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:
   locavore hell
Wednesday, October 22 2008
One of the times I like to dash over to Home Depot to get concrete blocks is in the morning while Gretchen is walking the dogs in the forest. This keeps me from having to disappoint Sally and Eleanor by telling them they don't in fact "get to come" but instead "hafta stay." Normally I love taking the dogs with me, but their eight seven pounds of combined mass is equal to that of three concrete blocks, which I then cannot include in my payload. Unlike, say, firewood, solar panels, or trash, the limiting factor when hauling concrete blocks in a Honda Civic hatchback with ruined suspension isn't volume, it's mass. I could probably fit fifty eight by eight by sixteen inch blocks into my hatchback, but I don't know what that 1450 pounds would do to my suspension. Generally I try to keep my loads to six hundred pounds or less. This morning I totally cleaned out Home Depot's available supply of standard concrete blocks. But since this came to only 14 of them, I filled out the rest of my self-imposed weight limit with mortar and concrete. I also got four eight by eight by eight inch concrete half-blocks. Interestingly, I noticed that these had been built with thicker walls and probably weighed nearly as much as their full-sized relatives.
Later I used a half block and six or seven full-sized ones to finish the second tier of the south wall and begin a third. At this point the wall has reached up out of the hole in the southeast corner, but since that contour dips slightly below earth at the southwest corner, I'm going to need a fourth tier before I can finish up the southern wall. This is, of course, the wall that will support the greenhouse's glazing. Unlike most greenhouses, this one is designed for the dead of winter when the sun is low in the southern sky. Glazing will be restricted to the south wall and the building will have a conventional metal roof. As for its north wall, that will be comprised entirely of masonry and buried in soil.

This evening Gretchen and I satisfied a hankering for diner food by going out to Dietz's Diner in Uptown Kingston. That place feels like a time capsule, complete with both archetypes of traditional American waitresses: the harried, apologetic woman who calls you "Hon" and the blasé working girl who sees work as a series of annoying interruptions to her daily cigarette break. (Of course, if Dietz's was an actual time capsule, the latter would be doing her thing with a cigarette dangling from her lip — but these days you have to go to Pennsylvania or Virginia for that experience.)
We both ordered veggie burgers, which we doctored up with vegan cheese brought from home. Gretchen had also brought a Bubbie's pickle, a gourmet alternative to the glow-in-the-dark greenish-yellow things to be expected at diners. Both Gretchen and I agreed that the Dietz Diner French fries were all that we had hoped for. Indeed, the only real disappointment was the tomato. These were blanched slices of locavore hell, all the more disappointing given the freshness of the memories of summer's home-grown tomato bounty.

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