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:
   enough for an all-wheel drive
Monday, March 11 2024

location: 940 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

Charlotte again spent the night mostly in the loft beanbag, though after I got up and started puttering around, she briefly hung out on the bed in the big first floor bedroom with Neville.

Winds had howled all night long, making haunting-house whistling noises and everything. This had me thinking again about possibly installing a wind-powered generator at the cabin. I've looked at wind maps, and the cabin sits in an unusually windy area, perched as it is near the top of a knoll that is one of the highest points in an east-west trough in the landscape. Of course, the wind I was hearing last night was a widespread weather phenomenon. When I next heard from Gretchen back in Hurley, she told me that winds had blown down trees blocking Dug Hill Road in both directions, making it impossible for her to get to her Monday shift at the bookstore Woodstock. It also knocked out the power. In that respect, I'm doing better at the cabin than I would be back in "civilization." The lack of power meant that the cleaning lady wouldn't be coming today, so my plan to miss her by staying an extra day at the cabin didn't work out.
Nevertheless, the plan was to leave today. After having a customary french press of coffee and making myself a MorningStar "sausage" sandwich, I began cleaning up in preparation for my eventual departure.
But when I went out to the Subaru Forester and attempted to drive it, it had great difficulty finding purchase even on the flat. Getting up the steep hill in the driveway to begin my drive homeward was going to be impossible. I tried shoveling out a single track all the way to the top of that hill, but I couldn't even manage to get the Forester to get to that track, let alone stay on it. If anything, the car went gradually backwards in the direction of the septic field and eventually was so mired in the snow that it wouldn't move at all. Clearly I will have to do a lot more shoveling before I can leave. I don't have a lot of experience with all-wheel-drive vehicles getting stuck, but evidently they have a limit, and it's something like six inches of snow.

Later the clouds parted and the sun came out, and there's nothing like the appearance of sun to give you irrational hope. At some point I looked at the web-based monitor page for the data from the solar inverter and saw it was collecting well over 5000 watts of power, a number I have never seen before. (In late summer afternoons, when the angle of the panels is perfectly orthogonal to the sun's rays, I've seen numbers as high as 4000 watts, but this was at least 1000 watts more.) Obviously the panels were getting a boost from all the sunlight bouncing off the snow. As some of the few dark objects in the landscape, the solar panels were the recipients of photons that had bounced multiple times before finding a place to give up their energy.
Inspired by the sun, I went out to the Forester with the snow shovel and carefully dug out all the snow around it. I then dug a swath up the hill nearly to where the track I'd dug earlier began. By now the strong sunlight was melting the snow from around all the leaves and dirt I'd exposed. In a moment of foolishness, I decided to have another go at driving the car up the hill. Just getting it out of the spot it was stuck in wasn't easy. I had to carefully advance just enough to rise up a little out of the pit it was in. Then I had to let it roll back down into the pit and up the other side, with a slight boost from the engine. Doing this a few times, I managed to wriggle it free of its trap. Now it was in the muddy area I'd laid bare nearby. I feathered the gas pedal and started to climb the hill. I should mention that this time, unlike earlier times, I had a completely clear windshield, which allowed me to see the landscape in a way I hadn't been able to before. I think that this, more than anything else, was what allowed me to find the single track I'd cleared earlier and put my right (passenger-side) wheels in it. And that was all it took to climb the hill. When I got to the top, I didn't want to stop for fear of wasting my inertia. I drove all the way out to Woodworth Lake Road across mostly unbroken snow. There, I found the road was still unplowed, but vehicles had been on it and laid down tracks for me to drive in. I also saw a heavy-duty tractor on the side of the road equipped with chains, though it might've been part of a logging operation. I parked the car just inside our driveway from the road and walked back to the cabin with the intention of closing it up and getting the dogs.
After again turning off the water and shutting down my computer, I spoke to Neville, who was with Charlotte in the loft bean bag. I told him we were going for a walk. This time, I left the idea of riding in a car out of it, since the only exposure to the idea of getting into a car at the cabin for Charlotte has ended in trauma (usually with me carrying her as she tries to wriggle away). Even so, I could tell that Charlotte had a sense of what was going on, because she had started to tremble violently, exactly the way she has on the other occasions when I've tried to get her into a car at the end of time spent at the cabin. So I just focused on Neville, telling him he had to get up and come with me. Perhaps because it was so cold and windy outside, he was reluctant. But then he got going, and of course Charlotte wanted to be doing whatever he was doing. We walked down the freshly-laid tracks on the driveway, with Charlotte now genuinely excited to be going for a walk with me and Neville. She prancing around and chasing after wind-blown beech leaves as if they were birds. When we got to the Forester, I opened the door and told Neville to climb in. Even before he did so, Charlotte jumped into the car in front of him. "Well, that was easy!" I exclaimed.
It turned out that most of Woodworth Lake Road had been plowed. The plowing had just stopped at the driveway to the fire department antenna, which is the next turn on the left a couple hundred feet to the west as you're heading from our driveway out to Route 309.
For nearly the whole ride back to Hurley, I mostly listened to nonsensical Christian evangelists on a series of Christian radio stations. It's hard to imagine anyone from mainstream of American society finding much of interest on the show, but my interest is just that such strange thought patterns exist and are extremely influential in our culture.
The snow had almost completely disappeared from the landscape by the time I was driving through Johnstown, but reappeared again as I drove through the highlands of Charleston (7 miles south of the Mohawk River) only to disappear again as I went down the grade into Sloansville. Somewhere near Sloansville, I passed a cluttered yard where I saw someone was flying the old red hammer & sickle flag of the Soviet Union. I couldn't tell if the person was being a crontrarian or was just giving some sort of weird fuck you to Ukraine. In any case, the snow appeared again as I climbed up out of Middleburgh and crossed the subcontinental divide between the Schoharie River and Catskill Creek watersheds. But then it disappeared for the rest of my drive, seen only glazing the highest peaks in the Catskills.
In the last mile of my drive, I found Dug Hill Road clear of large woody debris. And the electricity was on in our house in Hurley. Gretchen had gone to the bookstore, though it was after five when I got home and she would be returning soon. When she did, she cooked up some frozen pizzas for us to eat while watching Jeopardy!. During Final Jeopardy, Gretchen went to get more pizza and found only one piece left, which made no sense given how much she'd eaten and what she'd seen me eating. It turned out that Charlotte had been a very bad girl and reared up to steal some of the pizza from the kitchen island. She's been known to do a little of this, particularly with things on the cat feeding table, but never has she done something quite this brazen.

A peak of the northeast Catskills frosted with snow near Preston Hollow, NY on the drive home today. Click to enlarge.

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