The first week of the shelter series was preparing the site and laying the foundation. I actually missed most of this week because I was away, but fortunately I was able to participate because it was an ongoing process. Meaning, it took longer than a week. Once the site was cleared, a trench was dug around the perimeter measuring about 3 feet wide. The northeast corner was the lowest and the other corners sloped to it for drainage. The depth depends on the region you are living in and its indicated frost line. River rock, drainage pipe, then more river rock were laid on top and leveled. Concrete piers were poured in the corners, where the timber frame posts will be attached. The stones were brought in from a local quarry and laid with a few simple rules in mind.
1.) Always keep batter. Tapered batter boards are driven into the ground at each corner connected by string lines to show how far the rocks should come out. It is wider at the bottom to provide a strong, stable foundation. 2.) Try to keep a pretty face. Meaning if a rock has a good flat face try to expose it. 3.) Make sure rocks are stable and hardened. Harding is basically filling an voids with smaller stones. 4.) Make sure you are breaking joints. Similar to a running bond. 5.) Use through stones every few feet.
Through stones are stones that are long enough to go through the whole wall, front to back. Our mortar was made from 2 parts clay, 2 parts sand, a half part lime and water to taste was mixed and laid between each layer of stones. The main purpose of the mortar is to keep critter out of the foundation.