Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How's it Going, Part Three: Deadlines

The Stone House/Ruin Thingie isn't getting very far very fast.  And though the trip to the old stone ruin on Sunday night helped a little, Carl's still filled with trepidations.    This week's weather hasn't been very cooperative for stone work, either, though.  Well, I'll take that back, on Monday afternoon it was very nice out, but we had to attend a meeting for our local hosta society which took up our evening.  As we sat in the meeting with sunlight streaming through the windows,  I was thinking how much work we could be getting done at home.  I guess my heart wasn't in the proceedings.  Turns out our group will be hosting the 2014 Midwest Regional Hosta Convention and there are a ton of things that have to be done in preparation for the event.

We didn't volunteer for anything, well, except for agreeing to put our garden on the tour.  (Bad club members, aren't we?)  I imagine we'll be helping out with other stuff as this all unfolds, but for now, we have one more reason to finish the Stone House.  The convention is three years away.  But we are also hosting a garden walk and plant sale for the club here in June 2012.  Ok, that ups the ante a little more.  Do you think we'll make the deadline?

 In the past, deadlines have always worked well for us.  Create a Crisis (CAC) and we'll do our best work.  I don't know why, it's just the way we are. Someone told me once that having garden walks are a good thing because they force you to get stuff completed and build new things you probably wouldn't get done without the pressure of a deadline.  How true.

There are steps we have to follow, though.
  I would work on the stone building during the day, but Carl is the guy calling the shots (and the guy who drew up the plan) so I have to wait for him to be here before we can proceed.  And he has a pesky job he has to go to every day, so we have to wait until 3:30 in the afternoon before much of anything gets done.  I could dress stones if I knew what height I was aiming for and where each one was to be placed, so hopefully as we get some time this week when it's not raining, Carl can assign his Official Go-Fer (me) an area to work on. 

He did make something exciting for the project on Monday, though.  But first, let me yak on about the windows:  We originally wanted to have only three round windows in the building, but then when we found out it would be rather dark and dingy, we decided we'd better add more light.  We have a stash of brand new vinyl- clad windows which have been sitting in the machine shed for five years now.  (Ooops, ok, they're not new-new, but new enough for us.) 

How we came to have these lovely windows goes like this: Our friends had a beautiful brick home custom built and somehow or other, the bricklayers speckled mortar on their windows.  One of the workers was told to clean them, so he took the brass end of a garden hose and vigorously scrubbed at the offending mortar. Squeak, squeak, squeak....(can you imagine?).   He thought he'd done a good job, that is, until the window dried.  There on each of the twenty or so windows were the scratch marks from his enthusiastic cleaning campaign. Ooops, yet again. 

Our friends were not going to accept having scratched windows in a new house they hadn't even finished building yet, so every one of them was replaced.  And guess who was given the scratched ones?  Yep, that would be us.  There are no window frames with the windows though, since only the glass part had to be replaced which means all Carl will have to do is build something for them to fit into (the cedar 2 x 4's we bought the other night will be the frames) and also devise an opening/closing system.  Yep, that's all. 

 Where was I?  Oh, yeah, back to what he built last night.  The windows we're going to be putting in are rectangular, but we still wanted one round one which will be directly opposite the door when you enter the building.  Carl made the frame out of scrap steel he had in his stash and I'm so excited to see it propped up on the wall, below.  It is much lower than it will be when in place, because we have to lay some more stone courses first, but it helps us to visualize it all done.
I took these pictures last night in the drizzle.  We couldn't get much work done, but I could at least dream a little.  The plan is to design and build a stained glass piece for the round window and with any luck, I'll come up with something good.  I was thinking four seasons or something or other, the hardest part will be deciding what I want.  I know it will be nature-inspired, though the shape would look very nice in a geometric design with vibrant colors, too.  Decisions, decisions.  Listen to me, putting a stained glass window in a building that isn't even half done yet.  Sheesh, talk about putting the cart before the horse.  

We do it all the time.

There is something magical about big circles in the garden that I just adore.  Carl's going to whip up a few more of these just for fun to stick in the gardens here and there, and Dreamer Me is going to put more stained glass in them Someday  It's always a circus around here.

