pre-winter dock chores
Sunday, October 22 2023
location: 940 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
I woke up with the dogs on a day somewhat less rainy than expected. Initially I thought I'd somehow dodged a hangover after last night's excesses, but eventually I could feel it like another force of gravity acting in another dimension. I made some coffee, ate a bagel, and when I looked at a clock for the fist time, it was already afternoon.
Eventually I convinced both dogs to walk with me down to the dock, where I wanted to do some further preparation for winter (which, spoiler alert, is coming). I brought my angle grinder and a pair of vise grips because I needed to cut some existing chain into smaller pieces. At the lake, I cut two pieces of chain to make diagonal tension supports for the two outermost pylons (to keep them from being dragged out further from shore when embedded in ice). I would've gone on to hook them up too, but I was wearing Crocs and would need to wade. Also, I needed pliers to force the pipe gate hinges (my attachment mechanism at either end of the the chains) closed enough to bolt them in place. Another task I undertook was to climb up into a sugar maple tree maybe fifteen feet (using the telescoping ladder) and using a small piece of chain around the trunk (above a large knot!) to hold a pulley in place high on the trunk. This is the pulley that I will be using with a winch to pull the floating deck ashore for the winter.
While I was doing all these things that no dog finds interesting, the dogs were snorting around in the forest some distance up the slope. By the time I was ready to head back to the cabin, the dogs had vanished. But I encountered them not to far along the trail.
Back at the cabin, I made some modifications to the wiring of a 12 volt winch that would allow me to operate it from a good distance away, which I thought was important to protect myself against cable, pulley, or chain failures. Any such failure could cause a cable or chain to whip dangerously through the air, and the most likely direction for that whipping to go would be either towards or away from the winch. Understandably, then, I didn't want to be near the winch while in operation. I also figured out how best to attach the winch to the bottom of a tree trunk so it would be able to pull without giving way. For that, I would be using another short piece of chain.
Later I returned to the lake for a second time today, this time wearing rubber boots allowing me to wade in the shallows. I also brought a pole saw, the winch, channel-locking pliers, and the angle grinder again (so I could cut that short piece of chain I now knew I needed). This time, I didn't encourage the dogs to come with me, and they stayed back at the cabin.
Using these tools, I was able to install the chain tension supports tightly on the dock, forcing the pipe hinges down the support pylons as far as I could (even using a hammer at the end for greater tension) and then clamping them in place. I then cleared some hemlock branches from around the pulley so they wouldn't interfere with towing the dock ashore.
Back at the cabin, I found that Charlotte had done some acting out in my absence. She'd destroyed a package of dental floss and then chewed on two different pairs of Crocs. The damage to one of the newer pair was trivial but she'd removed a fair amount of rubber foam from the old Crocs I'd been wearing on and off since 2005. Miraculously, though, they were still wearable. After that, I took all be books, magazines and games from all the lower shelves and pushed the curtain shut on the entranceway closet (to discourage snooping that could lead to further shoe destruction).
Later I walked around with a five gallon bucket gathering stones from the woods above the cliffs a couple hundred feet west of the cabin. Charlotte tagged along and was curious about what I was doing, though of course she had no idea why it would make sense for me to use these rocks to further complete the top of the retaining wall northwest of the cabin. Indeed, there are plenty of humans who wouldn't understand me doing this either.
This evening I convinced the dogs to come upstairs and hang out in the beanbag while I took a bath. I figured Charlotte would feel less of an urge to act out if she was near me. And there were fewer things there for her to destroy (though she did eventually chew on a red plastic cap for the 12 volt marine battery I use to power the WiFi hotspot whether the cabin has power or not.
The dock today. You can see one of the tension support chains prior to deployment.
Click to enlarge.
The chains being used for tension support, running to the top of the outermost pylons from the bottom of the next pylons in.
The pulley with towing cable for pulling the floating dock ashore.
What Charlotte and a badly-influenced Neville did to a Lemony Snicket book before I stopped them. Click to enlarge.WWDW
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