It takes TIME.
A whole bunch of time, way more time than you'd think, heck, even way more time than we thought. If we ever do this sort of work again (and that's a big IF) we'll need our heads examined. The temptation is strong to leave this a 'ruin' with half-built walls.
Carl has been under a lot of pressure to get the window sills in perfectly. Yes, there we go with that 'perfection' problem again. I have to tell you, though, he's gotten a lot less picky this past week. He even accepted the majority of the rocks I picked out for the walls. Can you imagine? He realizes that there simply aren't any rocks that are exactly the right size and shape on the pallets. Oh, once in awhile, we get lucky, but for the most part, we have to convince the rocks to fit.
There's Carl, convincing this rock that it really wants to be part of the wall. Sometimes there are perfectly apparent cleave lines in the rocks and they come apart cleanly, but so very often, they will shatter into teeny tidbits of gravel for our driveway, usually after an extended round of whacking. Ah, just what we don't need, more gravel.
Carl has been using the grinder more and more lately and though we know it's not the old school method of rock work, it cuts down on the time we both have to spend making rocks fit. Many of our rocks have hairline cracks in them from the quarry that aren't always apparent until you take a hammer to trim up an edge and suddenly, voila! you have two (or sometimes, three) new rocks to work with as they split and fall in all directions. I've learned to watch my feet when I whack a rock, you just never know which way they'll bounce when they break apart. And we always wear eye protection. That's a Must! And hearing protection and dust protection. Too bad we didn't think of Idiot Idea Protection, too, then we'd have been safe from Karen's Wonderful Dream of building a Stone Thingie.
And I've had a few comments on what we should be calling this thing we're building. Ok, you're right, 'thingie' is just plain silly. I've been leaning toward Castle Conundrum since this is truly a jigsaw puzzle of epic proportions and as close to a castle as this ol' broad will ever get. But then I got to thinking about Monty Python and the Holy Grail again and I think the perfect name would be 'Castle Aaarghh'. I just hope I don't die before I finish carving the name. (My apologies to anyone reading this who is not a Monty Python fan; I realize what I just wrote doesn't make any sense.)
Joel surprised us by taking off Thursday and Friday last week to help us again. (Did I ever mention how much we appreciate him??)
We ran a lot of mortar on those two days.
We ran a lot of mortar on those two days.
There I sit in my best mortaring finery with my very own mortar board, brick jointers and tuck pointing tools, finishing the joints. Dang, I'm a lovely specimen! Like most chubby women, I detest having my picture taken, but I figure I have to have proof I actually touched a stone for the record books. Usually I'm safely on the other side of the camera, taking the pictures.
While I was busily mortaring away, we had some more help arrive on Friday. We need all the help we can get and believe me, the Younger the Better!
Meet Clara, our newest Rocker. That's right, she's not even a year old yet, but she swings a mean hammer. We put her to work right away.
At first, Clara wasn't too happy with the tools we provided. (I don't blame her, that hammer is pretty lame and we didn't have any safety glasses for her, either.)
But she picked up on the techniques right away.
We were amazed at how hot the sun was at times, and it was a relief to be in the shade. I know in all too short a time, we'll be missing that wonderful warm sunshine. We're working on borrowed time here, this lovely weather is just a blessing.
Getting dark out on Sunday night...Carl is trying to figure out how to make the sills level on the north side.
Somewhere in this jumble of pallets, the perfect stone lies in wait. This is about a quarter of the stone we have left to work with, the rest of it is out in the field yet. I did a number on my back on Friday afternoon. Joel and I were out moving rocks from rotten pallets to new ones and I stepped on a rotten pallet while carrying a really heavy stone. The pallet broke and I went over sideways still holding the rock and did some fancy footwork which made my back unhappy. I wore a warm pack on it for much of Saturday and now it's much better.
All too soon our five and a half days of work came to an end. Here I am hammering (no, I'm not hammered...I just look goofy) on the last rock of the night.
We went in last night (I had to go and walk my five miles yet after dark....but the moon was so bright, it was really pretty) and felt a little defeated. Yes, we did make progress, but this is not a fast process and now Carl has to go back to work.
Castle Aarghh will have to wait for another day.
We've got some time left yet before the snow flies.