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:
   looking for flytraps
Sunday, August 5 2018

location: Dug Hill Road, rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, New York

I got up after 10:00AM, but not our housesitter, who stayed asleep past when we left for the Adirondacks. I needed some socks and long trousers and she was in the room where I had to go to get them, so I just went in. I looked over to see her on the bed and she was either asleep or dead.
Before getting on the Thruway, we fueled up at the QuikCheck, where precisely one Tesla was being charged. I went into the QuikCheck for a coffee and a bag of the one flavor of Doritos that is vegan. I classified most of the customers as obese members of the white trash demographic, though whoever owned that charging Tesla would be a member of a completely different demographic. What I'm saying, then, is that the QuikCheck is host to a weird mixing of demographics.
We made a couple stops near Albany for food. The first was at Trader Joe's, where we got two shopping carts' worth of stuff (though most of it being shelf-stable food intended for home). At the nearby Whole Foods, we got items that Trader Joe's isn't known for: non-dairy creamer, soy milk, and bagels.
Traffic was averaging 80 miles per hour on the Northway, so (despite a traffic-slowing accident involving a Prius) we made it up to Minerva's exit in record time. The plan was to go to a campground at Minerva Lake to fill up our water bottles there, but it occurred to me that we should check out the Mobil station at the Northway exit to see if that had any working spigots. Sure enough, they did, and it allowed us to quickly fill all of our water bottles for free without having to go out of our way. I should mention that my awareness of gas station water spigots dates back to when I was a hitchhiker (mostly in my early 20s) and needed an easy source of water both for drinking and hygiene.
Driving the access road to Twenty Ninth Pond was a bit harrowing in the Subaru; the new exhaust system had been such that the pipes ended up hanging only a couple inches above the roadway, and, given the deep ruts and stony ridges in the access road, it was difficult to drive in such a way that the exaust pipes weren't dragging on the ground. The key to success was to not drive in the wheel ruts but to instead have a wheel atop the central ridge and another wheel on the shoulder, though that shoulder often included trees that needed to be dodged.

Once all our stuff had been carried up to the house and more or less put away and we'd had a light lupper of bagels, it was time to check out the dock. Unusually, the water around the dock seemed to be clotted with some sort of spindly acquatic weed that formed great mats. This wouldn't've been so bad, but the mats quickly demonstrated themselves to be home for leeches. The leeches were several inches long, had a line of dots running down their dorsal surfaces, and showed themselves to be strong, purposeful swimmers. One collided with a green frog who reacted with disgust and moved several inches away, which seemed to suit the leech just fine. This suggested frogs don't like to eat leeches and leeches have little interest in frog blood. Meanwhile, Gretchen was horrified that leeches should even be at issue. She blamed the blooms of spindly aquatic weed into which the leeches mostly seemed to be hiding. Gretchen was able to swim, but thinking about those leeches was definitely ruining her experience.

Some previous resident of the cabin had apparently found a venus flytrap, which was no in a porcelain cup out on the porch. I'd had no idea that there were venus flytraps at this lake; my understanding was that all the members of that species were down in the Carolinas. But if so, what was one doing here at the cabin? So this evening I set out to look for wild venus flytraps. I kayaked to the swampy northwest lobe of the pond and then went for a walk, leaping from one floating matt of vegetation to another and looking around. There were plenty of pitcher plants, but no flytraps. As I headed back to my kayak, a beaver just off shore was eyeing me suspiciously, occassionally slapping his tail. When I got into my boat, he slapped the water one last time and vanished beneath the surface.
Gretchen and made meal of tacos for dinner. We used both stand & stuff tacos and soft corn flour & wheat tacos, combined in some cases to make chalupas (which are actually rather disappointing given how much they damp away the crunch of the hard taco shell). We stuffed the tacos with a mix of chipotle-flavored beans and Butler Foods soy curls specifically designed for making taco "meat." With some onion, tomato, and soy cheese, it all made for a pretty convincing (if thoroughly American) taco experience.

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