Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Have We Been Doing? Part 3 The Pyramid Scheme

I don't know if you're like me or not (and for the sake of all of you, let's hope the answer is a resounding No) but if you have a tendency to put things off, or get bored with a project in the works for some time and start something new before completion of the first thing, or bite off more than you can chew, then you might just be suffering from GADS. 

I have been afflicted with Gardener's Attention Deficit Syndrome for decades now and so has Carl.  The symptoms are sneaky and sometimes masquerade as  Creative Thinking and Unbounded Optimism...until reality settles in and you find yourself with a whole bunch of Things Left Undone.  Day to day life with GADS can be a bit unsettling; I find myself wandering around the yard like a dizzy hummingbird flitting from one project to another with not a whole lot to show for my efforts some days.

 But the consequences of my flitting come home to roost when push comes to shove and there's a garden walk looming on the horizon.

Time to get the Undone things Done. It's amazing how much work we can get accomplished when there's a deadline.  Can anyone else relate?
Fall 2012 The Old Rock Pile

One of the undone things was yet another silly idea brought to Carl by me, the originator of Silly Ideas.  Last fall, I was roaming around the place looking to Create A Crisis (yet another symptom of GADS) when I decided it was high time to clean up the field stone rock pile we had accumulated after thirty years of rock collecting.  There had to be some way to use the rocks in a creative fashion and one I could handle on my own while Carl was busy working on cutting stone for Aaargh.  (I help with mortaring when he needs me, but rock selection is definitely his domain.  This method cuts down on Loud Discussions.) 
What to do with the smaller ones?

I started adding the random field stone to the low stone wall already started around the top of the Formal Garden, but some of the rocks on the rock pile weren't all that spectacular, so I wondered what could be done with them.

That's when my GADS flared up again.  I remembered seeing a picture of a stone pyramid in Dan Snow's excellent book, 'In the Company of Stone'.  Mr. Snow had built a pyramid with a random pile of rocks and mentioned in the text that he was amazed at how many stones it took to complete.  So here was the perfect solution to the leftover rocks, make a pyramid.  Here is a link to his excellent site:  Dan Snow Stoneworks

I know, I know, not another project.  Hey, I have an illness, so be kind.

Carl was cutting stone when I approached him with the idea and showed him a photo of the pyramid in the book. 

"I wonder how long it would take to build something like this," I ventured.  "It would be one way to get rid of a lot of the stones we have on the old pile."

I could see Carl's eyes light up with enthusiasm and we were once again off and running away from dear old Aaargh. 

"It wouldn't be too big of a project, would it?" I asked.

Carl was at least putting up a token of a slight resistance front, "But we have to get this done," he said as he swung his rock hammer half-heartedly trying to trim the corner off a hunk of limestone.

"Yes, that's true," I sighed.  "But it's getting late in the season and soon we won't be able to run mortar if it freezes at night.  We could work on the pyramid right up until winter.  Besides, it should only take a few days."

Famous Last Words.

So that was how our GADS progressed last fall.  I didn't blog about it for fear of exposing just how sick we really are before now.  But a Few Days stretched into a Few Months and then some.  Carl did indeed work on the pyramid construction with Ann's help right up until the snow flew in 2012, but there were other extenuating circumstances needing our attention and then winter arrived. We could always finish it in the spring.  But spring was a long time in coming this year, which delayed the greenhouse work by at least a month.

The site for the pyramid laid out with fence posts for scale.
And when the snow finally melted and the annuals were all growing in the greenhouse, another Bright Idea popped up.  We changed the front garden bed, which took several weeks of work.  At least we finished that project in a timely manner, it is right out by the road, so we couldn't let it sit undone for too long.  Sheesh.

The pyramid was hidden fairly well out behind the Quarry Hill but it would be very visible when people toured the gardens and it was right smack dab where the tent would go up for the party.  I couldn't mow the lawn there due to all the rocks sitting around waiting for placement, so we had to get 'er done.
Carl put a stick up with a string guide to make the sides straight.  The entire structure is solid stone.

