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:
   a need for southern and eastern limits
Wednesday, October 7 2009
It was another day working remotely, though already it seemed the leash was slackening. The guy whose job it was to call me every three hours started calling me less when I expressed confidence in a fairly ambitious schedule. This confidence came from a growing familiarity with the platform I was working with, though I had not yet developed true fluency.
My breaks from work were mostly dedicated to installing the Purple Martin house atop the outhouse. Gretchen thought maybe we should sacrifice another of the massive birdhouse's floor disks as a second wall-mountable CD rack. But I was initially resistant because I thought this would require truncating the PVC pipe rising from the outhouse roof ridge, an impossibility after filling it with mortar and rebar. But then Gretchen suggested I just run the pole up into the birdhouse's high-peaked roof. This would be impossible without modifications, but those would be fairly easy. And a big benefit to reducing the birdhouse's height by a floor would be better protection from the elements by the roof.
At first I thought I'd just take a hole saw to the plywood blocking access to the birdhouse's attic and make a perforation for the central pole to disappear into. But a heavy steel flange stood in my way, and all the bolts holding it in place were frozen with rust. Then I realized that there was an elaborate pulley system hidden away inside that attic. These pulleys had been the mechanism allowing the lower parts of the birdhouse to be lowered down from a poletop mount so they could be cleaned or repainted. None of this functionality would be necessary on top of the outhouse, so I removed the entire bottom of the attic segment (pulley mechanism and all), making it much lighter and giving the top rooms in the Purple Martin house a grand (if wasp-nest-decorated) cathedral ceiling.

Powerful gusts buffeted the trees as I worked, and again I found myself worrying about the large White Pine with festering bulldozer injuries just north of the house. The tree used to only threaten the laboratory and perhaps the east deck, but since then I've built a greenhouse and an outhouse within its possible kill zone. So today I ordered 50 feet of 5/16 inch airplane cable (rated to handle over 8000 pounds of force) so that I can rig a tether to establish southern and eastern limits to its possible adventures.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next