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

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   vegans on Labor Day
Sunday, September 3 2023

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

We were out vegan butter, so instead of my usual toast, this morning I had a cucumber bean salad Gretchen had bought me somewhere. It served as the digestive buffer for my Sunday morning coffee. After getting a little past the status of genius while playing the New York Times Spelling Bee collaboratively, I returned to the foundation insulation ditch, which is now right below the big south-facing windows of the great room. For the installation of many of the recent sheets of styrofoam, I've made heavy use of an especially large mattock that has become one of my favorite digging tools (I've had it for many years). It's a great tool for cutting mountain goat paths along a steep slope or digging a shallow trench for burying electric cable. But when I've been using it to deepen the trench in which I will be installing a sheet of styrofoam, my tendency has been to dig the trench only as wide as the mattock's blade. It's pretty wide, but not wide enough for me to stand in (at least not with the ability to turn around). Such trenches inevitably collapse, causing me to go in there with a conventional shovel blade (I have one whose handle long ago rotted away, which is great for this purpose) to clear it out. For today's sheet of styrofoam, though, I thought I'd avoid using the mattock entirely and, once I had the level of the trench down to about three feet below grade, I'd go in with the handle-less shovel. Later I used a square-ended ash shovel (designed for cleaning out a woodstove) to even out the bottom of where the new sheet of styrofoam would go. Doing this, I was able to make a trench deep enough for an 85-inch sheet of styrofoam (that's well over 60 inches below grade) without any collapses of the trench wall. (I'd used a similar technique under the deck along the east foundation wall, and I don't know why I'd stopped doing things that way.) When I actually installed the 85-inch sheet, it had a gap of at least an inch along the top (easily filled with spray foam), suggesting the trench was an inch deeper than my initial measurements.
I then took a recreational dose of tramadol and walked down to the lake to see what Gretchen and the dogs were up to. (Gretchen had taken a non-conventional path to the lake, which was the reason the dogs had followed her.) When I arrived at the dock, I heard Ramona whimpering, which meant Gretchen was swimming and Ramona was suffering from FOMO. Neville, on the other hand, was perfectly relaxed on the fixed part of the dock, acting as some combination of troll and security. I immediately climbed in the canone and took Ramona for a paddle out to the beaver dam at the lake's outflow. There, I let Ramona out so she could walk home on her own (she seems to like doing this when I let her off near the beaver dam).
Back at the dock, Gretchen eventually returned from her swim (she'd been out there forty minutes, she said) and she and I chatted about various things, especially all the signs of human life we could see. Usually when we're at the lake, we have it to ourselves. But today there were two boats (in addition to mine) out on the lake and at least six people goofing around at the public dock. Joel's dock has been mostly vacant all summer, but today there was a time when two people were visible on it, and one of the boaters (paddling a pink kayak, something no self-respecting man at Woodworth Lake would ever do) was clearly based there.
Eventually Gretchen went back to reading her book and I hiked back to the cabin, where I installed two more sheets of Durock: one on the south foundation wall and one on the west. Both required cutting, which meant I had to drag out the "fucked saw" again (I'd put it away last night, assuming I wouldn't be using it again this weekend).
We started our drive homeward at around 5:30pm. This time we elected to take the scenic route, through Schoharie and Middleburgh, avoiding the Thruway except between Saugerties and Kingston. Along the way Gretchen got a hankering for french fries, which I somehow was able to turn into plans for dinner at El Rancho, an 80s-style Mexican restaurant north of Saugerties we'd enjoyed when we'd last been there, which might've been fifteen years ago. I said that going to a Mexican restaurant on Labor Day Eve was, for vegans, a lot like Jewish Christmas. It would be our restaurant-based defiance of what the rest of America was doing (that is, eating barbecue). This was all great in theory, but then it turned out that El Rancho was closed.

A toad I've seen in previous weeks who lives near our boat rack (above the dock). Click to enlarge.

A bolete mushroom near the dock. This same fungus seemed to produce mushrooms earlier in the summer too. Click to enlarge.

Gretchen swimming seemingly near Pyotr's boathouse. Click to enlarge.

People at the public dock today, seen via telephoto lens.

Throckmorton the Loon, today. Click to enlarge.

Throckmorton the Loon with some person I don't recognized on Joel's dock in the background. Click to enlarge.

Durock (with props to aid adhesion) along the south foundation wall today. Click to enlarge.

Durock (with props to aid adhesion) along the west foundation wall today. Click to enlarge.

The cabin's southwest corner, cladded in Durock, today. Click to enlarge.

Neville and Gretchen on the east deck this afternoon. Click to enlarge.

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