70 pounds and pulleys
Monday, September 29 2014
This morning Gretchen and I did a long-procrastinated run to the Hurley transfer station after filling both cars with trash, recyclables, and dogs (the latter of which get to briefly pretend they are junk yard dogs). I'm not sure what the formula is, but the weight of our trash meant that I had to pay $7.25 do dispose of it. After leaving the transfer station, Gretchen drove directly to her job at the bookstore in Woodstock and I drove to the Barnyard on 28, where I spent about $90 on catfood. That's a lot, but it could be worse. For the time being, we're down to five cats, as it seems Jeff down on Hurley Mountain Road is gradually coming to love Phoebe the Three Legger and is in no hurry to capture her and return her to us.
The material coming out of the greenhouse excavation continues to be realtively-thin (1.5 to 3 inch thick) sheets of bluestone, much of which breaks up into brazil-nut-sized pieces as I try to cleave it into large plates. I weighed a heaping five gallon bucket of the stuff today and found that it came to 70 pounds. I'd been able to lift such buckets to about chest-height, but at this point the only way out of the hole is via the hoist. I should mention that the mechanical advantage added by the two pulley blocks (4 pulleys) is essential to lifting out loads of that weight; back before I'd perfected the threading pattern of the block and tackle system, I'd tried lifting a load by simply passing the rope over one pulley and pulling down on it. Not only did my arms and hands lack the strength to fight the resulting 70 pound force (they can push such weights, though it seems that pulling is much harder), but the downward force on the pulley's axle, the rope, and the overhead rail was 140 pounds. Having tried to lift a bucket without mechanical advantage made me aware of how great the forces are that act on the dolly and the rail when I'm doing a lift, and this afternoon I installed some additional pieces of metal and screws to the dolly to make it much less likely to fail catastrophically.
On the north side of the house (on the way down to the greenhouse) are some drawers from our old refrigerator, and in one of these is some water I use to rinse my hands of excavation mud as I walk past. Last night a large (1.5 inch long) water bug (a kind of True Bug) moved into this container of muddy water and has been drifting silently ever since, though there's not much for him or her to eat in there. Supposedly water bugs can inflict a painful bite, so I won't be washing my hands in there until he or she flies off to some new home. (Click for a bigger and scarier picture.)
Looking down the ladder into the greenhouse excavation tonight. There's an inch or two of seeped-out groundwater covering most of the bottom. (Click to enlarge.)
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