According to my calendar, work on the stone hut was started May 21st. Already it had been an eventful spring. I had laid a 6' x 6' stone terrace, really a large stoop, outside the kitchen door. Eight yards of gravel was delivered for that job and thinking ahead to the hut. The terrace interior was packed with gravel, having the outside show all dry stone. The flattest stone found — between hunting in the woods robbing old walls and scouting in the river — were used for the top course, and mortar was edged around each stone. A slight pitch away from the kitchen door ran the rain water off, and it could be slippery during the winter. Three stones were found roughly a yard wide to fashion the steps. Two of the three steps were stolen from stone seats I had built around the property over the years. Six of these seats were first made when the town road crew was setting in a new culvert 500 feet from our house — replacing the stone culvert of many generations. Large handsome flat stone were lifted out and flipped around by a backhoe. Instead of watching the bucket shovel them over the bank into the river, I asked the road boss for all of them. He had them pushed to the side of the road, and later that day I went back and hauled them home with a wheelbarrow. Made all these seats in different corners of the yard — isolated spots — usually beneath the shade of a tree, or where the view was the best, or a vantage place to listen to the river. Some of the stone were too good to sit on and better for the foot to step on; they were chosen for the terrace steps and replaced with other sitting stone. It was only April 30th and the terrace was done. Susan was six weeks away from giving birth to Carson.
a builder's notebook