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:
   stone patio project
Sunday, August 28 2022

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


After drinking a fair amount of coffee, I resumed work on the bluestone walkway project. By this point it was pretty much finished, so I gradually ramped up work on a second bluestone project. Gretchen has wanted a stone patio for the fire pit, and the plan was to use leftover bluestone from the walkway project to build it. She'd originally wanted this patio to be at the northwest corner of the cabin's clearing, though that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. What would be the point of trudging over there, when there's really nothing of interest there. It almost seemed like the idea was to spread out human artifacts across the parcel, which runs counter to my ideal form of land stewardship. I prefer to concentrate human activities in small areas and let nature be nature in the rest. In any case, last weekend I convinced Gretchen that it made more sense to have a stone patio just south of the cabin's decks in the part of the yard where we now have six Adirondack chairs and a metal fire pit. So I began building that patio today, using mostly-inferior bluestone and not worrying quite as much how tightly the pieces fit together (though occasionally I did use the wet saw to remove a corner here and there to make close fits work).
In the early afternoon, I again convinced the dogs to come with me on a walk down to the dock, where Gretchen had already been for hours. When I arrived, she was far out in the lake swimming, and there were others over at the public dock. I climbed into the kayak and paddled to the beaver dam at the northwesternmost extreme of the outlet bay. [REDACTED]
As I was paddling back to the dock, I came upon an older woman paddling in a kayak with a very young girl while a little boy paddled a paddleboard. "Having fun?" I asked, and the little boy said, "...And I'm only six!" "And you have your own boat, that's awesome!" I declared.
Back at the dock, Gretchen floated around on the innertube for a bit while I drank a Trader Joe's Boatswain double IPA (8.4% alcohol!). Then I floated around on the innertube while Gretchen read.
I then returned to the cabin and continued working on the bluestone patio project while listening to the quirky Gloversville oldies station. Last summer they didn't play anything more recent than music from the 1980s, but today they surprised me with a song by the Smashing Pumpkins. This is a station, mind you, that also plays "Runaway" by Del Shannon, which sounds like a song from a different century.
To the extent it hasn't been too distracting, I've been transplanting the weeds I've been unearthing from the places where I've been setting the stones to the still-largely-barren expanse northwest of the cabin. Much of what I've transplanted have been individual grass plants, but I've also transplanted ragweed, lambsquarters, smartweed (Polygonium), and a familiar tall species of clover with a sweet-sour flavor. That last one has surprisingly deep roots reaching six or more inches straight down. These weeds are good for holding the soil and preventing erosion, which had been a serious problem earlier in the season, though the situation has significantly improved.
This evening we had a meal of improvised chili Gretchen made with rice, beans, mushrooms, and chopped up vegan hotdogs. It was weird but fairly good.
On the drive home, we were listening to WEXT and, after playing multiple songs sung by women in a row, they played "Do Ya," by a band called Move. I knew the song, though this version sounded a little weird to my ear. And I'd thought maybe it was by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Or perhaps it just sounded that way. (It turned out Move was the band Jeff Lynne was in before ELO, and ELO has done a version of this song, which is likely the version I know.)
As Gretchen drove us through Amsterdam she got pulled over for speeding by a sheriff's deputy in what I think was a 45 mile per hour zone on Route 5. Luckily I'd just finished drinking a beer I'd started before we'd left the cabin. The cop knocked on my (passenger's side) window, and surprisingly the dogs remained silent. We're a middle-aged white couple driving a recent-model car, so we got let off with a warning, though the cop was unfamiliar with the "Hurley, NY" that he saw on Gretchen's driver's license.
I don't usually crack open road beers when Gretchen and I are traveling together. So instead of doing that, as we passed the Catskill exit, I opened the glove compartment and took out a little bag of spicy pistachios and ate them all (Gretchen didn't want any).
I wound up sleeping in the greenhouse tonight.

Ramona on the dock making a weird expression. Gretchen is visible making a weird expression too. Click to enlarge.

Gretchen on the innertube in the lake. Click to enlarge.

The lakeshore near the dock. The segment of trunk is from the hemlock I cut down yesterday.
(You can see sawdust on the granite boulder in the right foreground.)
Note the granite reef exposed by the lowest lake levels I've ever observed (though I only have two years' experience). Click to enlarge.

A toad and a frog I found under a piece of bluestone I'd selected for the use in the new stone patio. They were each about an inch and a half long. Click to enlarge.

The new stone patio, just south of the cabin's deck. Gretchen is visible reading on the deck. Click to enlarge.

Looking east down the mostly-finished bluestone walkway. Click to enlarge.

Looking west down the mostly-finished bluestone walkway. Click to enlarge.

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