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").


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Like my brownhouse:
   Lake Edward is still the best
Monday, September 15 2014

location: west shoreline of Kyser Lake, Herkimer County, New York

It was our last morning at the cabin and we wanted to make the most of it. Sure, the cabin was sort of a hovel and kind of groty with the accumulated funk of countless strangers, but in only a few days it had become comfortable for us and we were enjoying this Adirondack vacation as much as any of the others. It was another cool sunny morning, and again we had our breakfast out on the end of the dock. Both dogs joined us, as did Celeste the Kitten (for whom it was as big as the Santa Monica Pier). Eleanor doesn't like walking on uncertain structures, but she was now accustomed to walking all the way to the floating dock at the end of the pier. And Celeste was now so bold that she attempted several times to get into the row boat tied to the dock (though every time she put her paws up on it, she pushed it out into the water and had to abandon the idea).
Gretchen and I went on separate kayak adventures at various times this morning. I went south and looked again at the bottom ends of the various inclines used by the camps on steep parcels. I passed a number of boats along the way and kept wondering why all these cabins had such large boats on such a small lake. I couldn't imagine having a need for any boat bigger than a canoe (one large enough for Gretchen and me to transport both dogs). But evidently the idea of using human power on an Adirondack Lake is as unAmerican as the idea of letting the grass on your lawn grow long. Meanwhile Gretchen went north to investigate "Ransom Bay." She noted that one house there in an overcrowded neighborhood was for sale and was interested what its price would be. We'd already decided that perhaps some people actually like having lots of neighbors at their lake cabins, though our litmus test for any lake cabin is that Gretchen be able to sun herself and go for a swim without ever having to put on any clothes (that's also been a litmus test for our week-long cabin rentals, with the exception of Gust's cabin last summer).
Later in the morning, Gretchen took a final naked swim and then we began to pack up our camp. To open up as much room as possible inside the Subaru, I did not take advantage of the Oru kayaks' ability to fold. Instead I took advantage of the Thule hardware on the roof to strap them (and the five gallon water jug) down up there. Knowing that the flat Thule straps tend to hum like enormous woodwind reeds when allowed to stretch taut parallel to the ground, I wrapped such segments with leftover segments of loose strap. Just before leaving the cabin, I shut off the water pump and hot water heater so nothing would be ruined should a beaver chew through the water intake pipe.

Though Gretchen and I will soon be buying an investment property in Kingston and will not be able to afford a lake property in the Adirondacks without a mortgage, we nevertheless decided to meet with Carol, the weirdo realtor we've been working with for the past few years and have her show us a couple places. So instead of instead of immediately driving down to the Thruway and heading for the Trader Joe's outside Albany, we headed east on small roads through the beautiful rolling farmland just south of the unfertile Adirondack massif. Gretchen had mistakenly received driving instructions to the wrong lake, but that didn't take us more than a half mile out of the way, and soon we'd reached our first destination: West Stoner Lake, where, one presumes, the clocks are permanently flashing 4:20. West Stoner Lake has a largely cabin-free coastline, and most of the cabins are crowded along its narrow east-pointing arm. The good thing about the cabin Carol showed us today (43.224966N, 74.528192W) was that it was largely shielded from its neighbors on either side. But then came the bad things: across the narrow arm of the lake were several cabins with an easy view of the cabin's shoreline and backyard. Also, the lake water seemed to be only about six to twelve inches below the level of the house, which wouldn't provide much of a buffer for flooding. As for the cabin itself, it was a claustrophobic warren of hallways and bedrooms in various stages of construction. It was far more cabin than we had any need for, and so of course the price was well above what we would have been willing to spend even before we bought that investment property in Kingston. If Carol had, you know, done her homework, she never would have shown it to us.
The next place Carol showed us was on Lake Edward, our favorite Adirondack Lake, the place where we've rented cabins on two different occasions. Unfortunately, though, the cabin in question this time (43.123553N, 74.359327W) was in a crowded, somewhat swampy section of shoreline, shoehorned on a narrow lot between two other cabins. Lake Edward is big and the southeast shore is nearly cabin-free, but the proximity of adjacent cabins was going to be a dealbreaker even if the dilapidated state of the cabin wasn't. Supposedly a guy actually lives there full-time, tolerating rotting roofs, desperately peeling paint, and a yard accented with sheds and piles of rusting junk. Despite all that, it was good to see Lake Edward again and renew our sense that it is head-and-shoulders better than all the other lakes we've seen. Carol promised that next time she'd visit the camps before adding them to the list of properties to show us. She'd also be more conscious of the nude bathing litmus test.

When we turned off I-87 into Colonie (just north of Albany) we went first to the Eddie Bauer Outlet store so Gretchen could purchase some sensible clothes. I also bought a light fleece jacket, mostly with an view to wearing it in the laboratory during the cold winter months. After selecting that, there wasn't much to do with myself except to notice that one of the styles of rack looked exactly like a swastika when viewed from above. Eventually I went out to the car and debugged a problem with the Subaru's cigarette lighter. It turned out that its fuse had blown and that was why Gretchen couldn't recharge her phone. Luckily, I had a spare fuse, the one I'd removed when I needed to disable the anti-lock brake system. (I don't think the blown fuse was related to the small electrical fire that had happened the other day, though it's possible it was; in any case, once the fuse was installed, the cigarette lighter became functional and Gretchen could recharge her phone.)
We went on to buy groceries at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, though at the latter we only bought one cart's worth instead of our customary two. Among our purchases was ten boxes of organic cornflakes.

Back at our house in Hurley, the interior smelled decidedly fecal for some some reason, a problem that couldn't even be fixed by scooping out all the litter boxes. It was a cold enough evening to justify a fire in the woodstove; our house hadn't been this cold inside since April.

Every night in our cabin in the Adirondacks, I'd gone to bed thinking cheerfully about the concrete base for the north end of the greenhouse floor girder slowly curing in my absence. So I was excited to tear off the mold and look at how that base had turned out. Unfortunately, the concrete had a great many voids in it along the sides of the mold, suggesting that I hadn't agitated the concrete enough as I'd poured it. Still, it seemed sound and likely wouldn't be going anywhere given the nine separate pieces of metal horizontally connecting it to a massive block of nearly-solid bluestone.

Eleanor and Celeste on the cabin's back deck. (Click to enlarge.)

Me on the lake in an Oru kayak near our dock. (Click to enlarge.)

Gretchen reads while Ramona hangs out nearby on the dock. (Click to enlarge.)

Ramona and the lake (Click to enlarge.)

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