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:
   visiting the cabin without dogs
Tuesday, March 19 2024

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

Since I knew there would be a prolonged period of cold once I arrived at the cabin today, when I set out this morning in the Subaru Forester at around 9:00am, I did not bring the dogs. As usual, I took the scenic route through Middleburgh, stopping for provisions at the Cairo Hannaford. It was bitterly cold and windy in the Hannaford parking lot, making the walk to and from the Forester a brutal experience. I also ducked into a nearby liquor store to get a half gallon of cheap gin for the cabin's all-important bottom shelf liquor supply.
Early in the ride, I listened to the audio track from YouTube videos streaming on my phone, but somewhere west of Preston Hollow the cell signal was too weak for this, so I switched to a Christian radio broadcast that was spewing nonsense into the public airwaves. Some guy was talking about the nature of satan as a fallen angel, and he said that angels were special in that, unlike humans, they couldn't be redeemed. This was given as a fact, as if it had been somehow determined scientifically. Since angels resemble humans in some respects but don't in others, this reminded me of the nature of fundamental particles in the Standard Model of particle physics. The attributes of particles in the Standard Model all seem very arbitrary. Why does a down quark have an electric charge of 1/3 and a spin of 1/2? Of course, all of this has been determined experimentally, whereas the spiritual nature of angels and humans cannot be determined experimentally and instead comes from studying scripture, which is completely arbitrary and differs completely from one major religion to the next.
I'd been drinking a Stewarts coffee, but I switched to a road beer near Preston Hollow even though it was only 10:00am. Temperatures hovered around freezing in the lowlands along my route, but fell into the upper twenties as I drove through the highlands (at the subcontinental divide between Livingstonville and Middleburgh and in the Charleston highlands between Schoharie and the Mohawk Valley). There was little or no snow anywhere until I got to West Bush, where a dusting covered most of the ground. Temperatures gradually fell into the 20s again as I climbed the Adirondack escarpment and reached a low of 26 just before I got to our driveway off Woodworth Lake Road. There was almost no snow at the cabin except in shady places (such as just north of the cabin and under evergreens).
Temperatures had fallen to 40 degrees in most of the cabin, though it was 38 in the upstairs bedroom behind its closed door. So I didn't have to worry about any of the water in any of the pipes freezing. I immediately turned on the boiler and started a fire using the meagre wood remaining in the indoor wood pile.
My first priority was to get a lot more firewood. So I walked up the driveway with the idea of finding a dead mid-size tree somewhere along the driveway, allowing me to come back in the Subaru to get the pieces I would cut. I found a recently-fallen white ash that fit this description and quickly bucked sixteen pieces out of it before the battery in my big Kobalt chainsaw (which I'd brought on this trip for this very job) died. I then retrieved all of it (along with a six-foot-long unbucked piece of white ash) in the Forester. As I split this wood, I realized it was greener than the stuff I like to burn. So most of it ended up in the outdoor wood pile, some of it replacing drier pieces that I then brought into the cabin.
But I still didn't have quite enough firewood, so later I went on a second firewood salvaging foray along the driveway. This time I bucked up a much drier fallen dead black cherry, though this tree was thicker and my chainsaw was only good to buck eleven pieces out of it. These pieces contained some water, particularly around cracks in the wood, so I couldn't burn it immediately. Most of it ended up at the bottom of the indoor wood rack. Black cheery has a beautiful pinkish color, and burning it doesn't feel like the best use of it. (But it's not as bad as burning black walnut, something we did regularly when I was a kid.)

At around 6:00pm, I put on my rubber boots and walked down to the lake to see what state it was in. There had been further melting, particularly along the shoreline, and I could see some small tracts of open water appearing over near the east shore. I also saw a pair of ducks flying through, suggesting that they're finding open water to do whatever it is they do. But it will be awhile before there is enough open water for loons to return.
While I was down at the lake, a brisk snow began falling. I walked back to the cabin along a temporary brook that empties into the lake just north of our tree dock, its mouth being pretty much where I beach the floating dock for the winter. The brook runs up to just northwest of the region of "backwards cliffs" and then bends westward, its headwaters being an east-west trough in the landscape a couple hundred feet below (north of) the stone retaining wall behind the cabin.
There was enough snow on the ground when I got back to the cabin that it seemed prudent to put the Forester at the top of the hill on the driveway to make it easier to get out if the snow should deepened. While I had it on, took it out to Woodworth Lake Road and retrieved a couple largish rocks for later use in my various stone wall projects.
Before taking a nice bath of hot propane-heated water, I took a 150 mg dose of diphenhydramine, mostly to ensure I would fall asleep before drinking too much booze.

The dock this evening. Click to enlarge.

The dock from the south. Note the open water along the shore. Click to enlarge.

A beach sapling recently felled by a beaver a fair distance above the lake. Click to enlarge.

The small temporary brook that I followed back to the vicinity of the cabin. Click to enlarge.

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