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:
   inspections I could've easily failed to do
Saturday, December 3 2022

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

Not surprisingly, I had a bit of a hangover when I woke up this morning, though it wasn't as bad as expected, and I didn't really notice it except when I stood up from sitting on the couch with a laptop in my lap for an extended period.
I made myself coffee, read the news, and played Spelling Bee into the late morning. I wanted to go down to the dock to try and get the dock pieces above the new, higher level of the lake. But a steady rain was falling, and that wasn't the sort of job that needed to be done in the rain.
The rain relented in the early afternoon, so I put on my boots, grabbed my small come-along (the one I used for jacking up the hinged section of dock) and the little Ryobi battery-powered chainsaw. Not surprisingly, the dogs opted not to tag along.
At the lake, I made quick work of further jacking up and securing the hinged section of dock. That was the task I'd been most worried about, since everything seems kind of rickety chained to that pole that is just sitting on the lake bottom. But it's more solid than it feels, and now I had the floater for that section of dock about two inches above a lake surface that is unlikely to rise much (if at all).
I then turned my attention to the fully-floating section of dock, partially beached just north of the tree dock, with some of its floaters up on blocks to stay above the lake. Now, of course, the lake was higher, and three of the floaters were once again partially-submerged. I'd barely been able to walk on the lake side of the dock when it was four inches lower, so there didn't seem to be a good way to just jack the dock up higher. So instead I used the little come-along I'd brought to pull the dock section further inland. It took awhile, and occasionally I had to pry the dock up to keep it from bulldozing soil in front of it. Also, since the little come-along (which is only rated to lift 500 pounds) only has a pull distance of five feet, I had to reattach it to the chain I was pulling against three times. But this allowed me to tug the dock six or seven feet further inland, getting all the floaters out of the water at the lake's new level. The lake might rise a bit more, and hopefully if it does, the floaters won't mind getting trapped in thin layer of ice.
Back at the cabin, I celebrated the success of further dock winterization by making a frozen pizza that had survived in the cabin freezer despite occasional day-long power outages and drinking more of that wine I'd had too much of yesterday. I then took a bath in the upstairs bathroom.
As with the dock, there was apparently a problem with the bathtub's drainage plumbing that only came to light after an inspection I could've easily failed to do. I did that inspection on Thursday night, having set a register in my brain to do so after watching a YouTube video showing all the rot and mold that can happen behind the finish work of a bathroom if the plumbing isn't leak-free or water can find its way between tiles. I removed the hatch beside the toilet and looked to see where water, if there had been any, was. What I found was that a large plastic container (the kind baby spinach is sold in) I'd set under the most complex section of drainage plumbing had partially filled with water. That's not good, but at least it had caught leaking water, none of which had worked its way down from there, setting up problems for a future me to fix. Initially it wasn't clear where the water was leaking from, and tests with a running hot shower and cold water sitting in the bathtub with the drain closed hadn't shone any light on the matter. So I was sure to see what if anything happened when I took a hot bath.
Sure enough, after I got out of the tub, there was once again water in the plastic box under the tub's complicated drainage plumbing. This suggests that the leak was caused by standing water in the tub, though it might also rely on the water being warm. When I looked to see where this leak was coming from, I saw water dripping slowly (a drop would form and fall about every five seconds) from what looked like the place where the plastic plumbing pipes attached to the tub below its drain. Fortunately, if there was a leak from there, I could fix it entirely from outside the wall instead of in the cramped spot beside the toilet. All I had to do was further tighten the the threaded connection holding the drain pipe in place (a connection into which I'd gobbed a fair amount of plumbers' putty. To do the tightening, I removed a small decorative filter (it was a stainless steel plate full of holes) and then stuck the tips of a needle-nosed pliers into the "spokes" of the drainage hardware and turned it as much as I could clockwise. This seemed to fix the leak, according to a subsequent inspection.

Looking across the lake today after jacking up the hinged part of the dock so the floater is once more out of the water. Click to enlarge.

Both sections of dock after getting them out of the higher lake level today.

The hinged part of the dock after today's additional jacking, viewed from near the big granite boulder.

The tree dock at the higher lake level. Click to enlarge.

Icicle on a cliff face several hundred feet west of the Woodworth Lake's outflow beaver dam. Click to enlarge.

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