Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hard rock and warm fuzzies

Lyle came home for lunch every day last week. In the past decade, I can count on one hand the number of times he's pulled himself away from the office to see me mid-day. But the pizza oven evidently holds a special place in his heart and he can't be away from it for any significant amount of time.
Lyle poured the forms for the oven, grill, and firepit on a day off and then started work on the courtyard early on a Saturday morning.
He carved stones...

He poured, he smoothed, he carved, he poured, he smoothed, he carved....

And called his efforts on the first day good.

Then he had to return to the office and let the work go on without him. It was hard, but with the lunchtime visits, he still felt connected.

Charlie oversaw the work while he was gone and seemed happy with the progress.

And today we've reached the front walk. One more day, and the pouring is done. Then the concrete gets colored, we put down topsoil between the joints, and plant creeping thyme.
Our good friend and concrete genius, Forrest, told Lyle that when he moves, he'll give him his concrete mixer. It was as tender a moment as I've seen in many months.
"Lyle, I want you to have my mixer."
"Oh, no, I couldn't take it."
"I want you to have it, man. There's no one else I'd give it to."
The sun was dropping behind the Olympic mountains and they stood together in silence.
"Thank you," Lyle finally managed, too choked up to say more.


Suzanne said...

It's looking so great! You guys really get things done fast!

Kelly said...

You write brilliantly Eileen. No one else could capture that mixer donation in the way you did. I am misty!

I am glad Lyle took pause to see that the work was good. Will he be resting on the 7th day? Hope so! When can we come for some pizza?

Michelle said...

So funny and so sweet! :-)

Jen Bay said...

How amazing that will all look when you are done. Oh, I hope I get to see it in person some day.

Lori Lynn said...

I love your writing. The new patio, walkway, flatwork, looks great! I'd get emotional over the concrete mixer too, but then, I'm an engineer who loves construction!

Lucie said...

I was looking at the pictures and the lines he "carved" into the cement look a lot bigger after it dried. Did it shrink or did he make them bigger? how big of spaces did he use?

Eileen said...

The lines are only guides for the shape you want your rocks to be. After the concrete starts to set a little, I go back and remove about an inch an a half of concrete. The widlth isn't real critical. You want to remove iconcrete all the way down to dirt to allow water to drain through the joints. After you do the joints, put crinkled tin foil over the top to give it some texture. The next day, I strike the edges of the concrete with a pick to give make them look more like flag stone. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Love the look you created with concrete! We are looking to replicate this at our place. What colour did you stain the concrete with? Also how has this method of carving the concrete stood up over time? Did you need to consider frost where you are located?