A newly-married couple from Los Angeles quit their jobs to work on farms and wineries across Europe. Read it from the beginning...

Six Steps of Stone

Posted: August 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Italy, Umbria | 3 Comments »

Remember that pickaxe work I was doing a few days ago? That rough hillside of weeds and rocks has slowly succumb to the unstoppable march of progress  Where once there was nothing, there are now six stone steps, and I am pleased-as-punch with them. I had no idea what I was doing, but that certainly didn’t stop me from digging up my host’s property.

I began by sinking those four stakes, then tying two long green cords in parallel, marking the outer borders of the stairs. I used a level to ensure they were at the appropriate height and distance all the way down. Then, with the pickaxe, I tore the ground up between those strings, removing larger rocks, weeds, etc., and attempted to get the earth into a smooth slope that approximated the slope of the strings. Then I measured out the depth of a step (46.8 cm), then tied little knots on the strings to demarcate those distances for each step. That was one day.

Then I spent a day trying to dig post holes from the handrails. It didn’t work out. I don’t want to talk about it.

Then today, with the assistance of fellow helper Jonathan, we began dragging those big, heavy stones into place, and arranging them to look like a staircase. Each stone weighs in the 150-400 pound range. At first we rolled them end over end, but after the third step (which was a huge pain), we began sliding them down from above. It took about an hour for each step: finding the rock, moving the rock, then carefully placing the rock and packing smaller rocks and dirt around it so it doesn’t wobble.

Unfortunately, I’m leaving here tomorrow, so I will not able to see this project through to completion. I’m bummed, but happy with what we’ve done so far. It’s so satisfying to spend a day working, then to be able to see and use the thing you spent your time on.

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3 Comments on “Six Steps of Stone”

  1. 1 DonnaAnn Ward said at 8:59 am on August 29th, 2010:

    So it’s not a stairway to heaven. It’s a stairway to the house. Great job, D!!!

    Somebody deserves a massaaaaa-aaaage. hee.

  2. 2 Sarah said at 9:46 am on August 29th, 2010:

    rock on with your bad self. 🙂

  3. 3 Jeanne said at 11:37 am on August 30th, 2010:

    Good to know you’re so handy. I’ll start making my list for October.

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