Friday, January 15, 2010

The bucket: the waller's hand bag.




The waller's tool bag or tool box is often just a bucket. We can carry it out to the field and empty the tools out, if necessary, and then use it for a container for 'hearting' as well. I have seen some pretty fancy tool bags and seen some pretty beat up ones as well. We masons tend to be tough on things. But a simple plastic 5 gallon bucket isnt very expensive and can be easily replaced. A lot of small stones can be brought to the wall at one time, instead of picking them up individually, tossing them near the wall, and looking for, and collecting them again. The waller who comes to work without a bucket or two has forgotten his most useful tool.
The hands do the carrying. It is called hand-balming. This is a pretty simple concept but still worth thinking about.
There have been some pretty humble professions throughout history that involve mostly carrying things.
I think about the people who go back and forth from the fields carrying produce, or those who bring water back from a river or a hand dug well, or those who lug stone material back from the quarries or move rocks by hand from the fields they are clearing. I think about how they came up with different ways to carry things and different things to carry them in. And how their hands got tired and they would stop and switch hands. I think about the people who depended on them to carry things day after day. It was a noble and meaningful occupation for anyone with a good back and strong hands, or so it seemed.
Our hands don't carry things much any more. It's not smart. We have nap sacks, suitcases and hockey bags on wheels, golf carts, shopping carts, motorized vehicles, as well as water pipes to provide water, gas lines to provide heating, snowmobiles trucks and ATVs to transport supplies, and any number of gadgets to save us lifting or carrying just about anything.
The hands presumably now have a lot of time to do other things. But I still like to carry stuff when I can. I often don't re-park my truck but carry my tools the extra distance.
Maybe that's why I like walling so much. It's silly really. Maybe I do it just to make sure my hands don't get out of practice carrying things. Or perhaps my hands can't come up with any better ways to be 'handier'.

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