Monday, April 30, 2012

Spiralling Mystery

Spirals on Mars via @NatGeo

Scientist say these strange squiggles have to be evidence of lava flows.

Is that a reasonable explanation?

The 'spiral shape' is a visual pattern that suggests a high degree of order and is often associated with early human cultures.

Civilizations leave spiral shapes in the land,

Cleared rocks and plied stones tell a story for a long time.

The story is likely an intelligent one.

 Palpa Plateau in Peru 

Nazca Plateau in Peru

Flying over a mystery, on any planet.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How about Dry Stone Wall Day?

Photo by Susan Collacott taken on the DSWAC tour of walls holiday in Mallorca March 2012

Apparently yesterday, Friday April 27 was 'Arbor Day'.
Ontario has 'Arbor Week' from the last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May.
Trees and stone walls have a lot in common.
Trees have their special holiday.
Maybe we should think about establishing a Dry Stone Walliday.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tree bark wall pattern #4

A vertical stone gap in an old ashlar dry stone wall I saw in the Lake District in Coniston.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The tree bark wall pattern #1

The rough, similar sized, stone-like shapes hug one another tightly.
Each five or six sided 'rock' is encased inside a nest of bark 'petals'
The shaggy cells form inverse contours for their neighbours to nestle into 
The pattern is a gesture of polygonal madness 
This haphazard arrangement only enhances the sense that there is order waiting to be discovered.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rock Day

I'm knocked out by this planet. 

I never cease to be amazed by this 'rock' that we live on. It is home base, our only frame of reference, everyone's starting and finishing point.

There are no alternatives to the support and stability that our earth provides.

How could we make 'plans' without it ? How could we let ourselves loose touch with the profound importance of our own insignificance in comparison to its all pervasive presence and weightiness. How could we let one day go to waste, one resource go to waste, one creative thought be lost, or one friendship turn sour?

Here is a man taking a short rest, a man who doesn't have that long a time on this island called earth, and is merely waiting to be inspired by a material that has gone the distance. He's thinking about the potential inherent in stone, and specifically the gravity and nobility contained in a big stone like this. Here upon is a metamorphic metaphor waiting to be applied.  This stone provides a large enough, flat enough, still enough, permanent enough, quiet enough,kind enough, profound enough space to lie on, to put things right and in perspective.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hot Rocks - Cool Putty

At the lime kiln demonstration this week in North Carolina, extreme heat was added to Ca Co3 (limestone) which drove off the carbon dioxide (which has a substantial weight) and turned it into CaO (quicklime)

Here quicklime is cooling in the lime kiln flue stack after the 'burn' the morning after. The students, under the direction of Steve Cohan, had made the kiln previously and burned the limestone in it all night long .

The material is removed from the kiln ad put into buckets

When you add water H2O to quicklime it makes Calcium Hydroxide Ca (OH)2 or lime putty. This is called 'slaking'. The quicklime is in a very volatile state. The water heats up and creates lots of bubbles and smoke The unburned limestone is then filtered out through an expanded 3/8 lath and the remaining filtred lime is mixed into a creamy lime putty

When you add an aggregate, like sand to the putty and let it 'set up', the water leaves and carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and it becomes once again Ca Co 3. The lime mortar gets heavier and heavier over time.

In this case it is used for 'rendering' the brickwork

Basically the process amounts to turning rocks into 'liquid stone' for the purpose of using it in semi-liquid form to coat the surface of the bricks or stonework leaving it to harden and become stone again.

Is this method of turning rocks into liquid stone the opposite of doing dry stone work?   I wonder.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Handy Heat Gauges & Particulate Measuring Devices.

MHA participant at this week's masonry heater build uses a HDE Temperature Gun Infrared Thermometer w/ Laser Sight

He uses it to peer into the peep hole of the lime kiln to measure the temperature. 
The limestone material needs to reach very high heats in order to transform and become usable for making lime putty.

Another temperature gauge uses a probe.

The results tell Steve that the furnace is reaching temperatures up to 1500 degrees.

uses a different device to measure his creation.
His masonry heater worked so well it forced all the smoke through brick and stone channels and then through pipes and down a hill, finally exiting well below the fire box.
The smoke was cold when it came out the pipes.

Jerry Frisch and Norbert Senf used these Condar portable dilution tunnels for measuring emissions of particulate matter - ie. smoke.

All this modern technology can be very daunting for a lowly dry stone waller.

Maybe we should invent some instrument for measuring how 'dry' our stone walls are.