Sunday, January 22, 2012


That's what it is around here...finally!

The weather has been plenty cold, but there hasn't been much snow. I'm told the snowfall totals have been well below normal; we had a dusting on Christmas Day, a light fall later, and a more significant storm yesterday. With temperatures not going above freezing for the last few days, I expect the white stuff to last for a while. At least until Wednesday, when the forecast is for a daytime high in the mid-40s.

PARENTHETICAL IT-AIN'T-TRUE-JUST-BECAUSE-IT'S-ON-THE-INTERWEBZ THOUGHT: My clever little weather gadget from The Weather Channel is very optimistic when it comes to temperature: our thermometer says it's 26 degrees right now, while the the little gizmo on my computer screen says it's 37. Hah!

Anyway, it was a lovely (if cool) day for a walk, which took us around the Goose Cove reservoir...

The ice didn't look stable enough to walk on....
Otherwise, I've been spending an inordinate amount of time continuing work on the pipe organ in a local church. Weather gets some blame for that. Right after, that is, the installation of new carpet in the sanctuary. We scheduled a tuning for a couple of Sundays ago; turns out that was the day the carpet people were coming to pull up the shaggy old stuff and, to avoid problems, we had to remove part of the organ instead.

That went back together after a few days, after which I found I had to dismantle part of the organ's facade and some interior woodwork to gain any access to the pipes. This took long enough that we couldn't finish in one day. Returning the next morning, we found that what I had done on Day One was now hideously -- as in a squadron of angry cats shrieking at each other -- out of tune. The building's heat had been set to 68 the day before, and then was shut off overnight. The 20-plus degree change (down and back) did the damage.

Photo by D., who luckily couldn't hear what I was thinking!
After the heat came up, we got it all tuned the second day, got everything reassembled, and it was operable for the service on the following Sunday. The organist said she received comments on how well the organ sounded.

Naturally, the improvement wasn't solely the result of my sensitive ears and capable hands. Without getting too technical, most modern instruments are tuned to a specific pitch, which is A=440 cycles per second. When this organ was built (1920 or earlier), it was not uncommon to find pipes constructed to sound best (and speak the right note) at A435 instead. Tuning to the slightly flatter pitch made a noticeable difference in the sound quality.

D. was a trouper throughout. She put up with the noise, time spent rectifying mistakes, my finessing and fussing and the sheer tedium that are all part of the job. I will also say the check to come for the work will ease some of the aches and pains caused by crawling around in an organ that was clearly designed to be serviced by the likes of Tom Thumb and Billy Barty....

Outdoors, more snow possible this week, before and after the "warm" days midweek. Now prepared as I was not in my California days -- I'm now equipped with proper boots, thermal socks, undershirt and Long Johns, plus gloves and a wool cap -- I'm quite enjoying this mild taste of winter!