Saturday, June 1, 2013

Place of Fire

"... But you'll have to admit the ritual significance
of not being above working with your hands?
You don't admit it?  Okay, I guess you're right.
But you must agree it's the hard way
to gather ingredients for a poem?
- lugging tons of CaCO2, stone plus fossils?
Symbolic as hell too: you can't beat limestone,
which Auden said was very important stuff;
W. Yeats and R. Jeffers kept building towers as well,
so they could write great poems about it.
I'm just the latest heir of the hearth-warming
tradition, eh? ... "
                 - Al Purdy, from "Place of Fire", 1976

We have been so blessed throughout the history of this project to have had such a great deal of support, both nationally and locally. Hundreds of individuals and organizations have donated money. In-kind contributions include thousands of manpower hours from local community members (property maintenance, fundraising activities, community outreach and education), national support (organizational support, fundraising, web design, support publications) as well as significant support from Trenton High School faculty and students. We have even been offered new appliances for the house!

One of the greatest surprises so far has come from a local stone mason, Lawrence McKeon, of LaMontagne Enterprises.  Upon seeing the A-Frame, Lawrence immediately knew how he could be of service, so he came to us in April of this year offering to re-point the mortar of the old rubblestone chimney that Al & Eurithe had had built back in the 70's.  The old chimney had certainly seen better days, and had been patched several times.  Lawrence offered to re-point the mortar for free; all we would have to pay for was the materials!

Unfortunately, upon closer inspection and more thorough reflection Lawrence knew that a simple re-point was just not going to cut it if the chimney was going to remain standing for years to come.  Furthermore, the chimney was too short.  By code (and we're simplifying here) a chimney has to protrude 2'-0" above the nearest roof ridge, and we were about level with it.  Also, as the chimney had over the years been patched with an inappropriate portland-cement based mortar, water had penetrated the masonry and had not been able to escape, freezing and thawing and causing a deep crack running the length of the chimney!

The decision was to replace the chimney with as faithful a copy as possible, with Lawrence donating a full $1000 dollars of labour to the cause, much more than he had originally intended.  Above, you can see photos of the chimney in progress. The mortar is slightly darker than you would normally see, as we are using a blend of type-s mortar with lime.  We will post more photos as the work nears completion.

No comments:

Post a Comment