 Did I ever tell you this place is laid out like a Three Ring Circus? In this aerial picture of our place taken in 1988, the formal garden is visible on the left side of that swooping line in the dirt.  The swooping line in the dirt is actually planted with all of our spruce trees though you can barely see them, and in the middle, where it dips in toward the house, is where we put the Quarry Garden.  On the right side where there's nothing but grass in the picture, is where the Stone House sits now.  See, it's a true Three Ring Circus.  And you thought I was kidding.
We have a history of building stuff around here and not really knowing what it will look like until it's done.  In the picture below is the beginning of our gazebo back in 1980.  Yes, that is skinnier 22 year old me, hoisting a beverage as Carl takes my picture. ( Man, I thought I was fat THEN, what was I thinking!  To have that figure back would be a dream come true, lol.)
We had no clue how the gazebo would turn out and Carl was worried about it being stable and this and that....I remember him saying we'd be lucky if we got a decade out of it.  Well, it's 2011 now, and it's still here.
I remember him obsessing over the railings, wanting to make sure he got them just right, and I think he did.  Have I ever mentioned Carl worries about stuff when he builds things?  See, I'm going to show him this post and hopefully convince him that all the stuff he obsesses over turns out just fine.  Like the Dome in the Formal Garden....oh, that was a chore to finish, too.

There's the framework he welded up, sitting on the trailer in 2003.  Carl was so indecisive then, too.  How to take sheets of copper and bend them into a dome shape and then figure out how to solder them together to this framework?  Oh, the nights he fretted.  But we had a deadline, his niece's wedding, and that helped a lot to speed up the process.  
He succeeded with this challenge, too.  Funny how the copper on the inside is turning a prettier color than the outside. 

There's the Dome sporting the 'Wet Look' last night.  And yeah, we made mistakes on it and the legs are only pipes from a junk yard, but what the heck, it works for us.  We have to make do with what we've got around here, and what Carl's got is a whole lot of junk.  Any time he can turn the junk into something useful, I'm ALL for it!

Last night I stumbled across a website for a project that has left me astounded.  We thought we worked hard with all the big stone around here?  Not a chance, not by the late Harvey Fite's standards.  He purchased his very own abandoned bluestone quarry (yes, a real quarry, not a fake one, like ours) and working alone, turned it into the most amazing thing I've ever seen. 

  Click on the link here: Opus 40 and take a look at one man's dreams come true after 37 years of devotion and dedication to a sculpture garden of epic proportions.  Mr. Fite has been gone since 1976, but his work remains a testament to taking something most people would see as a useless pile of leftover rocks and turning it into Art.  Now that's Talent and Dedication. 

And PPS:

Our thanks go out to all of our Dear Blog Friends who have been so supportive and encouraging of our attempts to build this little project.  (Yes, Toni, we hear the clock tick tocking too!)  Thank you so much for your kind words and for cheering us on to finish up before another five years passes.


Randy Emmitt said...

The windows sound great, stupid masons. Don't worry about the duke rocks, they are not for sale the quarry is only for duke building.

Beyond My Garden said...

You are right about the circles. The one opposite the doorway in the stone room is great even without glass. Is the stone room going to be totally enclosed? It looks good at this height but I'm sure it will look good however you do it as you seem to have taste that agrees with me. I love stone and will check out your link. I once told my husband I wanted an old stone wall so he built me a new one.

Sue said...

Harry Fite might have done amazing things, but don't sell yourself short. You and Carl are really making a showplace out of your own acreage. It looks wonderful. And I have no doubt the stone house is going to be neato too!!

africanaussie said...

thanks for posting the before photo where you had nothing but grass and an outline. You have come a long way since then! I am looking forward to seeing your stained glass design on the circle window. Dont you guys ever just sit and relax? I am exhausted just reading your posts.

Gatsbys Gardens said...


I can't wait to see the completion of this stone house. You and Carl need a rest, thank God winter is coming! However, you will probably be designing that stained glass window during the winter.


Anonymous said...

I am getting anxious to see the progress each time you post. The stone house is going to be a beautiful structure. I like how you creatively use things rather than discard them too. But you two do need some down time. Time for a vacation.

HolleyGarden said...

