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
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Like my brownhouse:
   return to the West Hurley Park cliffs
Sunday, August 31 2014
Susan and David wanted to walk dogs with us in West Hurley Park this morning so that I could show them some crazy bluestone cliffs that I'd found back beyond the abandoned bluestone mines. Susan was worried about the possibility of storms in the afternoon, so she'd opted to have a walk so early that it cut into our Sunday morning coffee ritual. I made a peanut butter sandwich and took the last of the coffee to go. Once we got to West Hurley Park, we waited. And waited. And waited. Gretchen had neglected to bring her cellphone, so she couldn't just call to find out what the deal was. But eventually so much time passed that she drove back to our house (four miles away) to get it. It turned out that Susan had had a brain fart and, despite arranging a dog walking time for 10:45, she'd thought she wouldn't have to meet us until 11:45. The cellphone straightened out that problem, and before long, I was leading our party (four humans and three dogs; Olive the Dog was over at Deborah's place hanging out with Allou) to the cliffs. The way to get there is to go southward on the trail that runs parallel to (and a little west of) the large open field that comprises the most obvious feature of the park. Eventually you leave that trail and head westward off-trail around the west edge of a wetland (that, today, was dry enough that dogs could walk on the desiccated surface scum without sinking in) and then go even further west around the south end of a low ridge that runs west of the wetland. The cliffs are on the southwest side of that ridge. They're both unexpected and spectacular, rising thirty or more feet plumb vertically, with roomlike voids undercutting them along the bottom. The bluestone of these cliffs isn't ideal for quarrying, since it is comprised of very thin layers and would probably delaminate chronically if used as flagstones. We found a way up to the top of the ridge that most of the dogs were also able to use, though I think Ramona scaled the cliffs in an even more challenging location. Once on the ridge, we walked northward, occasionally stopping to marvel at the voids cut into the east side of the ridge by people quarrying out bluestone. At some point, we crossed the shallow-but-steep-walled valley to the east and stumbled out into the Town of Hurley's gravel yard (41.967307N, 74.112365W), not far away. David is an illustrator with a fascination for machines (I think he's something in the works involving depictions of anthropomorphized animals operating machinery) and he attempted to pose Darla on a bulldozer we encountered over by the Town's mulch mountain, but she seemed bashful and hesitant about the idea.

Down in the greenhouse basement, I'm finding that the layer of hard bluestone I'd successfully penetrated the other day is now proving fairly easy to remove. When it had been an unpenetrated layer, it had seemed to be mostly devoid of planes of weakness. But now I'm finding that it does have such planes, though they run vertically. With a void for the bluestone to be wedged into, I can attack such weakness from above with the jackhammer and drive the tranches apart. They tend to be four to six inches wide (horizontally) and six to ten inches deep (vertically). Some of the sticks I broke off today were at the very upper limit of what I could physically wrestle out of the hole. I had to temporarily install some wooden planks to help with removing a particularly heavy piece, though another piece proved fairly easy to break into two by dropping it repeatedly against the floor of the hole.

Ramona at the bluestone cliffs. I didn't get a good picture of the most spectacular part of the cliffs. (Click to enlarge.)

At the West Hurley gravel yard. From left: Ramona, David, Darla, Susan, Gretchen, Eleanor. (Click to enlarge.)

David with Darla on a bulldozer. Ramona is nearby. (Click to enlarge.)

Ramona (left) and Eleanor strolling across the parking area of the West Hurley Park. (Click to enlarge.)

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