Saturday, July 03, 2010

A Castle in the Ozarks

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral." ~Antoine de Saint Exupery

Not too far from my parents' home, there is a castle being built. A real, medieval fortress, in the middle of the Ozark Mountains! The castle is being built from the ground up, using medieval tools and techniques. The construction began last fall and the site opened to the public in April. It will take 20 YEARS to be completed! Here are the projected phases:
By the time this castle is completed, Carolyn will be 27 years old, Coleman will be thirty and Christian will be almost 34. My kids could legitimately work on this project by the time it is finished!
All of the workers are dressed in period clothing (with the exception of some OSHA regulations like safety glasses and work boots.) This weapons expert is wearing approximately 55 pounds of chain mail-his own mobile sauna! Although he was quick to point out that is about 30 pounds less than your average marine carries in a standard pack.
Coleman thinks the glove looks like a big oven mitt!
Our guide (who was a European history major) took us around the site and talked about life in the Middle Ages and the building of the castle itself.
This is a crane. A person (or two) walks in the squirrel cage to supply the power and the crane lifts the rock.
Meme and the kids made some rope
and we learned about manucript illumination and practiced calligraphy.
We watched the stone masons working on the wall.
These stones were cut for an archway for a door. The mason told us it takes 3-5 hours to cut EACH stone to fit. And there are 10 stones for this arch alone! ( Each of these stones weighs approximately 60 pounds.)
Christian was thrilled for me to take his picture in front of the arrow slits. The wooden braces won't be removed until the second floor weight is added to the top of the windows to hold the header stones in place. The openings are wider in the back to accommodate the archer and give him a wider range of fire.
Here Coleman and Carolyn pose in front of the masons' hut. There was also a blacksmith shop, a basket weaver's tent, a kiln where brick was being baked and several other areas to support the building of the castle.
But by far the coolest thing we did was take a stone cutter's class! The boys had had enough and wanted to go to the archery area, but Carolyn, my mom and I each carved a stone.
We were filthy by the time we were finished but they turned out great! (These rocks are heavier than they look!)
Mom, Dad, Carolyn and I at the site. The view is beautiful.
On our way out, we stopped by the archery area so Carolyn (and I) could take a turn with the bow and arrows.
We rocked!

We've already decided that we want to go back again next year to see the progress that's been made. A definite must see!

1 comment:

Queen B said...

that is crazy.... crazy cool.

I will be 50, Chris 60 when it is complete. I'm going to set myself a reminder to go visit it then ;)

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