Sunday, 22 February 2015

February 22

Some Random Thoughts

The Pacific Northwest has been getting strangely spring-like weather for the past few weeks. Makes me glad we went to Maui in January as I'd hate to miss it.

See What I Mean?

We have crocuses and daffodils opening all over the place. Crocuses in February make perfect sense in this part of the world. Daffodils, not so much. As for the beautiful pink Camillias blooming against a neighbor's house, I just hope they know what they are doing!

This sure makes it hard to be appropriately upset with global warming!

Good News, Bad News

Of course, all good things have their price. Last fall, we planted a lawn out front in place of the rock "beach" the previous owners had created. All those west-facing rocks just gathered heat on a summer's day and threw it back against the front of the house. We were pleased to see the grass take hold and to have a dry enough October to give it a first cutting before winter's rains arrived.

Guess what? All that lovely sunny weather that gave us the February flowers also got the lawn growing. First time ever, we had to cut grass on February 17.

We are really happy with how the lawn looked after cutting but, the way I see it, instead of the usual Vancouver lawn mowing season of May-October, we are looking at February-October. Once a week for an extra couple of months will seriously dent my bench time.

Of course, we wanted that grass to grow. But be careful what you wish for!

Now, Speaking of My Bench

When one is fitting tiny jewelry elements together for soldering, lots of light is essential. On the other hand, when you fire up the torch to anneal metal or solder a join, you want it pretty dim so you can properly judge what is happening to your metal. To anneal silver, for example, you want to heat it to a dark red. Pretty hard to judge that under a bright light.

When I first set up my bench, I put it at the back of the shop so I would not have to deal with bright light coming through the window on nice afternoons. The shop was wired for two overhead fixtures and, to my delight, the one over my bench was equipped with a hanging chain to turn it on and off. Perfect setup for a jeweler, right? That's what I thought until I had to repair and re-attach that darned chain several times. Finally, shortly before Christmas, the miserable thing broke right off at source. With several pieces of work on deadline, I resorted to unscrewing the bulb (to make the soldering corner dark) and keeping a flashlight at the soldering station for making those vital last-minute adjustments. Bothersome. Last week, I went looking for a solution and found the perfect thing. Yesterday, my darling helped my replace the old fixture with this handsome, bronze-finished, industrial-style hanging lamp. It fits perfectly over my bench and has an on-off switch at the top of its protective cage so I can control the light, literally, at the flick of a switch. Happy jeweler;-)