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:
   free carpet
Sunday, October 5 2014
I left for the Wall Street House this morning even before Gretchen had returned from the morning walk with the dogs. (Though they love to come with me in the car, their boredom at the house isn't worth it for either me or them.) The first thing I did at the house was to spray the portland cement around the dryer vent with water so as to keep it from drying out. The ideal for materials like this is always to keep them damp until they cure, which they do asymptotically.
While arranging the clamps and such on the flexible aluminum dryer duct, there was a knock at the door. It was the female half of a vaguely white-trash young couple from Binnewater Lakes coming to pick up the carpet we'd ripped up so far. (Gretchen had made a listing for free carpet on Hudson Valley Ecycle, and that seemed to work where other listings did not.) The man was still in the truck, so the woman was understandably nervous about coming in through the door I was holding open until he'd come out. You never know; the offer of free carpet could have just been bait for a sex dungeon. Later, as I helped the couple wrestle the massive, unweildy rolls of loose carpet onto the roof of their badly dented truck, I made a comment about how this was the way to remove a dead body from a house, but by that point they were comfortable enough to laugh along with me. They said that this carpet was much better than the crap they'd found in the rooms of the house they were moving into.
Once the carpets were gone, the wooden floors of the downstairs looked pretty good. There were a few small discolored spots, but there were no physical problems with the wood (unless you count the tiny holes from staples and nail strips).
After getting the dryer all set up and testing the duct, I turned my attention to the OSB (which Gretchen and I had moved to the small garage out in back). When I'd bought the OSB, I'd failed to consider the size of the attic hatch, which measures only 28 by 28 inches. Clearly, a four by eight foot sheet of unflexible paneling was not going to make it through such a hole. I would have to cut those sheets in half lengthwise to make two by eight foot sheets. There was no power in the garage, so I ran an extension cord out there and used by best power handsaw to rip each of them in half. Carrying them up to the attic was a little awkward, but perfectly doable, and before too long I'd managed to get all five sheets cut in half and stacked up in a pile in the attic. The task of screwing them down will have to wait for a cloudy day; though today was a good bit cooler than it had been yesterday, the sun was strong and the attic was hot.
It's a lot more straightforward to drive from rural Hurley to Home Depot than it is to drive from Wall Street. I headed east down Franklin until I approached Broadway, but when I saw that there was merely a stop sign on Broadway, I turned north, hoping to find a street meeting Broadway at a traffic light. Unfortunately, the street I selected to go north on was Furnace Street, and I couldn't take Liberty eastbound because it was one-way. Furnace ends in a dead-end north of Liberty, so I doubled back west on Center Street, took Clinton North, and then St. James was the next east-bound street. But it reached Broadway in its north end, where the east and west bound lanes are separated by a large island. So I forced to go east on Broadway (away from my goal of Albany Avenue), but a U turn (something only possible on a Sunday), and then go to Albany Avenue, which is the way to 9W and all the ugly big box stores that live there like huge capitalist malignancies. I bought six sheets of 3/4 inch OSB flooring, loaded it by myself on the roof (an easier job than expected), and returned home to Hurley carrying that 480 pound load overhead.

Obviously, I haven't been wasting my time doing any more excavation in the greenhouse basement, and that's not entirely because of the work on the Wall Street house. The excavation flooded after recent rains, though not as much as I'd expected. After the rain had been falling for a day or so, I checked out the excavation and saw water trickling into it through multiple cracks at a combined rate that looked to be at least a gallon per minute. In the end, though, the water accumulated to a depth of only 15 inches, more than 60 inches shy of the girder (which dips a little into the highest possible level for floodwaters to reach). This indicates the severity of the ongoing drought. For whatever reason, the surface of the 15 inch flood at the bottom of the excavation is littered with the drowned corpses of dozens of small (immature?) millipedes and an occasional centipede. I've seen a few live ones here and there as I've worked, and I know they tend to be klutzy and fall occasionally into the hole. But I had no idea there were so many there. Where do they live? What do they eat?
The one thing I did today was replace the 50 feet of thick (3/4 inch) twisted polypropylene rope in the basement hoist with 100 feet of 7/16 inch braided polypropylene. The hope was the braid would keep the whole apparatus from twisting during use, though this didn't prove to be the case. What helped, though, was to take the end of the rope that attaches to the hoist dolly and attach it to a point on the hoist far away from the pulleys. This makes the lifting rigging more triangular and less likely to twist, particularly as the load approaches the dolly.

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