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:
   a festival in Bleecker
Saturday, September 16 2023

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

This morning after the usual routine, I mixed up some more portland cement and went back over the work I'd done around the windows (all of which had turned to stone overnight). Some of it was a bit too crude, and last night I'd been unable to make it perfect without the mesh in some place coming loose. Mind you, it was still fairly crude after a second pass, but how perfect does it have to be around a basement window? I also put some portland cement into a few gaps here there where the sheets of Durock or Wonderboard were not abutting as tightly as I would've preferred. I also covered up a scrap of Durock I'd placed just east of the Bilco doors, which I'd put on rough-side-out, meaning it had lots of text printed on it. Covered with mesh tape and portland cement, it looked a lot more like the Wonderboard to its east. I also put some portland cement on the bare styrofoam covering the east wingwall of the Bilco door entranceway, though I've decided to leave the finishing of the wing walls to a separate project, perhaps done next year.
I then spent a good amount of time placing topsoil (which I'd segregated into three separate piles immediately south of the cabin) back at top of the trench along the south wall. I had so much of this soil that I ended up heaping it somewhat against the foundation wall, making the initial slope away from the cabin fairly steep. In so doing, I managed to completely eliminate two of those piles and reduce the other by two thirds. (I'm saving a little of the topsoil to be placed along the west foundation wall as well.)
While working outdoors in the daytime, I've been continuing to listed to WFNY, the quirky Gloversville-based oldies station with the weird low-budget ads for local companies. Today they played the Dan Fogleberg song "Same Old Lang Syne," which had a lot of radio play back in the early 1980s. Listening it to it day, after decades more experience in life, I could feel the song had a lot more meaning than it had for me when I'd first heard it. I'd liked it back then and even found it poignant, but that was back before I'd ever had romantic partner and couldn't imagine what it would be like to stumble across an old one in a grocery store. It actually brought tears to my eyes. The song references Dan Fogelberg as he was when he wrote the song, that is, as a successful musician ("She said she saw me in the record stores/ And that I must be doing well.") Usually musicians write their least-inspired music once they get rich and famous, but perhaps this was an example of a good song written by a musician who was already rich and famous.

This afternoon, Joe, the project manager from the crew that built our cabin, would be performing with his band at Mountain Hut in nearby Bleecker (close to the southwest corner of Lake Edward). He'd sent an invitation to us via Gretchen, but of course she had other plans for this weekend. So I went to the show by myself, telling the dogs that unfortunately, they'd have to stay. Also rememebered to take the cabin's recyling with me, which had been overflowing.
When I got to Bleecker, I found the place was mobbed, and there actual traffic cones in the middle of Route 309 to warn motorists to slow down. It looked like some sort of biker convention, with lots of burly men with beards walking around with beers in their hands. But instead of motorcycles, lots of people had driven there in ATVs (which are probably not legal to drive on the road, assuming that rule is enforced). I parked the Bolt on Lily Lake Road and walked into the festival, whatever it was, to see what was going on. It looked like Mountain Hut had been shut down for a couple weeks for a "staycation," though the parking lot was being used for this event, which turned out to be the first annual Fire on the Mountain Festival. The fire itself was a generously-fed pit nearby, though the music (Joe's band) was cranking through a series of classic rock hits with workmanlike productivity. Nobody in the band had much of a singing voice, but they were all competent with their instruments. Joe was one of the singers and alternated with another guy to play rhythm or lead guitar. I didn't know anyone there except Joe, so, after getting a $5 plastic cup of red wine (the beer options were terrible), I just stood there and watched them play. Occasionally I'd look around to get a sense of the demographics. There were as many as 200 people there, and, without exception, everyone was white. They looked to be, on average, older than me, though there were a handful of little kids running around and a smattering of people who might've been in their 30s or 40s. There was also a young man who might've been a teenager. I didn't see any obvious indications of political preferences, but if I had to guess, this looked to be a Trumpy gathering of people. Had you told me they were there for a Trump rally, I would've believed you.
At some point Joe recognized me, which was all I really needed to accomplish. But I hung around until his show ended (which it did with a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street"). During that song, some woman who looked like she was in her 30s tried to get me to dance, but I said, "I'm not dancing." When he was done, Joe came over and offered to buy me a beer (by this point I'd found that there was a second beer menu for fancier beers that cost $3 instead of $4, and I was drinking Hazy Little Things). I told him I should be buying him a beer, but off he went to get me a Hazy Little Thing. We chatted for at most five minutes, me telling him how much we love the cabin, and that I'd built a dock. I also prasied his musicianship and asked how the band got started. He said he'd been playing with the bass player since high school, which, for Joe, would've been in the early 1970s.
Joe ended our conversation by saying he had to help his band break everything down. So I went and sat by the firepit to drink my beer alone. I'd realized I didn't have any autumnal clothes suitable for going out at the cabin and had had to attend this event in a teeshirt, shorts, and flip flops as if it had been late July. Nearly everyone else was wearing jeans and light jackets, as the evening was expected to be chilly. But I wasn't staying for that.
On the drive back to the cabin, I stopped a couple times along Woodworth Lake Road to gather rocks, mostly rounded pieces of granite ranging from fist to basketball sized. By the time I rolled into the cabin's driveway, I was probably hauling over 500 pounds of stone, and the car was burning through a mile of range every couple hundred feet. (I was climbing a grade, but it was never very steep.) These rocks were for the stone wall improvement project behind the cabin, though I ended up gathering many more of these than I needed for that.
Back in the cabin, I ate some cannabis and ended up drinking a lot of gin with orange juice. I eventually had more cannabis-fueled ponderings, such as "what is the deal with insect stages?" I wondered if they corresponded to critical mileposts in a fast-forwarding adventure through the recapitulation of phylogeny. And then I heard it again, the sound of geese in that one song by the Editors.
Later I did the thing Ramona likes, which is to press my face against hers. I realized that this was a form of intimacy that we share that nobody else knows anything about. I often feel a deeper connection with the dogs when I'm cannabis, and I was feeling that tonight. I mused on what the current dogs bring to my life and compared them to our earlier dogs, Sally and Eleanor, and decided they were worthy replacements. I felt so strongly about this that I sent it to Gretchen as a direct Facebook message. She agreed but said we'd come to this conclusion a long time ago. That Ramona was a replacemnt for Sally and that Neville was a replacement for Eleanor made me wonder about who is and who is not a replacement. Who might I be a replacement for? I was named after my great uncle August Deschler (1886-1978), who was the closest thing to a father figure in my father's life, and I am like him in some respects. But I'm no replacement.

Joe (in front of the American flag) and his band. Click to enlarge.

Some people near me at the fire pit. That dark haired guy was one of several people that stood out as unusual looking. Click to enlarge.

Another view from the fire pit, this time with the fire. Click to enlarge.

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