We had not originally planned to use sandstone in the new house, but this spring when Kelley was looking for some logs to supplement the barn logs we already had, he found yet another old barn. The lumber from the barn, located on a farm in Middlebrook, had been claimed and removed, but Kelley and Lewis and Lewis’s assistant, Braxton Wood, were able to buy the foundation, which was made of blocks of sandstone and limestone.
Kelley says that it is unusual to find sandstone in Augusta County, but there does seem to be some in Middlebrook. We have seen a retaining wall of sandstone in the village of Middlebrook. It has very unusual striation and coloring and reminds everyone who looks at it of the Grand Canyon. Kelley said that although it worked easily, it was very hard and dulled the tools quickly. He noticed, too, that some corners of the old barn foundation were worn and rounded, apparently where cattle rubbed against them for many years as they entered the barn.
Kelley and Lewis hired Shelby Clements to move the stone to our property. Shelby loaded the stone into his dump truck with a trackhoe. Moving the stone to our property took one day.
When the sandstone arrived at our place, Kelley and Lewis were amazed to find how easy it was to work. They were able to split the large stones easily using just a hammer and a chisel. Kelley very promptly decided that he would like to face the concrete foundation walls for the screen porch with sandstone. Everyone worked at splitting and shaping the stone to prepare it.
Lewis Wright did incredibly beautiful work on these walls. It is so satisfying to look at the patterns these stones make, to see how perfectly square the corner is, and to watch the interplay of large and small stones. This wall is something Kelley and I will enjoy for the rest of our lives. And never has a lawn mower been stored in a more handsome storage room. The mower that has the good fortune to stay in that storage room should “run perfect” forever.
There are still quite a few tons of sandstone left. We plan to use it for the fireplaces in the timber frame room and on the screen porch.