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:
   bumblebee/Flying Squirrel
Tuesday, May 1 2012
At some point in the afternoon I decided that it was more important to work on the greenhouse attic project than it was to work on a web development project for which a deadline (though somewhat soft) is looming. But I'd looked at the weather forecast, which called for rain, and I wanted to have the new attic subfloor installed before conditions turned windy, if that were to happen. Over the past few days I'd gradually been undoing most of the fasteners holding the roof to the rest of the building and today I removed the metal strap connecting the north rafter girder to the north foundation wall. That left the roof connected only at the south rafter girder, and then only by a pair of hinges. (I'd anticipated one day raising the roof back when I'd originally built the greenhouse.) With the north end of the roof floating free, I could gradually jack it using two jacks placed at the northeast and northwest corners. To get enough clearance to install the subfloor, I only needed to jack the roof up about an inch. It was a fairly easy job and the jacks seemed to reliably hold the weight, though the process didn't happen without a number of disturbing creaking sounds. But after the roof had stood on the jacks for a half hour or so I felt safe to climb around in the attic and do things like fluff up the fibreglass insulation, much of which had been squashed flat by nesting felines and tunneled through and shit on by mice.
The floor consisted of six sheets of four by eight foot 7/16 inch MDF applied in two layers. I staggered the layers so the the edges of a bottom sheet landed on the joist beneath the center of the sheet above it. For the most part the sheets measured 48 by 70.5 inches, though on the ends the sheets measured 23 by 70.5 inches and were actually made from two pieces. But I'd been careful to install blocking between the joists coinciding with the seam between these two pieces so that the edges of all the sheets of the subflooring fell on structural lumber. This should make for a very solid floor, which, since it might one day support a modest cistern weighing hundreds of pound, is important. Here's a diagram of how the subfloor sits on the joists:

At some point as I worked, a bumblebee buzzed me, understandably upset about being cut off from her nascent nest down in the fibreglass insulation, which was now nearly sealed away. I figured it best to put her out of her misery and heartbreak, so I swatted her dead with an old foam rubber paint brush I'd brought with me for just this purpose. With the exception of mosquitoes and ticks, I always feel bad when I kill a creature, particularly one with the complex hopes and dreams of a queen bumblebee in early May. But it's hard to undertake any sort of building improvements without disturbing habitats. For the most part I try to let them be; but bumblebees are a special case; on two different occasions in my youth I had to be rushed to the emergency room and receive an adrenaline injection after having allergic reactions to bumblebee stings.

In other, somewhat cheerier nature news, I should mention today's animal rescue story. I was sitting at my computer and I kept hearing a rustling sound from the other end of the laboratory. I thought at first it was a cat playing with a plastic bag, but when I went to investigate, I found there was a bag moving around and that whatever was inside it was far too small to be a cat. I opened it up and found a terrified and exhausted Flying Squirrel, which Clarence the cat had probably terrorized and dragged into the house. I scooped it up in a jar and released it out onto the laboratory deck. Being Flying Squirrel, I figured he could handle it from there.

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