I wear two hats with different names: Madison Woods when I’m wearing the artist hat, Roxann Riedel in real life and real estate. I'm a rock-smashing paint-making artist & a sales agent for Montgomery Whiteley Realty. Hailing from the wild Ozarks in Kingston, Arkansas where my husband and I work toward a sustainable lifestyle.

You can text or call to reach me by either name (see above):
(479)409-3429, or email madison@wildozark.com

3 Creative Ways to Use Rocks

If there’s one thing I do well, it is that I am a master of finding creative ways to use rocks. Since we moved to these rocky Ozark mountains in 2005, I’ve loved our rocks even if they do present problems in some ways. Since it’s impossible to get rid of them, I decided to put them to work.

1. Use Rocks for Leveling Things

There is hardly a flat spot anywhere on our 160 acres. So, anything that needs to be level, like the water trough for the horses, gets a rock underneath it. Or maybe several rocks, depending on how unlevel the location is.

Our picturesque old shed is resting on several stacks of fairly large rocks. The old house that was already here when we moved here is also built atop stacked rock pylons. They’re both old structures and the problems with them that do exist have nothing to do with being on dry stacked rock piles. The early settlers of this region were masters of creative ways to use rocks.

Stacked rock pylons were one way early settlers proved they were masters of creative ways to use rocks.

2. Build Rock Walls

Early settlers built stone walls that were both practical and beautiful. Practical because it helped keep livestock in place. Perhaps they didn’t see them as beautiful, but I sure do. I know they probably only built the walls because they had to do *something* with the rocks cleared from the fields.

Rock Garden Walls

Since there isn’t anywhere to dig or till without hitting rocks, I’ve used them for building rock walls to make my garden. This has actually been a long-term project that is finally starting to pay off. It takes me a long time to get a bed built and then haul compost to it. My garden is on the other side of a drainage ditch outside our back door. There’s a sweet little bridge that hubs made for me to get into it. Rock walls are both a creative way to use rocks and a practical one.

The garden space itself is a carved out spot in the side of the hill that hubs used to use for parking his tractor before the shop was built. Once he moved his tractor down to the shop, I moved into his pad and began terraforming. I love my garden space with all of the rocks and terraces!

This old well has probably been here since the original old house was built in the early 1900’s. They might have actually built the well before the house, to make sure there was close access for water. I would imagine they would build the house wherever the water was found, instead of vice-versa. It’s not possible to drill a well just anywhere here, there has to be a reachable water source underground. In the case of this well, it probably wasn’t drilled, but hand-dug and rocked. This is not only a creative way to use rocks, but a very practical way, too. Rocks are a natural resource that can be used in many ways, if a person gets creative.

Hand-dug wells made by the settlers are an example of creative ways to use rocks - and very practical.

3. The MOST Creative Way to use Rocks

One of my favorite ways in the entire world to use rocks is something I’ve only recently discovered, if you consider 2018 to be recent. I absolutely love making paintings with earthy colors, and that’s all thanks to the rocks we have here at Wild Ozark. I thought it was incredible to make watercolor paints from them, but after making oils, I’ve found a new love.

The next time I make myself a set of oil paints, I’ll write down the steps and take pictures of the process. It’s pretty much the same as making watercolors, except there’s a different binder and a different way to store the paints once made. The other difference is the amount of pigment needed to make an oil painting is much more than the amount needed to make a watercolor painting of the same size.

Here’s a few of my most recent paintings that I made using rocks for pigments. If you’d like to see more, head over to my portfolio page.



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