Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rockin': A Road Trip to Rhode Island and What I Found

Ok, so the scene is set now. My last day of work at Cisco was July 31st. My next day of work there would be November 3rd. I had three months in front of me and lots of projects to fill it.

August 1st found me in my trusty M Roadster headed east. Three days later I was on the east Coast in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. I arrived at the Inn at about 5 pm. Here's what the Escobar Farmhouse Inn looks like:

Escobar Farmhouse Inn

When you stand on that gorgeous porch and look to the south this is your view:

The view of the wall and lawn from the porch of EFI

The wall is obscured by intense amounts of vegetation, mostly multiflora roses, blackberries, and, most pernicious of all, bittersweet. Standing at the end of the existing wall and looking straight south you get a view of the Jungle there:

It's a Jungle out there

What I didn't realize at the time was that I would have the opportunity to change the look of that quite a bit. The lawn directly in front of the Inn is the area I'd be working in. Here's the view before any work started:

The work area

I would be building the wall from the end of the old wall all the way over to the empty sign post.

The first step in building a dry stone wall is to prepare a foundation for it. This is relatively simple: dig a trench about 18" - 24" deep and about a foot wider than the wall, then fill that trench with gravel. As in most developed places, before you do any significant digging, you have to contact the authorities that will certify the location of gas, water, electric lines, etc, so that you don't do any damage while digging. Unfortunately, no-one had done that prior to my arrival. As a result, I could not begin working on the new wall for a week. In the meantime, I kept myself busy by clearing and repairing the old wall. Wall repair commenced on August 5 and will be the subject of my next post.

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About Me

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I'm currently 60 years old. I currently work as the learning management system specialist for American University of Madaba in Madaba, Jordan. I was originally certified as a high-school English teacher and taught school for 13 years (1 year of substituting, 1 year of 7th grade, 2 years of a combined 5th, 6th, 7th grade, 9 years of 8th grade). I've worked for hardware and software companies for the past 23 years doing training, training materials development, certification test development and other education related stuff. My wife and I have raised four children to adulthood; some of them live at home at the moment, but that won't last (they're too independent for that). We live at home with 2 Golden Retrievers, 2 black cats, a crazy cat, and, during the winter, 70,000 coho salmon.