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:
   effective canoe cargo haulage
Sunday, September 12 2021

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

I was excited this morning for the cold-pressed coffee beverage Gretchen had bought for me at the Paramus Trader Joe's, but when I took a sip of it, I knew something was wrong. It contained milk and sweetener, two things I don't normally put in my coffee. Since Gretchen knows that, she'd probably bought this beverage by mistake, and it probably wasn't vegan. Sure enough, it wasn't; its first ingredient was milk, the kind that comes from a cow that is periodically sexually-assaulted so that it will produce milk as her principal product and veal calves as a byproduct. But since I'd already opened it and it would otherwise be wasted, I drank the beverage. It was cloyingly sweet and gross, but at least it contained caffeine.
Gretchen has started using the port-a-potty on our cabin's worksite, claiming "it doesn't smell." I'm surprised she'd say such a thing, since it does smell: it may not smell of human feces, but it stinks of cheaply-scented industrial disinfectant, and I can smell it from fifty feet away when I'm downwind. Gretchen hates fake floral fragrances, and it surprises me that she can abide it. But when she has to go numero dos, she can't defer it long enough to walk very far into the forest, a place that might smell more pleasant but lacks convenient toilet paper.
For me, though, I'd much rather shit in the forest. For some reason the leaves in our part of the Adirondacks break down a bit in the moisture and then re-fuse into a sort of loose fluffy paper that actually works fairly well when one is in need of a material with which to wipe one's anus. On this Adirondack trip, I've been pooping a lot, and, with the exception of a poop down near the lake yesterday, I've been doing it along the nascent Lake Edward Trail. I like to walk some distance down the trail, clearing what I can using a pair of manual shears (they're faster and easier to use for most of this sort of brush clearing than even a battery-powered chainsaw) and then find a pleasant place to offload my excrement. (I should note that I can tell from looking at it that I eat a lot of peanuts.) I've been able to find the trail we sketched out last weekend all the way to the first wetlands (a good 500 feet from the house), but beyond there it's not clear where the trail goes.

Today's big activity was to try to get some structural lumber down to our dock site on the lake. The most straightforward way to do this is to carry it in our arms. 900 feet is a long way to carry a water-logged twelve foot two by six, but that's what we did. I actually carried a four by four that was maybe ten feet long and Gretchen carried what was probably a ten-foot two by six. Once we got down to the lake, we loaded Ramona up in the canoe (Neville seemed to have doubled back to the cabin) and rowed over to Woodworth Lake's community dock, which is provided for the use of everyone in the homeowners' association and has a convenient nearby parking area. As we were arriving, a couple gentlemen from one of the parcels without lake access (the one we call "the redneck parcel," because all it has on it is a temporary trailer, a fire pit, and a gun range) were setting off in kayaks to go fishing clockwise around the lake. i explained to the fishermen as we landed a tentative plan we had for perhaps driving lumber to the community dock and then ferrying it to our dock site across the lake in our canoe, which would spare us having to "drag it down through the woods." We looked around the community dock and the adjacent parking area, and it seemed this plan might work. So we loaded Ramona back up into the canoe and paddled back to our dock site. I should note that a loon was out on the lake this whole time. We've decided this loon is none other than Throckmorton, the same loon who used to visit Twenty-Ninth Pond (52 miles away) when we would stay at the cabin there.
Back at the cabin, Neville was waiting for us. Gretchen and I proceeded to load about eight pieces of lumber on the roof-rack of the Subaru, and then I loaded up the dogs and drove off to the community dock. Meanwhile, Gretchen carried another piece of lumber all the way down through the woods to the site of our future dock. On the way there, she chatted with one of the fisherman from the shoreline and learned the information I've already related about his being connected to the "redneck parcel." According to homeowners' association rules, parcels are not supposed to have temporary trailers on them, yet the "redneck parcel" has one such trailer. This was explained by the fisherman as part of a disagreement about where the "housing envelope" should be; supposedly they want it ten feet further back from the Woodworth Lake Road than where it is. According to the fisherman, he and his family only live twenty minutes away and were one of the first to buy a parcel at Woodworth Lake, since they all have a deep connection to the lake dating back to when they were Boy Scouts and the lake belonged to the local Boy Scout troop. After Gretchen had paddled over to me in the canoe, she explained all this, editorializing the unfortunate fact that these people were going to be at the lake all the fucking time since they love it so much and live only 20 minutes away. It wouldn't matter if they were our people, but they're "sportsmen" who can't enjoy nature unless they're killing animals or making loud peace-destroying explosions. "It's a culture clash," I agreed.
Gretchen loaded up the dogs and drove the Subaru back to the cabin while I loaded half the lumber into the canoe and paddled it across the lake to our dock site. This experience of moving freight by canoe worked even better than I could imagine; the canoe was about as easy to paddle with this payload as it was to without it, and loading and unloading it was nearly as easy as getting it onto and off a roof rack. This was clearly the way to go. While I was back at the community dock getting the rest of the lumber, Gretchen appeared at our dock site with yet another piece of lumber she'd carried through the woods. But we wouldn't need to be doing any more of that.
After lunch back at the cabin, I decided to load the rest of the dock lumber onto the roof of the Subaru and drive it to the community dock. I then came back to the cabin, walked down to our dock site, paddled across the lake, and loaded all eight of the pieces and paddled it across. The canoe was as easy to paddle with this big payload as it had been with the smaller ones. I felt like I could've freighted over even more. And I'd also feel comfortable transporting longer pieces, ones that stuck out well past the front of the hull.

