Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Breaking into the old boy farmers' network is not an easy thing to do. That I taught school did not work in my favor in that regard. Our neighbor has spent his lifetime working two farms on either side of us. We would wave and smile as he passed by our place but I remained that little known stranger that gardened out of sight up the hill. This new stone wall is the first time he has seen me work. It must have impressed him as he offered me access to a stone dump on his lower farm. Here is my first load of his stone. Less than one mile separates our lands but his stone is different from mine. A different part of the glacier dumped his stone in soil. My stone was dumped with gravel. It is indeed an honor that his stone is now mine.
The wall now has its second end. The space between the wall faces is first filled with small misshapen broken stone. Taking out the wobble from the interior of the wall means the wedges cannot fall out. Screened gravel is shoveled onto the filler stones. The next layer of wall will rest upon a smooth forgiving surface. Weather will settle this fill into the voids.
The second wall end will be finished next. Then the work will proceed to the center. By working alternately from both ends, the uneven seam where the halves come together will be largely invisible. A level string will have to be stretched at the top of the wall to define the correct height of the second end.
My four foot level made its first appearance on the job today. I have been working by sight alone. Unevenness in the ground had me questioning the levelness of the cap stones. There are Irish in my family tree. Perhaps they are the source of the skill and passion in laying stone.