Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tall Wall

  

Sean Adcock did this major repair to an agricultural wall in Blane y Nant,Wales, last year.  It’s a sheep pen, partly retaining (about four feet)and the rest just under six feet tall of free standing wall, (on the uphill side). Where Brenda is climbing it is nearer eleven or twelve feet. 
Sean says he dug out below stream level and wrestled into the base a row of massive boulders each weighing a ton or more then immediately behind these a row of slightly smaller stones were set as the footing for the wall. The first two courses were all stones that were too big to be moved by hand ( track excavator was used) This more or less brought the wall to ground level. 
The wall was a little under 4 feet wide at ground level and from this point was built almost entirely from the uphill side!  Battered 1:6 it is around  24  inches wide below cope. The cope is formed by an irregular cover with a rubble cope on top.  There are no throughs .
 “The stone was plenty big enough anyway,” says Sean, “ ie at through stone height it was around 3 feet wide and the building stones still met/overlapped in the centre of the wall” 
Sean remembers it was horrible stone with “all sorts of silly shapes”
This Property used to be Sean’s main site with over 70.000 square feet of wall face surface rebuilt here over fifteen years, now just occasional repairs and projects.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Ocean’s Bounty

This windfall of rocks, stones and beach pebbles was tossed up onto the parking lot at Point Arena in the big storm last Wednesday. Some of us were there yesterday helping clean up by gathering a carefully hand-picked selection of this beautiful material to be used in future installations back at the Stonezone. And, of course, we had to leave one or two stones balanced, as a thank you to the sea.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Working in mud and rain yesterday


It’s was not too bad building walls kneeling in the mud, working in a steady drizzle yesterday. That’s because it’s way less difficult than. building in an ‘atmospheric river’, which is what were experiencing today. And so were taking the day off.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

imagining


I imagined that very long ago there must have been an ancient city here in Yosemite National Park 


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Was there a once upon a time ?



These Kern Canyon cliff formations suggest there was once-upon-a-time likely a civilization of enchanted rock dwellers here in the Sierras, living in ancient structures carved out of the bedrock, creating elaborately clustered habitations for themselves 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Time is an Element



The Squire (the squarish granite rock), having told the other rocks how he had ended up meeting the beautiful round stone Rhonda, when he had been first washed up on the beach at St Bees Head, continued to tell the story of how their friendship slowly evolved.

At first they gave each other a lot of time.   They learned to appreciate each other's various facets. The main thing that they had going for them was the fact that they were both fairly elderly. It was an important part of their makeup. Being many million years old enabled them to have perspective, and not feel they had to rush into anything. The fact that they were both 'mature' was one of the essential elements to their 'getting along, as essential as oxygen and silicon, the other two most common elements contained in rocks.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Stone Love




Having been asked how he and Rhonda (the roundish stone ) had met, the Squire, (the squarish stone) launched off on an epic tale about their romantic past.

"Many many years back, Rhonda left the glacier and eventually ended up living on the west coast of what was not yet England, not far from what was to become town of St Bees. She spent all her days on the beach sunning herself, listening to rock and roll ( the sounds of tumbling stones and smaller pebbles being rocked back and forth by the ocean waves) and enjoying the constant changing of the seasons. 
Years passed and much of the surrounding coastline eroded away - in one area exposing the high red sandstone cliffs now known as St Bees Head. Rhonda had been fortunate enough to keep her place on the coast though many other rocks living closer to the ocean had come and gone."

"Finally," he said "some time after that, humans came on to the scene. They gradually moved into the area." 

The Squire was guessing, about 3000 years ago. "That's right, isn't it, Rhonda?"

"You're telling story dear, I'm going to stay out of it."

"Well anyway from that time on, from what I gather," said the Squire, "Rhonda didn't have a dull moment. She was often picked up, sometimes two or three times a day by various strangers passing by along the beach."

"I never minded the attention." Rhonda added.

"Many years passed, and Rhonda enjoyed the reputation of being one of the oldest residents along that part of the coast"

"But go on, tell the story about the big storm."

"Yes well," returned the Squire, " here is where I come into the picture. Some time later, I'd say back about 175 years ago, while I was sailing from North America in the hold along with a lot of other granite ballast, we strayed from our course and ended up running aground not far from Whitehaven. Running aground was tough break for the ship and the crew, but it was a nice break for us. I spent a good few years enjoying a long relaxing ocean-bed holiday."

