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:
   another short collar tie
Monday, March 18 2024
I've had 24 foot extension ladder reaching up to near the top of the cathedral ceiling in the living room for days now and knew Gretchen was going to ask me when I was going to be taking it down. So today I wanted to make some progress on hanging the new ceiling fan, the one to replace the big one that had crashed to the floor while we were in Portugal. I've had trouble in the past hanging ceiling fans from the 45 degrees slope that all our cathedral ceilings have. Typically the little ball and socket system for supporting the fan can't tip quite that much. So for the last ceiling fan I installed (up in the teevee/map room), I added a short horizontal collar tie a foot or two beneath the roof ridge and hung the fan from that. I wanted to add such a collar tie to the living room ceiling today, and I wanted it to be as close to perfect as possible. This meant attaching it directly to the rafters (with no drywall sandwiched between the pieces of structural wood) and making it dead level. Since I had to work atop a high ladder with my feet something like 10 feet above the floor, I had to work slowly and plan my actions. I first used a level measuring about 30 inches long to put pencil marks on the drywall at two opposite (east and west) rafters to show where a collar tie the length of that level would fall. I then used an oscillating tool to cut into the 5/8 inch thick drywall to ascertain the exact locations of the rafters. Amusingly, my pencil marks were so small that I ended up mistaking a fleck of dirt or fly shit for one of them and cutting in the wrong place on one of the rafters, an error I soon caught when I did a second sanity check with the level. Meanwhile, out in the garage I'd cut out the collar tie, which I made exactly the same length as the level, but with two corners with 1.5-inch-wide 45 degree cutouts so that it could like flat while pressed up against the two rafters it was to attach to. My cuts in the the collar tie and in the drywall were so precise that I only had to shave a little drywall off with a knife before pounding the collar tie upward into place, where it was able to remain through friction alone. I then screwed it in place with drywall screws to hold it securely while I then added small lag bolts and long-ass 3.5 inch deck scews. I tested it a few times as I worked and it was maybe the most level object I'd ever placed. Now that it was perfect, I used some white caulk to seal up the narrow gaps between it and the drywall. We'll have to paint it the same sage green that our living room has been since 2016, and of course we don't know what color that is because it's from before we were smart enough to keep records of such things. But we now have the two little two by 3.5 inch pieces of drywall I'd had to remove to take to a paint store for color matching.
As I worked, I was listening to the audio part of YouTube videos broadcast from my FM transmitter to the big hifi stereo in the living room. One was perfect for this kind of work; it was about "peaking in high school" and Romy & Michele's High School Reunion.
Meanwhile Gretchen, who was working her Monday shift at the bookstore in Woodstock, had asked me via Facebook direct message if I wanted her to pick me up an order of eggplant parmesan, a rare special on the Garden Café's menu. I had excitedly said yes. But then Facebook somehow proved unreliable and she never got my reply despite looking for it. So she came home with no eggplant parmesan. She ended up making us a dinner of roasted broccoli, pasta, and tomato bisque soup, the latter of which was better than I expected.

As you may recall, last time I was at the cabin, I took it out winterization, filling the pipes once more with freezable water. That looked like a good idea at the time, especially during the period of springlike weather that brought the phoebes up early from the south and the garter snakes out early from their hibernacula. But as of today we were back to winter again. But this was just the beginning; for a week now the weather forecast has called for another blast of unseasonably cold air that was to arrive on Tuesday of this week (tomorrow). I'd been checking the forecast every day to see how bad things would get, and if anything, they kept getting worse. It was clear I would have to return to the cabin tomorrow, but at what time? At 10pm, my remote data told me that upstairs cabin temperature had fallen to 49 degrees and looked to be going down at a rate of two degrees per hour. The rate of decrease would slow as the cabin temperature got closer to the outdoor temperature, so I could sleep without worry tonight, but it was already freezing outside the cabin.

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