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:
   mushroom kadai
Sunday, July 17 2022

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

Gretchen tends to make more of a production out of going to the lake than I do. It's far enough away from the cabin that one doesn't want to forget anything when one goes down there, and Gretchen likes to spend such long spans of time there that she feels the need to bring food with her. For me, it's all much simpler. I usually start piling up the things I need for my next lakeside project immediately after getting back from the last one, and then I add to it as I think of things over the course of many hours. This means that when I impulsively head off to the lake, what I need is already in one place waiting to go. The only additional items I need to grab are my camera and a beer. So after drinking coffee and playing Spelling Bee, when I heard Gretchen doing Duolingo, I thought it was a good time to begin the lake part of my day. Gretchen initially wanted me to wait so we could go together, but I said no, I didn't want to wait around. As annoying as it is that the lake is eight or nine hundred feet from the cabin, it all becomes worse if I can't just head down there on a whim.
Gretchen arrived not long after I got to the lake, and Ramona wasn't far behind her. It turned out that I actually hadn't brought all the things I needed for the project I wanted to do, which was to install some more supporting structure beneath the dock's swim ladder to make it a little less rickety. I'd brought a saw, and impact driver, and a piece of larch two by four, but I hadn't brought any drill bits, and the lakeside toolkit only included larger spade bits. So I was forced to hike back to the cabin to get the things I'd forgotten. While there, I also got a bottle of Gorilla Glue (to stop more instances of deck splintering), a cheap hammer (part of a toolkit given to me by Powerful), and Neville the Dog, who I convinced to follow me.
Down at the dock, it was difficult to determine the length of the two by four I wanted to install to span an inter-joist void under the mounting holes of the swimming ladder. So I fumbled the best measurement I could with a tape measure, cut a stick of that length, tested it in the space, and liked how it fit. So I cut two two by fours of that length (though one of these I actually cut out of a two by six that I ripped to two by four width. These proved a little long, but shortening the pieces was easier than making them longer (not that I was even fastening these bits of structure to the actual structure). The main thing these pieces would give me was a place to embed the squared shafts beneath the mushroom heads of carriage bolts. I would be pounding four of these bolts up from below so that the ladder could be fastened down or removed) entirely from the decktop using a nut driver. Making this process easy is essential if I'm going to have to winterize and redeploy the dock every year.
The weather was noticeably warmer today than it had been yesterday, and I'd had to get into the water up to my neck at one point to redo the swimming ladder mounting system, so I was already wet. So I decided to do something purely recreational in the lake, which (aside from a few kayak paddles) I've done very rarely. I got into a "water hammock." Gretchen had briefly joined Amazon Prime just to get these "water hammocks" for almost free a couple weeks ago. They're essentially two small blow-up floaters (each about the size of a cat) with netting connecting them. You lie in the hammock with your head on one of the floaters and the back of your knees on the other, and then just relax. If you need to move around, just paddle with your hands. I found I could do this while drinking a beer if I just held the beer between my knees when I needed to propel myself. Lying so low on the water was a rather different experience from being in a kayak or canoe; the mass of shimmering water was much closer, and I could navigate to places with very little headroom, including under the floating part of the dock in the cross-shaped void between the four floaters (which might prove handy should I ever need to do maintenance down there).
Until today, we'd had the lake entirely to ourselves on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Today, two different groups of people appeared at the public dock, but none of them strayed far from there. I, on the otherhand, took the opportunity to go on two separate paddles in first the kayak and then the canoe, which had both been tied up to the floating dock. We'd be going home tonight and I wanted to put the boats away so they wouldn't fill with rainwater over the upcoming week. Ramona saw me get into the canoe and immediately wanted to join me, so I paddled out across the lake over to the entrance to Joel's marshland and then back again.
I arrived back at the cabin before Gretchen and did some basic straightening up, as is our protocol (so as to always arrive at the cabin to find it tidy and inviting).

For the drive back to Hurley, Gretchen had initially suggested we stop at Wizard Burger in Albany. But by the time we left the cabin, we'd decided to go to Maharaja, the Indian restaurant in Colonie (near Albany) we'd tried (and failed) to eat at two previous times. The last time we tried to dine there, it was a take-out-only restaurant due to the pandemic. But we called them today and learned that they are now a functioning dine-in restaurant yet again.
Things were a little weird in Maharaja; they have a huge dining room, but for some reason they seated people at adjacent tables (not very pandemic-smart!). Some of the staff wore face masks, but others didn't, and some left their noses out. We, of course, acted as we have been, as if the pandemic ended the day we recovered from our own personal cases of covid. Oddly, when we placed our order, the grumpy older man who was noting it down responded "no" when I asked if Maharaja had beer. I could see a fully-stocked bar across the dining room, and a couple at a nearby table ordered a tom collins and a glass of red wine, but I didn't feel like exploring the issue further. Instead I ordered a cup of coffee, which never came.
I ordered the mushroom kadai, which is an unfamiliar sort of north Indian mushroom curry in a thick simmered sauce of red chilis, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. When asked how spicy I wanted it, I said I wanted it at the hottest level possible. It ended up being hot, but not hot enough to slow down my rapid ingestion of it. Gretchen tasted it, and, though it wasn't really her flavor profile, she was astounded by how delicious it was. She'd ordered a far more prosaic aloo gobhi at medium spiciness, though she thought it very good. She seemed less impressed with the mulligatawny soup, which I very much liked. We also ordered some weird dish featuring small hollow lizard-egg-shell-like breads into which we were to stuff a chickpea-based stuffing and add some sort of soupy sauce. The upshot of the experience, though, was that we will definitely be coming back and that I will be ordering mushroom kadai the next time we do.

Gretchen and the dogs relaxing on the dock, photographed via telephoto lens from the other side of the lake this afternoon. That large tooth-shaped granite boulder is the one I like to stand on when taking photos of the dock. Click to enlarge.

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