no bigger than a brazil nut
Tuesday, August 26 2014
It was warm enough today to justify a drive out to Little Deep with the dogs. There were about a dozen cars at the parking area, but only a smattering of people along the creek (which was running a bit low). One group of people had three or four purebreds (a Golden Retriever and several ugly poodle-like terriers, one of whom was named "Barkley"). The purebreds immediately lost their interest in retrieving sticks from the creek and instead wanted to play with our dogs. As always, we continued on to the swimming hole below the derelict dam, where a family with a couple kids were hanging out (Ramona loves kids!). The water wasn't too warm, but it was the warmest I'd encountered anywhere so far this summer, and today marked the first time this season that I waded in neck-deep. Since I had finely-pulverized rock dust in my hair, I went on to completely submerge myself a couple times.
Today when I went to dump buckets of rock removed from jackhammering the greenhouse floor on the slowly-enlarging terrace west of the greenhouse, it was immediately obvious that the rock I'm removing now is of an entirely different strength from the rock removed earlier from higher strata. The higher rock would come out in large pieces, easily broken from its neighbors using a cold chisel, hammer, and a crow bar. This lower stuff has no fracture lines within it and it must gradually be ground into with the jackhammer. The resulting rock fragments are small, usually no bigger than a brazil nut, with lots of greyish-white pulverized rock and little chips mixed in. When I dump this material out on the huge coffee-table-book-sized slabs removed earlier, it fills in the cracks between them, creating a more coherent surface for whatever I will eventually use the terrace for. But it's dispiriting to have to grind up so much rock to produce a bucket. Even with a powerful jackhammer, I haven't been removing more than about two five gallon buckets of material per day (though, admittedly, I'm only working for a couple hours per day on this project). The jackhammering tends to remove material in trenches, with steep-sided ridges of solid bluestone remaining between them. Eventually I can crack off these ridges, sometimes in fairly large chunks, by directing the jackhammer at their roots. But even then, the chunks removed are seldom larger than a summer squash.
I don't watch as much WNBA (women's professional basketball) as I used to, but in playoff season I always get roped in a little bit, just because Gretchen is watching it most every evening and sometimes I need a mental break from whatever it is I am doing. Tonight, for example, I joined Gretchen for the early part of a game between Atlanta and Chicago. Gretchen was rooting for Chicago, and thus so was I, but the game was going badly. Atlanta managed to lead by as many as 20 points until the final five minutes of the game. I'd given up on them well before the half, but in the the last minutes of the game somehow Chicago rallied, and Gretchen started poking her head into the laboratory to give me updates (I was working on the "Lightroom opens too many web windows" bug in my Lightroom/WebApp at the time.) In the last eight seconds of the game, Chicago had pulled ahead by a single point but Atlanta had possession. I had to come out and see what happened next. In a quick flurry of activity, Atlanta carried the ball to the goal, and despite fierce defense (which probably should have been called as a foul), they got off a shot. It came down on the rim of the net, bounced up, came down on another part of the rim, bounced up, and came down a third time on the rim, but then it bounced away. Chicago had won! Gretchen proceeded to jump around the teevee room screaming for a full minute, greatly perplexing Celeste the Kitten and Ramona the Dog. (Eleanor and Clarence, on the other hand, are used to this behavior from past playoff seasons.)
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