For a far finer discussion of this subject, you should visit Karl over at A Pile of O’Melays. (Not only does he know more about this subject than I do, but he’s actually built a big bunch of these bulky beasts. Be sure to poke around his fine Missouri blog.) The photo above — yes, I realize I was shooting into the sun yet again — is an example of how the Ozarks’ most common resource — rocks — can be put to productive use.
I had never seen these rock rings before we began visiting our woods in the Ozarks. I don’t suppose they are found only in west-central Missouri, but they certainly are found here in abundance.
Rock rings like these are commonly used to anchor a fence line. Generally they are used at high stress points like corners and gate posts. Creating them is simple. You wrap the woven metal fencing into a cylinder, place it upright on flat ground, and begin filling it with rocks. According to what Karl told me, you should put the larger rocks on the outside and use the smaller rocks for fill in the center. These become massive, weighty structures that will stay in place despite strong and constant tension. Their bulk is their best feature. Some folk try to build leaner cages, hoping for a better look, but they tend to topple from becoming top heavy. Over by our woods called Fallen Timbers a neighbor tried to build a short wall in this way, running two lengths of woven metal fabric parallel, about a foot apart. He then filled this with rocks, but something didn’t hold properly and the wall “leaks” rocks from one end.
If you are like my Roundrock neighbor, you can also choose to festoon them with cattle and deer skulls. (Also note the round rocks within.) My neighbor operates an archery range here, and this rock cage (one of a pair) marks the entrance to his property. On past visits we had seen broken arrows stuck in the top of the two cages, but lately they have been missing.
I admire this kind of ingenuity and resourcefulness, but I don’t see myself building these at Roundrock. I’m still planning on quarrying my lovely sandstone and building with that. (In fact, I find myself studying rock walls these days! Not a bad pastime.) But if that doesn’t work out, I certainly have plenty of other rocks underfoot.