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:
   unexpectedly loud brown
Saturday, October 28 2023

location: 940 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

I had a bagel with cream cheese and other things with my morning coffee and Spelling Bee (whose panagram was the tricky word "fettuccine"). But it turns out that the cream cheese from Pearl's bagel is the kind with too much of a soy milk flavor, something I've been spoiled by other vegan cream cheeses not to expect.
Today was cloudier than the weather forecast had led us to expect. It was good enough weather for some things, though, such as my finishing the priming of the north foundation wall. But a light rain started up as I was finishing that. When that finally stopped, Gretchen started painting the final coat on the south foundation wall, a brown we'd picked some weeks ago at the Sherwin Williams store in Kingston. The brown was a bit louder somehow than Gretchen had expected, but she decided she'd learn to live with it. Soon I was also painting that same shade of brown (though with a different paint technology) on the propane tank. In that context, it was perfect, since that particular brown was good for helping make the tank (which had been white) disappear.
As we worked, I was playing WFNY, the weirdo oldies station that I listen to when I'm choring at the cabin. I hadn't realized how many ads they play until I was listening to it with Gretchen (whose normal behavior is to immediately change channels when an ad comes on, something I never do and am usually too busy to do in any case). At some point the station played a mostly-forgotten pop song called "I've Never Been to Me," complete with a spoken-word part for all the ladies in the audience. "That's so incredibly cheesy!" Gretchen declared. But then that song ended up being an earworm for both of us, with Gretchen even giving the melody different words to sing about how cute Charlotte and Neville are.
Gretchen ran across our neighbor Ibrahim either yesterday or this morning, and he'd invited us over to see the inside of his A-frame, which only this past week finally got some clapboards to cover the A-shaped west end. So late the afternoon, while I was waiting for the first coat of paint on the propane tank to dry, we walked over there for the second time (he'd been gone the first time). Ibrahim has multiple surveillance cameras on the front of his cabin, so there's no sneaking up on him. We rang the Ring-branded doorbell and he let us in on the first floor (one floor up from the basement, which is a similar size to our basement). The inside of the A-frame was a cluttered jumble of half-finished construction project, but in amid the chaos (and apologies for the mess) he pointed out various interesting things, such as the ventilation system (with heat exchanger!) necessary due to how tightly-sealed the house is. The house is eventually going to have three bathrooms, and all the toilets will have their tanks hidden inside the walls. One of the bathrooms will have enormous porcelain tiles (measuring something like two by three feet each), though he'd only managed to hang one such tile. Up on the second floor, his steeply-sloped roof was reaching so high that there was actually room for a narrow, windowless third floor. Down in the basement, he showed us that he was also insulating the inside of his concrete foundation walls (which, like ours after my summer-long project, have two inches of foam on the outside). Personally, I wouldn't want to wall away all that thermal mass, though doing so will make the basement rooms more responsive to the heating system.
As we were about to leave, one of the owners of another Woodworth Lake parcel arrived driving some sort of fork lift. This was Mitch, who has a small sawmill that he was using to cut a slab of native cheery for Ibrahim's basement bar. It turns out that Mitch is a talker, and once he starts talking, it's hard to figure out a socially-acceptable way to escape. He had a bunch of interesting stories, mind you, partly because he lives in four different places. His place here is off-grid, where he runs all his sawmill equipment off a generator (though he has a greenhouse-like building he uses for drying wood that he refers to as a "solar kiln"). He also has a place on Long Island, a place in the Dominican Republic, and a place somewhere else. He mostly talked about his place in the DR, where it's a "barter culture" and he has a small banana plantation. Later in the conversation, we learned that Joel is having something of a haunted hayride tonight. Evidently we are so non-participatory in the HSA goings on that Joel has stopped sending us notices of such events. It was just as well, as temperatures were dropping fast, so that hayride was going to be a cold one. Furthermore, the hay wagon looked like something from a Donald J. Trump political event, as it included a huge American flag in its design for some reason.
On the walk back to the cabin, I showed Gretchen another route through the woods starting from the aborted entryway someone had bulldozed into their parcel off Dug Hill Road. This leads to an abandoned logging road that spat us out near the lonely camp chair in Shane's parcel (the nearest one to our cabin). Gretchen told me I was free to go on that haunted hayride if I wanted to, but of course there was no way I'd be participating in such a miserable activity, and I certainly didn't want to get caught in another Mitch vortex (even it involved drinking a half bottle of scotch; Mitch was talking about how heavily everyone in the HSA drinks).
While I was painting a second coat of brown paint on the propane tank, Gretchen was cooking up tricolor spaghetti. She suggested I prepare that hen of the woods I'd found the other day along the Farm Road, as it wasn't getting any fresher. So I took what looked good from the mass of fungus, cut it up into fajita-style pieces, and composted the rest. After searing in a pan for awhile with salt and a lot of oil, I'd produced what seemed to me like the best mushrooms I'd ever prepared. Gretchen, who usually steers clear of my foraged mushrooms (saying they're "too fungal") gamely took a bite but was horrified by how bitter it was. I don't know if what she ate was actually a contaminant or an insect or what, but nothing I ate tasted bitter at all. I added the mushrooms to the red sauce I put on the spaghetti, and it was good, but it was a bit of a waste of such a delicious mushroom flavor.
Later, down in the basement, I installed the other two outlet boxes and wired them all up to the circuit for the outlets I'd installed in the walls around the stairway. In so doing, I managed to give myself a cough from the sawdust produced by drilling through ceiling joists and the fibreglass insulation I dislodged. But it was great to finally finish the basement wiring project

Charlotte and Neville on the couch in the cabin great room today. Click to enlarge.

The cabin from the southwest after Gretchen painted brown on the south and west foundation walls. Click to enlarge.

The cabin from the northwest showing the white primer on the north foundation wall and the brown on the west foundation wall. Click to enlarge.

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