dock winterization, day 1
Thursday, November 17 2022
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
I'd left the cabin's heating system running all night, and by this morning it was up to what I had set the thermostat for: 64 degrees. I immediately turned off the heating system and started a fire and then prepared for another day heavy in meetings in the remote workplace.
During a particularly long and dreary sprint planning meaning, I carried my laptop around in the kitchen while slicing up onions and mushrooms to put on a frozen faux-pepperoni pizza. It ended up being pretty good, and I enjoyed it despite intestinal discomfort stemming from having ingested too many cashews.
After the planning meeting, I took advantage of the lunch hour to walk down to the lake to begin the process of winterizing the dock. Thankfully, the lake hadn't yet frozen. There was even some species of duck near the dock when I arrived, but he or she was spooked by my arrival and initiated a takeoff that involved a long running taxi across the water's surface. (Most ducks don't require this.)
Once I'd removed the chairs, table, steel box of goodies, three gallon potable water tank, and whatever snow I could kick into the water, I tied the floating section of the dock to a piece of rope which I lashed to a pole supporting the permanent part of the dock so it couldn't escape once I'd detached its hardware from the hinged section of dock. That detaching went pretty quickly, though it required me to drive out the hinge pin (a section of pipe) with the hammer face of a small mattock. Once the floating dock was free, the hinged section of the dock dove unexpectedly deep into the water. But its floater kept it well above the surface of the lake. At the time there were strong winds blowing from the north, and this helped me get the floating part of the dock to where I wanted it, which was the patch of lakeshore just north of the tree dock. There are no rocks or woody matter on that section of beach, just a gentle swampy slope deep and wide enough to accommodate this section of dock. I normally keep the canoe on the lakeshore there, but I'd dragged it uphill to get it out of the way.
Next I tried setting up my modified come-along to make an attempt at pulling the dock onto dry land. I to do this, I needed to rig a long piece of chain to a nearby hemlock tree so I'd have something to pull against. But it turned out that none of my quick links were small enough to fit inside the links of the chain I was using. I tried to improvise using cotter pins instead, but they weren't too helpful. And by then it was late in my lunch hour and I needed to head back to the cabin.
After making numerous cuts, all of which failed to go all the way through the trunk, I was finally able make one that did and then clear the fallen white ash from my handtruck and pile of styrofoam. The handtruck was a little deformed after its experience, with the handles no longer heading into the frame symmetrically. But it remained fully functional, indicating it really is as heavy duty as claimed (the tree that had landed on it had a trunk measuring nine inches in diameter). As for the styrofoam, it was a little beaten up on one edge. But that can be the edge I trim away on the shorter pieces I need under the porch and deck. And if the damage extends further into the pieces, I can just make those parts be buried the deepest, where it is of decreasing importance how intact the styrofoam actually is.
There had been so much snow falling throughout the day that I began to grow worried that the Forester might get trapped at the cabin. So this afternoon, I took it for a drive out to Woodworth Lake Road and back. It was easily up to the challenge, not seeming to spin its tires even in the deepest snow on the steepest parts of the road, giving me confidence that I would be able to get out when I needed to.
This evening after yet more tedious meetings, I walked down to the lake in the twilight (what little light there was being amplified by all the snow). There I set up the come-along, this time just barely managing to get some of the too-large quick links to fit my chain (since I had no usable alternative). After that, I thought the come-along would make things easy. But the floating part of the dock is even heavier than I thought. There is no way that I can, say, lift a corner with my unleveraged strength alone. Attempting to do so felt like trying to lift the corner of an automobile. The come-along worked, but only grudgingly. And the cable became so tight that I was worried it might spectacularly fail, whipping back at me and slashing my face off. So I fetched a piece of scrap lumber leftover from the dock building process and used it as level against some blocks of wood (a fulcrum) to lift the dock up so the cable could pull better and relax a little. In so doing, I was gradually able to pull the dock about half-way onto the beach. I figured I'd come back and do more when I didn't have to use a flashlight.
Back at the cabin, I decided not to drink any booze or take any drugs, since my guts had been acting up today ever since eating those cashews. I ended up going to bed before 8:00pm. This was fine with the dogs, who came claws-a'clicking into the bedroom soon after I'd snuggled in under the covers.
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