Unique earthquake detector rocks on

Piles of rock and stone rise from the ground in the Midway rock that seems to defy gravity.

The rock garden of Norm Ohlhausen in Midway seems to defy gravity as piles of rock and stone rise from the earth.

There is a sign at the intersection of Fifth and Haynes in Midway that says Stop of Interest. That sign was actually put up to point visitors toward the Entwined Trees in the park that sits just half a block north.

But there is another stop of interest on the same corner—the rock garden of Norm Ohlhausen. In his garden the rocks seem to defy gravity as piles of stones are balanced into fascinating works of art. It seems that as they reach toward the sky they are held up by gravity.

Norm said most of the rocks came from “the pit” though many people drop off “cool rocks” they come across too. Like the fellow from Alberta who stopped the first time he saw the garden; the next year when he was travelling through he brought a few unique rocks from Alberta to give to Norm.

Norm says he has been balancing stones for a long time—something he began doing long before he moved here a few years ago.

He explains his motivation as twofold. It provides exercise for a back injury that forced him to retire early. He also uses the rock garden to cover the most difficult to mow parts of his lawn. There is an obvious meditative quality to the work too.

If you walk the Trans-Canada-Trail near Midway or take a hike on the Midway trail network you will come across other stones piled where Norm has been. “Wherever I happen to go I mark the spot – that’s where I stopped and turned around or just where I saw some funky rocks.”

The garden is a work in progress too. In 2012 there were only half a dozen of the pieces of art; now the yard is filled with them.

Aside from the obvious challenge of earthquakes there are other hazards as well – birds, deer and the odd severe rainstorm are the biggest challenges. In the winter water will freeze in the cracks and cause the structures to shift out of balance.

Looking closely at them you will see that Norm uses more than just stones and rocks in his balancing. There are all kinds of unique things: railway spikes he’s found on the rail grade, oddly shaped or coloured rocks, broken lengths of drill core and a piece of jaw bone found while on a hike.

He says he takes the rocks as they come – looking always for the right piece to both balance itself and support the whole.

It takes anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours to build one. If gravity does take one down it doesn’t stay down for long. Norm says when one falls down another will go up.

Norm also suggested the website as a great place to learn more: www.gravityglue.com

 

Just Posted

Minor injuries in car, semi accident near Greenwood

Road conditions were likely a factor in the Friday morning crash.

Kootenays unemployment rate best in B.C.

In one year, the region has gone from highest unemployment rate to lowest, at 3.1 per cent

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Most Read