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:
   they don't seem quite like red squirrels
Saturday, August 11 2018

location: Twenty Ninth Pond, Essex County, New York

The morning was cooler and cloudier, and the pond was sadly still Throckmorton-free. When I was walking out to the dock with my morning coffee and poppy seed bagel (made with avocado, cream "cheese," a slice of Tofurky, onions, lettuce, and the last sad remnants of a homegrown tomato), I thought I heard human voices from the the crude boat landing at the north end of the pond (near the trail to Stony Pond). Ramona the Dog thought she heard that too, and she started barking in that vicious way she reserves for things she perceives as genuine threats (this does not include bears). I scanned the shoreline with binoculars and couldn't see anybody; perhaps any humans who had been there immediately fled at such a fierce sound.
After a couple brief walks (and, for me, visits to both cellphone spots), I took the good camera (and Ramona) on a paddle in the kayak to photograph carnivorous plants on the pond's southwest shoreline. At the south end of the pond, Ramona tried to get out on waterlogged tree trunk, but one was more buyant than another, and the differential threw her off, causing her to fall completely into the water, submerging completely beneath the surface for a moment. This didn't upset her too much. She managed to get out onto one of the logs and then into the kayak.

At the nearer of the two cellphone spots, my favorite place for checking my cellphone is a mossy patch with an adjacent semi-rotten paper birch log that I use for a pillow. It's a comfortable place to lie and try to keep your cool while web pages load across a marginal cellphone connection. Usually there aren't too many mosquitoes, and often one spends such a long time there in silence that wildlife will pass through, unaware of your presence. Today I got a good look at a pair of chickadees and whatever is that small species of Adirondack squirrel with the rusty-red coat and cream-colored belly (according to the one mammal guide in the cabin, it must be simply a red squirrel, though to me it looks different).
It started to rain around 3:00pm, which wasn't much of a problem for me, working as I was on the porch. Gretchen, on the other hand, prefers to spend most of her days out on the deck, and she was sad that our last full day in the Adirondacks was cold and rainy. At least `she'd been able to get in a swim.

It being the last day of our Adirondack vacation, normally we'd have a fire in the fire pit. But heavy rains in the late afternoon had drenched all the wood we might've burned, so instead we had a meal mostly of reheated leftovers. We had some hamburger-like Butler Foods soy curls intended for tacos, and I added onion, garlic, and bits of Tofurky sausage to that, and we pretty much had tacos and burritos for dinner, though there was also still peanut sauce noodles from two days ago.

We intended to leave the cabin early tomorrow, so tonight we did a fair amount of cleaning just to get it out of the way. At this point in the story it's important to mention that Gretchen had bought a lot of nuts and sunflower seeds at Trader Joe's and, fearing they'd overheat in the Subaru, had put them on a shelf in the basement of the cabin. Initially I'd been concerned that they'd be vulnerable there to the local population of rodents. The other day I'd even caught a chipmunk checking out Gretchen's stash, but I'd been distracted by the shark-gill-like scabs on the chipmunk's body, suggesting he'd recently survived an attack from a bird of prey. But every time I looked at the nuts and seeds, there had been no indication that anyone had been raiding them. This evening, though, when I went to move the bags of nuts and seeds back into the Subaru, I saw that five or six bags had been completely emptied. Someone (probably that scabby chipmunk) had chewed holes in each of those backs and emptied them out. The holes had been just large enough to allow, say, a chipmunk inside, and, in the cases of the sunflower seeds, the thief had actually removed a thin layer of husk from each seed before taking them. Much more had been taken than any single chipmunk could possibly eat, so clearly the stolen nuts and seeds had been relocated to a secret cache. Interestingly, unlike with mice, the thief had been careful not to defecate all over everything. Whoever had stolen these things had mostly been interested in salted sunflower seeds and walnuts; he or she had left the cashews alone.
When I reported this news to Gretchen, it seems I used a bit of an accusatory tone, because she immediately became defensive, pointing out in no uncertain terms that I had acquiesced to her putting the bags of seeds and nuts in the basement. While it's true I'd acquiesced, it was mostly as an experiment. On some level I'd wanted to know if chipmunks could sniff their way through a plastic bag. Too bad the experiment cost us about forty dollars in seeds and nuts (and even a small part of nearly every taco in a bag of corn and wheat soft tacos)!
Later still, after I'd washed a pile of dishes, I broke into a big bottle or Omegang Three Philosophers Stout (which is over nine percent alcohol). When Gretchen saw that, she seemed dismayed at such a display of drunken debauchery, but I was determined to continue with my vision of how I wanted my vacation in the Adirondacks to play out. I'd been saving that bottle for the last night.
The final shared activity of the evening was the watching of an episode of the British mystery show Strike, which (going in) I didn't know was a mystery. I watched it nevertheless, hoping to understand why Gretchen likes mysteries so much. Open as my mind was, I found watching it to be a somewhat miserable experience (even with a mug of strong beer in my hand). Gretchen tells me that the writing behind the show had been done by J. K. Rowling under a pseudonym. When nobody had paid any attention to it, Rowling had leaked that that she was responsible, creating much more interest. This had me thinking that I should write some material and then "leak" that J. K. Rowling was the real author. Would things rise and fall based on the vehemence of her denials?

A pitcher plant.

A sundew plant.

A bad photograph of one of the pond's many leeches. Note the line of spots down its back. It's probably Macrobdella decora, which is indeed a species of bloodsucking leech.

One of the deer mice living in the cabin approaches a small hole in its southwest corner (on the porch) with a nut or a seed.

A deer mouse leaving through that same hole. They came and went at a rate of about one per minute this evening.

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