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:
   dock decked
Saturday, June 4 2022

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

Gretchen and I had our usual Saturday morning, though of course we conducted it via instant messages, since she was back in Hurley. We updated each other on our progress with today's New York Times Spelling Bee (the panagram was "chewing," with "g" in the middle) while drinking coffee and eating whatever we ate (I made myself a savory bagel sandwich with the last of the Trader Joe's bagels). Then I resumed working on my many cabin chores.
As you'll recall, a couple weeks ago I made a beautiful maple-and-pine medicine cabinet door, gluing the shiplap pine into a mitred frame of maple, all of the internal junctions routed out so they'd be lap joints instead of butt joints. But I'd made that door too big and it covered the entire medicine cabinet frame, when all I'd originally wanted it to cover was the central section (leaving the two narrow sides as open shelves). So today I brought out the table router and used it to yet again route out a rabbet cut down the length of a piece of maple. I did this in a series of passes, as the router blade quickly chokes and starts destroying things if it is given too much to do. My rabbet cut ended up being 3/4 inches wide by 3/8 inches deep. I then used glue and finishing nails to put the frame together such that it looked like it would soon be holding a painting.
Then I had to turn on the generator, because the big sliding mitre saw draws too much start-up power, causing the SolArk inverter to shut off all power. It's a good saw for cutting shiplap, and can even rip shorter pieces like table saw. After I had my shiplap cut, I could then route the edges in a series of steps to ensure a tight fit with the frame I'd just made. I'd liked the way the larger first cabinet door had turned out, but the second version definitely benefitted from lessons learned in making the first, and it ended up looking nearly like something made by a professional cabinet maker. That's the thing I've noticed about arts and crafts: as good as you think your first attempt at making something is, it will never be as good as a copy you make of it.
While waiting for the glue to dry on the cabinet door, I took several batteries, tools, and a can of beer down to the dock. Yesterday I'd sprayed myself with some Deep Woods insect repellant (purchased at the Amsterdam Hannaford) to keep myself from being eaten alive by biting flies. I suspect it's a lot more effective than the herbal hippie shit Gretchen buys, and it seemed to work pretty well. This afternoon, though, it was significantly cooler and also rather windy, which seemed to keep all the biting flies wherever they hide when they're not biting.
My task today was to cut up ten-foot treated two-by-sixes to make planking for the sixteen feet of dock I had in place. I'd made the dock forty inches wide, meaning two cuts of a ten foot two by six would produce three planks. Sixteen feet is a long distance to cover with planks, but I got into a rhythm and made rapid progress. I should mention that some off-brand One+ batteries designed to be used in Ryobi battery-powered tools but using NiCad instead of Lithium technology weren't powerful enough to drive either my handsaw or my impact driver (when installing deck screws). I was forced to use Ryobi-branded Lithium batteries (they were either 1.5 or 2.0 amp-hour units). Using only two such batteries, I was able to do all the cutting and screwing I needed to do today, though I ran out of power in the one I was using in my saw near the end and had to borrow the one in my impact driver to finish a cut.
At some point a flock of Canada geese (I counted them and there were between eleven and thirteen of them) were spooked up by some idiot shooting a gun near the lake's southeast shore and flew over to the lake's outlet bay. They then flew overhead in a circle a few times and disappeared.
When I was about half-way done with the decking project, I got in the kayak and paddled across the lake to look at a weird line I could see strung between the place where Joel and friends sometimes (rarely) shoot guns and a set of targets across a wetland that forms an arm of the lake. As I paddled across, the wind-whipped waves were disconcertingly choppy.
Soon after I resumed the decking project, some idiot started shooting near the southeast corner of the lake. This scared up a flock of Canada geese (I counted them and there were between eleven and thirteen of them), which flew over to the lake's outlet bay. They then flew overhead in a noisy circle a few times and then disappeared to the south.
By the time I'd finished screwing down the last of the decking, it had become so cool that I was no longer comfortable in a tee shirt and shorts (the lake water, by contrast, felt warm). So I hiked back to the cabin, where the dogs had spent hours wonderingly lazily where I'd gone.
When I'd installed the body of the medicine cabinet last weekend, I'd accidentally put it in upside down, which threw off the careful centering of the middle section over the sink (an arrangement made possible by using different widths for the two sets of narrow in-set shelves on either side of the cabinet proper). Today I realized that if I left it this way, it would drive me a little bit crazy every time I looked at it. So I used a reciprocating saw to cut through the four finishing nails used to hold it in place and then I cut through all the spray foam I'd surrounded it with. Somewhat surprisingly, the cabinet came out without too much effort and not much additional damage. I then secured it in place in the correct orientation using the remains of the cut-off finishing nails (which I drove in further) and yet more spray foam.
When I went to climb into bed this evening, I found a puddle of fresh urine on top of the comforter. This had happened last night too, but the piss hadn't had any odor, so I thought maybe one of the dogs had simply vomited up water (which does happen). But this time there was no getting around the fact that it was urine and smelled like it too. I had to do what I could to clean up the sheets and top of the mattress in place (since the dogs were on top of these sheets and mattress and were already stressed out enough by my obvious dismay). I was able to get the comforter off, and I washed the affected part in the bathtub. Because there was now a large wet spot on the bed, I had to sleep in another bed, something I've been doing at least partially every night. Neville hadn't peed on a bed in a long time, and I suspect that his doing it last night and tonight had something to do with how much I'd been neglecting him to work on cabin and dock projects. This is understandable, from his perspective, and I'd actually been feeling some guilt about how little interaction I'd had with the dogs over this weekend. But it's not like they had been gung ho to participate in my activities either; I'd tried to get them to come down to the lake this afternoon, but they'd begged out, correctly anticipating that it would be a boring experience.
By now it was so cold outside that I'd started a cardboard fire in the cabin woodstove. There was plenty of cardboard to be burned.

The dock with its new decking shortly before I left the lake for the evening. Click to enlarge.

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