• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • paul wheaton
  • Devaka Cooray
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Miles Flansburg
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mark Tudor
  • Pearl Sutton

Tony, the 90 year old stone builder.  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 7564
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
483
  • Likes 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is Tony. He is a quite fit 90 year old. His wife is 89. They get plenty of exercise working on their yard. I did a  house  moving job beside them last week. Tony is a major scrounge and he saved every little bit of aluminum that came off the building. He has a nice house overlooking the ocean, so he doesn't need the money, but once a scrap hound, always a scrap hound.

When he first bought the property 65 years ago, he started building the retaining wall at the front. This took a couple years, working on it whenever his job allowed. The neighborhood was developing at that time, and everyone knew that he would take every stray rock. The base of this wall is 18 in wide and it tapers to one foot. It has stood here for 65 years.

He also did lots of work at the back of the house. It was finished 60 years ago. During this time, there has been very little maintenance of any kind. The occasional touch-up of mortar. He has never had a stone fall out of it.

Tony was in the Navy and later moved into hazardous material removal. He always wore his mask and looked after himself. You don't meet many people who have lived at the same house for 65 years. Every plant, and little pond and other features were installed by Tony and his wife. They did everything as they could afford it and haven't had a mortgage in 60 years.

 Everything that Tony has built, including the house, will last much longer than he will. He did everything right and he did it once.
20180608_115417.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180608_115417.jpg]
20180608_115435.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180608_115435.jpg]
20180607_102641.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180607_102641.jpg]
20180607_102653.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180607_102653.jpg]
20180607_104339.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180607_104339.jpg]
20180607_104346.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180607_104346.jpg]
20180607_102635.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180607_102635.jpg]
 
Posts: 66
Location: Fryslân, Netherlands
19
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There's something very satisfying about building natural stone walls that you don't get with brick, or at least I don't.

I once met a man who only started doing it when he was already 50 and now, in his early 70's, is still doing it, professionally, I believe on a nearly daily basis, making long days. There's a lot of repair needed on farmland walls that were erected many generations ago on the British Isles, that's were he lives and does his work.

I wouldn't like to see very old people working on stone streets, being on their knees all the time, or people in their 90's with jackhammers, but walls that don't give you awkward body positions and give you a bit of work out for your body as well as your brain because you have to make all those irregular shapes fit, that's fine. Beats bingo in the care home. My salutes to Tony!

Why isn't there a bit more lichen visible on those walls by now, I can't help wondering.
 
pollinator
Posts: 382
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9, 60" rain/yr,
26
dog duck hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Beautiful work! I have done a decent amount of dry rock work on trails and in landscaping, and can appreciate that was a lot of work done very well. What a wonderful accomplishment to do something that will live far longer than ourselves. Wandering around the landscape looking for the rock to fit a particular place in your wall is a very pleasant and satisfying thing to do, but the rock bites bring you back down to earth. Nothing will conjure a more creative curse than a smashed finger though, and it helps to laugh through the pain.
 
Posts: 74
Location: mid Ohio, 40.318626 -83.766931
2
dog homestead solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is some very beautiful workmanship. I've seen professionally built walls that look nowhere near as nice.
And the field walls in the British isles are dry stacked. No mortar, this is a completely different skill leaves. Some of those have been up fot 100s of years.
 
pollinator
Posts: 303
Location: northern New Mexico
57
homestead wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My first post here: I hope I'm not hijacking your thread, but this inspired me something fierce.
I'm a masonry lover builder too, not 90yo, retired though and seeing the positive fruits of my labor as a self-sustaining lifestyle advocate.
Wow this is such a wonderful thread. I deeply appreciate such beautiful and functional rock work.
Working with rounded edged rocks is difficult.
Brian's-Masonry-aquaponics-north-side-3-June-10th-2018
(BR-edited- off-site-images altered-removed-and attached instead)
The thing about doing mortared rockwork is how it looks years later.
Obviously we can't have cracks in the masonry when it needs to holds water :D

_________________
:wave1: Brian's AP
Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) FT. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter.
2017 season 100 Brook trout fingerlings. 5 Comets. :?
Brians-Masonry-aquaponics-north-side-3-June-10th-2018.jpg
[Thumbnail for Brians-Masonry-aquaponics-north-side-3-June-10th-2018.jpg]
Brians-Masonry-aquaponics-north-side-June-10th-2018.jpg
[Thumbnail for Brians-Masonry-aquaponics-north-side-June-10th-2018.jpg]
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 7564
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
483
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The rocks seem to have a bit of mildew in the cracks, but they are otherwise pretty clean. This area faces the Sun and gets quite hot in the summer. The same wall, surrounded by big fir trees, would almost certainly have some lichen on it.
 
gardener
Posts: 5084
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
616
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, Tony has constructed a masterpiece in rock work at his home.
That has to be such a great joy to look at everyday, and so functional, he obviously did a good plan and stuck to it.
I am in awe of his workmanship.

