more of an art project
Friday, September 26 2014
We'd be having a little dinner party tonight, so, for the first time in months, I mowed part of the lawn. I only did the southern part (south of the tomato and garlic patches), though I also got out the weed wacker and did the bluestone pathway and the weeds around the edges of the main garden plot. After dealing with the lawn, I went on a limited vacuuming jihad in the house and then rewarded myself by jackhammering the greenhouse basement excavation down to whatever layer allows me to stand under the girder without hitting my head over its entire ~25 square foot area. Once that was done, I jackhammered into that layer (another one comprised of about three inches of bluestone), removing a few pieces of bluestone. Because I'm now below the water table (but just barely), the resulting voids quickly filled with water running from the other parts of the excavation.
Meanwhile up on the terrace west of the greenhouse comprised of all the excavated rocky rubble, I've begun to create a gentle ramp up the slope towards the steps that lead down from the house. Today I used a hatchet and a saw to clear a path through the saplings blocking the way to those steps. Eventually I'll install bluestone steps to create an alternative path to greenhouse passing north of the brownhouse.
Gretchen had been slaving away for much of the afternoon making dips and a vegan noodle bake for tonight's dinner party. The party consisted of five additional humans and one additional dog: Michæl, Carrie, and their dog Penny, Susan and David (without their dogs), and Deborah (without her dog). After knocking a glass off the coffee table with the enthusiastic wagging of her tail, Penny took an immediate interest in Celeste the Kitten. Initially this made Celeste nervous, but gradually she realized she could play psychological games on Penny by simply ignoring her (either looking away or grooming herself). This made Penny even more interested, and she'd draw close, but never closer than about eight inches. She seemed worried that somehow tiny Celeste had magical powers.
After dinner, I gave Michæl and David a tour of the greenhouse excavation, which (at this point) is more of an art project than anything else because I have no practical plan for using it. I'm just digging because I feel compelled to do so, not because of any particular goal. Michæl and David have artistic minds and can grasp this better than some people, but even with them I feel the need to come up with possible applications. One that I've had lately is to install a bathtub down there and generate solar-heated water for it on the greenhouse roof. That would require some sort of drainage system, but I've also been thinking about implementing a self-stoppering siphon. That wouldn't require any energy and could drain the excavation in most conditions.
The evening ended up in the teevee room with viewings of multiple episodes of Key & Peele.
Later, as everyone was leaving, Michæl showed me the key to his car, which had broken off of the button-fob that modern car keys usually include. He was still able to use it despite the separation, though ideally he would be able to attach some sort of handle to it. Thinking about this for a moment, I thought perhaps it would be possible to solder a quarter to the key to make it more usable. "Too bad you didn't tell me about this earlier, or I would have been willing to do it." But then I realized it would only take me a couple minutes. So, what the hell, Michæl and I went up to the laboratory deck and I soldered a quarter onto the remains of his key. The fix was more solid than I'd expected, and Michæl was delighted. [Later he would claim that that this fix was a perfect example of his artistic ideal, though I'm not sure how. He would even say that he felt compelled to write an article on the subject.]
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