StoneWORK with Ben, Bon Voyage to Emily!

During an exuberant moment, Jim and I decided to take down the deck that has long graced the south side of the house to make a stone patio where it had been. We realized that the deck somehow removed and cut us off from the gardens and being at ground level would be better ( that and the twenty year old deck was beginning to rot).

Ben, who has had a lot of experience with stone masonry, agreed to be the brains and the muscle on the project.

As we have all these rocks from the foundation of the building we tore down last fall, we are particularly excited to put them to use. You can’t just leave rocks lying around in New England can you? They SCREAM out to be made into walls, steps, and stuff like that.


In the first flush of the project, Ben took down the wooden deck. Then, with a neighbor’s tractor, he moved immense stones up to the farm to build an unorthodox set of circular stone steps for the back door (because even our stonework has to involve curves). Ben learned how to move big rocks when he worked with a Japanese garden designer miving many ton rocks into a very elaborate Long Island garden. It was impressive to see him finesse these stones into place. Apparently they were paltry pebbles compared to the Long Island project rocks.

Here Ben swings the first rock into place.

Here May May vies for the role as alpha dog of the project.


The steps take shape. ( No shot of the moment when the tractor (in gear and with the parking break on) rolled down into my perennial beds.

Now Ben has begun work on a retaining wall around the new patio area. What a blessing he likes stonework as well as web site work!

And speaking of blessings. Emily has been my rock in the gardens this spring and I want to give her a heartfelt shout out here before she departs tomorrow to work in a summer camp on Cape Cod.

EMILY!!!!!! We will miss you!

Since Lizzy is on the Camino again, Emily is leaving, and Ben is going to finish this wall then head off to the Camino also (It appears to be contagious, this Camino thing), this leaves Will who graduated from eighth grade on Wednesday. He now faces a summer solo with his parents and other household animals.

Here he is right before his graduation in the official baton passing ceremony.

William, how do you feel about weeding, deadheading, mulching, lawn mowing, rock moving?

Oh YOU feel called to the Camino too? I can’t blame you!

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