phoebe-induced construction delay
Sunday, May 14 2023
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
It was cooler this morning, though just as sunny as ever. I don't know if it's ever happened before that in a single weekend we fully recharged the Chevy Bolt's battery using nothing but solar-produced electricity, but that happened today. That was despite occasionally-widespread high, whispy clouds and noticeable dusting of pollen on the solar panels.
Eventually it was sunny enough that, when reading outside, Gretchen claimed that she was actually hot. She then decided to go see what reading would be like down at the lake.
Meanwhile my plan was to set up a makeshift retaining wall under the east deck so I could begin digging a deep trench along the basement's east wall allowing me to install exterior styrofoam. I used my trusty battery-powered Ryobi angle cutter to slice a 20 foot long piece of rebar (leftover from the cabin's construction) into four five-foot segments to be used as support stakes. But when I went under the deck to possibly install a first iteration of the retaining wall, I noticed that a phoebe was sitting on a nest atop one of the deck's horizontal support beams. I didn't want to disturb the bird, and the hatchlings only stay in their nest about sixteen days, so I can defer that project to later in the spring.
Instead, I decided to do something I'd thought of doing in the past: adding another basement light near the ceiling of the closet-like space under the stairs coming down from the cabin's first floor. We keep cans of paint and most of the cabin's tool chargers in that wedge-shaped space, and it would be nice to be able to see in there better when I'm looking for something. That space's interior (unlike the rest of the basement) is finished in drywall, so I actually had to cut a circular hole to accomodate a light junction box, which I installed in the wall directly above the door-like entry to the space. Then I ran ran wires to an existing basement light junction box and hooked everything up. All this fussing around pulling wires and such through the basement ceiling has left the insulation that was stuffed between the joists messy in places. There were also some PEX pipes that had started sagging out of the ceiling. So I glued a thin piece of wood between two of the joists to provide support in one particularly droopy area. I might do that in other areas as well, though ultimately I'd like to have a proper ceiling down there, though it would have to have access hatches in strategic locations.
Eventually Gretchen returned from the lake, saying it had been too breezy down there for comfort.
For food today, I basically ate the last of the leftover Ethiopian food. By the end there, I mostly just had a bunch of injera and not much in the way of tibs or wats. So I dumped in some Goya black beans (without any additional flavoring) and this, combined with the somewhat greasy wat-stained injera, tasted surprisingly good.
A little before we drove back home to Hurley, I revisited the nascent "Lake Edward Trail." I decided to mark the parts of it closest to the cabin with a system of cairns made from native granite stones placed atop large boulders embedded in the landscape.
On the drive home, my guts felt somewhat distressed, as if that leftover Ethiopian food wasn't entirely agreeing with me. I'd had the last of the really spicy tibs hours before, and it's always been the case that spicy food causes no problems except in the mouth and in the anus (everywhere in-between seems to lack the nerves that capsaicin triggers). Meanwhile Gretchen tried to contact her parents to wish her mother a happy Mother's Day. She's sort of worried about them because, even for them, they've been extremely uncommunicative in recent months. [REDACTED]
As we neared our part of the Hudson Valley, Gretchen suddenly had a hankering for the music of the band Hole. She requested it on Spotify, and initially its AI thought she meant a band named "Whole," perhaps because she hasn't (in her other musical choices) expressed much interest in 90s-era guitar rock. Eventually we were treated to a mix mostly of songs from Celebrity Skin. "Is there any bad song on this album?" I asked at some point.
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