Stonework in progress · January 11, 2018

I'll include pictures of progress on two pieces of stonework, which will likely take me a couple of months to complete. (No, these things don't come to me in a flash of inspiration and get carried out in half an hour.) I'll provide updates along the way. The top one is after the noted Masculine Waves of Hokusai, here with the process of relief in a shallow state. As things go along, the incising will become deeper and the surfaces more uniform.

Masculine waves
24" x 24"

The piglet is a study for a larger, more complex work. He is being made out of the flowing, banded rock created about 400 million years ago by the Newbury volcano, and carried here by the glacier of 20,000 years ago. It is tricky to work with but has fascinating colorations, shadings and sparklings.

His origin was a stone of 11 lbs., 1 oz. In his current unfinished state, he weighs 1 lb., 11 1/8 oz.

Volcanic stone
5" x 2" x 2 ¾"

Updated January 22, 2017

Cold snap · January 1, 2018

We have had an early winter cold snap that is unprecedented in my memory. A couple of very cold days would not be a surprise, or a couple weeks of cold in February. We had a few inches of snow on Christmas. After that, nighttime temperatures dropped to zero or below, with daytime temperatures often in the single digits. It's supposed to warm up enough for a few inches of snow again on Thursday, and then drop again into cold perhaps even worse than now.

Curiously, the cold hasn't been an impediment to my morning run. I have a few layers over my torso, lined pants, a Mad Bomber fur hat over a balaclava, and sub-Arctic mittens. I don't feel cold while I'm out there for an hour, even this morning with a reported windchill factor of – 20°. The balaclava gets moist and yucky by the end of it, but I ignore that and wash it after every session. There are face masks with breathing holes, but the cold has sometimes been enough that I feel my lungs shocked breathing it in. Rightly or wrongly, I'm anxious to avoid triggering an inflammatory cycle that might start to create allergies to fine particles, which I've never had a problem with. So, I shrug off the dampness of the full balaclava, which at least functions to warm the air a bit before I breath it in.

Indoors activities have sometimes been a bit problematic. Houses in this area are designed to heat to 70° when the outside temperature is 9°, not when the windchill factor is – 20°. The inside temperatures were hovering around 60° this morning, which is okay for active tasks, but not so for sedentary activities such as playing the piano. I have resisted turning on the four heat pumps (which I have for air conditioning), but I am going to give it a go. A couple of days of cold indoors would be tolerable, a couple of weeks shouldn't happen.

It’s hard to believe that it’s only Jan. 2 and we’ve already experienced a depth of cold this winter not seen in a century.

Update · January 7

We had 16" of snow last Thursday. Early this morning, according to the Boston Globe, the windchill hit – 37°, according to the National Weather Service – 25°. With my gas heating system going nonstop, the heat pump system in action, and the kitchen stove at 500° baking vegetables, the inside temperature was down to 59°. At that level, sedentary activities leave me nearly unable to forget the cold.

Fortunately, by now the temperature has risen to 0° outside, so that it's possible to heat the house normally. Tomorrow it's supposed to get up to 17°, on Friday to 52°. That makes for a temperature variation of around 80° within a few days.