craigslist.
I’m basically a legend in my neighborhood because of this. My neighbors on both sides saw me digging up the rocks and when I told them I was going to sell them on Craigslist they laughed.
When they asked about not seeing the rocks on my patio two weeks later and me telling them I sold them on Craigslist they both laughed again. One neighbor tells people I’m the man “who gets people to dig up and buy his rocks”.
Now about that mulch.
*For some reason I remember an episode of Flip Or Flop where Christina El Moussa told her then husband Tarek he was an idiot for either putting a travertine floor in or saying he should put it in. Doesn’t matter. She said “uh travertine” and by the end of the show I was like “uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Travertine”.