Stone “Farming” at the Ranch

Thats right I said stone “farming”! I visited a very cool construction site today where sandstone from our Colorado Sandstone Quarries, LLC (www.coloradosandstonequarries.com)   operation here at the ranch is being used for retaining walls, sidewalks, arches, and an incredible water feature  (more about this project in a future post). So why do we call it farming stone instead of mining?  In concert with the rest of our sustainability philosophy through all we do at the Mountain Sky Group, LLC (www.mountainskygroup.com) we use very planet friendly techniques in our sandstone operation at the ranch.

The sandstone formation we farm is right at the surface just like potatoes or onions might be in a field, and the terrain where it is present is quite steep as it forms the west slope of a valley. We use primarily human labor with chisels and mallets to break the rather thin (1 – 12″ normally) stone slices away from the formation and then place the slices on pallets to be further processed for specific uses by our customers.  A rubber tire loader with forks on the front and a moderate sized excavator are also used to break apart large section of the stone slices prior to our farmers removing it from the earth.

There are no chemicals, blasting or other environmentally detrimental activities used through the farming process.  The site is carefully bermed and protected to avoid any runoff issues during operations, and there is minimal noise or dust (air pollution) generated.

Once the stone is removed from a section of the quarry farm field (about 1-3 acres in size) down to the depth of the formation (15 -30 feet normally) the site is reclaimed with topsoil and revegetated with native grasses and pine trees.  In a matter of a few short years the farmed site is returned back to an ecosystem that is similar or even enhanced from the pre-quarrying, I mean stone farming, status.  When we encounter pine trees in the quarry site, we carefully remove them and transplant them to other locations at the ranch.  Finally, our stone farming operation is totally efficient with every piece of stone we remove being used for some purpose.  The sands and smaller pieces of stone are ultimately processed through a sorting and crushing activity that is completed about once a year to produce decorative stone pieces and very high quality road base.

Stone and Road Base from Crush at Mountain Sky Ranch

Finally, our stone is a sustainable local buiding material that is both beautiful and stucturally sound.  Unlike typical “soft” sandstones that are present in most quarry locations, our stone is as hard and dense as granite, and can therefore be used for a wide variety of  construction and landscaping uses.  Again you can learn more about our stone and its characteristics at www.coloradosandstonequarries.com

Te learn more about the Mountain Sky Ranch stone farming process visit our Colorado Sandstone Quarries website – www.coloradosandstonequarries.com, email our office at info@coloradosandstonequarries.com or call the offices at 303-495-3705.  Also, come and learn more about this local economy building materials business in a visit to our Mountain Sky Ranch Country Inn, Event Center and Bed and Breakfast.  You could even come out and load up the back of your pickup with some of the beautiful stone that we have here at Mountain Sky Ranch. You might even want to pick up a mallet and chisel yourself and see how this unique type of stone farming is done!!  I hope to see you soon.

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