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:
   cat on insulation
Tuesday, May 19 2009

What with all the plants in the garden (particularly the tomatoes and basil), we dodged a bullet last night when temperatures fell to 34 degrees. This is late for such cold weather in this climate, but I've experienced worse in a warmer region; during my childhood (spent five miles south of Staunton, Virginia) one year there was a frost as late as June 9th.
Down at the greenhouse, I applied the last of the Portland cement stucco to the outside of the Wonderboard shell covering the styrofoam that in turn covers the concrete block foundation. This last stucco (reinforced, as always, with fiberglass mesh) was to protect the top edge of the styrofoam where it projects out beyond the carpentry immediately above it.
All the soil piled against the north wall of the greenhouse has made its attic accessible to the cats, who can climb up the artificial slope and then get into the attic between the rafters (I'd never bothered to put blocks between these rafters; the only thing I cared about keeping out was rain and snow). Eventually I'll be jacking up the greenhouse roof and adding walls and turning the greenhouse attic into a small non-basementy space complete with a composting toilet, but for the time being it's a space with about two feet of headroom and no floor. There's nothing to walk on but bats of fiberglass insulation (fiber-side up), supported from below by Wonderboard screwed into the joists. This is plenty solid enough for a cat to walk around on, and indeed cats seem to like to sleep in the cushiony comfort of fiberlgass insulation (though it can't be good for them when the subsequently lick their fur). With Juneau the ginormous dog staying at our house, Clarence has basically moved into the greenhouse attic for the time being. It's not that Juneau is all that terrible with cats; he's curious about them and he's just so goddamn big. I've even been giving Clarence cat food in the greenhouse, although in a pinch he could always eat the chipmunks he either kills or renders paraplegic.

I keep a supply of various custom tools within reach near my computer for addressing mild hygienic discomforts as they arise. I have a brass bolt that I use for cleaning my ears, a sharp-pointed droplet of formerly-molten aluminum for lancing pimples, a dental pick for cleaning my teeth and removing splinters, and a velcro-hook-covered ruler I mostly use for scratching my back.
In this season, I find myself spending a fair amount of time searching my feet for the tiny sources of pain. Often these turn out to be splinters of copper or glass or nearly-microscopic thorns embedded in the thick skin at the bottom of my feet. My skin is so thick that these splinters only cause pain when I'm walking, but they can be impossible to find. Today, though, I had something bigger lodged in my foot and I had to resort to using a boxcutter on my foot. This might sound extreme, but a boxcutter can be used for gentle skin removal as well as hijacking jetliners. Using knives to remove foreign matter from my skin is something I learned long ago from my father, who used to remove splinters from my fingers this way when I was a very small boy. Of course, that was always a miserable experience because, with him wielding the blade and me suffering the consequences, there was no way for him to know whether or not he was poking the knife too deeply and inflicting excessive pain.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next