Saturday, April 30, 2011
Do Not Remove Stones
Friday, April 29, 2011
Safety In Numbers
Thursday, April 28, 2011
It's not always a Rock Walk
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Lost in the Curves
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The Rock On A Line.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Stepping it up.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Wall In The Family
Our grandchildren always look forward to the dry stone wall Easter egg hunt that has become part of the Shaw-Rimmington tradition here in Port Hope. While others celebrating this holiday must look for suitable hiding spots in the less exciting places each year, like the lawn, the dog house, window wells or the outdoor barbecues, our chocolate eggs can be imaginatively hidden along an easily accessed, child height stone surface of intriguing and varied hiding spots. The turf-top stone walls which I built on the side of our house when we first moved here provide a wide assortment of egg hiding opportunities. With their many cracks and crevices, the eggs can be cleverly hidden so that a variety of age group levels are accommodated. This year the walls were again festooned with shinny foil wrapped eggs and gladly gave up their chocolaty treasure to the children, amidst wild screams of delight. The walls almost seem like part of the family.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Rain Mud and Stones
We had the opportunity to completely redo a circular dry stone wall this week. The weather was so cold and rainy on the last day we had to take several breaks just to dry off and warm our hands while we sat in the truck. Ontario spring is slow getting off the mark this year.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I know I have stopped thinking with my hands when...
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Christopher Barclay is a waller and mason who I met five years ago when I traveled out west to teach a dry stone wall course at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific . He gave me some valuable help preparing the site and supplying hearting to the students. He works primarily out of Victoria BC. This is a design for a raised garden plot he recently built using a difficult but fairly inexpensive local stone. The curved emerging terrace shape is quite a pleasing solution to this uneven backyard setting. Christopher often lets the stones dictate the design and he is quite good at thinking with his hands.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Handling the invisible.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Getting to gather.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I know I am not thinking with my hands when
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Completed Student Project
Hi John, I finally finished my wall at home. I started mid-September and just finished last weekend (April) . I didn't have that much time to work on it because I was organizing a conference for October, went to China for 3 weeks in November (climbed the Great Wall - awesome experience) and given Vancouver rains there were weeks that I didn't touch it at all. I have attached a few pictures. The first attachment, the Word doc, is a before and after compilation. Then there are a few of the wall from different angles. I can send more if you like, lots more of progress along the wall.
The wall is 40' across the front and 40' up the driveway. Most of the stone was free or cheap. I got some from Craig's List when people were tearing down walls to build with Allen Block, some from building demolitions (including the 300' of granite capstones which I also used for the stairs), and even from the side of the road. I collected stone for 1 1/2 years before I started the project and in the end still had to buy maybe 1/4 of what I needed. I would guess that there is about 40+ tons of stone in there.
I learned a lot, but it was your course at Northwest about 2 years ago that gave me the confidence to tackle the project. I have already had job offers to build for neighbours! Maybe after I retire.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Internet is Handy for Walling Inquiries
Hi John, hope you are well.
During the Vancouver workshop you mentioned that "rocks were just unemployed stones". Well, thank goodness for "temporary labour pools" so that even a motley collection of rocks like this can become stones for a while. Some was reclaimed granite from a wall being torn down, and some are just fieldstones from the property.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Half Load Season
Monday, April 11, 2011
Never tell me that not one star of all
That slip from heaven at night and softly fall
Has been picked up with stones to build a wall.
Some laborer found one faded and stone-cold,
And saving that its weight suggested gold
And tugged it from his first too certain hold,
He noticed nothing in it to remark.
He was not used to handling stars thrown dark
And lifeless from an interrupted arc.
He did not recognize in that smooth coal
The one thing palpable besides the soul
To penetrate the air in which we roll.
He did not see how like a flying thing
It brooded ant eggs, and bad one large wing,
One not so large for flying in a ring,
And a long Bird of Paradise's tail
(Though these when not in use to fly and trail
It drew back in its body like a snail);
Nor know that he might move it from the spot—
The harm was done: from having been star-shot
The very nature of the soil was hot
And burning to yield flowers instead of grain,
Flowers fanned and not put out by all the rain
Poured on them by his prayers prayed in vain.
He moved it roughly with an iron bar,
He loaded an old stoneboat with the star
And not, as you might think, a flying car,
Such as even poets would admit perforce
More practical than Pegasus the horse
If it could put a star back in its course.
He dragged it through the plowed ground at a pace
But faintly reminiscent of the race
Of jostling rock in interstellar space.
It went for building stone, and I, as though
Commanded in a dream, forever go
To right the wrong that this should have been so.
Yet ask where else it could have gone as well,
I do not know—I cannot stop to tell:
He might have left it lying where it fell.
From following walls I never lift my eye,
Except at night to places in the sky
Where showers of charted meteors let fly.
Some may know what they seek in school and church,
And why they seek it there; for what I search
I must go measuring stone walls, perch on perch;
Sure that though not a star of death and birth,
So not to be compared, perhaps, in worth
To such resorts of life as Mars and Earth—
Though not, I say, a star of death and sin,
It yet has poles, and only needs a spin
To show its worldly nature and begin
To chafe and shuffle in my calloused palm
And run off in strange tangents with my arm,
As fish do with the line in first alarm.
Such as it is, it promises the prize
Of the one world complete in any size
That I am like to compass, fool or wise.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Handling a Spiral Shape
Saturday, April 9, 2011
My friend Seth Godin has a daily blog where he often manages to say things pertinent to the moment.
April has got me all excited about walling here in Canada.
Yesterday Seth's posting entitled Ten years of changing the world starts out with three very good points.
Lesson 1: In fact, you can make a difference, you can start something from scratch, you can build something without authority or permission. Passionate people on a mission can make change happen.
Lesson 2: In fact, philanthropy works. Building systems and enhancing entrepreneurial outcomes generates results far bigger than the resources invested.
Lesson 3: You better be prepared to stick it out, to exert yourself, to last longer than you ever expected and to care so much it hurts.
These points seem right in line with the direction we will be continuing to take this year with Dry Stone Walling Across Canada.
This week I joined Patrick Callon and his crew Mike and Brian all members of the DSWAC as we set about creating an Orbital Moon Gate using only dry laid stone - a special design that Patrick came up for this show and I had the honour of helping tweak.
Come see us continue building it all Saturday and Sunday at the London Fairgrounds
Friday, April 8, 2011
Hand Held Camera
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Securing the Shoreline
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Crossing that bridge when you come to it.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
An opening in a living wall
Monday, April 4, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Does that about cover it?
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Thinking And Walling In Verse
Yesterday after having worked on a wall all morning building quietly we spent an hour or so in the afternoon working and listening to a recording of various selections of poetry about walling. Yes, it was kind of different. The poetry along with a smattering of walling-related Celtic songs are all part of a new CD recently put out by my friend Dave Goulder. Dave is not only a master craftsman waller with the DSWA but also in the tradition of many other good masons and wallers (including our own Bobby Watt ) he's a very good singer song writer. With his unique very plaintiff lyrical style Dave has developed a strong following as a performer and has put out a couple of very professional solo CDs.