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:
   short-distance floater escape
Sunday, September 26 2021

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


While drinking our cold-pressed coffee (though Gretchen had to abandon hers, since it turned out to be "maple flavored"), we did a little half-hearted work on the New York Times Spelling Bee, which had the impossible-to-find panagram of "fettuccine." Then, while Gretchen solved a crossword puzzle and read the book she'd brought, I went about the systematic and laborious job of installing all eight electrical outlets in the upstairs bedroom. I managed to get a bleeding wound on one of my fingers with the very first outlet, but I developed a rhythm after that and made good progress. I then moved on to installing a GFI outlet in the upstairs bathroom. But when I wanted to install regular outlets downstream from that, I found I hadn't bought enough. So then I installed all the switches (and dimmers) for the bedroom and bathroom.
The air today was cool but for awhile it was also sunny and beautiful. At some point Gretchen and I saw a large flock of grackles fly through. We wondered what they were eating, if anything. And if they weren't eating, what were they so busy doing high on the branches of the beeches and maples?
After I'd chowed down on a lunch of cold aloo gobi (from the Honest Weight Food Coop), I grabbed a beer and said I was going down to the lake to put things into storage for the week so they'd survive the wind and the rain until when I could get back to work on them. Gretchen and the dogs decided to come along, since conditions were perfect for kayaking. When we got to the dock site, we saw that only one of the floats that had been in the water was still there. There was also a float on the shore where we'd put it, but two of them were missing. At nearly $200 a float, that wasn't a good turn of events. But it was unlikely they'd been stolen. And it was impossible that they'd sunk. I figured the strong winds last night had blown them across the lake to somewhere near Pyotr's dock. So we decided to go looking for them. Gretchen left first in a kayak from the tree dock, facing out into the lake, and then I loaded up the dogs into the canoe and left backing out (that is, facing the shore). At that point I immediately found the floats. They were about 20 feet south of the tree dock, having traveled no more than about 60 feet from where I'd left them. Since we were already in the water, we decided to paddle around. We went directly to the outlet bay (behind the stone islands), and by then Neville was so impatient to get out of the boat, I tried to land him on the east shore of the outlet bay. That didn't work, but when I tried again on the west shore, both he and Ramona climbed out and followed me as I paddled back to the dock. Meanwhile Gretchen was paddling over near the beaver lodge on Joel's eastern shoreline.
Gretchen and the dogs hiked back to the cabin ahead of me while I managed to scrape together a small amount of soil to fill holes in our little dockside lawn (these holes were the sockets of rocks I'd pried out so they'd no longer be a danger to watercraft dragged down to or up from the lake). I should note that the lake level seemed to have risen yet another inch over night, leaving only three inches of that pole I'd set in concrete last week sticking out of the water. That pole, by the way, seems very solid, as if my experiment with setting concrete under water had been a success.
Next I walked along the existing lakeside trail to the north end of the lake and followed the inland trail (marked with red trail markers) up through the terraces and cliffs northwest of the lake. There's a lot to see in this area, but I was mostly interested in cliffs and caves. I didn't find any of the latter, though I found some interesting overhangs and other places where large boulders had voids beneath them, including a perfect potential raccoon den and a boulder perched atop two smaller rocks with a horizontal (but covered) channel of open air between them. As I had been before, I was surprised at how close our cabin was to this line of cliffs.
A little before we started packing up to drive back to Hurley, I went for a walk down the Lake Edward Trail, yet again to take a shit in the woods and also to look for where the trail we'd marked weeks before continues after the first wetland. But it continues to elude me, suggesting I might have to survey westward from there again.

Sundown happened somewhere as we drove between Amsterdam and Albany. At some point Gretchen called Powerful, who had just been zapped twice yet again by his built-in defibrillator. They made plans for possibly people to stay at our house when visiting him in the hospital or to help take care of him once he gets a new heart and gets released. The survival rate for people with a new heart isn't great; Gretchen said it's about 92% after one year, and that for Westchester it's actually slightly lower. A lot of it depends on the heart he ends up getting (how long it's been out of its donor, how healthy and old that donor was, and how compatible his tissues are). At some point we passed a motorcyclist on the shoulder, and I couldn't tell immediately what it was, and when I asked Gretchen, she said "a motorcyclist -er- organ donor!"
Back at the house, I fed the cats their wet food and was delighted to find that someone (perhaps me) had actually put the wire cage over the stove-top knobs, thereby preventing Celeste from accidentally turning them on. Finding that Neville had, in his excitement to be home (I guess), peed a small-but-aggravating amount of doggie urine onto my half of the bed delighted me considerably less. Gretchen was watching teevee at the time and I didn't want to ruin it for her, so I cleaned it all up as best I could, rinsing out just the pee-soaked parts of blankets and sheets all the way down to the foam-rubber mattress cover (which probably absorbed a certain amount). And then I climbed into bed. Initially I avoided the wet spots. But in the night I unconsciously moved in against them and my body heat dried them out.

Ramona and Neville looking across the lake at Gretchen (off-frame) on Woodworth Lake. The old boyscout boat house (owned now by Pyotr) is viewable int he distance. Click for a wider view.

Gretchen passes us in her kayak in the outlet bay. Click for a wider view.

An air gap beneath a large boulder in the cliffs northwest of Woodworth Lake.

A fallen chunk of granite in the cliffs northwest of Woodworth Lake.

A large perched boulder northwest of Woodworth Lake. There's enough space beneath it for a raccoon den. Click for a wider view.

My dirty feet and Ramona on the east deck of the cabin a little before we drove back to Hurley.

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