How to outsmart a rock - Fine Homebuilding Article
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How to outsmart a rock

I had to install a post next to a porch stairway. After creating as small a hole as possible with my #2 shovel, I struck a 1-ft.-dia. rock at 26 in. deep (the length of armpit to fingertips). Moving the hole was not an option, and widening it would undermine the stairway footing. Lying prone on the ground, I could just reach the rock and move it around, but no way could I lift it out of the hole.

As I expected, attempts to get a rope around the dumb thing failed miserably. I’m pretty good at knots, but not from this awkward position. I had no netting to slip under it; the dumb rock was down there laughing at me.

So I sat there in the dirt thinking defeat was obvious. The rock wins. I thought, “Too bad this thing isn’t wood; I could float it out.…” Bingo!

I started putting small amounts of dirt back into the hole, rocking the rock back and forth to get dirt under it. After about five minutes of this routine, the rock floated up to the surface, defeated. The dirt was easy to remove because it was loose. Rocks float, providing the “water” is thick enough.

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