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:
   trench around a foundation again
Saturday, October 15 2022

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

I must've drunk a little too much last night (and I'd been drinking cheap tequila with mixers) because I awoke feeling a little out of sorts, though it wasn't clear I had an actual hangover until I walked down to the lake and could really feel it in my body. Before doing that, though, I had a normal cabin morning routine involving a laptop, coffee, and passive solar shining in through the windows. It was another beautiful day of warmish temperatures and cloudless skies.
Eventually, also before walking down to the lake, I started doing a landscaping chore, which was just to finish up the sketchier parts of the stone path leading from the cabin to the steps down into the woods (and then down to the dock). As part of that, I also improved a branch of path that goes over to the generator. In the past I've had to do things there fairly regularly, but not so much since the solar installation came out from under the snow in the spring.
When that was done, I walked down to the lake and took the kayak out for a paddle, mostly just into the outflow bay. While over there, leaves had fallen enough from the vegetation that I could see things that had previously been concealed. One of these things was a tree with lots of survey flagging on it. It was a little west of where I'd expected it to be, meaning we don't own as much of the northern shoreline as I thought. This had me curious, so I paddled back to the dock, parked the kayak, and hiked around the lake to where I'd seen the flagging. It turns out this boundary (the one with Joel's parcel) is fully surveyed all the way to boundary with the Adirondack State Park. But there are some weird things going on on Joel's side of the boundary starting a couple hundred feet from the lake. In that area, nearly every tree is marked with orange-red paint. Initially I thought this was indicating a boundary, but when all the big trees are painted, that doesn't define any sort of line.
After following our boundary to the state park land, I continued down towards the sound of rushing water, finding an energetic creek coming in from the northeast. And once down there, I saw a series of dramatic cliffs above me to the north. Some of the cliff faces looked to be sheer drops of 30 feet or more. At the bottom of these cliffs, I found a pile of old plastic gallon-sized bleach bottles. Had someone been operating a meth lab here?
I followed the creek downstream until it was met by a tributary that I took to be the one draining Woodworth Lake, and followed it upstream. I'd thought I'd been back in this area before, but evidently not nearly so far north, because I hadn't yet discovered something I discovered today: a waterfall inside our parcel. It's in the brook draining Woodworth Lake. It's not a single cataract, but the change in elevation comes quickly enough to have me thinking of ways to tap its hydroelectric potential. One would have to figure out how to keep the wildlife out of the turbines though; I saw a few newts swimming around.
On the way back to the cabin, I was sure to bring the big mattock I'd been using this summer to even out the new section of trail down to the dock. I wanted to have this tool handy when I began on my next big cabin chore: excavating outside the foundation so I could install panels of styrofoam as deep as possible to insulate the basement against the brutal winter chill.
I eventually found an audio cable for my work-issued laptop, whose bluetooth had mysteriously stopped working (and whose speakers have never worked), and this allowed me to play a soundtrack of classic Guided by Voices tunes (initially just from Alien Lanes) while I began what I knew would be the brutal work of trenching around the cabin's foundation. I started my digging at the north end of the east wall under the screened-in porch. (I chose this location because the wall here was the most exposed and, in winter, the recipient of the least solar radiation of any of the foundation walls.) Happily, the sandy soil contained no rocks bigger than a fist (and very few bigger than marbles), so shoveling it was like shoveling heavy (but very dry) snow (and considerably easier than the trenching I'd done through the clay-rich soil of the Hurley house's foundation back in late 2004). The trenches through this stand weren't particularly stable, though, and the sides tended to collapse. But over the course of a few hours, I was able to dig several feet south along the east wall and at least six feet west along the north wall. As dusk descended, I called it a day. And to pay for my unscheduled hangover, I elected not to drink any alcohol at all today. Instead I took 150 milligrams of diphenhydramine and was in bed at around 8:00pm.

A swampy part of the woods not far from the boundary between Joel's parcel, our parcel, and Adirondack State Park. Click to enlarge.

The new 30-foot cliffs I found just across the boundary in Adirondack State Park. Click to enlarge.

Another view of those cliffs. Click to enlarge.

Falls in the Woodworth Lake outflow creek inside our parcel. Click to enlarge.

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