Friday, August 03, 2007

Flagstone & Fatigue

The other major project I've been working on, or rather "helping out" on, this week is constructing a flagstone patio on the side of the house. My father-in-law is the brains of the operation; I stick around to learn and help with the grunt work. We laid the concrete foundation a couple of months ago, before the summer heat came, and on Monday went back to work. On that morning I had a special delivery: a pallet carrying over 2 tons of flagstone.

A dude pulled up in a flatbed truck with a gargantuan forklift in tow and asked me where I where I wanted it. I pointed to the back gate. He did a quick survey of the land and then asked if I thought the neighbors would mind if he drove through their yard. I thought, "Probably", then said, "I'll check", and rang their doorbell, twice. Nobody was home (or nobody was answering the door), so I told Dude that it was easier to get forgiveness than permission. That was good enough for him. He hauled the pallet to my back gate, I covered up the track marks in my neighbor's "yard" (it's all rock, not lawn), and we bid one another good-day.

Then my father-in-law came over and the real fun began: unloading the pallet. There were 23 large cuts of flagstone, each weighing around 200 pounds. Armed with only a hand truck and our cunning to guide us, we set to the task of unloading the pallet one heavy chunk o' flagstone at a time. We rolled each piece into the back yard and cautiously leaned them up against the wall. Needless to say, I was sore for a couple of days.

The rest of the week we spent chiseling, laying out, and cementing down the flagstone. It's coming along quite nicely. Our next steps are to fill in all of the cracks with mortar and then build a brick border along the outside of the patio.

Then begins the next leg of the patio project with the remaining 14 slabs of flagstone: extending our back patio which runs the length of the house. That should be fun.

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