Friday, December 19, 2014

Timeline - Gathering Sustainable Materials (Cont'd)

 Three Years Ago

Left-over timbers
Limestone Foundation Stones
The barn that step-son, Keith, and I finished salvaging provided a few good timbers to do what he wanted to do in his house.  The few that were left over have weathered too long to be structurally useful but may offer possibilities for re-sawing.

However, the limestone foundation under the barn was invaluable (similar stones are sold by the pound by landscape material dealers).  The foundation went deep enough to be below the 
Unearthing the foundation stores
frost line and was dry-stacked rather than mortared.  A vendor with a mini-excavator and a track loader dug up and piled the stones then used his loader to load dump trucks.  In all, there were four tandem loads estimated to be 65 tons total.  As you may have seen in a previous post, Gathering Sustainable Materials, many have already been put to good use weighting down the barn "tin" covering the stacks of salvaged lumber.

Second of four tandem loads

Retaining Walls and Pervious Pavers
Eventually, the large stones will be used for retaining walls and the smaller stones to pave the driveway.  However, Collinsville recently passed an ill-advised (from a sustainable standpoint) ordinance specifying concrete or asphalt for all new driveways.  The justification for it was "to control dust", according to a recent conversation with the City Manager, (yeah, right, people race and do wheelies on their driveways).  I am determined to get permission to create a pervious drive with stones interspersed with a soil-sand-gravel mix that will sustain native grass that is durable enough to drive over (and control dust (heh, heh)).  The pervious drive will bisect at least two rain gardens that will also be planted with natives.

Working with Big Stones is Hard Work, But........
I don't exactly look forward to working with big stones, some of which are at least 200 pounds, but I am intimidated by what the farmers must have gone through to assemble the original foundation for the barn.  They would have had to dig by hand, or with a horse-drawn bucket, a trench wide enough to work in and about three feet deep.  They would have had to haul 65 tons of limestone with horse-drawn wagons from a quarry located somewhere in the Mississippi River bluffs ten miles away.  And think about the difficulty of unloading the stones and dry-stacking them in a deep ditch in such a way as to support  a barn.   I have a hard time imagining how strenuous it must have been and how long it must have taken.

Gotta Be Creative
There is a good chance that the track-loader will have been sold by the time some of the retaining walls and drive are done.  We may therefore have to improvise some way of getting the stones from the stone pile to where they are needed.  This is step-son, Keith's forte--I am sure that, with his help, something creative will happen.  It may be a mini-derrick on bicycle wheels or a drag line off of a wheelchair (similar to the one he made for handling logs) or god knows what.

Enough  bricks remained for our entryway floor.
Salvaged Brick
The fly-by-nighter who left the barn timbers to weather away also took most of the antique soft bricks from the farm house (he cherry-picked the barn tin, the barn wood and the antique bricks, leaving the rest for someone else to clean up). Fortunately, we were able to salvage enough bricks for "tiling" the entry way/air-lock to our house. 

Recent update:  The brick floor for the entry was scrapped because the concrete floor in the area would have to be at a different level than the rest of the house in order to accomodate the bricks and doing so would up the contractor's price for pouring the concrete.  We may now use the bricks for a half-wall in the living room.

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