escaping the Obsidian League
Sunday, June 19 2022
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
It was still unseasonably cold today, but the clouds had finally dissipated, meaning we could finally put a large amount of solar electricity into the Chevy Bolt. (I'd bought yet another level II charger, and this one actually seemed to work, meaning we could now use the additional lower-current 240 volt charging circuit I'd added last weekend to the cabin.)
After another typical weekend morning of hot beverages and the New York Times Spelling Bee, Gretchen and I went separately down to the lake. Ramona followed Gretchen down, but Neville did not. Gretchen has found that our dock is best in the mornings, at least in this cooler weather, because that is when it gets sun; she finds the sun sets behind the hemlocks at around 1:30pm even near the summer solstice.
My work today focused on adding yet more brackets to the floating dock and then adding the necessary tabbed brackets to the eight-foot-long hinged section. Some of this work required undoing work I'd done previously. The most embarrassing of that earlier work was the four joist hangers I'd added to two of the joists on the floating dock (which I did prior to getting the lesson on how solidly a dock needs to be built). Removing joist hangers that have been nailed in proved impossible even with the huge crowbar I keep with the dock's toolkit. Fortunately, though, I've been carrying a Ryobi battery-powered angle grinder down to the dock when I work there, and it's proved useful on several occasions. I found that if I cut the heads off the nails used to secure a joist hanger, it comes off fairly easily. Then the remnants of the nails can be pounded in deeper and a proper bracket installed. I only did this procedure with one of the joists having joist hangers, as it looked like it was going to get additional stress from the connection to the hinged section of dock. It's possible the one weakly-installed joist can be left as is, since joists on either side of it are fully brackets and it is held in place with four lag screws in addition to the wimpy joist hangers.
The other revision I made to existing work was on the end of the hinged dock section that will attach to the floating dock. I removed all its corner brackets (which are made of much thinner steel than the kind sold by Kadco) and replaced them with proper Kadco brackets, both of which had tabs having holes in them that could accept a connector pin measuring 27 by 3/4 inches. By the time I was done, nearly all the necessary hardware was in place. The little left to do involves a hinged connection between the fixed dock and the hinged dock and perhaps some eyebolts to connect anchors.
All this intense use of power tools, particularly last week when I was drilling holes through makeshift steel end brackets, has exposed me to a lot of failure modes. This hasn't been with the Ryobi power tools I've been using, which have held up just fine (and even their batteries have shown good endurance). I'm referring to the tool points attached specifically to the Ryobi impact driver. I've seen titanium-dipped drill bits turn useless after chewing into harder steel, drill bits separate from their hex-shank cores (a sort of delamination, not the usual breakage), and a hex shank for a socket wrench driver snap off inside the impact wrench's chuck.
As I'd been working today, a couple gentlemen had set out on kayaks from the public dock and went fishing in a clockwise loop around the lake, starting in the outlet bay. They started over there before Ramona got to the dock, and when they next came into view, she barked at them as if they were large flesh-eating dinosaurs. Eventually even out on the dock, Gretchen found herself in shade, where it was uncomfortably cold for sitting and reading, so she headed back to the cabin. And once I was done with my dock work, I went out in the kayak to the outlet bay and back. One of the beavers recently cut down a small hemlock tree along our section of lakefront, and it's kind of adorable to see the way they chewed its trunk (at two different heights!) until it was narrow enough to topple over.
Back at the cabin, I was very excited to make myself some leftover chili & cornbread, but then, as it heated in the microwave oven, Neville started barking and it seemed we had visitors. A middle-aged couple who looked and sounded like they were from the Caribbean arrived to check out our cabin. We'd never met them, but he was the owner of one of one of the parcels we pass on our way in from the front gate. When I appeared from around the end of the house, the woman asked Gretchen if I was her daughter, which we found hilarious. And then it turned out that our two visitors weren't a couple at all but were brother and sister. We gave them the comprehensive tour, even showing them the basement.
After they were gone, Gretchen went back to reading out on the deck. But she'd also been spending a lot of time playing (that has to be the word, given how gamified it is) the Duolingo language app, where she's been rising up through the ranks in her quest to perfect her Spanish. She was now very close in finally rising up out of the Obsidian League, where she'd languished for weeks. All she had to do was put enough points between herself and the next-best person in the Obsidian League. If she could stay in the top five, she be promoted to the Diamond League, but not if "that bitch" (the person in sixth place) suddenly accumulated enough points to pass her. Obsessing about this kept Gretchen playing for much of the day and even into the night.
There would be the viewing of a documentary in Woodstock tonight on homelessness in Woodstock, and Gretchen wanted to be in Woodstock for that, so she left the cabin the Bolt a little after 4:30pm. I stayed on a little longer, but only long enough to fix the algorithm in the Moxee hotspot watchdog (which had failed early in the week, forcing Gretchen to fix things manually following my instructions). Once I was pretty sure that was working, I loaded up the Forrester, told the dogs it was time to go, and started driving back to Hurley. I was still drinking the Hazy Little Thing I'd cracked open while reprogramming the Moxee watchdog. As is customary, I cracked open another beer at the Catskill exit (about 25 miles north of Kingston).
When I arrived home, I found Powerful doing one of his chores: watering the garden. With the exception of my cannabis (which seems to be suffering from failure to thrive) the garden was looking amazingly lush.
The heavy brackets now installed on the frame for the floating dock. One of those brackets, though, is just a wimpy joist hanger.
In the enlarged version you can see the tabs for attaching the hinged section in the upper right corner.
Click to enlarge.
The new tabbed brackets at the end of the hinged dock where it will attach to the floating dock.
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