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THE MENEHUNE BOOK Handiworks of Don Graydon at the Graydon Reserve 51303 Avenue A PO Box 166 Index, Washington 98256 360-793-9148

Published November 2012

Front Cover: 18 Rocks (2006) Back cover: The Straight and Narrow (2011) Inside covers: Photo of river and rock


Yellow Submarine Press Index, Washington

In Hawaiian folklore, menehune are the little people who come in the night and build wondrous creations that the islanders discover to their amazement in the morning. The menehune (men-uh-HOO-nee) built fishponds and taro patches and ceremonial religious sites and lava-rock trails and other structures made of the island’s natural materials. Here at the Graydon Reserve, I too like to build things using the rocks and trees and water sources that are all around us. And in a nod to the busy little folk of Hawaii, I sometimes refer to these concoctions as menehune. You can find my menehune here and there around the property. Some you won’t find because they’ve disappeared under our occasional flood waters. I create them because they’re fun, because it feels good to be working outdoors on a creature of my own imagination. They serve no practical purpose. But I do love looking at them, walking on them, poking at them, climbing on them, showing them off. Babe Root

The Swirl

July - October 2005




e on

sh i th a w uy


Add gravel, then top with sand.

cks .

g Now


er r o e riv m o s t


. . . and sh ape them

into a spira l.


f san

cks i

ro t the





ed o he b

Get red ce dar bark

from the wood

s and fill in . . . . . . around the rocks. Then crown it all with autumn leaves:


Build your own waterfall in 6 easy steps


1 Drive up on Deer Creek Plateau and liberate some granite.

Get help from Gary and Rick Bott.

3 Stack and cement the granite in an artful way.

4 Direct the creek out of your way as you build the lower pond.

5 Show off the progress to your granddaughter Sarah. Then finish the job . . . .


August - September 2005

6 . . . . wait for the rain . . . . and let the waters flow.


5 rocks September - October 2006 14 rocks


All suffered the same fate as flood waters rose in November 2006.

20 rocks 9

Babe Root

The root ball before I got my hands on it (above) and after its beauty treatment (below and at right).

September 2007

High winter waters carried an 80-foot-long cottonwood log to the shore near our place. So of course I spent a week and a half with hand tools to clean the mud , sand, rocks, flood debris, and broken arms out of the 12-foot-diameter root ball. The result was a lovely long-limbed root sculpture that I enjoyed admiring and climbing on—until a rising river three months later swept it away.


First you build it—out of dry sticks pulled from the nearby log jam—and then just three weeks later, Cocoa watches as it starts to fall apart and wash away.

The Pyramid October 2006

Autumn leaves October 2007

What to do with nine big piles of flood debris that had accumulated over the years in Emily’s Park? The answer was to create an earthwork known as the Serpentine. Thirteen folks gathered at the park over the July 4, 2009, weekend and built it: Don, Jonelle, Paul, Lisa, Anya, Sarah, Dana, Jordan, Jennifer, Brad, Emily, Rich, and Jim.

Fourth of July 2009

A portion of the 110-foot-long Serpentine winds its way through the woods of Emily’s Park.


Menehune mosaic Spotted here, there and everywhere (clockwise from below): Salmon Arch (2011; vine maple set above salmon stream); Honeysuckle Fence (2005; rebuilt 2012; vine maple woven between alder posts); Firelight (by Jonelle; 2007; river rock); Autumn (2007; maple leaves in sword fern); Babe Root (2007; shaped root ball of fallen cottonwood tree); I Heart You (2006; cottonwood leaves on moss-covered tree in Rosebud Meadow); Driftwood (2008; holder for walking sticks); Brad Music works on his Order/Chaos (2009; vine maple twisted around bigleaf mapletree trunks); Order/Chaos (2009; restored 2012; in trees above the Serpentine); Still Life (by Jonelle; 2006; apple on river rock); Water Snake (2006; brown iron-oxide river rock); Screen (2011; vine maple grid at Beach Cafe); Baja (2010; river rock in sand).



September 2011

The Straight and Narrow Just upstream from our place, a large flood plain of river-washed rock lies between the main river and a side channel that is a favorite of spawning salmon. Occasional iron-oxide-stained rocks stand out handsomely among the masses of gray stone. To create The Straight and Narrow, I spent four days collecting these gems and set them into a solid rust-brown seam that extends across the plain for 121 feet.



October 2012

The Grotto We had long admired the huge old two-legged cedar stump down near the footbridge, a remnant of logging from the early twentieth century. But I always saw something more there, something both severe and serene, something sculptural. Eventually I used a pressure washer to blast off the moss and rotted material, taking the stump down to its rich ancient wood. Next came a couple of days with scraper, wood rasp, and sandpaper, followed by a spray coat of clear wood sealer. What I saw then was exactly the sculpted beauty I had hoped for.

The Grotto stump before its facelift (below) and after (at right). Above is a detail from its south face.



Osprey nest August 2011




Index, Washington

The Menehune Book  

Handiworks of Don Graydon at the Graydon Reserve in Index, Washington. Land art creations known as menehune.

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