Walls and stuff

Walls and stuff

Last week I wrote about Bine’s wine cellar, which he built completely out of stone. Because there is a lot of stone and rock in the ground here, it is considered free building material and that is why a lot is built with it everywhere, especially walls, or retaining walls as I believe they are called. Here they are called »Škarpa«. You come across these walls everywhere; along roads, around gardens and vineyards, etc. If you want to create a flat piece of land in a mountainous or hilly environment, you will have to work with such walls. My vegetable garden for instance is also enclosed by a »škarpa«.

Nowaday, those walls are being built using concrete between the stones, but in the past the stones were simply stacked on top of each other. You would think that it is very unsafe and such a wall can fall over, but that is not the case. There are many of those walls in the area that are many years old. Of course, you also see pieces of wall that indeed look as if they could collapse at any moment. Due to the pressure of the ground behind it, the stones are pushed further and further out of the wall and here and there, pieces of old walls have fallen over. But I am always amazed that they last so long.

On top of the hill, in the vineyards, there is a wall that has looked like it could fall at any moment since we came to live here, so more than 10 years ago. Every winter we think it is the last winter that the wall is standing, but every time it remains standing. It is not so clearly visible in the photos, but a large part of the wall comes out as it were because the stones are being pressed out. A small part has already fallen over, but the rest is still hanging in there :).

The wall next to it, belonging to another villager, was also still stacked the old way, with no cement in between. The owners recently refurbished this wall as a precaution by filling the gaps between the stones with cement. That way, it will last for many years to come.

Some »škarpas« are only bricked but some are also grouted. Just like with a tiled floor, only then there are of course much wider and deeper joints. This grouting is often done with a kind of »whipped cream syringe« which contains the mortar, which is then sprayed between the joints. In itself, it looks nice and finished, but I personally like the rough, unprocessed work more. I think it looks more natural without grout.

Furthermore, stairs are regularly built from stone, as we have several around the house. For example, we have two stairs to the terrace and a staircase to my tomato greenhouse. Wells are often made of stone as well, as is ours. Our garden is actually full of stone walls and steps and that’s why I sometimes call it the castle gardens of Graden, hahaha.

Sometimes you also come across very beautiful or unusual formed stones and they are used by some as decoration in the garden. For example, a little further on there is a funny stone that we call the »alien«. Judge for yourself :).

And we ourselves have placed two beautiful stones in the garden, which we found nearby, for decoration, with a beautiful maple along with it and a few small garden lamps. I call them the whale tails :). I like it a lot myself. It’s like a work of art in the garden for me. Our neighbor knows that I like beautiful stones and that is why he regularly comes to tell me if he comes across a beautiful specimen somewhere or, if it is a »manageable« stone, he will bring it to me. So sweet! In the forest above the village, there is still a large, triangular stone waiting to be picked up. But that job requires a tractor with a hoist. I have to arrange that sometime and then figure out what I’m going to do with it ;). I’m sure I will think of something!

arlette

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