29 April 2015

When I was a kid, I had a favorite rock. It wasn't a fancy polished rock, or pretty color, and it wasn't shaped like a heart or a bunny or anything. It was a ruddy purplish brown with flat sides and sharp corners, about the size of my adult hand. It had some sparkly bits on one face, but otherwise it was just an ordinary piece of rock. I'm sure it was puzzling to my parents as to why I was always walking around with a rock in one hand (and probably a book in the other), but by that point in my childhood they'd learned to not ask questions.

But now that I'm an adult, I no longer have a favorite rock (although if I saw that rock in my parents' yard I'd probably take it just for nostalgia of my childhood weirdness). Instead, I now have a favorite brick. You see, I have piles

and piles

 and piles

of brick (several more piles than just these) at my disposal, and I've already used them in quite a few projects. So far I've built a raised flower bed,

lined the flower beds along the sidewalk,

buried a line of bricks under the neighbor's fence (to keep the former neighbor's terriers from digging under it, plus it helps keep my weeds contained to my yard),

and outlined around the heat pumps (to keep the stone "mulch" in place).

Whenever practical I orient the bricks so that you can see the brickmakers' stamps. In our one-half of a city lot, you can pretty much see the entire history of the Portsmouth brickmaking industry. I like having that history literally under my feet, and yesterday I spotted this gem:

Not only does it have raised lettering, which in itself is unusual, but the S in Sciotoville is backward. I don't know why this is so appealing to me, but it's a reminder to me that all of these heavy, durable bricks were made by artisans using hand-set molds. I have dozens of these Carlyle Sciotoville Blocks, but this is the only one I have found so far with this mistake. Here's the larger view of the project:

It's a work in progress.

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