Redhawk
 
author
Posts: 22
Location: British Columbia Canada
17
bee books food preservation forest garden homestead tiny house
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
tony is my new hero
i want to be like tony when im 90.
 
Posts: 12
Location: Southern Arizona - Winter Zone 9a (USDA) - Summer Zone 10 (AHS Heat Zone) - Climate Zone 12 (Sunset)
greening the desert solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, thanks for sharing these pix and this story. Tony is quite an inspiration! So amazing!
 
Posts: 8
2
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am in Massachusetts on a glacial drumlin. These dry laid walls are 100% built with stone on mine and adjacent properties. The challenge here is that a mountain building event 400 million years ago (before forests) sent most of the sedimentary rock to NY and PA and what would become the atlantic and then the glaciers scraped off anything left and pushed it into Long Island sound. So I focus a lot on soil building. The gate in the first pict. is also made from recycled materials from a 200 year old tavern.
DSCN6272.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN6272.JPG]
Stone fence of cow paddock
Gate.JPG
[Thumbnail for Gate.JPG]
Gate made from recycled materials
 
Brian Rodgers
pollinator
Posts: 303
Location: northern New Mexico
57
homestead wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Paul Bourdon wrote:I am in Massachusetts on a glacial drumlin. These dry laid walls are 100% built with stone on mine and adjacent properties. The challenge here is that a mountain building event 400 million years ago (before forests) sent most of the sedimentary rock to NY and PA and what would become the atlantic and then the glaciers scraped off anything left and pushed it into Long Island sound. So I focus a lot on soil building. The gate in the first pict. is also made from recycled materials from a 200 year old tavern.


Those old dry-laid rock walls are so amazing.
I find everything about rock-working pleasing and enjoyable to do.
I found this video yesterday

My wife's son is involved with plaster and built us a  
Seven-layer-plaster-wall-7-5-18.jpg
[Thumbnail for Seven-layer-plaster-wall-7-5-18.jpg]
Seven layer plaster wall. 200 plus pounds 1 inch thick.
 
Paul Bourdon
Posts: 8
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brian, I have always had an affinity for stone. I had wanted to be a paleontologist and had spent a few years rock climbing before kids. I have been lucky to find a couple avocational paleontological societies to find fossils with my son who is now in college. We recently got an acknowledgement in a paper redescrbiing the apex predator (Hyneria) from a site in PA where some of the earliest tetrapods have been found.
IanDaeschler.JPG
[Thumbnail for IanDaeschler.JPG]
My son, Ian and one of the authors extracting pieces of an exceptionally preserved Devonian fish
 
Brian Rodgers
pollinator
Posts: 303
Location: northern New Mexico
57
homestead wood heat woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Paul Bourdon wrote:Brian, I have always had an affinity for stone. I had wanted to be a paleontologist and had spent a few years rock climbing before kids. I have been lucky to find a couple avocational paleontological societies to find fossils with my son who is now in college. We recently got an acknowledgement in a paper redescrbiing the apex predator (Hyneria) from a site in PA where some of the earliest tetrapods have been found.


Hehe I always just figured I worked on a chain-gang in a past life. No seriously, you must be so proud of him. I imagine it's every father's dream to see his children find a path inspired by his own interests.
 
Posts: 39
Location: Missouri Ozarks
5
building goat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm in the Ozarks and we have lots of rock around here though not near as nice as up North. We've got lime stone but it's not very strong. We've got some knarly, holey stuff and then some decent stuff. I'm currently building a stone foundation for my shop which will be a barn someday once I can build a real shop. Went driving around a couple of days ago collecting rocks that the road grader turned up on the gravel roads here.

Just picked up the adjoining 7.5 acres which has lots of rock on it so I plan on incorporating rock into our house as thermal mass. Doesn't hurt that it looks cool as hell. We're doing an earth bermed house with earthip design aspects like the greenhouse. The inner wall between greenhouse and living space is what I'l build from rock. Our rock is mostly light in color so I plan to darken it up somehow so it can suck up more heat.
 
No. No. No. No. Changed my mind. Wanna come down. To see this tiny ad:
One million tiny ads for $25
https://permies.com/t/94684/million-tiny-ads
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!