Sunday, August 09, 2009

Rock On

I know ya'll are probably getting sick of seeing this wall but I'm trying to focus on getting this thing done. They are coming to get the machine this Thursday, so I must get the biggest rocks set. So far, I've just shown general photos but I thought I'd show ya'll more of how I'm building this wall. The level there shows that the wall is not plumb. I'm letting it lean back about 2-3 inches into the bank, just as a general precaution against the bank settling and pushing outward. I don't think these rocks are going anywhere but it never hurts to be a little cautious. I can afford for it to come out a little but it's a major pain in the wahzoo to get it back in.
After I set the first layer of stone and get it situated where I want it, I backfill up level with the rock to give the next rock plenty of support. It's also easier to get a more solid backfilling this way. On a side note, I did not pour a footing under this wall, like I normally might, because it's not that tall and the ground underneath was not disturbed. The stones sit on hard, packed dirt that was never cut into, so I think the chances for settling are minimal.
Since most of the stones are so large, I've had to put a strap on them and lift them into place with the machine. This takes a lot of time when you are working by yourself but that's okay. Here, I have picked this one but couldn't get the strap to tighten correctly, so I had to stick a small stone in there as a spacer, so the larger rock would sit up straight and not fall out of the strap.
Here, I have the rock about where I want it and am lowering it into place. Once it's sitting on the other stones I can move it some with the long spike. I also use the spike to leverage the stone up and pull the strap out. Allen says this is a mighty ambitious project for such a little girl as me. It's not so bad though. It did take me about an hour on each of these two large stones but it is actually fairly easy to swing them into place. Somehow I always pick the right stone too. I've never had to take one down because I couldn't get it to fit right.
Of course, there is always a little filling in to do if you don't cut the stones any and I like to work with their natural shape. Besides, cutting these stones would be a major job! The vertical stone on the left is where this section ends and there will be steps leading up to the house on the other side where the bank is not cut back.
I'm fairly proud of the way this project is turning out. I am going to one of the many stone quarries in town tomorrow to see about buying some precut stones for the steps. If they are not too expensive it would be much easier than pouring concrete steps or something like that.

Ah, yes, and it is now official; I am laid off! Got to call the office tomorrow and see about my vacation time etc. I have over a week's worth of paid vacation and our pay is a week behind, so I'll receive my regular pay for the next two weeks and then go on unemployment. I'm very excited and hope to get so much done. Yea!!! I hear rumors about one or two jobs starting in September and October so I might get on one of those. Or, hell, I might retire and never go back!


Kymber said...

the wall looks fabulous and i am sure that you can't wait to finish it - i can't wait to see it!
i want to offer condolences about the layoff but i know that it is an opportunity for you to get a lot of projects finished at the house! plus - i am sure you will be back to fulltime in the fall - and a lot of house projects completed when you do!
so good luck and make sure to keep us updated on any projects that you do!

Pablo said...

I'm glad you're perfecting your skills on that wall. I have so much work for you to do up my way. Of course, all of my rocks are round, so stacking them is going to be a challenge.

Island Rider said...

I am very impressed by that wall! You go girl! Enjoy your "vacation".

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

You are simply amazing! What an accomplishment. We have stone walls on our property and most seem to have been built with a 2 or 3 inch lean back into the hill.

With all the rain we have had in the northeast this summer, the soil has become loose and I see a couple of places where stone walls are bulging. Not sure what, if anything, can be done about it without demolishing the wall and starting over.

Enjoyed seeing how you do it. Great pics.

Erin from Iowa said...

I believe this would be called doing puzzles extreme style. LOL!
It's amazing. In the oddest way I think it must be a very relaxing process.
The gardener in me has to ask are you going to be sticking any plant life in the crevices?

edifice rex said...

Hey Kymber! thank you so much! I'm happy about the layoff actually (as you can probably tell!) but just hope there is a company to go back to later. :(
I'll be showing lots of pics of my progress here!

Hey Pablo! yeah, maybe I could get some old bowling balls to practice with! lol!

Hey IR! thanks! and I am!

Hey Bonnie! well, thanks, I appreciate that.
yeah, I don't know what could be done other than take sections down and restack. Lord, that's a pain! Maybe they will not get any worse.

Hey Erin! thanks! You know, it is quite relaxing and just frees your mind of all other crap.
yes, I will probably try to put some small plants in some of the cracks and I'm already planting in part at the top of the wall.

myamuhnative said...

Annie, that wall is so cool!
You've certainly put your artists eye to good use in placing the rocks.Me, I'd have the crookedest wall in the world if I tried such a thing :)
And the conch shell is a perfect touch!

Rurality said...

"Allen says this is a mighty ambitious project for such a little girl as me."

I thought so too, but didn't say anything, since I didn't want you to take a swing at me. ;)

edifice rex said...

Hey Mya! Well, now, I never said anything about my wall being straight! lol! We won't look at that! thanks though!

Hey Rurality! You're so silly! I'd never take a swing at you; I'd just clunk you with one of those rocks! lol!

Beau said...

I'm amazed at the size of your rocks and how you've built that wall- what a great idea and neat project. I could use a machine like that... sorry to hear about your job, and good luck moving forward.

edifice rex said...

Hey Beau! Glad to hear from you!

'I'm amazed at the size of your rocks' you know, wish I had a dollar for every time a man has told me that! lol!
Seriously, thanks for all your kind words and no worries about the job; they'll call me back after a while.