Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Did You Know It Was National Public Lands Day On Saturday?

Why would you? I didn't. But I like public lands, having grown up where land seemed to be especially private. No matter though, I had already signed-up for a free stone wall repair workshop at the Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton, Connecticut. It was a beautiful autumn day. We went by public transportation, but clearly it was not national public transportation day.

How could we not get to Grand Central within 1 hour and 15 minutes on a Saturday morning around 6 am from Kensington, Brooklyn? Thank God for that cabbie on Allen St. who got us from the E. Broadway F station to GC with three minutes to spare! We made our 7:07 by the skin of our teeth, 30 seconds to missed train. MTA -definitely not going our way. Made worse on our return when no one told us there was a bus replacing the train to S. Norwalk. As the bus pulled away, we were told by a man selling farm goods (we bought nitrate-free smoked bacon) "there goes your train!" Not a peep, no signage, just dust. Next train (uh, bus), three hours! Fortunately we knew someone- Park Ranger Emily! She swung into action, coming by the station after her shift was up and drove us to S. Norwalk for the next connecting train. No. Wonder. Cars!

This is Park Ranger Chris. He gave us a tour of the stone walls at Weir Farm, showing us the different types of stone wall construction. The wall we were about to repair was a 'thrown' wall.

Here's our group working feverishly on a boundary between the park and a private residence.

It took four of us to get this boulder out of its grave and into the rebuilt wall.

In about three hours time the ten of us were able to restore about 75 feet of thrown stone wall. There is something joyful about communal work -at least to me, who has more comfort in the social environment of work than the work environment of socializing. So much gets done so fast, and throwing stones with strangers is an excellent ice-breaker.


  1. It was such a great day, building a wall with you dear (and with everyone else). At first you don't think anything is going to happen; it is such a mess. But what progress we made! It is amazing how much you can accomplish with 9 people....and some pry-bars....

  2. I'm glad you came along -what a way to spend a day off! Now we have to Tom Sawyer 9 people to build....


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