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:
   dock deployed, 2024
Tuesday, April 9 2024

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

It was warm enough this morning that I didn't even bother firing up the woodstove. Gretchen and I both had our respective french presses of coffee and collaboratively played the New York Times Spelling Bee as if it were a weekend. Then I gathered up my supplies (mostly the big farm jack and the smallest of my winches) and walked down to the lake to deploy the dock.
It took very little time to remove the pole holding up the end of the half-floating dock. Then I turned my attention to unbeaching the fully-floating part of the dock, a massive structure that is too heavy to lift or shove. First I had to unhook the cables and chains keeping it from sliding back into the water, something I was able to do without having to work too hard to return slack to those things. At around that time, Gretchen and the dogs arrived, and Gretchen really wanted to help. So I had her pump the handle on the jack a few times to lift up the uphill side of the dock. After it got to a certain height, it always wanted to slde down towards the lake, so after doing this five or six times, enough of it was in the lake for us to shove it the rest of the way in. Then we paddled it over to the rest of the dock and I inserted the big hinge pin that connects it. Gretchen got all the various chairs and such we keep on the dock in the summer so we could lie there and enjoy the glorious sun, which might've been a little too hot. Mind you, there was still snow on the ground over on the southeast lakeshore, so this dock deployment was definitely on the early side. Of course, hanging out on Woodworth Lake wouldn't be normal if there wasn't the occasional sounds of heavy machines and chainsaws wafting across the lake. Pyotr is still working on his cabin site, and Gretchen would walk over there later and come back to report that it is total tree carnage. It's apparently not normal to build a cabin in any way that respects the environment it is to be situated in.
When Gretchen opened the big plastic box that contains most of the stuff we need on the lakeshore, she found that towels had been all chewed up by some varmint. She was perplexed by the absence of rodent feces, so what might the varmint have been? It was then I discovered voids in the way the box closed that were big enough for a chipmunk to get in, and chipmunks, unlike rats and mice, do not like to live among their own feces. This looks like another problem that can be solved with spray foam.
Back at the cabin, I saw that the leafless flower stalks of coltsfoot were suddenly bursting up through ground that had been covered by snow only two days before. There were also a number of phoebes flitting about, sometimes colliding with the cabin's window screens. They'll probably establish another nest under the east deck again this year, and this year I won't be disturbing them with all the digging I did under there last year.
The day was now so warm that we threw open all the doors, including the Bilco doors to the basement, where temperatures were still in the low 40s. I hoped that getting some fresh warm air to circulate down there would help to gradually raise the temperature and make it a better place for me to work on my many basement-based projects. But the thermal mass down there is enormous and will take weeks of such warm air to rise to a comfortable temperature. At this point, all that insulation I installed to keep out the cold is now keeping out the warmth. (But it's a price worth paying and a fairly easy problem to work around.)
Gretchen made us a lunch of noodles with lemon cream sauce, tofu, and broccoli. It was okay, though perhaps a little too lemony. Once I'd eaten some of that, I retreated to the basement for most of the rest of the afternoon to work on furthering my remote control system.
First I wanted to update the NodeMCU of the remote control "controller" with the latest copy of the firmware, which fixed a problem with the recording of last_known_device_value and last_known_device_modified, a functionality I now very much wanted to have. I then added a box below one of the outlet boxes on the basement's west wall, installed a relay inside it, and hooked up an outlet to it, similar to what I'd done on the east wall. Since the outlets are on separate circuits, I can put separate space heaters on them to make extremely wasteful use of electricity during times when there is solar electricity to burn. Alternatively, I could attach an aluminum smelter or a hydrolysis rig to them to do energy-intensive things while I am away. To control the new outlet, I had to run ethernet cable all the way across the basement from east to west through small holes bored through dozens of floor joists. But I only need one wire pair of the four pairs present in such a cable to control one relay, meaning I can control four such devices with one ethernet cable.
Meanwhile Gretchen and the dogs were out on the east deck reading and/or soaking up solar photons. There had been a tentative plan for Jeff and Alana to swing by on their way south from North Creek, but they had a crisis on their hands with a mold abatement that their insurance company had verbally approved and then decided not to pay for, so they wouldn't be coming. We ended up staying until a little after sunset before heading back to Hurley. A little before we left, I went down to the lake to collapse the chairs on the dock so they wouldn't end up in the lake should strong winds arrive.

Gretchen drove us the whole way home, and we mostly listened to country music. She really liked one song, which she jokingly called her "new favorite song," but hadn't remembered any of the lyrics, so Googling it was going to be difficult. Meanwhile, Neville lay in my lap for the entire ride, and by the end of it, I was feeling worn out from it. He's a heavy dog, and keeping him from sliding off my lap or shifting the Forester into low takes constant work.

Gretchen on the newly-redeployed dock. Click to enlarge.

She said she would be okay with these pictures. Click to enlarge.

Neville walking onto the dock. Click to enlarge.

Neville on the dock. Click to enlarge.

Coltsfoot bursting through the ground behind the cabin. Click to enlarge.

A mystery hole near the cabin. It's about two inches across. Click to enlarge.

The calm water around the dock at around sunset. Click to enlarge.

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