Thursday, January 31, 2019

Heart of Winter

We are folding into the heart of winter now. Winter is seeping into our bones, with frigid temperatures. But Claude and I thrive on movement...we keep very active outdoors, even in the cold... ice skating, XC skiing, walking, bicycling, and for Claude, running -- all of which keep us warm. We continue to do our sunday bike rides most sundays (when there isn't snow), mostly on bike paths.

And we are still high from our thrilling experience of restoring my old gas boiler to working order yesterday, just before the subzero cold was forecast to set in. We removed and cleaned all the burners and replaced the pilot with an intermittent pilot with electronic ignition. We are thrilled because, pretty much nothing went wrong, even as we learned as we went along about how things needed to go. I have some photos.

I still go to see music performances, so I have a number of photos from those.

I also performed my poetry to a improvisational jazz band in Arlington this month, and that was very cool. the lighting was not perfect, but still I have some nice photos of the band.

As always, it's lovely to hear from you. Stay warm. Stay cool.

On January 21, our first frigid day this year. I went for a ski in the woods at Walden Pond. There had been a good deal of snow with some freezing rain the day before, so that Monday the snow had been sealed under a thick crust of ice. Sadly I came across a dead wild woodpecker. Here are some of my photos of that day, before, in those frigid temperatures,  I headed home to tackle that same crust of snow on my driveway.

Here, my tracks uphill on Jan 21, Walden Pond:

Walden Pond, Jan 21, in single digit temperatures

Frozen Snow on the Driveway to Tackle, Late Afternoon Jan 21

We had a very cold January 21, right after the snow and freezing rain the day before. When I arrived at home, I had the frozen plow drift to tackle, plus a 2-3 inch crust over the entire driveway. My goal that day was to carve out about 10 feet so that I could park my car and plug it in. I succeeded!
The black patch at the end of the driveway was what I had cleared on Monday for my car. The white is what I had yet to tackle. I spent three days clearing it all. 

Below is the expanse of driveway I had yet to clear.

Here, little by little I got it all done.

More Ice Skating

Just before the snow on Jan 20 we had about a week of fantastic black ice skating. Again we skated in Littleton, almost every day.

Lake Waban, Wellesley College

A friend and I took a lovely walk around Lake Waban in Wellesley one January afternoon.

The Boiler Project

My 50 year old boiler had shown signs of deteriorating reliability this heating season, really from the start. The pilot would go out periodically and it would take a long time to get it to stay lit. The problem finally came to a head this week, just before the subzero temperatures were forecast to arrive, when I spent almost an hour trying to relight the pilot that had gone out Tuesday night. Because had foreseen some problems back in November, we had purchased an intermittent electronic ignition and a new compatible gas valve for the boiler burners, thinking we would install them in the Spring, when we wouldn't have to worry so much about losing heat. Well, with this week's forecast, and the pilot failure, necessity because the mother of our motivation and we decided to tackle the job on Wednesday, just before the temperatures were expected to plunge. We cleaned the burners and installed the pilot, and there were only a few tweaks we had to make regarding the pilot position to get it to work We are still amazed it all worked. Here are some photos, and a video.

This is the set of dirty old burners, before we took them out to clean. The old gas valve is sitting on top of the old burners.

Here are the cleaned and reinstalled burners with the new electronic pilot setting between the 2nd and 3rd. 

This photo includes the new gas valve we installed.

A bit of blood was shed on this job. Check out the wiring harness for the electronic ignition.

All wired up and ready for the test. We mounted the electronic ignition on the left and the gas valve is powered by 24 volts coming in on the right. 

And here is a video!

Forced Forsythia

I was having a party in December so I cut some forsythia, thinking I would get it to bloom for the party. Well, 3 days is not enough time, but in about 6 weeks the first bloom appeared, and now, about 8 weeks later, I have a full set of blooms (not pictured) in my sunroom.

Duke Levine and the Super Sweet Sounds of the 70s Band

Duke Levine, Kevin Barry, Mike Rivard, Dean Johnston, Paul Schulteis, and Yahuba put on an amazing show at the Lizard Lounge from time to time in this configuration of superb musicians. 

And if you want to know what this great band sounds like, check out this video:

Tom Anderson at the Bebop

Our friend Tom Anderson hit the Bebop a couple of weeks ago and Claude joined him on harmonica. 

Claude and Kenny Selcer Playing in Westford

Arlington Center for the Arts Jazz and Poetry

I had the honor to perform some of my poems with a stellar jazz trio: Scott Samenfeld, Phil Neighbors, and Erik van Dam in Arlington, at the Arlington Center for the Arts. Check these guys out. 

Oatmeal with Seeds, Frozen Blueberries, and Egg, cooked in Microwave

I managed to cook oatmeal with an egg on top in the microwave. Also added turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds.

My Poem about how Cell Phones Invoke Loneliness in Latest Issue of Ibbetson Street

An Elephant I painted (ink and wax) as a Child,  but recently came across and framed