Saturday, July 22, 2017
So, what has Cookie been doing...
Digging and poking in a grave yard, for one thing.
I have been heading up a statistical project to look at a series of Midwest grave yards and the effect of agricultural Anhydrous Ammonia on marble gravestones. "AA" which is a nitrogen based fertilizer and soil softener, has been sprayed on fields since the advent of "no-till" planting took root over the last forty years.
The problem is that its sprayed, and its too often sprayed by equipment that isn't maintained correctly. So a good amount can become airborne if its sprayed in the wrong weather, in too high of winds, if the equipment isn't set correctly, or if the farm machinery is driven too fast on dry ground and creates a dust cloud.
Normally, you wouldn't think of until you look at a marble building or a marble tombstone. Marble is a porous stone and and the chemical hits the marble, and then airborne spores come into the nitgrogen laden stone and you have a recipe for disaster.
Black mold loves marble because its the perfect rooting surface, and it stains the stone, while the growth finds every microscopic pore to root itself. Over time, this allows water into the areas and the stone begins to spall (the polished face begins to degrade, leaving a rough surface and damaging the carvings of names and dates.
Then you come across people who *think* they are helping out by cleaning these surfaces with wire brushes and solvents that hurt the stone.
In effect, we are ruining our history and the history of fore bearers.
So while we walk the cemeteries, we record what we see and compare that to archived images. We also verify the data on the stones.
Of course all of this also requires permissions. Mostly the township trustees that oversee the graveyards could care less, but we are extra super careful to have the least amount of impact, so no chalking or rubbings.
We can "Foil" the face of a stone, which means you lay a piece of foil over the face of stone and then you carefully press into the valleys created by the letters. I leave this to the pros, but it does look a bit odd if you come upon people doing it.
Whats up with y'all?