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 rationale for distant firewood gathering
Tuesday, March 25 2014
The Chamomile Headwaters Trail follows an old logging road uphill and eastward from an intersection with the Farm Road at 41.928176N, 74.108105W. But just east of that intersection, it first must cross the Chamomile itself just downstream from where it drains a substantial swamp running along the east side of the Farm Road. Even when the Chamomile is running dry in places like where it crosses the Stick Trail, it almost always has water in the more leisurely-flowing place where the Chamomile Headwaters Trail crosses it. On this morning, its gentle surface was covered with a thin layer of ice whose crystals had knitted together in gorgeous leaflike textures. I had the Droid cellphone with me, so I leaned down and took a number of pictures, but the glare off the snow was so bright that I couldn't see the screen and notice that for most of the shots my finger was over the camera lens. When I finally figured this out, the change of grip on the phone couples with a sudden give in some ice I was resting on caused the phone to slip out of my hands, smash through the ice, and settle at the bottom of the Chamomile. I immediately reached down, scooped it out, and extracted the battery. Water barely had a chance to get in through the various ports, but I would spend the next 12 hours drying that phone above the woodstove (allowing it in one case to become perhaps a little too hot), and it survived the experience without any apparent damage. Here are two of the pictures that weren't blocked by one of my fingers (for some reasons the camera software, which is terrible in old Droids, felt the need to apply some artsy effect):

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)

Near the highest part of the Chamomile Headwaters Trail, about two-thirds of the way to the Stick Trail, I cut up some dry standing oak with the chainsaw and loaded onto my pack frame. I then hauled it home across a distance of at least 0.6 miles (a kilometer). I could tell from the discomfort it was causing that this was an unusually heavy load, and sure enough when I got home and weighed it, it came to 80 pounds. I realize it is kind of silly to gather wood so far from home and carry it over such an unpleasant snowy walking surface when wood can be found much closer to home, but for me this is all a proof of concept. If I can carry wood weighing this much across such long distances over such poor surfaces and use it as my only source of wood to heat the house in January-level conditions (as I have been able to do), then I can always be secure that I have enough firewood on hand even when supplies run low. Of course, part of the reason I am gathering wood so far from home is that these are places I would be anyway when walking the dogs.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next