attactive-looking firewood for the cabin
Sunday, December 5 2021
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
The cabin's internet had been unreliable yesterday and eventually conked out early this morning as well. Some testing revealed that the problem was the old car battery powering it. It had been working fine for weeks, but now for some reason it was unable to charge up beyond about six volts. So it was looking like I was going to need to replace it. In the meantime, though, I could run the Moxee cellphone hotspot off of a Ryobi 18 volt battery.
This morning we did the usual cabin activity of drinking coffee (it was tea for Gretchen) and looking at the piece of cardboard I'd prepared with the day's New York Times Spelling Bee written on it ("chutney" was the panagram, with "h" in the middle). After that, I went down to the basement and did some preliminary work at wiring some outlets in the wall on either side of the stairs. All I did this morning was run a piece of romex from the area of the circuit breaker box to the area of the stairway wall, just to get a sense of how much wire I should add to my shopping list.
Yesterday I'd cut down and cut up some rotten (but fairly dry) wood from down the slope west of the cabin. I think it was sugar maple, and it wasn't great firewood, and it didn't look great in the indoor wood rack either. So today my goal was to get some more respectable wood. To the northwest of the cabin's building envelope, I found a number of standing dead white ashes that looked to have been killed by the emerald ash borer (though that pest has been a little slow in reaching the Adirondacks). I cut down one of these, and its trunk was so thick that my small ten-inch chainsaw couldn't quite cut all the way through without my cutting from both sides. The pieces were perfectly dry and had a beautiful grain that was a little darker than is typical of white ash (perhaps it was a different species of ash?). It split very easily and looked great in the indoor wood rack. I exhausted two Ryobi batteries just cutting up enough for a single backpack load.
Just before noon, I left Gretchen back at the cabin and drove with the dogs down to Noble Ace Hardware in Johnstown. At the time it was 30 degrees at the cabin and 37 degrees at Noble. At Noble, I managed to get a big $120 marine battery, 100 feet of 12-2 romex cable, a bag of dog-friendly ice-meting "salt," a $150 American Standard toilet (for the upstairs bathroom), and various little things like closet hooks and bits of toilet plumbing into one of the tiny shopping carts Nobel provides. Somehow all this stuff came to over $500.
Back at the house, I wrestled the toilet up the stairs and removed it from its cardboard packaging, further adding to the mountain of cardboard near the stove that we've slowly been burning our way through.
I hadn't intended to do many projects today, but nevertheless I did a few. I finally caulked behind the bathroom sink, the last chore for the bathroom. And then I installed all the one by six baseboard "moulding" in the upstairs bedroom, a task that required me to bring up the chop saw from the basement. As I mentioned, the baseboard moulding throughout the house was installed with unnecessary mitre joints, but in installing the moulding today, I used simpler-to-measure-and-cut butt joints, only to discover that some of the moulding in the loft area had also been installed with butt joints. (By the time the moulding guys got to that part, they were maybe phoning it in just a little, and I don't blame them. Similarly, as we learned from 99 Percent Invisible on the drive up from Hurley, the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica consists of three volumes, the first of which covers only the letters A & B, and the last of which covers M-Z.)
Normally we don't eat dinner at the cabin on the evening we're driving back to Hurley, but tonight Gretchen prepared us both "smorgasbords" of lefotvers. Most of this was yummy, though for some reason Gretchen thought I'd be able to eat a raw floret of broccoli dipped in habañero sauce. But I found it inedible.
As you may recall, last week I'd been unsuccessful at using the crappy Generac Mobile Link app to add our generator. Since then, I'd found the app actually works on one of Gretchen's old abandoned cellphones, so I'd brought that phone up to the cabin. To add our generator, I had to trudge out to it and find its stupid serial number, a long string of numbers that the app would, or course, fail to remember once entered. But once entered, I then hoped to get the generator's WiFi working so I could explore whether or not this provided any useful functionality whatsoever. But no, the app told me that my particular generator didn't actually have WiFi installed on it due to a global supply shortage of controller chips. It would've been really nice had the fine folks at Generac thought to tell me this last week, perhaps via a sticker or something. But no, I had first had to install their abomination of an app on two different phones, trudge out in the cold to track down a serial number, give away plenty of information that companies usually have to pay for, and enter credentials something like a dozen times. [Generac says that they'll eventually be shipping the hardware necessary to get WiFi working for unlucky customers such as myself, but to get to that part of the app, I had to type in the serial number again, and by the time I'd realized this, I was 110 miles away from the generator.]
Before leaving the cabin for the week, Gretchen and I played another game of banagrams, and she won. It wasn't even close.
With the colder weather, our Chevy Bolt has been giving us increasingly pathetic estimates of its range on a full battery charge. This evening it was so low, 126 miles, that Gretchen wondered if we should drive without heated seats and the stereo off. I assured her that those don't use much power and that the low predicted range was likely a consequence of all that heavy bluestone we'd hauled from Hurley. It turned out I was right; with the heated seats and radio blasting, we made it home with 36 miles to spare.
Back at the house in Hurley, it was sweltering inside because Powerful had cranked all three first-floor zones to 80 degrees. I know he's been sensitive to cold since his heart transplant, but I'd been hoping that now that he has a room again in the basement, he'd restrict his profligate heat use to there. But I didn't say anything; I just went around and quietly turned the heat down into the 60s in all the zones.
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