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:
   good luck lake visit
Saturday, July 11 2020
Gretchen had arranged for a daytrip today to the southwestern Adirondacks today to look at a large 43 acre lakeshore parcel. Normally we would've taken the Prius, but that car is at Prestige Toyota because it cannot be driven. This meant we would be driving the Subaru (as the Nissan Leaf lacks the range to get to Fulton County in a timely fashion). As you'll recall, the Subaru had battery issues after not being driven for a month, and we wondered if perhaps its battery would need to be replaced. If I'd had to give it a jump start this morning, we would've stopped at an auto parts place along the way to get a battery, but it started just fine. Before all that, though, it seemed prudent to remove a bunch of unnecessary tools and such to make it comfortable for all the passengers who would be going on today's road trip. These included Powerful, Gretchen, and both dogs Ramona and Neville. The Subaru has served as the default landlording vehicle and thus was full of things like drywall knives, rolls of Romex electrical wire, and odds and ends I'd bought over the years at the Tibetan Center thrift store.
On the way out of Hurley, we stopped at the big QuikChek near the traffic circle to gas up and get coffee for Powerful and me. I also got a box of milk bones for the dogs, who hadn't had any breakfast. It was definitely not vegan. There are lots of options for coffee at QuickChek, so the one I went with was Extreme Caffeine. Powerful also got some potato chips.
For some reason the audio cable in the Subaru wasn't compatible enough with Gretchen's phone to get an audio signal, meaning we had to listen to the radio instead of podcasts. We listened to all of Huey Lewis and the News' "the Power of Love," just to demonstrate how bad it was to Powerful, who only knew it from movie soundtracks.
In Albany, we stopped at the Honest Weight Food Co-op mostly to buy pre-packaged road food. We also got a few items that were either very inexpensive (jars of Bubbies Pickles) or unusual (kombucha from the tap). Powerful had never had kombucha before, and he liked it. Unfortunately, the pandemic had made the Co-op remove the little cups allowing people to sample the kombucha flavors, so we were forced to use less santirary methods.
We'd left the Subaru running with the AC cranked up for the dogs, and when we returned to it, we found we couldn't get in. The damn dogs had somehow locked the car! Momnentarily, I tried convincing Neville to unlock the car. But he couldn't tell what I was trying to get him to do. I had experience unlocking the Subaru in this state, so I went off looking for a some kind of long stiff narrow rod. I saw one on a fire hydrant designed to help firefighters find it in the snow, but it was impossible to remove. But then I saw similar fibreglass rods holding up string to keep people from walking through a flower bed. I easily pulled one out of the ground. It was shorter than the one I'd used to reach across the width of the Subaru to roll down the window back in the winter. But with Powerful helping to hold the pane of rolled-up glass away from the rubber gasket, I was able to reach around the passenger side window and peck the unlock button. It was unlocked! This whole ordeal had lasted less than five minutes. Gretchen was overjoyed; had we waited for professional help, we would've been very late for our meeting with Van, the real estate agent waiting for us at the parcel in Fulton County. Not unexpectedly, while we'd been in the co-op, one of the dogs (and probably just one of them) had eaten all the remaining milk bones in the box I'd bought at the QuickChek.
Google Maps directed us through the faded glory of Gloversville. It's such a downtrodden white working-class city that I expected to see at least one Trump 2020 sign, but I didn't see any anywhere.
Our destination was Woodworth Lake, which is upstream from Lake Edward (aka Vandenburgh Pond), the mile-long lake we stayed on in the summer of 2012 and 2013. Woodworth Lake is smaller than Lake Edward, but is about as wide and much shorter. It used to be home to a Boy Scouts camp but has in recent years been sold off for lakeside lots. But in an effort to protect the natural quality of the lake, there are numerous restrictions on what can be done. For example, the only structures allowed on the shoreline are docks, and no trees may be cut down within 100 feet of the water. These restrictions probably accounted for why the 43-acre parcel we'd come to see, though it has a third of a mile of shoreline, is priced at only $150,000. It has no structures, and if a cabin is to be built, it must be over 500 feet from the shoreline.
Van hadn't gotten Gretchen's message saying we'd been delayed by our dogs, so he seemed a little miffed when we arrived at the Woodworth Lake gate. But he got over it. We followed him in the Subaru as he drove to the cleared site in the 43-acre-parcel's "housing envelope" and discussed all the fine points of the parcel with Gretchen while I found a place to piss and looked for pieces of black mica in the crushed granite gravel. Powerful was unaccustomed to urinating outdoors and initially asked if there would be a bathroom where we were going.
After Gretchen and Van were done discussing things and he'd given Gretchen a set of maps, he stayed behind in the housing clearing while Gretchen, Powerful, and I hiked down to the lake. (Van had a gimpy knee and didn't want to walk down there.) For whatever reason, the deer flies were especially bad today and attacked us mercilessly.
