metal stitches in plastic
Sunday, March 20 2022
It was significantly colder today, but it was mostly sunny, which made the cabin easy to heat just using the woodstove. There was even some solar electricity available when it came time to grind our coffee beans. We made rapid progress on the day's New York Times Spelling Bee but couldn't figure out what the panagram was. Then suddenly Gretchen saw the word "half," which was hiding in plain sight due to its unusual letter pattern for a word in English. A beat after that, I saw the word "halfwit," which was the elusive panagram. And with those two added to what we'd found already, we went immediately to queen bee, meaning there was nothing left for us to do in that game for the day.
Later we managed to muster the initiative to go for a walk down our trail to the lake. It was the first time I'd been on that trail in months. Fortunately, nearly all the snow was gone, but our building site was so muddy in the back that we got down to the trail by going around the east side of the cabin. It's actually a gentler slope to go that way and I should probably make it a proper trail.
Lake Woodworth was not shrouded in fog today, so we could see it in all its post-winter glory. It was still entirely frozen aside from pools of runoff along the shoreline. I was to nervous to walk out onto the ice from the shore, but from out on the tree dock, I seemed to be entering the ice on a thicker section. But I only went out onto it a few feet before chickening out. If that ice should've opened up to swallow me, I feared I would've succumbed to hypothermia almost immediately.
I'd assumed the dogs wouldn't follow us down to the lake, as they'd seemed initially reluctant to do so. But then Neville appeared in his smart little sweater (which he inherited from the late Bruce, Ray's brother's — Kim's — old pit bull). And Ramona arrived shortly thereafter.
The plan today was head back to Hurley a little on the early side, without doing much in the way of projects. I got myself a good kratom buzz and reseached our dead Fortress Power battery, the one the chuckleheaded solar installer people had installed. The damn thing has little in the way of an interface, so there's not much that can be done to it. Somewhere online I found that if its power got too low it would go into "shutdown mode" and need to be "reset." But nowhere did anyone describe how it might be reset.
Meanwhile, Gretchen was throwing out all the food that had spoiled in our refrigerator. I'd turned it off completely at some point, so its temperature had probably come to be about the average inside the house (which, when we arrived on Friday, had climbed to 50 degrees). Evidently this was too high for some things. A vegan pizza in the freezer had become covered with black mold, and a loaf of bread had turned entirely green. It was enough of a diaster for it to genuinel bum Gretchen out. But, as I saw it, it was all part of the learning process for having an off-grid cabin, a process that also had me trying to buy an obscure Navien valve to replace one broken by ice expansion.
At a little after 2:00pm, we started our homeward drive, Gretchen at the wheel. We didn't make any stops at all. This was, as it happened, perhaps our first "pure cabin" outing, one where we went nowhere the entire weekend except to our cabin.
Back home in Hurley, I immediately drove out to Home Depot to get supplies (mostly drains for the hydronic and hot water system) from Home Depot. I also got some tools to help me deal with Little John's chuckleheaded arrangement of pumps and connections that make it all very difficult to work on. In particular, I needed ratcheting 17 mm socket and wrench capability and compatible socket extensions to deal with the flange bolts on the circulator pumps. And I wanted to have a separate set of these tools there at the cabin so I will always be able to fix problems that develop with these things.
Meanwhile Gretchen had gone to a "ladies only" birthday party for Sarah the Vegan at her house. She knew she was not going to enjoy the food, since it was going to have a Moroccan theme, with raisins in things that really would taste better without bursts of concentrated sweetness.
Gretchen and Neville at the "tree dock" near our dock construction site on (now frozen) Woodworth Lake.
Click to enlarge.
Ramona on the new orange couch in the cabin's great room.
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