"The storm, dear."

He paused again, looked at the rain and then launched into her favorite part of the story.

"At the turn of the century a very big storm blew in off Iceland. There were huge great breakers the size of small mountains, smashing into the shore. It churned the coastline waters up so violently many of us were washed up onto the beach."

"We ended up meeting and falling in love."

"I believe you wanted me to tell the story dear?"

The Squire went on  "I had been cast up onto the briny shore only to find myself lying beside the most beautiful piece of rounded granite I had ever seen in my life. "

"You were quite a hunk yourself"

"I knew it was going to be the start of a lovely long 'rocky relationship'. Oh, It was quite 'Tectonic' at first, of course . We discussed how far the continental drift had strayed, and how the earth's lithospheric crust was made.

They both sighed and looked at each other adoringly. 

"We talked of many things," Squire mused as Rhonda gazed off dreamily into the hills.

"Of shale and schist, and sealing cracks
And amethyst and slates
And why debris forms mountain scree
And why the earth has plates

We spoke of sub-atomic mass
Of particles and strings,
Of quantum leaps and isotopes
And earth's magnetic rings."

The Squire stopped and took a breath. "Things started to develop fairly quickly after that."


To be continued

Monday, January 7, 2019

Blind Folded




You can't stop that special stone from seeing. You can try to blindfold it but it still sees everything. And it still looks at you in that all knowing stone-like kind of way. It doesn't have to say anything. 

You can try to pretend you don't see it. Or rather, ignore the feeling that you have this sense that you both have some sort of special connection. You can try to imagine you don't need it. And that you can walk past it on the beach. 

Or you can think that you can just cast it off into the lake, and be done with it. 

Or better yet, bring it home and put it on a shelf, and that will be enough. Maybe write something on it. Draw over it.  Maybe just cover it completely with paint?

But in the end it still sees inside of you. It knows you better than you do. Because the connection is there. 




Sunday, January 6, 2019

Folded Hands





I close my eyes and fold my hands
My fingers turn to flattened strands
They bend in grooves along each digit
And thus I have no way to fidget

My folded hands, I must confess
Look stranger yet, when more compressed
They buckle in and merge in layers
And thusly poised, I say my prayers

I find my words more concentrated
With hands thus bound and laminated
I know not how to unclasp them 
I have no strength to ungrasp them

But when my words have all reached heaven
I thank the Lord, and say 'amen'
For when I open up my eyes
The folds are gone, to my surprise.
















Saturday, January 5, 2019

Sheep Folds


There are sheep in the folds
And folds in the sheep.

Pressed 
But not oppressed 
Safe in snuggly sleep

Fitted sheeps 
Tucked into corners 
To keep them from
Their sheepish fits.

No wrinkle of danger 
No cause to be afraid 

Rocks with flocks 
Hemmed in at every stage 
      So as not to in crease their chances of wandering straight off the...
page.

Origami walls and ledges 
Neatly wrap the outside edges
From the straights
And from the narrows 
The sheep all safe from
Slings and arrows

Folded wooly blanket coziness
Enclosed and fully flanked in stoniness 
A shelter from unruly wind and cold
As safe as in the days of old.




origami 'mouton' by Beth Johnson
poem and illustration by me



Thursday, January 3, 2019

Folded Into Itself




The Mobius Strip is an inviting shape to try to use in a dry stone wall design. It is a wall with only one side. It circle/spirals around as it folds into itself. It's a surface that continues becoming the top, the side, the bottom, the side and the top again.

We could be at the top of our game and still really only be at the bottom (the 'game' being our work) if we only built mobius shaped structures. 

How would we know? 

Like much of life, top and bottom are often the same side of the same thing. 







Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The layers keep folding over.


Folds are one of the most common phenomena you can find in geology. A fold is usually produced by plainer layers (usually sedimentary rocks) which are curved by sympathetic efforts. The kind of folding in the photo below is called a Chevron and its main feature is that the angle of hinges is very acute, almost without curvature. The undoctored photo (below) is of a completely natural stone fold formation found in Greece.   The image was found on Geologiaaldia's Instagram feed.