Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two Eight Hour Days...


We did it... finished the river rock walls this weekend! It was a lot of work, but well worth it. Got up early on Saturday, and dug right in. Steve mixed the mortar (not a fun job lifting those 80 pound bags), trying to get all the lumps out. Then deciding where to place the rocks. We used a small pointed trowel, spread the mortar on the back & pressed them on the wall with a little "wiggle" to help them adhere better. Then we held & pressed for 10-20 seconds or so. (Make sure you wear rubber gloves while working with the mortar) At first, we talked over each rock & placement, getting a mutual agreement on all of them. After a couple hours of that, we just started to decide ourselves. You just have to make sure that the colors are distributed fairly evenly throughout, and that you don't put all the same size stone next to each other. We did have three rocks fall back off right after we took out hand away. They didn't want to stick back up on the wall even though we scraped off the mortar & tried again. Oh well...we had plenty to work with. Six pm we quit with both walls filled with rocks. We walked up to Eli & Lizzie's to see the progress on the new barn before it got dark. (More about that in my next post). We also had a visit from our neighbor Jim while we were working. He just found out he has Lyme's Disease. He had been feeling exhausted lately & decided to get tested at the hospital. Hope he bounces back quickly.
Mixing up the mortar.
Steve holding one of the stones to attach it to the wall. We used boards & plastic to protect the stone base.

See how it looks lumpy? This is before smoothing)
Sunday morning we started the day by going to town for more mortar. (Oh yeah...and the bakery for donuts :-) We had one bag left. We weren't sure if the hardware store had the same kind as we did & we wanted to make sure it all matched when we started grouting the stone. More mixing of mortar, crushing (pounding) the lumps. A very important step since you have to squeeze the mortar out a half inch hole at the end of the mortar bag. For some reason, the first bag of mortar was very lumpy. The next bag mixed up fine. The consistency is very important, too. Like pudding or frosting said the directions on the Internet. Steve did great with that. There is definitely a learning curve involved with grouting. Not too bad though. The first stones we did though looked like birds were flying over, if you know what I mean. We both got the hang of it and it turned out to be fun. After you squirt the grout on the wall around the stone, you let it set up for a while (20-30 minutes for our mixture) and then go back over the grout with a narrow hardwood stick (Steve) or your gloved finger (me), to smooth.  We looked for any spots we missed during this step & re-applied more mortar to those areas. The last step is taking a brush & lightly brushing off the stone.
After finishing the walls, we moved on to the base. This was pretty easy. We just needed to fill the gaps between the square stones and do the bottom of the walls where the board was.
And here it is...
Steve will be adding wood trim to the base soon and different wood trim on the walls. The mortar will still lighten up more in the next few days as it dries.


Wednesday, the guys from Center Steve & Fireplace will be here moving the Heritage wood stove that is in the "cabin room" now over to this area. A Phoenix wood stove that we bought on Craigslist will take the place of the Heritage. That is, I hope they will be here. There is a powerful storm that is starting to hit us as I type. It's supposed to be windy (60 mph gusts) through Wednesday. Scary to be up on this roof in that kind of wind. Actually, it is scary for me to be here during a storm after going through the tornado in August. There is a tornado watch now & the wind is blowing in pretty hard gusts. I am trying to be brave...but the urge to go to the basement hits me with every strong gust. I'll have to let you know if I stayed upstairs all night. :-). My kids are great. They have both texted me to make sure I am all right. And Steve is sleeping with his cell phone by his side in case I call in a panic from the basement. I sure know how to pick when to stay up here...

8 comments:

Nancy @ el vigilante said...

You two did a fabulous job on your stone wall. Love it!

Hope you weathered the storm ok. We started getting the wind here yesterday, supposed to blow 45 mph or more today.

lisa said...

Oh it looks great...Love the stone walls..It's ooming along great with everything you have done...Love watching the progress..Lisa

Happy Days said...

WOW! It's so pretty!! I love stone! It just looks good anywhere. You guys did a great job!! Can't wait to see your stove in there!! I've been following those storms on the weather channel. Hope you did ok. We're supposed to get some of that storm tonight and tomorrow....debbie

angie said...

Hi Barb,

Stone looks great!

Yeah, you sure can pick the time, can't you? :)

the wild magnolia said...

Good job, good job, good job. The stone work looks wonderful.

I would imagine the great sense of accomplishment brings a certain kind of joy.

Have a great day.

Sharlene T. said...

Beautiful work! Isn't it fun when you can share a project... You're gonna love that wall, forever, because you're both a part of it. Thanks for sharing... Looking forward to the next step... Come visit when you can...

Stone Cottage Mama said...

great job! We looked at Heritage wood stoves and went with a Kuma instead. You're gonna love it, read nothing but great stuff about heritages.

PatQ said...

That looks great. I would have never thought about a stone wall but it looks perfect.