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:
   large packages at the cabin
Saturday, September 11 2021

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

This would be another weekend spent mostly in the Adirondacks. Gretchen had gotten our provisions for the trip yesterday at the Trader Joe's in Paramus, NJ, meaning we wouldn't be making our customary stop at the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany. And, because we were taking the Subaru, we wouldn't have to worry about where we would be charging the car. The Subaru has nearly 224,000 miles on it, so it brings its own concerns. But it's got a lot of cargo capacity, a roof rack, and it's got all the luxury features from 2004, including two-dimensional motorized seat positioning. As we were driving down Hurley Mountain Road, Gretchen reminded me that it was 9Eleven. At that moment it turned out it was exactly 9:11 on 9-11.
We drove directly to suburban Schenectady to pick up our canoe. The man of the house greeted us in the front yard; he seemed awkward but intelligent, like he was some sort of engineer, perhaps at the GE plant that poisoned the Hudson River forever. The canoe was big, measuring sixteen feet long by three feet wide, though it was also relatively shallow, with a relatively flat bottom. It was in amazingly good shape, with few scratches on the bottom. To get it to fit on the Subaru's roof rack, I had to move the two kayak supports (which were holding the ladder I'd bought yesterday with its second-longest axis vertical) all the way to once side, and even then there wasn't quite enough space. Fortunately, I'd brought a five-foot-long piece of plywood for a carpentry project, and I could use that to provide full support to the middle of the canoe as it lay upside-down (otherwise, one side would've been over the edge of any support). While I was lashing everything down, the seller's wife appeared with various lawn maintenance equipment. It turns out that she's an electrician by trade but as a lot of side-hustles. Perhaps selling the canoe on Craigslist is something she and her husband decided to do after listening to Dave Ramsey's lectures on getting out of debt fast. There was also a little boy of about ten wandering around with a tablet computer, occasionally emerging from his virtual life to pet the dogs, whom Gretchen had leashed up and taken for a short walk. Gretchen paid for the canoe with eight crisp hundred dollar bills, a good price considering that the same canoe new would cost over $2000.
Google sent us to our cabin directly from Schenectady on a northern route that took us just south of the Great Sacandaga Lake. We still had to drive through a bit of Gloversville before being put on Route 309 northbound.
At the cabin, the flooring was all installed, including in the place where the woodstove had been. Later, though, I discovered a place where the flooring was bulging off the floor, and I drew Gretchen's attention to it, since that sort of thing drives me crazy every time I step on it and feel it move.
Gretchen was wondering where all the parcels that were supposed to arrive today were, but eventually a brown UPS truck showed up and dropped off a Queen-sized mattress (in a tight cylindrical roll) and something else.
Gretchen and I decided to carry our new canoe down to the lake and give it a maiden voyage with the dogs. We carried it over our heads, with Gretchen in the front and me in the back. It only weighs 60 pounds, but it's big and unwieldy, and 900 feet felt like a long way to carry it. We launched it from the first place our trail reaches the lake, which is some distance north of the site of the future dock. We managed to load both dogs in it, though Neville is never as interested in a boat ride as Ramona is. There was plenty of room for all of us; we could've easily brought two more dogs. Unfortunately, we hadn't brought the two canoe paddles to the lake, so we had to get by with kayak paddles, which made steering our massive vessel a bit imprecise. Still, we paddled across the lake, checked out Joel's dock for dock-building ideas, and then paddled back to the site of our future dock.

Back at the cabin, it seems another delivery service and delivered yet another dog bed (this one designed like a tiny trampoline).
Joe, the project manager for our cabin, arrived at 3:00pm. He'd brought some fresh-picked dahlias from his garden in a Patron bottle, and they looked beautiful. We discussed a few matters, such as how to attach the handles to the kitchen cabinets, how the vent for the upstairs bathroom will be attached and the schedule for setting up the generator, septic field, and getting necessary electrical inspections. Joe works evidently works all the time, and his Saturdays are as busy as any other day of the week. As Gretchen later said, managing the job just for our cabin seems like a full-time job, and yet Joe is managing 20 such projects.
Joe had told us that there were a couple large parcels on Woodworth Lake Road at the bottome of our driveway, so I drove out there in the Subaru to pick them up. Two of the parcels were so big that I had to make two trips. One of those turned out to be a king-sized mattress (again, in a tight cylindrical roll), and the other was a high-end Dyna-Glo charcoal grill. I spent the remaining daylight assembling that grill out in the barren expanse that will one day be our yard. At one point while turning the grill on its side to install one of the two side-tables, the cast-iron charcoal door swung open violently and struck the bottle-cap remover, leaving an ugly dent in the thin sheet metal that forms the face of the door (where, on a woodstove, there might be a pane of glass). I immediately got a hammer and tried to bang the dent out against a piece of scrap flooring material, but that didn't work well, so I removed that piece of sheet metal and hammered it against the decking in front of the cabin's front door. In ao soinf, I managed to make the dent almost completely invisible. Gretchen and I aren't really grill people, but perhaps with such a nice grill, that'll change. For vegans, there are a lot more options for the grill than there used to be. (It doesn't seem that long ago when the only thing I could eat from a grill was portobello mushrooms.)
Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to bring all but one of my ONE+ Ryobi batteries, meaning I would have to conserve power. I frequently use power from such batteries to recharge my phone. So this evening I mostly avoided my phone except to enter words from the day's New York Times Spelling Bee.
For dinner, I had half of a Trader Joe's hummus wrap while Gretchen fought her way through a tough and thoroughly un-massaged Trader Joe's kale salad. That's the form of kale that my father foisted on me as a kid and makes me never want to ever eat any raw kale ever again. (I'm fine with the cooked version, however.)

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