Sunday, September 9, 2018

The importance of water.

This is a good comparison between two Nasturtium plants.
the first has a constant supply of moisture.

 The second has rain only.

Yet the two plants are only a few feet apart.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Fall's bounty

Today feels like our first Fall day and Summer is closing. but we do have bounty from the garden and orchard to soften the blow.

and the flower borders are still full of colour.

All we need now is for Sooty to hatch.

 Then we can fire up the oven and get back to enjoying hot Pizza.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fall Walling Workshop

This year our Fall weekend walling workshop is on the 29th & 30th of Sept.

Before we get to working with the stone, safety is discussed. Footwear, eye protection, correct lifting techniques, etc.

Followed by an explanation of the various tools available and how to use them correctly and safely.

Once we get to the hands on stage, within minutes, complete strangers are discussing the merits of various stones and cooperating like old friends. 

Saturday evening, as with every workshop, is spent discussing the days progress and relaxing with beer, wine and pizza.

Made in our outdoor wood fired oven

One would think that flat square stone would be easy to wall with, but while it is angular, it is not regular like bricks,

and even the slightest deviation in height, makes it difficult for C to contact both A and B.

Whereas with the rounded corners of fieldstone, C makes good contact with A and B, even though A is slightly higher than B and E makes good contact with both C and D, even though D is substantially higher.

In my opinion, the learning curve with angular stone is steeper than with fieldstone, but once learnt, will allow you to wall with most types of stone.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A must have for your late summer/early fall garden

The Sweet Autumn Clematis, (Clematis paniculata) is floriferous, fragrant and visited by a host of pollinators

 It is also a vigorous grower,so give it room

This is a self sown plant that I found growing in the garden last Fall. It was replanted this Spring at the base of the outdoor wood fired oven,

and is already clambering over the dome.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

When is a wall not a wall?

I am often asked "How do you know when a wall is well built" The four walls photographed below, have all been called nice walls. Nice is defined as "Giving pleasure or satisfaction, pleasant or attractive." A definition that fits all four, but only two are well built.

There are a few basic principles to building a sound, structurally integral dry stone wall, which can be seen here

and here.

When we review the first four photos. All the joints are crossed in this wall. No small pinning stones placed in the face, or outside of the wall

Whereas, with this wall. The blue lines indicate where the joints are not crossed (running joints) Numerous small stones pushed into the face, which compromises the integrity of the wall.

Here the length of the two stones circled in blue are along the face of the wall and not into the center of the wall. The heart of the wall is filled with gravel which has little to no structural integrity. The red circle indicates the area of the next photo.

This large stone has been placed on its edge, the inside face is convex, so any weight against that face will push the stone out

The same wall but a different place, the large white stone also placed on its edge has fallen over resulting in this collapse. Notice all the gravel pouring from the middle.

 Once again with this wall (below) every joint is crossed, no silly little stones in the face. This wall is also aesthetically pleasing, large foundation stones grading to smaller stones at the top.

 Believe me, the sadness of viewing your collapsing poorly built wall, will long outlast the perceived euphoria of its inexpensive build.

 To recap. the first two photos show walls that have been built with pride for the craft of Dry Stone Walling



These two are built with nothing more than the thought of profit for the contractor.

Remember, it is not just the Wild West that is full of cowboys.