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:
   Walkway Over the Hudson
Sunday, August 1 2010
Out on our mostly-unusued south deck since mid-February, we've had a composter for our kitchen waste and cat litter. The composter is a horizontally-mounted polyethylene drum set on rollers such that it can be turned to keep the pile ærobic. That pile has been growing and becoming increasingly difficult to turn over the months, so at some point Gretchen thought we should stop adding to it so that we can just turn it and allow decomposition to continue without further inputs. To do that, though, we would need another composter. Meanwhile I've become increasingly convinced of the need for a similar composter to deal with the output of my brownhouse (humanure), which, left undisturbed, has demonstrated an amazing resistance to biological breakdown. Since the output of the brownhouse is more punctuated than that of our kitchen (in that I only swap out the shit can every four to six months), I could easily get by with a single drum composter for the waste it produces.
So if you're keeping a tally, this meant we needed two additional fifty gallon drum composters of the sort we'd bought at the Hudson Tractor Supply back in February.
I had a plan of driving north up to Hudson today to get these composters, but after doing some research I discovered that there is actually a closer Tractor Supply in to the south in Highland. Since I would be taking the dogs with me, I decided to take them on a walk across the Hudson using the newly-created Walkway Across the Hudson (a pedestrian bridge converted from an old railway bridge). The west end of that bridge is actually very close to Highland's Tractor Supply.
So Sally, Eleanor, and I set off in the Subaru on a roadtrip, leaving Gretchen behind to take advantage of some sorely-needed alone time. After getting cat litter in Stone Ridge and negotiating the annoying detour on Route 213, we were headed south down Route 32 to New Paltz, a village we bypassed via the ever-useful Shivertown Road.
Our first destination in Highland was the Walkway Over the Hudson. It turns out that it is more than just a single linear park; it actually bridges together two existing rail trail park systems. Entering the bridge from the west, one passes by several porta-potties and permanent bathrooms using Clivus Multrum composting toilets (yay!). There are also a number of hot dog and drink concessions filling the air with fragrances most compelling for a pair of (mostly) vegan dogs.

The bridge itself was nothing special, at least from its decking. It had been decked with concrete and a comprehensive rails had been installed to render it entirely child-friendly. Where the viaduct passed over electrical wires or railways, additional netting had been installed to making suicides and errant missiles even less of a problem. All that simple concrete and metal rendered the walkway an austere environment that could have benefitted from plantings or perhaps potted plants (like, for example, Manhattan's the High Line). Still, it was a grand concession to pedestrians, a wide boulevard full of walkers, bikers, inline skaters, and even the occasional wheel chair. A surprising number of the strollers looked to be women who had joined some sort of conservative religious order. Mine were not the only dogs taking advantage of the park; there were a surprising number of Pit Bulls, reflecting (perhaps) the weary run-down urbanism of Poughkeepsie. Sally and Eleanor are always good conversation starters, though I usually drop the ball when conversing with strangers, particularly when the questions are from this list:

  • Are they mother and daughter?
  • Are they twins?
  • Are they sisters?
  • What breed are they?
  • Are you walking them or are they walking you? (I don't hear that one a lot because I almost never have them on leash. Today was an exception.)

The weather was almost perfect; it wasn't especially hot and the sun was largely obscured by thick clotted cumulus clouds.
We walked all the way to the Clivus Multrums on the Poughkeepsie side and then turned around and headed back. Because the land is so much lower on the Poughkeepsie side, there's a lot more viaduct there than on the Highland side. It passes over a few neighborhoods, and some of those neighbors had reacted by putting up green privacy tarps and grousing about it on signs visible from the walkway.
Despite the three mile hike, the dogs weren't interested in water on the few occasions it was available.

There was absolutely no shade at Tractor Supply, and I didn't want the complication of bringing the dogs in with me. So I hurried instead, getting the two composters and few other little things. Somewhat surprising, Iwas able to get both 50 gallon composters into the back of the Subaru, although I did have to spill over into one of the back seats to pull this off. It was great not to have to tie anything to the roof.
Heading back home, we drove through a torrential downpour in New Paltz.

Looking southward at the Mid-Hudson Bridge connecting Poughkeepsie to Highland. This is a highway bridge.

Eleanor (left) and Sally on the Walkway Over the Hudson.


Looking down at the rail lines along the Hudson in Poughkeepsie.

Me today.

On the Poughkeepsie side, some neighbors to the renovated bridge freaked out about privacy, putting up these green screens and then posting a sign informing passersby about their victimhood. It made me want to tie a note reading, "Get over it, crybabies!" to a brick and toss it over the screen.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next