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").


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Like my brownhouse:
   last night barbecue on Kyser Lake
Sunday, September 14 2014

location: west shoreline of Kyser Lake, Herkimer County, New York

Today would be our last full day on Kyser Lake, and for me it began with walking dogs out in the fields west of the lake. We passed a structure that looked like a permanent hunter's stand (43.065137N, 74.778153W) and came upon a deteriorating (but substantial) wooden bridge across a deep chasm in a narrow strip of forest. (Later I would confirm that a railroad track used to run beneath that bridge, though the bridge itself was hard to explain.) When we emerged into the field further to the west, we saw people in vehicles in the field, and, wanting to avoid them, we tried various other paths, but they either led to a private farm, Snells Bush Road, or (if we went back across the bridge) to a tractor that had suddenly appeared in that field we'd first crossed. So we walked down to the lake across another field, ending up on a road providing access to a great many camps just north of ours. We thought perhaps we could make it back to our cabin along the lake from there, but we ran into the guy who has the second cabin north of ours (one featuring an elaborate half-pipe slippery slide into the lake) and he said there was no way through with the lake this high (I suspect the lake is allowed to rise through the night so hydroelectric power can be generated during peak use times in the early evening.) We chatted about a number of other things, including potable water. He told us that he has a well, but that the water stinks of sulfur. Without a way through in the lowlands, we had to go back to the fields we'd just fled and go back that way. The tractor was still up there, evidently mowing a part of a field that doesn't appear to generate any hay. We ignored that guy and he ignored us, so evidently our trespass was either a not-unusual thing or else nothing to get worked up about.

Back at the cabin, we had a breakfast of real coffee and "buttered" toast, which we ate out on the end of the dock. It was sunny, and the sun reflected off the water was like a second sun, doubling the radiant heat we were basking in (when not hidden behind passing clouds). Gretchen took full advantage of the day by going on a nude swim despite the cool air temperatures. After all, the lake was about as warm as it had managed to get this year.
At some point late this afternoon, I paddled across the lake with a Sierra Nevada Torpedo, headed north, and then crossed back and went up the northwest lobe of the lake, into the flooded valley of a tributary called Ransom Creek. There are a good many houses on the northeast side of this lobe, though for some reason its western shore is vacant. Further up Ransom Creek, one passes beneath a plastic water hose held aloft five feet above the water's surface on a cable. Beyond that, there are a few more houses, including, at the very end of navigable water, something of a McMansion with a dock and a boat capable of being powered by a motor. On my way out of "Ransom Bay," I scared up a number of Canada Geese, at least two species of heron, and a Kingfisher. It's something of a bird paradise there along the cabin-free west shore of Ransom Bay.
Back at the cabin, we kept encouraging Ramona to go play with Fritz, a short-tailed black dog living at the next camp to the north. But every time Ramona ran over to visit Fritz, he disappeared, and Ramona would give up and come home. At some point Ramona ran over when Fritz and Fritz's plump human mother were there (she was watering flowers in what looked like a bird bath), but then that mother politely hollered over for me to call home my dog. Gary had led us to believe that Fritz's parents were fine with Fritz meeting new dogs, but evidently that wasn't the case. Perhaps this was a case of anti-Pit-Bull bigotry. In any case, it was good to see that Fritz was nervous about us and our dogs; I'd been worried about what would happen had a more confident Fritz come over while Celeste the Kitten was distracted by the waves on the lake or whatever it was she was finding to splash out of the water and wet sand.

This evening Gretchen and I made a meal of leftovers and barbecued vegetables, especially portobello mushrooms and onions. Being the man of the camp, it was my job to handle the barbecue. Instead of using the meat-drenched barbecue equipment, I started a fire down in the fire pit using pieces of cardboard torn from the box that had contained the second of our two Oru kayaks. Initially the fire seemed to smoulder at a low level, but then suddenly it flared up and blacked the mushrooms and onions so badly that I was forced to scrape them. And then I discovered that the burger buns we'd bought at Whole Foods had all gone moldy, so we had to to make our burgers with conventional bread. We had leftover chili, so they ended up being chili burgers, and Gretchen had made a side dish featuring ravioli and kale. We ate our meal and then sat drinking Genesee Cream Ales in front of the fire. The night was cool, but the fire kept us warm. For some reason there are no katydids in the Kyser Lake region, though there are crickets to keep the evenings from being completely silent.

Later we watched a couple more episodes of Broad City after a BBC show called Dancing on the Edge proved a bit slow for my attention span. These later episodes of Broad City were better than the earlier ones had been, and it seemed Gretchen was getting a new appreciation for the show.

Celeste splashing in the lake.

Me kayaking. (Click to enlarge.)

Ransom Bay. (Click to enlarge.)

Celeste splashes in the water. (Click to enlarge.)

She sends up a spray. (Click to enlarge.)

Celeste on a large log that washed ashore a couple days ago. (Click to enlarge.)

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