chipmunk flavored car ride
Friday, September 16 2022
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
As we often do on a Friday, we left for the cabin in the middle of the workday. Part of what happens when we do that is that Gretchen drives and I pay attention to my phone in case I am needed for something. There wasn't much being discussed in the remote workplace except a blacklight Joe the Lead Developer and I had bought for Allee, the "product owner," so she could, among other things, determine if the green-tinted glass she'd recently bought at a rummage sale was uranium glass. It glowed, so (according to what Joe had seen on the internet) it must be Uranium glass. We've been joking about its potential dangers, though one would have to eat a piece of it for the occasional alpha particles it emits to do real damage.
For the past week or so, I've occasionally caught whiffs of a dead animal in the teevee room. As with the smell of dog shit, there's never an innocent explanation for such odors; they always mean what a plain reading of the olfactory data is saying. So the other day I'd done a comprehensive search of the teevee room, using my nose to zero in on where the stench was coming from and shining a flashlight into the gloom. Eventually I'd determined that the foul odor was coming from a folded-up blanket, which I took outside and shook out. At that point I saw the corpse of a dead chipmunk whose last act was to clamp his incisors down on the blanket, making it a little tricky to get him loose. I'd immediately put the blanked the rotting chipmunk had been in into the washing machine. But then Gretchen said that we should do all our laundry for both houses at the cabin this weekend so as to use up as much as possible of our propane before the 1000 gallon tank is taken away and replaced with a smaller tank from a different propane supplier (we are firing Ferrellgas for the incompetence extensively documented here). The thing about propane tanks is that their contents cannot be transferred when they are replaced, so anything in that tank (which has been on empty for months) will be lost if we don't use it before it is replaced.
The downside of traveling with so much dirty laundry in our car was that we had to smell it for the whole two hour drive. This normally wouldn't be a problem, but that one blanket the chipmunk had died in really smelled bad, and we kept smelling rotten chipmunk unless we had our windows rolled most of the way down.
Somewhere along the way, I told Gretchen all I'd just learned in the past few days about rent-to-own sheds, the desperate people who rent them, and the repo men (and their clever tools) that come to take them away when bills aren't paid. I emphasized how eye-opening it was to learn that so many people in rural Ohio (and likely many other places) are living in squalid third-world conditions in sheds they cannot afford to make the payments on. Gretchen was more intrigued by all of this than I expected her to be, but of course she wanted to know the politics of the she repo man. I admitted that, though he seemed nice, he was likely a Trumpy because he had a "Thin Blue Line" American flag decal on his Mule.
As always, when we got to the cabin, Gretchen quickly ate some food and then headed down to the lake to maximize the time she would be spending down there. But the weather was overcast and a bit cool (with highs in the upper 60s), so Gretchen was unable to go for a swim.
At 5:00pm when my workday ended, I went down to the lake via an off-trail route that took me along the backwards-facing cliffs diagonall down towards Ibrahim's dock. In so doing, I realized that the backwards-facing cliffs form an incomplete wall blocking Shane's access, and he can get to the lake entirely on his own property by bypassing the cliffs around their southern end. While in that area, I also confirmed that the lake's only active beaver lodge lies on the lakeshore pretty much exactly where the property line dividing Shane's parcel from Ibrahim's parcel arrives from the west.
When I got to our dock, I did some modest landscaping, removing a basketball-sized boulder slightly protruding from the ground (so it would never be a danger to dragged boats) and used it to further improve the steps down into the lake. I then used a shovel to dredge sand from the lake bottom so I could fill the hole the boulder's removal had left in the dock-area landscape. Digging up sand this way was so easy (and made the lake bottom around the dock so much more pleasant to walk on) that I continued doing it, using the sand to futher firm up the stones of the dock's abutment. I then used yet more sand to cover over a small amount of a boulder protruding above the ground about 20 feet uphill from the dock abutment. That boulder is so big that I'd been unable to remove it even with the help of a 42 inch crowbar.
Back at the cabin, Gretchen and I ate the leftover chili I'd made on Thursday. We'd also brought leftover chicken of the woods cooked with mushrooms, but I wasn't feeling any desire to eat that at all.
Gretchen had been doing laundry since we arrived at the cabin, starting with that blanket that had contained the rotting corpse of a chipmunk. At one point she'd been outside raking the grounds (to disturb the surface and make it better accept wildflower seeds) and thought the inside of our cabin smelled like gas. I'd just discovered that the vent duct had popped off the back of the dryer and was thinking the heat and humidity might be a good thing on the inside of the cabin. But not if the exhaust from the dryer also contained combustion gasses, which it probably did. Remember, our dryer is a gas-powered one that we got specifically because I figured (probably foolishly) that an electric one would be a waste of precious solar electricity. Unfortunately, the vent duct is attached to the dryer in a recessed pocket in the back where there are no room for tools (at least none of the tools I had). So I ended up reattaching the duct with superglue. It's not ideal, but it seemed to work.
I went to bed fairly early, at about 9:00pm.
A mystery plant in a moss wonderland near the backwards cliffs. Google Image Search suggests either wild ginger or some sort of violet.
Click to enlarge.
More of the mystery plant with lycopods.
Click to enlarge.
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