Last summer, I participated in field school at the Campbell DeYoung Farmstead in Leelanau County, Michigan through Eastern Michigan University’s Historic Preservation Program. The week long course was meant to give students a chance to gain some hands on experience with an aspect of restoration; in my case, it was with masonry.  
 
Located on the property is a small structure that was once used as a machine shop, and underneath it ran a water wheel which generated electricity for one light bulb in the main house. Since then, the foundation has deteriorated, thus the building was lifted and currently rests on a set of I-beams. With the structure lifted, it was possible for my classmates and I to create the necessary form work out of wood scraps and pour hand mixed cement into the molds. The cement was created the same way the original foundation would have been built. Sand and small aggregates from the backyard were mixed with concrete and water, and then stirred by hand with a hoe. In addition, large stones were excavated from the crumbled sections of the original foundation and re-purposed in the new forms. Throughout the week, a fellow classmate and I were also able to mend the underground pipe that directed water from the irrigation stream to the water wheel underneath the building. Although we were not fortunate enough to witness the results of our labor, it was still gratifying to know that we helped this historic farmstead get one step closer to becoming a tangible example of life in the late 1800’s, as well as practice a form of sustainability.