I spent a couple of weeks debating the embodied energy issue in harvesting rocks as against buying in burnt bricks. Going for rocks won as the better option. Besides it would clear the rocks and I would have several ditches to hold rainwater and act as percolation pits. My preferred method of building would be cob, that calls for just clay, sand and fibre; but even there I’d need rocks for foundations and stem walls.
Rocks are found in several places along a north-south line, midway on the site. In some places large ones lie above the surface but in several others, you see a small bald top and don’t quite know how deep it goes down, whether it is one independent piece or part of a running chain. As with icebergs, it is difficult to tell from the tips.
A digger came over and worked a long day scooping out soil from around rocks and lifting large pieces from deep. Where the tips revealed a monolith, we scooped out soil to a depth of 6′. Once the rocks are blasted into smaller piece, they will be lifted and the hole can be backfilled and planted on or left as a rainwater catchment hole.
In a few days, a team of stone cutters came and plied there craft. They take on a large rock, chisel out a line of shallow holes, let in drifts and hammer them in and the rock splits clean along a fault line. The process goes on until they have whittled down to usable shapes.
Although I referred to 9″ cubes, neither the size nor the shape is precise. They are approximately thereabouts, with one or two faces that are reasonably flat. It will be left to the stone mason’s skills to building them into a wall of an even surface. As I write we have just over 2,000 cubes. Enough to begin the community kitchen and build a regular bath space. That work will begin in two weeks. But before I end this narration, I have a nice tale to tell.