Masonary

I went back in the house and changed out of my worn out trail running shoes that I use for dog walks and put on my work boots. I thought it prudent as I had never used a gas-powered concrete saw and the little sticker on the handle indicated eye protection, ear protection, steel-toed boots.

I have a project that I’m really excited to move forward. We decamped from our Craftsman Bungalow last November to a newer (1915 vs. 1930) English Tudor and the previous homeowner was a general contractor. Most of this tile work is impeccable, electrical work lacking, and he devoted little to no attention to landscaping. The lot is surrounded by a low wall built from dry-stacked volcanic rock. I’ve been slowly disassembling it and giving rocks away on Craigslist. When the weather begins to cool off, I’ll rent a backhoe and grade the lot so that I can create a little outside garden to sit and drink my morning coffee and watch the world go by… but there is a project ahead of that one.

The previous owner finished the basement and created a separate entrance to the house. It’s convenient and currently the only entry / exit we use. A dilapidated pergola was erected over the door and when the driveway concrete was poured, decided not to repair the exposed foundation wall, but instead built a stone flower planter to hide it from view. The flower planter is now disassembled and I need to repair the exposed foundation wall.

On Sunday when I should have been running, after I pulled down the pergola and use the reciprocating saw to cut down the concrete bolts holding it in place, I found myself kitted up and maneuvering a Hilti concrete saw so that I could square off the driveway where the planter had been. The current plan is to pour a new footer against the existing foundation, pour an additional 2 sonotube footers as bases for 6×6 posts and build a new portico over the entrance door.

I was amazed how easily the saw cut through the 6 inch concrete lab. And shocked when I put the saw down flat, stepped away to remove some of the newly cut concrete and out of the corner of my eye, watched the saw begin to slowly rotate. Lesson – don’t ever take your (safety glass covered) eye off of a spinning blade.

Part 3 of this project will be to excavate for a low stone mortared wall and gate that I’ll build beside the door. More and more I realize that if I wasn’t designing software, I would be a stonemason. I think it’s the combination of skill and labor that attracts me. Breaking rocks to build something beautiful. It’s very appealing. And as for the weekend long run, as is most often the case, when I’m out laboring, my sophisticated sport watch tells me that “Recovery is delayed because of high activity”.

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