Carl worked on the construction of the pyramid whenever he had a spare chance and whenever Ann was here, she would help, too.  Ann brought some flat rocks from her brother's farm to add to the structure.   The garden walks and party were less than a week away, so we had to put the pedal to the metal if we hoped to get it finished.  Ann came over the weekend before, leaving her class reunion early on a Saturday night to help finish it up.  There is a true friend for you, leaving a party early to be tossing stones around while wearing a beautiful dress. 

As it grew darker, we worked faster.  Once again, I'm not much of a help when it comes to piling rocks in a fancy fashion.  I can sort of work on walls, but as Carl puts it, I lack the 'vision' needed to pick the right rock for the right place.  (I suspect what I lack is patience.)   I can wield a flashlight, though and tote rock.  I make a good go-fer.

More rock, waiting in the bucket.

Finally, by the light of the tractor headlights, it was complete. 
We were finally done around 11PM August 3.  Ann is getting ready to take the tractor back to the shed.

The next day Carl picked up all of the loose rocks not used and I mowed the area.

One face of the Pyramid is built of dark stones, the other is white. 
 Ok, the Pyramid was finished on August 3.  One week to go until August 10.  Stay tuned for Part 4.
The booyah explanation is getting closer.  I'm not kidding.


We are pleased to announce that Ann has won the following award:

 Best Dressed Stone Pyramid Builder 2013.


Peonies & Magnolias said...

I love your pyramid, it is awesome and I really like the way you tell your stories. We can relate to hurry up and get it done but thank goodness our projects are not nearly as big or involved as yours!

I hope you have a great rest of the week.


Carol said...

best dressed tractor driver too i think!

Pamela Gordon said...

Wow! This is amazing. The Pyramid, I mean. What a great job and a lot of work. It looks so neat. I visited your last couple of posts too and was amazed to see the storm damage. Glad it didn't affect your own property much. I love the before and after photos of your house! You have certainly done a lot of work to make the surroundings beautiful. Thanks for visiting me. Take care. Pam

Alison said...

Your pyramid is freaking awesome! And finished too.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a great post! I would say that Mark and I have had some sort of GADS for years and years. I think that's why there are unfinished projects around here. Being artistic, we, like you and Carl, were always seeing something new to work on, or that would grab our attention away from what we were working on for one reason or another.
:-) That keeps life interesting though.

What a great friend Ann is. I'm glad she won that award!

Love and hugs to you and I look forward to the next installment.


kate maryon said...

This is awesome! I can see why you were inspired to give it a go!YES...Ann is a beauty in that dress on the tractor...a true friend! Isn't it wonderful to be so blessed.
I have been following you since way before castle Araaagh...I do look forward to his final unveiling as well. Remember...Anything worth doing is worth the time doing it!

Toni said...

Ann on that tractor is cracking me up. What a woman!! And what a friend! Your pyramid is very cool. What you two (three) can do with rocks is just amazing. Hey, maybe if you dry stacked Aaargh, you could get that done in a week too :-) Just sayin.... Keep up the good work.

africanaussie said...

Love that pyramid! I think I am also diseased.

africanaussie said...

Love that pyramid! I think I am also diseased.

Charade said...

And I thought I had it bad when I had to get fifty to a hundred running feet of baseboard painted and caulked before a new batch of company came to visit. LOL in awestruck admiration of what you've accomplished!

Shirley said...

I love it all!! You really crack me up sometimes Karen. :)

The pyramid is a perfect idea to use up the rocks. Now you just need a sphinx. I look forward to part 4.

Karen said...

Hi Sandy, I'm glad other people have the same issues, now I know I'm not alone.

Thanks, Carol! I'll have to fix the award title.

Hello Pam, thank you, I'm glad you like the pyramid. And we were lucky with that storm, it was too close for comfort.

Alison, the best part is the fact it's finished, lol.

Karen said...

Lorraine, we are so easily distracted by the next pretty rock, lol. Thank you.

Kate, glad you liked it, and yes, we are blessed to have a friend like Ann in our lives.

Toni, good idea! We'd be done with Aaargh by now.

africanaussie, oh, no! Not you too! Welcome to the GADS support group.

Charade, that sounds like a LOT of work to me!

Shirley, a sphinx? Oh, I like that idea!

Beth said...

Love the pyramid, Karen, and Ann is a gem (as well as best-dressed!)

Rosemary said...

Love it