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:
   digging and beer
Tuesday, August 12 2008
Today the greenhouse foundation digging project began to look a little like an archæological dig, which in some ways it was. The soil in which I'm digging was obviously trucked in from the lowlands, probably the terminal glacial moraine in the Esopus Valley near the intersection of Hurley Mountain Road and Tongore. It's maroonish clay full of cobblestones, most of them severely rounded as if from the mouth of a large river. Mixed in with it are occasional pieces of local bluestone and at least one human artifact, a hoop of steel wire about ten inches across. This soil is similar to the backfill used around the house and might just be the remants of a large pile of the stuff. Or it might be connected in some way with the large rectangular mound nearby, the one in which our septic field does its thing.
Originally I'd been trying to dig with just a shovel and a mattock, but today I added a hoe and a snow shovel to my tool arsenal, rendering the conventional shovel obsolete. In this cobble-rich soil, the best removal technique is to break it up with the pick end of the mattock, and then rake the loose stuff into the snow shovel, making it easy to carry large loads of soil to my various soil piles.
Hole digging provides an intense full-body workout, one requiring an enormous intake of calories. For whatever reason, for the past couple of days Gretchen hasn't been cooking me the farmer meals she normally prepares, so today I subsisted on a couple delicious sandwiches containing slices of green tomato and the remnants of my recent bolete mushroom harvest. Such sandwiches were filling, but I don't think they had much in the way of caloric content, so hunger haunted me throughout the day. At some point I fed myself a beer, a perfect high calorie beverage, the sort a ditch digger would be a fool not to crave. If any of my readers happen to be ditch diggers considering going on the wagon, take it from me: don't even consider it until you've changed your career.

Digging holes in the ground is a surprisingly satisfying task, though it's not one for the impatient. Indeed, it's easy to get discouraged when a hole isn't growing as quickly as one would prefer. A couple times today after bouts digging, I'd ask Mr. Google about the hand dug holes of others. In so doing I found these sites:

The Hole - a tech-savvy Cajun in Louisiana photodocuments the hole he dug in his backyard. I could relate to his interest until he started using his hole as a sniper nest for the killing of wildlife. Eventually his hole fills with water and he tries to put the property on the real estate market.

The Blue-Collar Diet - a guy quits his stupid office job because it's making him bored and fat. He decides to pursue a new life as a carpenter. Somewhere along the way he has to dig a ditch by hand. He loses lots of weight.

Most of the other online accounts of digging holes, ditches, and foundations by hand are found on the sites of evangelical Christian missionaries. These are almost unreadabled due to their singular focus on praising Christ Jesus.

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