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Rock, rock, and more rock

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The Great Wall of China…some 5,000 miles…well that’s not quite what we’ve built this week. However, at the start of the week it did feel like a project of that proportion, with ridiculous quantities of material to be hauled up the hill by hand: rocks, sand, cement, wood, and one’s own body, weary from 5 weeks of toil. Nonetheless, progress has been made – impressive progress if I say so myself – and we’re nearly to the top of the stone section of the wall, hopefully being ready by early next week to set in the upright posts.

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Getting too high to hop over!

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And higher!

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Mandy and Patt working hard helping to lay the bathroom wall.

The process of laying the stone foundation has several steps. First was a layer of the largest possible stones, positioned in the bottom of the foundation trench. Then, the next layer was dry-laid (without mortar) for fit, before removing the stones one-by-one to apply cement beneath and around each individual stone. The layers continue in this fashion, each layer several stones wide to accommodate the breadth of the wall – 18in at the bottom, 12-14in at the top – on which the [vastly oversized] upright posts shall sit. Once the posts have been set on the wall, one final stone layer shall be set, thereby encasing the base of each post securely in the wall.

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Up to post height! Needs to be cemented in tomorrow.

The posts, also, must be prepared. The are being garnered from tree trunks and limbs of varyingly appropriate size, and of course none are quite straight, and they come in whatever lengths they grew…and are covered in bark. Firstly, I pick my tree or limb. Then, I take my wonderful 18″ chainsaw and fell it to the ground, trimming off any side-branches and trimming it to a fairly straight length, within reason. The fun part is in taking a hatchet (small axe) and a small sledge hammer to the bark, peeling it off in satisfying strips, leaving a beautiful, bare length of wood, all ready to be used in a wall. Ahem. When it works like that. The majority of the time the bark does not in fact “peel” but must be chipped away, one meticulous hatchet-and-hammer blow at a time, and then be attacked with a grinder in order to attain a somewhat smooth finish. Here’s a video clip of the process going well:

The door frame also had to be built, which required my somewhat rusty carpentry skills to be put to use. All is well and I still have 10 fingers and toes! Thus far. My mortice-and-tenon joints aren’t very pretty, but will probably still be the strongest part of the entire house. Had anyone ever thought to teach me the finer aspects of carpentry, they might now be proud of me, but instead I may take all the credit for myself! Perhaps I shouldn’t mention that tall people aren’t allowed into the Nid: the doorway is only 6’1″, not the standard 6’8″…long story.

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Mortice and tenon joint on the door frame, before assembling and drilling for the pin.

It’s nearly 2 weeks since I had a day of “rest”, and I’m tremendously worn out so that’s all for now! I must mix a drink and psych myself up for lots of cementing tomorrow morning, and then my biggest yet batch of bread on Saturday – orders can still be placed until noon on Friday, using the order form on the Products page.

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Made it down to the beach just in time for a lovely sunset after a hard day’s work!

Have something to say? Don’t forget that you can cheer me on in the “comments” feature below, and/or follow Nidulari via email using the “follow” button to the right of the page!

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7 responses »

  1. Wow this is so amazing to see this being built stone by stone, a piece of wood after another. I admire your tenacity, determination and ability. God Bless you and good luck in this endeavor. It will be awesome to see it finished.. Best of luck

    Reply
  2. Your project is amazing, and your determination even more so. Congratulations on sticking with it for two weeks straight, but you do need a day of rest, too. And those joints look pretty impressive to me. Best wishes as you continue forward!

    Reply
  3. The bread is just awesome. It was so nice meeting you and Mandy today and Zada and the other dog. Loved seeing the brick oven and the bread baking in it and then to get the bread while still warm yum yum.

    Granola is so tasty and the banana muffins were a real treat loved the spices you used in them we enjoyed them on the way home thru the rainforest it made the trip complete.

    Looking forward to seeing the progress on the “Nid” and how the bread baking is selling as well . Will promote it as much as possible it is a so delicious and knowing it is helping you complete your dream makes it even better.

    Have a wonderful week see you soon. Will spread the word.

    Diana

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Diana, it was lovely to meet you also, and I’m glad that all the goodies lived up to your expectations! Will look forward to seeing you again soon!

      Reply
  4. Bonnie Clendenin

    Merryn, what is the best way for me to refer someone to your order page?

    Reply

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