Sunday, August 2 2020
location: Dug Hill Road, rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, New York
Before Gretchen got up, I was busy in the laboratory, responding to a few questions from the Ukranians and putting the last few things I'd need on my work-issued laptop, which I would be taking with me to the Adirondacks today. Other things I needed to do included putting my necessary supplies of drugs and alcohol into the car we would be driving. We'd decided we could take the Prius this year if we only we'd be careful and drive slowly on the access road to the cabin on Twenty Ninth Pond.
I'd made Powerful a brief list of everything he needed to remember to do while we were gone: feed the cats, keep that mesh-tray thing I'd bought yesterday upside down over the stove knobs, and to smack the water-pressure switch on the well pump system should the household water pressure drop to nothing.
At around 11:00am, Gretchen and I loaded up the dogs and the last of our things (including a heavy crate of books) and started driving north.
Our first destination was the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany. When we arrived, it was at its 50-person pandemic capacity, and we had to wait for a couple minutes for a few people to leave before we were allowed in. For some reason Gretchen and I had trouble shopping, as some parasite were attacking our ability to think things through logically. This was how, for example, I got Gretchen two different kinds of decaf black tea for the cabin while failing to get myself any kind of non-decaf black tea (even though my drinking of non-decaf tea is the main form of tea drinking that happens when we go to a cabin. Similarly, we got all sorts of bread (including flat bread) but failed to get any form of non-wheat "substrate" except for rice noodles. I got beans but somehow managed to get two of the kind with "no salt added." Despite such lapses, we somehow managed to buy a single cart's worth of groceries that cost more than $400. This was partly due to all the prepared food we got over by the deli end. Gretchen also ordered us two sandwiches to eat on the road. Mine Asian tofu sandwich was amazing.
After another hour and a half of driving, we got off at exit 26 on the Northway and, while I filled up water bottles at a convenient tap at the Mobil station, Gretchen walked the dogs along a trash-strewn berm in the back. Everyone doing business at the Mobil station was wearing masks, demonstrating that proper coronavirus behavior is not just restricted to New York's red zone.
It's steep and rocky at the place where our cabin's access road meets Route 28N, and initially the Prius didn't have enough traction to make it. So I got a running start, which allowed me to make it, but of course the price was bottoming out somewhere (though not catastrophically). Fortunately, that was the worst of the access road, though this was partly because I managed to offload over 200 lbs of cargo (in the form of Gretchen in the dogs) for the rest of the drive to the cabin.
After crossing the ridge that separates Route 28N from Twenty Ninth Pond, I saw some sort of fowl standing in the access road, reluctant to move. So I pulled out my camera and took some pictures. As I inched closer, the bird fluffed out his chest feathers but then tucked them back against himself and slunk into the undergrowth. I think he was a ruffed grouse. Gretchen saw him and the rest of his flock when she and the dogs walked through several minutes later.
Things don't usually change much at the cabin, but this year there actually were some changes. Some of the rooms had been repainted, including the bathroom, where new wainsoating had been installed. It's much nicer now. But the mice have gotten more numerous and aggressive, and we were strongly cautioned about keeping out food out of their reach.
Gretchen went for an immediate swim, and then I went and got the kayak out of the boat house. When Ramona saw me in the kayak, she got very excited and climbed aboard as a I passed the dock. I paddled us out to the boggy shore of the pond's northwest lobe and then went ashore, walking gingerly on the soggy ground. I noticed a new beaver lodge had been built there on the shore, not directly surrounded by water as beavers prefer. I then noticed that the beavers had dug a series of canals through the bog, turning it into a sort of beave Venice. By the time Ramona got back in the kayak, she'd rolled in something disgusting and fragrant. Out in nature, it's hard for disgusting things to get too disgusting; in this case I think the substance in question might've been bear shit. Gretchen and I washed Ramona down as best we could using just lake water when I returned to the dock.
We were still so full from the big sandwhiches from the Honest Weight deli that for dinner tonight we subsisted on various wheat-based substrates and dips, one of which was extremely garlicky.
The speakers on my work-issued laptop have never been very good, so I'd brought a 120 volt lightbulb/bluetooth speakers. This seemed to work great when I tested it this evening. I'd brought along the last few episodes of Season 4 of Silicon Valley as well as all of its fifth and final sixth season, and it was looking like one of the things I'd be doing at the cabin this year is bingeing on that.
Welcome committee on the access road at Twenty Ninth Pond this afternoon.
Neville and Ramona at the lake. Click to enlarge.
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