I have spent the day being a builder’s mate. Hauling stones in preparation for the new (last) wall on the property. Nicolas started at 8am, and I hastily finished my cheese on toast and followed suit.
My job was to get the smalls and mediums. His to do the hefty stones. And hefty they are. Some weigh over 60kg and I winced every time he lifted them and hauled them into the car.
The car? Oh yes, we used a very sophisticated wheelbarrow for most of the day. Taking the vehicle to all sorts of fun places on the property to raid fallen down walls and nests of stones.
I have a lot of small stones to do, but feel that I have done a great deal of my share today.
Here’s a before and after example of the stone raid. This pile was left over from the steps that Bernard made over a year ago from the terraces leading down to the stables. My job was to reverse the car down the orchard and open the boot in preparation.
First up all the littles and mediums into the car for a few loads back and forth and then Nicolas would saunter over and haul the beasts into the back of the station wagon until the wheels squeaked. A sign we had enough and over to the big stockpile near the future wall and road.
And just in case you were wondering how you make a huge 31 metre long wall on a steep bank, here is the step by step process: first up dig a trench where the wall is to go.
We had a amiable chat about that. I didn’t want to lose the chance to be able to drive the car up to the top of the swimming pool area, so wanted to keep the width two metres wide. We did our pacing with assorted pairs of legs, and then I solved the question with a tape measure.
That sorted I went on to haul stones and leave Nicolas to his trench.
Next up is to hammer in some metal rods (sorry can’t think of their name, but the ones you use in concrete pouring exercises) to get the levels. I have ordered the long four metre rods and extra concrete and sand to be delivered tomorrow afternoon. They will go in next to get the height sorted.
I can hear Gordon spluttering from Scotland to here about concrete. What about dry stone walls? Well, yes. That would be ideal. But these walls move. Rain, heavy melting snow and a steep slope are not the best friends of the dry stone wall. And if I had the skills I would tend to the walls every few years to put them back in place and generally be a good egg. But madame can’t do walls, so concrete they are. But hidden so you get the delicious illusion of dry stone-ness without the continual maintenance.