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:
   such complexity was necessary
Sunday, November 15 2015
I was in the forest again early this afternoon in the same general area where I have gathered wood of late, southeast of the Stick Trail's Chamomile crossing 200 feet or so. The available wood there is very much depleted, though there are still some smaller pieces of skeletonized Chestnut Oak and plenty of very dry small-diameter White Pine. So this was what I concentrated on gathering today. I'd gathered almost no White Pine over the summer, but now that I'm burning the wood soon after salvaging it, I'm reminded of its importance when starting fires. It "hunger for bursting into flame" is a metric, then dry White Pine is right below cardboard. And, unlike cardboard, a stick of White Pine measuring three inches across contains enough fuel to burn for a half hour or more, plenty of time to kindle up a good fire against bone-dry Chestnut Oak. Today's haul, all of which went directly into the living room, came to 121.9 pounds, though 18.7 of that was a chunk later salvaged along the Farm Road. Unfortunately, none of the Chestnut Oak salvaged today was perfectly dry, so some of that weight has to be discounted as water. Because of this moisture, I put only a little of today's harvest in the wood rack. Most of it ended up on or around the stove so it could be dried off. (I remember telling my father that I did this some years before he died, and he seemed to think that this was counterproductive because the evaporating water would have a net cooling effect. Back during his career as a geochemist, my father was something of a thermodynamics expert, so normally his views on such things have authoritative value. But in this case, he was errantly overlooking boundaries between systems. I'd agree with him if I was burning wet wood within the firebox, since the steam going up the chimney constitutes a huge loss of heat. But water evaporated from outside the firebox remains in the house's atmosphere, eventually releasing the heat back to it when it condenses on a window, or conserving it in our bodies when it suppresses evaporation therefrom.)

Gretchen has been on something of a window-washing jihad of late. She's already cleaned a number of windows in and around the dining room and all the windows of the upstairs bathroom and bedroom. Seeing what the view looks like through a clean window is inspiring, and so this afternoon I contributed to the jihad by washing the high windows on the south wall of the living room. To get up there required a step ladder, and once I'd washed the inside it was clear I also needed to wash the outside. I also opened up the lamp at the bottom of the living room ceiling fan, replaced an old CF bulb with a lower-power (but equally-bright) LED bulb. While I had it open, I took the opportunity to dump out all the dead flies.

This evening, I added a feature to my Ahmed Mohamed clock that would cause the internal speaker to attach to the wimpy speaker outputs of the troublesome WTV020-SD-16P music file player in cases where the clock is only powered by a USB cable. But when a beefier source of 12 volt power is applied to the barrel connector, a relay flips, connecting the speaker to the output of the audio amplifier. This fix allows the clock to play audio (albeit quietly) even when it is powered only by a USB cable. Who would have thought such complexity was necessary for such a simple result? But when powered by USB alone, the amplifier, if attached to a speaker, starves the WTV020-SD-16P of the power necessary to do anything.

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