Saturday, May 16, 2015

Back On the Rocks

I replaced my DeWalt Tile/Rock Saw... my old one had so many problems it was a total write off. So  I bought a used one and now again I can cut stone. Before mixing any mortar I worked most of a day just cutting and shaping the stones that I was going to use.

This was after two days of working on this post. This is only a part time job, as I still had to do all the housework, cooking and yard work this week, with Shirley being gone.  Every day I spent a couple of hours doing mowing, line timing and yard clean up... this is to help get my exercise level high enough for optimum blood scores... which by the way are doing really good.

Notice on the floor behind the column the square of stones laid out...

I prepared these to fit perfectly, and then set them off so I can put the mortar for them.

The sting lines look like they are not in the right place from this angle, but when you see it in context you will see they line up with the face of each side of the post.

This shows the chipping I do to soften the look of rock... taking off the sharp edges of stone that is cut with the saw.

This is what it looks like after knocking off the sharp edge.

And this is how I made sure the rock stayed put until the mortar was set.  Don't have to do that with the horizontal stones.

This is what this stone looked like at the end of yesterday.  You can see that I have taken the sharp edges off all the stones, regardless of size... it is kind of like the look of tumbled marble... which you may know is crazy expensive. 

This is just a general shot of my work space. Lower left is the DeWalt rock saw... the pedestal stone standing between the post and tractor is my chipping stone.  You need a rock that one can use like an anvil that is big and solid to support the rock when you are chipping on it.  The tractor with it's extended bucket not only brings the rocks to the site, but doubles as another table while I look for the next piece to put into the puzzle.  

That is how I look at this project. It is one giant puzzle, and I am constantly looking for the best rock to use next to make the design interesting. I can not believe it took me parts of four days to get this little bit of rock work done.

Another one of my big dreams is do back packing... I really want to do the Westcoast Trail.  So before we left Tucson I bought most of the gear... the tent, sleeping bag, air mattress backpack, etc.

I wanted to set it up the tent here at home before going out with it... so last night looked like the perfect time to give it a whirl. I set it up on the small plateau that is in our yard on a plateau just east of the house.

It is a wonderful little tent... very light weight and comes in two parts.  the inner tent is basically the fool proof insect netting.  and then you have the rain protection that goes over it, but doesn't touch the netting.  It took me a little to figure out how it all works, but it is wonderful. I put in the sleeping bag and blew up the air mattress. Got a couple of pillows from the house and my Sudoku book with the book light. I was set for the night.

I thought I had picked a pretty level spot, but as you can see from the picture, it was certainly not level. Just as I was falling off to sleep I remembered that I didn't do the final step in the rock project for the day... I hadn't washed the rocks.  I had chinked most of them and already brushed them with the whisk broom, but I always wash them the end of the day to make it ready for the final wash with muriatic acid when the job is done. (The acid does a great job of removing any unwanted cement on the rocks that is just too persistent to ordinary washing... and it is ugly smelling stuff to work with.)

So I got dressed and went back to the house and did the washing of the rocks and came back to bed. It only took a few minutes since the joints were already chinked. (cleaned out) But I had trouble going to sleep, so did a little Sudoku. For the next couple of hours I would do a little Sudoku, feel drowsy and put the book down... but couldn't get to sleep so would turn on the book light and do some more Sudoku. I hadn't been to sleep very long when I woke up needing to take a whiz. This is the time of the night that I customarily take my Thyroid pill... but I didn't bring the pill or even any water to the tent... and I was really thirsty. But, I thought I could do it later.  

As I lay there trying to go back to sleep, I was not liking the slope of the ground under me... and then I really needed to brush my teeth... too much onion with hot dog and my mouth felt like the inside of a tennis shoe.  Then I got a whiff of my BO... and that did it.  I really needed to take a shower. For me to say that you know I had to smell really bad.

So I said, enough for one night out here. I'll try this again on the level with more favourable conditions.  I need to get some sleep. So I got dressed, went into the house, had a shower, brushed my teeth, took my Thyroid pill, had a big drink of water and finished the night in a comfortable bed.

I heard someone say that their "Sleep Number" is six... that is six glasses of wine.

"Camping is natures way of promoting the motel business." -Dave Barry


  1. The stone work looks fantastic.

  2. Great work, Sherwin. It is beautiful. Will be home soon!

    1. You will be without a doubt most welcome. I'm going to try sleeping in the tent again tonight... this time I'll move it on to the deck.