I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Friday, January 30, 2015

My Year with Bluestone: Friday House Day (1)

For the next little while, Friday is going to be House Day. That is, I'm closing in on the various bluestone sites around my own house. Some were there when Paul bought the house over twenty years ago; some we have brought in ourselves. I've lived here for twenty years myself...

First up, from the far corner of the back yard, a row of bluestone pitchers that protect the roots of the Boston Ivy from the chickens. Paul laid this row about three years ago, using stones that had formerly lined the front driveway, where they had been cemented with limestone. He has used a rough concrete mix, here. 

Before he built the chook yard, the back gate (on to the bluestone laneway, of course) cut into the yard on an angle, and after we painted the burnt umber wall, a bit of graffiti landed on that side wall before the new back fence was put in. 

I'm photographing the wall and the purple door to mark this particular colour combination as a moment in domestic fashion. I should photograph the leaves again in autumn.

We have four big chickens. They are very messy eaters, and have sprinkled their shell grit all over the bluestone. You can see Paul's cement filling up the even shape of the stone here: 

From the left, Farrah, Audrey, Talullah and Audrey: 

We also have two new young 'uns, kept separate for the moment, Billie (Holiday) and Bessie (Smith).


The main part of the chook house (not pictured here) has been converted from Joel's old tree house, itself made of a mixture of recycled timber, window frames. In the chookyard, bluestone frames our inner-city gestures towards self-sufficiency. And in thousands of gardens, bluestone pitches and clumps will be doing similar work: retaining walls and embankments and edging gardens in thousands of phases of use and re-use. One thing I am learning about bluestone in suburban and urban use: as often as it is monumental and stable, it is also often re-used and reassembled. It seems an infinite resource.

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