Clive resident Marty White was a man with a landscaping mission — and the tool to achieve it.
“I wanted to give my wife, Darcy, a vacation every time she steps out onto our patio,” says White.
Using a shovel he’s had for more than 25 years, he began to dig a bed for a backyard stream last spring.
His shovel, a No. 2, round point, D-handle, is the same type found strapped to the side of Army Jeeps in WWII. Next to his rifle, it is said, the shovel was the most common item that a soldier used. Strapped to the Jeep, a shovel stood ready to dig the vehicle out of trouble, ready a foxhole or settle into camp by digging a latrine.
The No. 2 D-Handle was so prevalent after the Great War that it became a mainstay in the tool shed or garage. White’s, a chromed D-handle with lacquered wood shaft and pointed spade, found its way into his garage after its use as a tool of his trade as an excavator.
“I enjoy landscaping,” says White. “It’s like my hobby. Other people like to ride bikes or whatever; I like spending time working in the yard.”
The Whites had the idea of the stream when the schedules of their two high-school-aged boys wouldn’t allow for a vacation this past summer.
“We wanted to go on vacation when we couldn’t go on vacation,” says Darcy. “We just love coming out on the patio to the sounds of a mountain stream.”
The 14-foot babbling brook made with river rock and granite stones found on White’s job sites, transports visitors to the mountains, if only in the imagination.
“The last cabin we stayed in was right next to a stream,” says Darcy, “Our little stream sounds just like that one, it’s so relaxing.”
It took White about 12 hours to build the stream, but a summer to find and repair the small leaks.
“For a while, we were adding water every day,” he says. “But now we only have to top it off every week or so.”
Buried under the end of the stream, beneath an arrangement of flagstones, is a 55-gallon plastic drum which houses a 1.5-horsepower pump. The electric pump recirculates the water, sending enough water down the stream bed to sound like more than a trickle.
For now, the No. 2 D-handle shovel hangs in the White garage, awaiting the arrival of its owners, who are on vacation, 15 feet away, on the back porch.Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”