Being in the masonry field, our eyes are drawn to hardscape surfaces wherever we go. That is, brick, stone, tile or concrete building that purposely or decoratively “resides” within designed or natural landscapes.
It’s summertime and we’re intent on exploring once again Hildacy Farm Preserve. Fields abound with nature. Interspersed are also man-made structures — lots of mortared fieldstone. Farmers likely found these stones in fields and by streams.
These facades remind me of a cairn image I recently saw in a book. A cairn is a “mound of stones piled up as a memorial or to mark a boundary or path” (Memidex online). At first I thought of our Cairn Terrier. (Sending her breed out in packs to forage in rock piles was Scotland’s solution for hunting small prey.) More important, this photograph highlighted the stonemason’s artistry of creating outdoor sculptures. “Whenever I had a free hour at the end of a day, I unwound by working on this satisfying expression of my appreciation of stone” (Reed, 2013, p. 211).
Could we replicate similar formations? Which tools are used? Now might be time to rummage for finds around your local stone yard.
Hildacy in Media, PA encompasses 55 acres that were originally part of 300 acres of property that William Penn was granted in 1683. Thanks to the Natural Lands Trust these spaces are being conserved for our enjoyment. Like us, surely posterity will marvel at the notion that masonry lasts.
Reed, D. (2013). “The complete guide to stonescaping: Dry-stacking, mortaring, paving & gardenscaping.” New York, NY: Lark Crafts.