On the day I started putting the rock on the house, I was almost giddy. But by the time I got all the prep work done, it was raining--I was so discouraged and as soon as the rain let up I started. I loved how the rocks were looking and got all excited again. Then as I started on the tuckpointing it looked awful! I sat and cried. Eventually it all worked out. I chose this experience because of the rollercoaster of emotions. Here is my first draft--it needs help, there is no emotion in the story. Taking this story from her to a completed scrap page will be the focus of this week's posts.
I’d helped the Welker’s with their rock work in part to learn the trade. Theirs was more complicated as my rocks were round-ish and gaps were acceptable. But I was determined to get the mortar smooth—not like theirs. I had D Radmall’s special tools, but it just wasn’t looking right and I was getting VERY frustrated. I had ______ square feet of rock to do and even after ? time I couldn’t get it to look right.
I told Dave I’d rather pay Dave and have it look right than mess it up myself. But Dave didn’t have the time to do it, but he agreed to help me again. I half hour lesson and I could slowly do it and it looked awesome!
To apply the “grout” between the rocks, the typical tool of the trade is a large rubber-lined canvas bag about two feet tall—like an enormous frosting bag. Dave loaned us a couple. I couldn’t work them—too thick and bulky for my short fat hands—so I tried large ZipLock freezer bags with a corner cut off. I didn’t bother to re-use the bags, I just went through several boxes of them. If the cement was the right consistency, they would squeeze out smoothly—too thick or a hard chunk plugging the opening and my fingers would poke holes in the bags. With practice I got it too work quite smoothly. Once when working on the top story portion, I was squeezing grout around the rocks under the eaves on the north east corner. Standing on the porch roof, I could barely reach high enough to get up against the eaves. I had just filled a bag and was working my way around the rocks. Unfortunately I had not carefully closed the ZipLock Bag, and as the weight of a full bag shifted in my hands, the top popped open and a gallon of wet cement landed in my face and fell down the front of my shirt. Fortunately I was wearing glasses, so although the cement had quickly oozed around the lenses, I got my eyes closed in time. But still my face and shirt were covered in wet cement and I was stranded on the porch roof. I called out to Dave and Earl who laughed and threw me a rag. After that I was careful to not get cement in the zipper strips and to close each bag completely.