25 May 2013

Memorial Day

Earlier today I spent a few hours with the members and friends of Albany's Sheehy-Palmer VFW Post. We placed flags on the graves of veterans at two local cemeteries, Graceland Cemetery on Delaware Avenue and the old German Evangelical Protestant Cemetery on Krumkill Road.  

It was very cold, rainy, and windy.  However it was worth it.  We need to remember all of those who served and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  Next year, I will be contacting a local VFW post so that myself and my girls can volunteer to place flags again.  

I need to teach my girls that Memorial Day isn't just another day off from school or work, nor simply the beginning of the summer season, nor just a reason for a picnic.  It is about remembering our fallen soldiers.  We all seem to forget the importance of this day.  I will try to break this trend in my family.

23 May 2013

Memorial Day Events

Albany Area Memorial Day Weekend Parades 2013

ALBANY NY - Celebrate our country's fallen heroes! Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died to protect the United States and to honor those who serve our community day in and day out.
It's a great way to pay respect and celebrate the official start to the summer season.

Here is a list of the 2013 Memorial Day Parades in the Albany Area:
Nassau Memorial Day Parade
Mon, May 27, 2013

11 May 2013

Restoring a Cemetery Plot (part III)

Continued from part II

The gravestone bases were then set on top of the leveled foundation stone and pinned to prevent movement. Next the gravestones were set and pinned to the bases.

Note the blackness on the gravestones and especially on the bases.  This, I read is a combination of lichens and the effects of acid rain on the marble stone.  I have D/2 Biological Solution which I sprayed on the the stones and then scrubbed with a soft brush.  It did appear to start to clean the stones but with impending thunderstorms and heavy rains my focus was mainly to upright the gravestones.  I will be coming back to fully clean the stones with the D/2 which costs $40 per gallon and then another $12 to ship.  Also, I need to epoxy the grave stones to their bases to fully secure them.

This is a before photograph taken Sunday May 5, 2013 showing the condition of my ancestor's gravesite before work was performed to correct this.

Above is after the work completed on Saturday May 11, 2013 minus the final cleaning and epoxy.

Restoring a Cemetery Plot (part II)

Ahh, I most definitely, and probably my father, are now feeling the pain, tight/sore back muscles from restoring the grave site of my great great great grandparents Michael & Magdelena Behrhof and some of their children at Our Lady Help of Christians cemetery in Glenmont.  The project took a little under four hours to complete.  It was hard work digging up the marble bases and the lower foundations and then leveling them.  But it had too be done.  All four grave stones had toppled over from age, gravity, settling of the soil, and I am sure the stones were hit by lawnmowers over the years.  

A series of photographs and details will be used to explain how this was accomplished.  Unfortunately the project is not 100% complete.  The stones need to be fully scrubbed with a monument cleaner called D/2 Biological Solution and the upper stones will need a monument epoxy spread in between the upper stone and the lower base to fully secure them.  All of the stones have been re-pinned with new steel rod.

Plenty of hand tools, levels, rakes, shovels, stone dust, crusher-run, a hammer-drill, a portable generator, steel rods, tampers, water, and cleaning materials were brought to the cemetery.  I did not want to forget anything that I might need!  The area looked like a construction zone.

After the grave stones were moved out of the way and the lower bases also removed, the bottom foundation was dug up and removed.  It was tilted approximately 45 degrees.  Very far from being level.

Next the soil under the bottom foundation was tamped down and a crusher run base was laid over the tamped soil.  The crusher run was then tamped down (upper photo).  A layer of stone dust was then put over the crusher run and leveled (lower photo).

The foundation stone was then placed on top of the leveled stone dust and checked for levelness (above picture).  Next the area around the foundation was back-filled and tamped (lower picture).  Note the drilled holes in the foundation.  Originally these holes had steel nails which held the base stone to the foundation.

Although this next photo is a gravestone base for a different tombstone at the Behrhof plot, it shows the new steel pins which were measured, cut, and installed in the base.  The actual gravestone then was set upon this base stone.  Holes were already drilled in the gravestone to accommodate the steel pins.  Note the cracks in this base stone.  My next project here will be to epoxy and seal the cracks.  The stone is cracked but not broken.

The remainder of this project will be continued in part III.

05 May 2013

Restoring a Cemetery

Now that the warmer weather is here I will be restoring and repairing the grave site of my great great great grandparents, Michael and Magdelena Behrhof.  They immigrated from Bayern around 1849 and are buried in Our Lady Help of Christians cemetery in Glenmont.  It is a small family plot with only four gravestones.  However in the last few years all of the stones have fallen over.  

To prevent further damage and deterioration to their gravestones I will be digging up the lower foundation stones, removing them, laying and compressing crusher run stone, and then leveling the foundation stone with stone dust.  The base needs to be firm and level.  Next, all of these foundation bases and gravestones had holes drilled into them and the gravestone had a steel pin which held the stone upright on the base.

Over time these pins have deteriorated, rusted, and have broke toppling the stone.  I intend to replace the pins with stainless steel rod the size of the drilled hole opening.  This will prevent the rods from rusting and breaking in the future.  

This project will be a work-in-progress.  Perhaps I can finish it in one day?  But I will be creating another post with the actual procedure on how I did this work.  Also I will be cleaning the stones with a product called D/2 Biological Solutions.  D/2 is made specifically for cleaning marble.  It costs $40 per gallon and should be enough to clean upwards of 30 gravestones.  I will be posting how this chemical works.

Note the drilled holes in the base of the gravestone and the base stone.  The stones will be re-pinned with stainless steel rod.

The stone of Peter Behrhof on the left is still amazingly pure white without any cleaning.