This part of the project has been delayed a bit due to extreme cold weather. We have been unable to lay a lot of stones because the weather has been too cold or wet for the mortar to set. However, we have had a few nice days here and there and we try to get a lot done when we can.
The first step has been finding suitable rocks. There are many many rocks that we dug out of the hill, but some of them must be custom cut to fit certain areas. There is no shortage of rocks here, so the guys have just been finding a good outcrop of rocks on the bluff and going to work.
After a few hours, the mortar begins to set. At this point, the rocks must be cleaned and the mortar must be pressed into the stones ( also know as "striking the joints"). This is a very important step because it really gives the stonework a professional appearance. We have several tools for this part; I think the most important one has been a good stiff brush.
Lastly, Sy and Aesa milled some cedar and made this frame. The rocks will go around the framework to form the door. Sometime later, the door can be fit onto the stonework and a stone floor will be laid in the root cellar. I think overall, the project is coming along nicely. This has been the first stone building that Sy and Aesa have made, so it has definitely been a learning process. We checked a bunch of books out of the library and went to see several stone projects in the area, and then we jumped right in. So far, everything seems to be successful.