Stones and stone walls…the beginning
I had always collected small stones and have always loved anything built of stone, but I never thought of doing it myself until I moved into my first house(circa 1850) which was so close to the road that the cars whizzing by seemed about to enter the living room. After an accident during which a car spun out and overturned just a few feet past our house, (nobody was hurt thankfully), we were very motivated to build a stone wall barrier between our house and the road.
My future husband Paul and I each tackled a section on either side of the front walkway. Neither of us had any experience, we only knew the basic stone mason’s mantra of “one over two and two over one”. Thanks to the relatively flat local bluestone, our efforts were somewhat successful and along the way I discovered that I totally loved wall building! For me it is a great complimentary activity to the fine detail work required in jewelry making. If you like doing jigsaw puzzles, you might like wall building. As in puzzle building, one has to remember the location of as many stones as possible from the pile, and be able to picture how they will fit. I particularly love that with perseverance and some time, a woman of average size and strength can build a massive wall!
Over the years that we lived in and renovated the house, my most ambitious stone project was working on restoring the collapsed terraces behind the house. If you like gardening, (which I do), stone walls provide a fabulous background for flowers. While I worked on the terraces, Paul rebuilt the gorgeous exposed stone foundation.
We loved the old house with it’s hand hewn beams and wide plank floors, but by and by we had two sons and as the boys grew, our little house seemed to become ever smaller. The living room contained the wood stove, our only source of heat, and so we all gathered there in cold weather. We shared the space first with toy trains, tracks and cars, which were followed by a vast collections of K’nex and then legions of Legos. After stepping on lots of small plastic parts repeatedly, we realized that we had to move to a larger space. We looked for a new house for a couple years and then were lucky enough to know someone who knew someone who was selling an old farm house that was 400 feet off the road. The hardest part of moving was leaving behind my terraces and walls so I was really happy to see that our next house had plenty of stones around!