When we got to the lake, we were impressed that it still had a largely natural quality. There was initially only one structure visible, and it was on the most distant shore. Gretchen immediately jumped into the lake and went for a swim, and even Neville did a little swimming. Powerful, on the other hand, just wanted to stay on shore. So he stayed with the dogs while Gretchen and I commandeered a handy canoe and went for a paddle around the lake.
We saw a few other docks along the south shore of the lake, and they suggested what would be permissible for us to build. As we paddled past the large visible building on the northeast shore, we saw a number of boys and men fishing off the dock. Along the north shore were a number of beautiful cabins within a couple dozen feet of the shoreline, which begged the question: were they in compliance with the lake's rules or had they been grandfathered?
As we returned to the west end of the lake, we paddeled into the lake's triangle-shaped outflow area, which was somewhat isolated from the rest of the lake by a small island (43.121656N, 74.338423W) comprised of granite boulders. According to our map, the entire shoreline of this outflow area (which was 200 feet long and 150 feet wide at the island) lay in the 43 acre parcel we were here to look at. Gretchen was amazed at the potential privacy of having our own little sublake. The only real sticking point was whether or not we could have the lakeside lifestyle we'd want given all the restrictions.
After landing and returning the canoe to its rack, we all went for a hike along the lake's south shore to the westmost tip of the triangular sublake, where a beaver dam had added a foot or two to the lake's water level. Below that, a line of stones made it easy to cross the brook carrying water down to Lake Edward. To the northwest, there was a little camp ground with a picnic table under the dense shade of evergreens. This too belonged to the 43-acre parcel. Gretchen thought this place was magical, though I was being attacked so much by deer flies that I wasn't really in agreement. From there we tried to find the stone foundations of some ancient buildings, but they eluded us.
We took a different path back to our car. It was marked with trail markers and climbed along a series of granite cliffs so steep that it required a switchback. Powerful is in much worse shape than either me or Gretchen, so he was forced to stop periodically to catch his breath.
We'd been gone for more than an hour, so Van had gone on to do other things. Fortunately, the Subaru easily started up when I turned the key.
Gretchen wanted to show Powerful Lake Edward, so we made a brief detour before heading back to the Thruway. At some point I realized I didn't know where my ultra-zoom Nikon camera was and I could hear something rattling around on the roof. So I pulled over, got out, and there it was, to the amazement and delight of Powerful and Gretchen. We were thwarting all attempts to ruin our day.
Google Maps sent us to the Thruway via a different route, having us drive through Amsterdam instead of Gloversville.
Near Albany, Gretchen first wanted to go to Trader Joes. But as we drove into the parking lot, we could see over fifty masked people waiting in line to be let in. Evidently there were more people who wanted to shop than was permissible under current social distancing rules. So we canceled that plan and I drove us on Central Avenue towards Downtown Albany. As we passed Little Anthony's, the dumpy Italian place with all the great vegan options, Gretchen mentioned it. The idea of pizza and big Italian sandwiches had both me and Powerful excited, so I busted a U-turn, and we bought a bunch of stuff there. It came pretty quickly even though others in front of us were waiting (in a masked social-distance kind of way) for food that had to be made first.
With all that food, we nevetheless drove (Gretchen was driving at this point) into the heart of Albany so Gretchen could show Powerful what it looked like. She also wanted to get a bunch of stuff from Berben & Wolff's, an all-vegan sandwich shop on Lark Street. That order alone came to over $60. It will take us days to eat through all this carry out.
There were a few downpours on the drive from Albany down to Hurley, but the sun had come out and there was a beautiful double-rainbow visible as we took Exit 19.
Back at the house, we immediately feasted on just some of what we'd gotten in Albany. The portion sizes of Little Anthony's foods are enormous, but I somehow managed to eat a calzone the size of a cat all by myself. It had been prepared to my specifications with jalapeños and mushrooms.
Later, as I was coming back from the brownhouse, I was met by Gretchen in the driveway. She had astoundingly good news to report. Prestige Toyota had left a message on our phone telling Gretchen that her suspicious about the inverter had been correct, that it would be replaced as soon as the part arrived, and that it would be done free of charge. Evidently the things I'd read about it being covered by a fifteen year warranty were correct. It was the cherry on top of today's string of good luck.
After dinner, Gretchen and I hung out for awhile in the living room playing today's New York Times Spelling Bee. Gretchen felt the pavlovian need to drink coffee while we were doing this, so she made herself a glass of ice coffee (as for me, I was drinking a beer). Today's panagram, by the way, was "backyard."
I slept well tonight do to diphenhydramine, but Gretchen tossed and turned all night, tantalized by the 43-acre parcel.

Powerful (wearing a mask) and the Subaru in the cleared area in the 43-acre parcel.

Gretchen in Woodworth Lake on its western shore. She's always annoyed when I'm taking pictures she fears won't be flattering.

Ramona and Neville in Woodworth Lake. A swimming Gretchen is also visible. Click to enlarge.

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