Meanwhile back at the cabin, Gretchen was getting a little alone time, reading without any distraction from me.
When I returned to the cabin, I did a little electrical work, pounding in some staples I'd overlooked and installing an outlet in a part of the wall where I'd spaced other outlets a bit too far apart.
I only had the one ONE+ Ryobi battery, so I couldn't expect to do much work with power tools. Nevertheless I was able to cut out a piece of stud from the wall above the place where the upstairs bathroom will go and then cut a couple pieces of two-by-four to make horizontal pieces to frame out a void for a future in-wall medicine cabinet (I think medicine cabinets that aren't set inside walls look cheap and make poor use of available space).

After 3:00pm, we gradually began packing up the things we'd be taking back to Hurley. By 4:40, Gretchen was driving us out to Route 309. At that point she got a disturbing message on her phone: Powerful was in the hospital! At the Woodworth Lake gate, we switched places so I could drive and Gretchen could deal with this unforeseen emergency.
Once Gretchen had better connectivity, she learned some things about Powerful's situation. Apparently his defibrillator had been triggered at our house and had shocked his heart a couple times, leading him to call 911. Ultimately he'd ended up at an emergency room in Westchester, where he'd spent the night waiting for a hospital room to become available. (Unlike in the hillbilly south, covid vaccination rates are high in southern New York, so there shouldn't be too many covid patients clogging-up local hospitals. But maybe it doesn't take too many to induce delays.
I drove us all the way back to Hurley without stopping once. We managed to do all the navigation from memory for the first time ever, with Gretchen handling the confusing stuff in Johnstown between West Bush and Monro Muffler and me taking it from there. I also drove fast, frequently going 80 mph, and we made it home in record time.

This evening, Powerful eventually managed to call Gretchen soon after we'd enjoyed a meal of spaghetti and "meat"balls. It seems that he didn't have a phone charger and had been forced to conserve his battery. He said he was stable and doing okay, but the details he filled in were harrowing. He'd felt weak after going to Hannaford, where the prospect of walking the distances one has to in a supermarket suddenly seemed overwhelming. So then he went to Stewarts, where a bout of light-headedness forced him to sit on the ice box in front of the cash register. He made it home, but that was when his defibrillator shocked him twice. He called 911 and then waited for them in his room downstairs. When they arrived, he hollered at them to tell them where he was. Touchingly, Celeste the Cat followed the emergency workers as they carried him out of the house and she stood there in the driveway to see him off in the ambulance.

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