Blue Sky Ice


My ice sculpture has grown remarkably. At this point the stream is totally enclosed until the water hits the bottom where it exits and flows into the sow puddle. The dirt there is still soft even with the cold weather we had. The water coming out of the spring overflow pipe is relatively warm, enough so that puffs of water vapor like our breath rises up from the ice into the cold morning air.

The relative warmth of the water keeps the channel clear through the column of ice that has formed. I say relative because the water is 45째F coming out of the spring higher up on the mountain. By the time it exits the several hundred feet of pipe at the top of the ice column it has cooled to 36째F. Freezes it produces an almost crystal clear ice that we can see right through like a window even though it is several inches thick. If this were a motion photo then yo would clearly view the flowing stream of water within the ice column.

In this photo my son Will, who you may remember from the Halloween photos is over 9′ tall* at age 13, is pointing at the little remaining air hole that was still open the other day. That close today completing the sculpture. The snow is now covering it and my little bit of natural art is disappearing into the snowbank with the mini-blizzard we got this morning. At the column’s foot brown earth is still visible, wisps of water vapor rising from the warm water. On the coldest nights the sow puddle freezes over with a skim of ice. In the morning it is quickly released from its slumbers by the combined warmth of the flowing water, the sun that strikes there first thing in the am and the attentions of the waking pigs.

So… the $1,000,000 question is: do I take a sledge hammer to the crystal palace now that it is done forming thus liberating the water so that a new sculpture can grow in its place. Is this art about the static steady state that is now achieved or about dynamic birth, growth, destruction and rebirth? I’m tempted… The sledge hammer weights lightly in my hands…

*No, he’s not really 9′ tall – thankfully! Will is a bit over 5’4″ and he is standing on the built up ice. The total ice column is about 8′ tall.

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“I finally figured out how many canning jars are enough: 24 more than I have in November. 240 fewer than I have in June.”

24째F/8째F, 4″ Snow, Partly Sunny

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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8 Responses to Blue Sky Ice

  1. the sledge hammer!!! movement, life,growth so much better than static state
    Use The SLEDGE HAMMER while taking pictures with the other hand!! I am excited about the outcome.

  2. pablo says:

    Yep, I vote for the sledge solution too. Let’s see what new forms your sculpture might take. (And, yes, you should get photos of the actual “deconstruction” work.) Entertain me!

  3. Urban Agrarian says:

    I add another vote for the sledge. Just think if this sculpture as number one in a series.

  4. brandy says:

    Hi been reading your blog since you posted the fuji review(which I thank you for as Im 99% sure that is going to be my first digital camera!) What is even better is all the information that Im learning about farming, especially natural farming! My dream is to move to the country and raise goats, chicken and ducks!

    I say in the name of art you sledgehammer that piece and start new!

  5. patina says:

    i must take an opposite position since there are so many votes FOR the sledge. why not let it take its own course? conditions will change, the water will find its way to a new shape. it will give over to a new creation. that requires patience. i would be tempted to smash, release, observe. but is there artisitc value in waiting for the ice to do as the glaciers do? to smash is easy, to wait is difficult. i am glad it’s not up to me to decide! ha!

  6. Whack it and let the reincarnation begin.

  7. suzanne A. says:

    Wackity-Wackity-Wackity-Wack!
    Videos. Movies. Edutainment!

  8. Clodhopper Pete says:

    You should rent the documentary “River and Tides” which is about a Scottish sculptor who does very temporary sculptures in ice, flower petals, etc. We rented it off of netflix and really enjoyed it. I vote for wacking it and seeing how the next one is different.

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