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:
   with the force of a rusty nail
Monday, November 15 2010
As with most summer vegetables, hot pepper season has been over for well over a week now, but there are still peppers in the bowl on the kitchen island to be eaten. Some of these had been out in the garden too long and froze a few times, and this has ruptured their cell walls and accelerated the rate at which they decay at room temperature. A rotting pepper is much softer than a non-rotten pepper. But there is a liminal phase between the two, and since peppers are so delicious, I tend to err on the side of eating into the rotten parts of peppers that have started to rot. It turns out that a rotten pepper doesn't taste all that bad. This morning I discovered that a really rotten pepper will actually introduce a pleasant fishy (think kippersnack) flavor into a sandwich.

Up on the roof, I continued preparing the large homemade solar panel to receive its replacement front glass panes. Back before it had been covered with glass, the panel had been covered with two different generations of plastic. The first of these had been a thick gummy material used for making shower curtains. It had worked well until a particularly cold and windy day, when it had shattered like glass. So next I'd tried a thin UV-resistant plastic material specifically designed for greenhouse, and it had worked fairly well, though it was difficult secure across the surface of the panel, and the wind kept tearing parts of it loose. So eventually I installed the glass, which has mostly been maintenance-free. But not entirely.
Last year a chunk of one of the panes broke off, seemingly because the metal clips that held it at the bottom had overstressed it. But today as I cleaned up the panel, I saw that the problem might have been the old nail heads from back when I'd nailed the various plastic coverings to the panel. I'd pulled out what nails I could, but some had proved impossible to extract and I'd been forced to drive a number down flush against the wood. The problem with nails, though, is that they don't just passive lie where you drive them. Over time they bubble back up. It's a slow process, depending on kinetic energy derived from corrosion and the expansion and contraction of wood. But they can move with considerable force, certainly enough to crack glass. Today I did my best to extract all the nails from the places where the new panes of glass will be situated, though I was forced to hammer two of them down deep into the wood (where I buried them beneath epoxy). I could also see a number of nails beneath the panes that I won't be replacing. I will probably be forced to use less restrictive hardware to support the panes at the bottom, allowing those nails to come up if they are so inclined.
At the end of my work, I could see a little rain was spitting down from the sky, so I decided to cover the panel with a tarp. Without glass, water can work its way down to parts that really shouldn't get wet, and I don't want that happening.

The threat of rain escalated firewood gathering into a somewhat urgent concern. The stack of wood at the staging area along the Stick Trail (about 200 or 300 feet south of the house) had been drying in the warmish air for well over a week, and I wanted to capitalize on its dryness by getting it to the woodshed before it had a chance to get rained on. So this afternoon I spent two hours bringing home that wood. As you might recall, this was the wood I'd salvaged from fairly far down the slope and had had to bring up (usually one piece at a time) using the new stone-stepped Cliffside Trail. It came to about three carts' worth, bringing the season's total to nine carts (or ten, if you include the one carts' worth I got from Penny and David). Not only did I wheel all this wood to the northmost terminus of the Stick Trail, I carried it all up to the woodshed, split it, and stacked it neatly in the shed, which is now about as full as it has ever been.

After all that work, I was in desperate need of lupper. So I made myself a delicious jalfrezi-style curry based around black-eyed peas, mushrooms, jalfrezi sauce, semi-rotten hot peppers, and some leftover Indian food from a week or more ago. As always, I ate this Ethiopian-style, using torn pieces of wholewheat flat bread I'd toasted over the naked flames of the gas range.

This evening I set up some molds and poured more concrete for the floor-supporting bench that hugs the base of the greenhouse's eastern wall. I've decided to make a foundation bench that runs the entire length of that wall so that floor units can simply be dropped in place upon it as needed (or taken up and removed, also as needed).

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next