Welcome to the ceaseless torture of adulthood! We're glad you made it!
home | index by time | index by subject
previous let the piper lead the way next 

the stone fence
february 17, 2002
the stone fence
stone fence detail

The stone fence I'm building is about 15 feet long presently, and about 2 1/2 feet high. It is solid enough to walk on, and it makes a fine bench and a place to set your bottle of ale. Squirrels are using it; there are little piles of nutshells.

Most of the stones that are going into this fence I picked up around our land. They are irregular fractured limestone blobs in various stages of erosion and mossiness. Farmers where I come from call these goney stones, and they heave them off the fields before they get a chance to break a set of drags. What these stones have in character they make up for in rotten stubborness. Building a stone fence with them is slow and persnickety work, and frankly it reminds me a lot of writing.

Other stones I've picked up along roadsides, around creeks, near sandstone ridges, and off pallets at construction supply yards. These are nice, flat well behaved stones. The kind of stones you wouldn't think twice about taking home to meet the parents. Some of these stones are a bit on the exotic side, like the slab of avocado-green schist from Maine that twinkles with mica, the cubic granite ballast stones that came from the bellies of freighter ships, and the uniform wafers of barn-red slate that slid off a roof somewhere.

But the best stones are the ones that come from our farm. These are dark, dense sandstones swarming with the imprints of brachyopods and bi-valved creatures that lounged in the ocean currents kerjillions of years ago.

Many of these stones came from the foundation of our barn, which burned down in 1993. They are exceedingly well behaved; they know how to act when they're part of a stone wall. This should be no surprise. They were part of a foundation wall for about 200 years. Some of them I remember by sight. It is a fine comfort to have these old stones around once again.

Photo: detail of stone fence showing green schist slab
previous let the piper lead the way next
index by time let the piper lead the way index by subject
marel trout let the piper lead the way the ceaseless torture of adulthood let the piper lead the way you are here