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March 22, 2017


 

Pittsfield Meadow Project Article by Dan Schroth wall.jpg

 

Pittsfield Meadow Project Article by Dan Schroth.jpg

 

The Meadows Stone Project
Submitted By Mister Stoneman, Dan Schroth Piermarocchi

 

In mid-January my brother Mark and I finished building the stonewall at the Meadows State Park on Rt. 4 in Northwood, NH.

 

We started in Spring of 2015. We asked Steve Bailey for permission, he said it was OK. We strung the wall 36” x 36” x 120’ in length. A neighbor across the street came over from the Puzzle Place. He estimated the amount of stone when finished to be 96 tons.

 

Without the stone we are but two men. But with the right stone, a hammer and chisel, a sledge hammer, and level, a stone saw with a good mechanic, like Asa Matras from up on Catamount Mt. in Pittsfield, and with a tracer and handset for my brother, and enough time, we can make the world more like we want it. We try to inspire people the way we have been inspired, like by Arlene Johnson who I knew as a kid and I still know today.

 

Anyway, this is what it takes to acquire 96 tons of stone. Remnants of an old wall that was there gave us a little bit to start. Then along came Tom Chase. He had a friend, Priscilla, up on Sherborn Hill Road, who had a stone entrance she wanted removed. Tom brought his trailer and we had it to the site in one day.  Tom let us scrounge his woods and pasture for another load. Then, still in the Spring, along came Joe McCaffrey. He had a friend, Gayle from Tucker Brook Farm, across the highway and up towards the Ridge. She said we could take any rocks from the woods or pasture as long as we did not touch the stonewalls.

 

We spent almost a week digging out rocks with our bars that the settlers had left behind, and dollying them up a hill to a staging area. Then, when we had a pile, up a ramp with the dolly into the back of Joe’s pick-up truck.

 

The job was getting tough at this point. We were wearing ourselves out. This is exactly the point where I thought I should have my head examined. After all, this wall project was my brother Mark’s idea. I had told him he could pick out our next public service job. He, being a hiker and growing up across the Suncook River from Bear Brook State Park in Pembroke, well, it was his idea.

 

Summer came and Charlie from the Town Public Works brought a backhoe and truck across Rt. 4 to the farm and loaded and trucked a pile of large rock we could not move by hand. After two loads dumped, Charlie set the big ones for us with the backhoe. This was a “lifesaver.”

 

At the end of August, President Obama got “me a hip” and Dr. Fox from Concord Orthopedics put it in.  Again, another “lifesaver.”

 

Bruce Hodgon let us pick through his fieldstone pile off Rt. 202 and agreed after the fact to let us take some loads of blasted ledge rock and shims from his crushing operation up on Mead Field. Dave Docko had been letting us take from some piles of Mead Field rock at his rock pit on Rt. 4, but his supply was getting low. My brother Mark spent several days stockpilling fieldstone out in the park. Dave Whitcomb brought Murray, our only piece of hauling equipment , not counting our sleds and dollys to the Park. Murray is an old garden tractor that Asa had removed the mowing deck from and attached a trailer Steve Bailey had given us.

 

After the sixth load, one of the trailer tires started to come apart. After the sixteenth load, the tire was shredded. There are still three loads out in the Park that Mark never got out. He plans on doing something clever where they are.

 

We started back up in the Spring. UMAMI restaurant had some extra rock from their stone project. Robert Graves trucked it up with his trailer to our site.

 

The wall was nearly half done at this point. Now we needed more ledge rock to build and cap the wall. Gary Delisle from Nottingham and Dave Whitcomb from Epsom trucked ledge rock from East Catamount in Pittsfield. Dave dug it with his excavator over the Summer. I bet they delivered 30 tons. This was big. Now we needed more fieldstone to mix with our ledge.

 

Dave again saved the day by bringing a couple of loads from a project he is working on near the ridge. The stone-faced house is getting a new addition. Dave removed the old addition and brought the fieldstone foundation to the site.

 

We worked whenever we could through the Summer. Now I was getting excited. The wall was over half capped and I could see how beautiful it was going to be. People were driving by, honking their horns, encouraging us. Also, the Park patrons kept telling us how much they loved stonework and our wall.

 

We had worked the ends of the wall with ledge rock, but now we needed cut granite to finish the job.

 

The Friends Of The Park, together with Doug and Janet Briggs of Meadow Farm Bed & Breakfast, and American Calan from Jenness Pond came up with the funds to get fourteen pieces from LandCare in Madbury. I believe it came from an old foundation in Durham and some old curbstone and Wala. We now have beautiful corners.

 

To me, that is the most important part of a wall, and the most difficult to build. You see, the corners will tell you how much care went into building the wall.

 

Looking back I probably have 50 days into it. My brother might have 25, but then it was his idea and I could not have done this one so quickly without his ideas and help.

 

So, you can see how many folks were involved in this project, never mind the folks who got this Park started. Let me tell you, it is well used. Thank you, to those people.

 

A couple of projects we need to finish up. First is the culvert end at the Pittsfield Ball Field up on Tilton Hill Road. In the Spring, Joe Darrah is getting together with us to dig and truck rock from Greer Lane East Catamount to the Park. It’s been ten years at this site. Time to finish up. Also, we need to finish the dam site on the cut-off in Chichester across from their elementary school. We need to ask Frank Merrill for some eight foot long granite pieces to finish the back corner that fell, due to poor material.

 

One thing about stonework is that there is always plenty to do. When I think back on 30 years of stonework I realize how fortunate I am to have had all the help in my life. I learned it is not survival of the fittest, it is survival of the Cooperative.

 

And when I wonder why people help and why we want more to do... it is because we are not dead yet.

 



Vintage Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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