Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   lawncare jihad
Friday, June 16 2006

setting: rural Hurley, New York

This morning Gretchen and I took the dogs for their morning walk, a big loop on the Stick Trail. Gretchen had been telling about legions of caterpillars in the forest and today I could see that some them were defoliating the oaks, particularly in sheltered valleys below the level of the plateau. In some places the resulting sunlight made the forest much brighter than it would normally be at this time of year. Evidently this spring there's been a peak in the Gypsy Moth population, which comes and goes in sine-wave cycles like any other part of the forest ecology. The Gypsy Moth is an introduced insect whose range has been steadily growing since it was introduced in Boston with the foolish goal of starting a domestic silk industry. I remember as a teenager when the front of the Gypsy Moth range finally came through Staunton. Everybody was predicting doom for the forest, but they came through and kept going and the trees, even their favorite food, the oaks, survived just fine.
The effects of Gypsy Moths on local ecology are not uniformly evil; they open up the canopy and invigorate the understory. The leaf litter (far more nutritious than autumn leaves) provides precious fertilizer, particularly in sterile second-growth bluestone forests like those here. And the catepillars themselves are a valuable food for birds and other creatures.

Gretchen headed off to the Adirondacks in the early afternoon, and I immediately launched a lawncare jihad. The grass hadn't been mowed once during my three-week Los Angeles gig and our plastic Adirondack chairs were drowning in a sea of green.

Later I noticed that a sheet of shingles had been torn loose from the roof, leaving nothing but roof sheathing to protect the plywood beneath. This was damage that I'd actually have to repair, though getting up there to do it would be tricky. The damage was half-way up a roof valley and the roof itself slopes with a pitch of 45 degrees. The only way to get to the bad spot would be to somehow hang a ladder off the roof ridge. Luckily, it's actually fairly easy to get anywhere I need to be along the roof ridge now that the Solar Deck is in place, though it's not like I can walk along that ridge carrying a ladder.

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