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July Medley Weekend at Broadview Farm in Mont Vernon, NH

The heat was on but intrepid students and instructors powered through 6 workshops in four days at Broadview Farm, our NH training site.  Day lilies crowned the garden wall and the barn swallows were performing acrobatics for all to enjoy.

Pete Ryder & Daniel Arabella opened with a 1-day Intro workshop on the hottest day of the year to date. The water cooler was refilled twice as our 12 wallers hung tough to rebuild 26+ feet of fieldstone wall.  The canopies were up all day which made a big difference. What persistence! Three families took part in the workshop. Great teamwork made for a fun build.

Day two included a Stone Shaping workshop and a Retaining Wall workshop in parallel.  Still hot out….  The Stone Shapers covered the basics of tools and then set about trimming wallstone. We discovered the differences between stone types and learned how each would react to various tools.  We also split open a boulder with feathers and wedges to make two foundation stones that will fit in our wall.  One of the interesting things students learned was the importance of confident strikes. “Sudden Viciousness” clears the targeted lump or edge, while the stone retains its strength.

The Retaining Wall team rebuilt their wall while learning the fundamentals of a long lasting retaining wall. Subtle differences in construction methodology and well implemented drainage result in retaining walls that stand the test of time. Our students came with project ideas in mind and were able to get specific information to help them plan and build their home projects. We are looking forward to seeing project photos!

Day Three included another Retaining Wall workshop and a Steps & Stairs workshop. The Steps and Stairs team started the preparatory work of surveying their installation location and assessing the stone they had to work with. The steps were constructed from grout pile granite so some cutting and trimming was necessary. A nice thick bottom tread was fabricated that would sit comfortably at the bottom of our stairs. The second tread was also trimmed and was moved into place by hand. Effective use of bars and rollers made all the difference as the 900+ pound stone was moved into place.

The retaining wall team rebuilt the wall that had been worked the day before, plus a bit more. Dustin got the award for endurance and heat tolerance. This was his third workshop in as many days.

Shown here, the team is taking apart the wall prior to the rebuild. This is a great opportunity to see the choices that the previous builder made. Examples positive and negative provide a visual aid when the new wall starts going up.

Our final day featured a single workshop on flagging. Torben Larsen led the group through a discussion of design fundamentals featuring drainage and construction of a sound base.

Stone shaping is an important skill enabling flag stones to be fit closely together and to remove high spots and trip hazards. An overview of tools and techniques got the team started.

Each student selected a patio segment that they would build. Most came with a project in mind so they were able to explore materials and design similar to their project thoughts. As instructors, we find it fascinating to see where each individual’s muse will take them.

The next Medley Weekends takes place in New Hampshire on October 19-22. You can find more information about those and other workshops here. Come learn a lot in just one trip!