Your idea about the stained glass depicting the four seasons is fabulous! I do so hope you can do that. Carl must be amazing. I love everything he builds. DH and I built a lattice arbor with seat once - the wind blew it down! hahahaha Oh, well! We haven't attempted to build anything since.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

That round window is awesome!!!! That is going to look so cool! I know exactly what you mean on the deadlines. I can lolligag around with the best of them, but give me a deadline, and watch me move! Sometimes I just spin my wheels unless I have a fire lit under me :-) I just found out my garden will be on a public tour next let the projects begin! Nothing anywhere near as major as y'all's projects, though. I just have a little transplanting and planting to do. I just had to get another cortisone shot in my elbow today, so hopefully my arm will cooperate with all of the transplanting and planting I have planned. I am SO EXCITED to see your round house come to fruition :-) Now that you have a deadline, I KNOW it will get done. Press on, and keep up the good work! Thanks for keeping us in the "circle."

My Garden Diaries said...

You guys are rock stars! Wow you have come so far and are fearless with your designs! Keep up the hard work! I have no doubt it will be have inspired me to do more and go big!! Cheers!

Patrick's Garden said...

I'm just blown a way and a way by your efforts. I don't read every word of somebody's post like I do on yours. The French love their rose windows in cathedrals. A "rose" window of a rose would add some whimsy to your building.

Anonymous said...

The Stone House/Ruin Thingie is going to be amazing with your round stained glass window. I think your idea for the four seasons is brilliant. It will look stunning with the sun shining through it. I know just what you are talking about when you describe Carl obsessing over plans and projects Steve is much the same he is a Mechanical Design Engineer . When he did our bathroom last year plans were drawn up umpteen times and every nut bolt screw tile and grouting space was marked out then changed six or seven times before going back to the original! However, always a good job when a project is completed.

Darla said...

Yep, you guys rock!!!! You'll make your deline, some people just work better under pressure, lol.

joey said...

Totally amazed ... it's going to be awesome! And do keep us posted on the progress.

Lona said...

I love the shape of the doorway and the round window is a great idea. I know you will make something gorgeous to put in it.

Karen said...

Randy, one mason's mistake created an opportunity for us, and probably for him, too-- to find another job.

Nellie, yes, we are hoping to enclose the room so it will be useful year round. How nice of your husband to build you a new/old wall.

Sue, thank you, we just need to work faster, snow is just around the corner.

africanaussie, oh, heck yes, we sit around way too often. That's when we get in trouble and start drawing up new ideas.

Eileen, you're right about that, winter will be taken up (and I'll probably complain it's much too short, too, again!) with the stained glass work.

Donna, I wish I had more progress to show on each post. This week's drizzle has been truly disappointing, even though we need the rain. All we've accomplished is a drizzle of work, too.

Holley, Carl is Something Else. And I mean that in a nice way, lol. He's a perfectionist and yet eccentric, hard to sum him up or figure him out. I should write a post or a blog about him, because he's cantankerous and yet fair, frustrating and fussy. And all he has to work with is me. Poor man!

Karen said...

Toni, ouch on the cortisone shot! I hope it helps. I'm glad you like the round window idea. The tour coming through your garden is in for such a treat, can't wait to see what you're working on, too.

My Garden Diaries, thank you! I'm going to be following along on your blog watching things progress in your lovely garden, too.

Patrick, you must have read my mind, because I've been toying with the idea of a 'rose' rose window, too. But darn it, first I have to get the building done!

Zoey said...

I bet the design you come up with for the round window will be breathtaking! In the last pic, that window looks way bigger than I first thought. What a fun winter project!

Barbara Rosenzweig said...

Karen, I have to say that although Opus 40 is amazing, I still love your gardens better!

(I can relate - at 65 I can't believe how thin I had been when I thought that I wasn't.)

I think that your stained glass project will be just wonderful!

Karen said...

SueB, I am so glad to meet another wife who can sympathize with what it is like to live with a perfectionist, lol. Sometimes it can be really nerve-wracking, but yes, they do a great job when it's all said and done! (It's just getting to the 'done' part that takes so long, right?)

Darla, I sure hope so. (At least it will hustle Carl up a little.)

Joey, I'll keep you posted, rock by rock by rock........

Thank you, Lona. Now can you imagine the obsessing over the door when he has to build it??

Zoey, yes, the window is pretty big, about 40". Carl said why settle for only one window...he'll make it removable so we can put different windows in it just for fun.

Barbara, thank you, and I could certainly use your designing genius for the new window(s).

myomyohi said...

I can't believe you two built that domed structure. I have always thought that was over the top awesome. Wow, I'm pretty much speechless.