vision of a gothic arch
Sunday, November 24 2013
Today was unseasonably cold, with temperatures never rising out of the 20s and winds that were stong enough to make eerie whistling noises across the corners of the house and nearby objects. I stoked up a fire and made a pot of weekly "Sunday coffee" for Gretchen and me to enjoy in our usual semi-ritualistic way.
Despite these conditions, the sun warmed up the greenhouse (both upstairs and downstairs) into the comfort zone. With all its exposed bedrock (much of it seven feet below the natural surface of the site), the basement has difficulty rising out of the 70s, whereas temperatures can easily rise above 100 upstairs, particularly if there isn't a howling wind (which can force its way through the pet door). Though I've only been working in short sporatic stints on very hard bluestone bedrock, I'm still managing to excavate two or more buckets of rock per day. Recently I turned my attention to expanding the top of the hole somewhat (encroaching closer to the footings of the wall foundations, though there's not much further I can go). The rock there is loose shale that can be plucked apart by fingers with little or no use of tools; if it were any harder I'd leave it alone. As I approach the foundation of the walls, I'll either have to restrain myself (which will be sort of like trying not to scratch an itch), or I'll have to come back later and shore up undermined portions with cement or concrete (something I have had to do in the past). As it stands now, in the deepest part of the excavation I've slightly undermined both ends of the girder holding up the floor decking over the east half of the floor as well as a short portion of the west foundation wall. Though I've tried to leave bedrock in those areas alone, when the rock comes loose in my hands its hard to not pull it apart. In the end I'll probably have to shore up these three places with concrete. In one place (where a sheet of shale beneath the foundation wall is cantilevered out about six inches), I have a vision of perhaps building a pointed gothic arch beneath it.
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