over-sensitive cabin smoke detectors
Saturday, October 23 2021
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
When I went out this morning to start the generator (mostly so I could grind coffee), I saw a foggy deposit on the Bolt's windshield. I ran my finger over it and discovered it was ice, the first frost of the coming winter. Obviously, this arrives sooner (perhaps weeks sooner) in the Adirondacks than it does back in Hurley. But I was still glad I'd that a few days ago I'd brought in both tropical plants (a spider plant that I've kept alive for about a decade and some sort of plant from the deep jungle that I got earlier this year as "change" when buying a used washing machine).
I went into the bathroom to check how the spray foam turned out beneath the sink. It looked good, but then I made the mistake of trying to tuck the stainless steel hoses into the void in the pedestal. Doing this contorted the tap, the fittings, or the hoses in such a way that a very slow drip began to happen. Anyone familiar with plumbing knows that drips are never to be tolerated. I was forced to tear the escutcheons off from around the hoses supplying the taps and look for where the water was coming from. After some dicking around and rotating the hose in its fitting (it was some sort of SharkBite-style push-fit gizmo), the leaking seemed to stop. That wasn't a very satisfactory ending to the problem (nothing I'd done had produced a definitive snap or click), but I didn't want to tear the wall apart, so I considered it tentatively acceptable. It also made me feel a little less enthusiastic about the cabin's plumbing. With soldered pipes, there is no middle ground between leaking and not leaking. It either does or it doesn't. With this newfangled shit, evidently leaks can heal themselves (or be fixed and, apparently, unfixed) by random movements. It is to soldered coppered pipe as bunny ears are to coax cable.
When I finally got my Facebook messages (which sometimes requires going up to the loft area of the cabin), I learned from Gretchen that a replacement had been found for Powerful's failing heart. He'd only been on the waitlist for about forty days (all of which he has spent in the hospital), and it was looking like surgery would be happening this evening. This was great news, although it dashed Gretchen's plans for a relaxing day of alone time. She had to leave the house this morning and drive to the hospital to be there for moral support and such.
The dogs were in need of a walk, so I took them down the driveway, cut through Ibrahim & Jackie's building envelope (where there is now a drilled well but no structures) and went down their dock trail to the lake. Though we're far ahead of them on the cabin aspect of our parcel, they've got us beat with their dock. They have a three-foot-wide platform reaching ten or twelve feet out into the lake. I noticed as I came down the trail that there was a wildlife cam on one of the trees, so some day I might have to account for what I was doing at their docksite. But this wouldn't be as embarrassing as another thing robots might've recently taken pictures of; last night as I got out of the Bolt to open the Woodworth Lake gate, I immediately started spraying urine onto the roadway (that's what a road beer will make you do). Even as I was doing this, though, I remembered that there is a camera on the gate designed to get pictures of vehicles coming and going. It was night, though, so perhaps the camera didn't get a good look.
From Ibrahim & Jackie's dock, I led the dogs along the lakeshore over to the north end of the lake and then through the Boy Scout campground (with picnic tables and fire pits) that are now part of our parcel. Along with the picnic tables and rugged barbecue equipment, the Boy Scouts had left behind three plastic-headed rakes, a tool that might prove useful at the cabin. So I grabbed one and used it as a walking stick for the rest of my hike. I continued downstream along the seemingly-unnamed brook that carries the outflow of Woodworth Lake and soon found myself in a crazy land of low cliffs and random blocks of granite. It seemed that here the brook was entering a bit of a gorge before continuing down to Lake Edward.
From there, I headed generally back toward the cabin, encountering more odd rock formations near the boundary between our parcel and land owned by Adirondack State Park. One such formation was a massive boulder (it was about ten feet tall) crowned with a species of fern that I only ever see growing on the tops of rocks (though I've seen it, or something similar to it, growing atop bluestone rocks and boulders near the house in Hurley).
Thinking about all the rock formations I'd just seen, it struck me that presence of so many cliffs is probably a consequence of the recent rapid uplift of the Adirondacks. In other places where the land isn't rising so quickly weathering and erosion has the time to smooth away the abrupt changes in elevation.
Later this afternoon, I continued doing little tasks around the cabin. I replaced the door to the closet near the front door with a wooden curtain rod so we could make it easier to access (otherwise the closet door interferes with both the front door and the stairs to the loft). I also used a sander to remove the faux "old timey" finish from a medicine cabinet Gretchen had bought online and then been disatisfied with (she'd bought it for our
upstairs bathroom back in Hurley some years ago and hated it so much she'd bought another one, though the one she hated couldn't be returned). The results of the sanding were pretty good on the cabinet's mirrored door, but as I tried to rework the crappy carpentry of the cabinet itself by removing various boards and such, I realized it would be much easier to make a custom medicine cabinet for the mirrored door that better fit the void in the wall made for us specifically for that unloved cabinet (a generous six inches deep).
After dark, I baked a frozen pizza in the oven, which made the cabin's hair-trigger smoke detectors completely lose their mind. Modern smoke detectors don't just beep at you; they have a honk that sounds like a fire engine, and they can also produce human speech in some scenarios. I removed the damn thing because it was stressing me and the dogs out. That's the problem with super-protective security devices, the tempation to just disable them is too high. But then it turned out that I actually had been burning my frozen pizza.
Later this evening as the cannabis kicked in, I decided to wash a brown blanket that Gretchen had neglected to wash back in Hurley. It had a constellation of smells, including that of Neville's urine, that I wanted to eliminate. There is a washing machine in the cabin and it seemed to work, though it took a very very long time (at least it seemed that way in the state I was in). At the end, though, it managed to spin nearly all the water out of it, meaning it only had to spend a few minutes in the dryer (which is gas-powered; it would be a thermodynamic crime to power an electric dryer with a generator burning propane, dumping all heat of its inefficiency into the cold Adirondack woods).
By this point I'd managed to get the house's boiler working and a good strong fire burning in the woodstove, so the cabin was pretty comfortable. I should note that the cabin now also has gutters on the north and south side, meaning there is no longer rain being dumped onto the deck in front of the front door. Instead the water goes into two subterranean pipes that shunt it discreetly into the woods. Of course at some point I will want to intercept that water and direct it into a rain barrel for use even when the household plumbing is unpressurized. But that will have to wait until a lot of other chores are completed.
A pair of mystery ducks out on the lake. Internet research (not done on a toilet but possibly in a bathtub) led me to conclude that they were a pair of male bufflehead ducks.
Ramona and Neville above a low cliff in the shallow Woodworth Outlet Brook gorge.
Neville figured out how to get down the cliff before I had to show Ramona how to do it. Note the huge exposed root of that yellow birch, which needed more than the top of the ledge could provide.
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A line of cliffs on the west bank of the Woodworth Outlet Brook gorge.
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Ramona poses with the huge fern-topped boulder.
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Another amazing little passage through the stacked granite boulders.
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