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:
   easy half-floating dock jacking
Saturday, November 4 2023

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

It had been sunny most of the day yesterday, but today it was largely overcast, which meant that we didn't collect all that much solar energy during an already-short November day.
After a fairly typical Saturday in front of the woodstove, Gretchen took Charlotte on a long walk and I decided to further touch up some places on the foundation wall where white paint was showing through. It took me a couple hours to get it to my satisfaction, and there were still tiny white dots showing through the brown in places, but after this, the brown was a much more solid color on all its surfaces. When Gretchen returned from her walk, she thought perhaps I was obessing too much, but I will always be more obsessive than her about everything.
During the months and months I've been working on the basement wall insulation project, I've disturbed and probably killed a lot of tiny creatures along the way. Spiders tend to live in the nooks and crannies into which I sprayed foam, and recently my paintbrush as caused them to flee cracks that I was daubing paint into. I try my best not to kill these creatures, but sometimes I know I've at least injured or otherwise affected them. Today, though, I saw small spider (it was no bigger than a mosquito) on the south foundation wall with some white paint on the side of its body and on a few of its legs. White hadn't been painted on this wall for a week, so this spider had managed to survive a week covered with that amount of paint.
Later I gathered some firewood for the indoor wood rack, which had been significantly depleted after all the wood burning I'd done yesterday and this morning.
Then I went down to the dock with my small hand winch and proceeded to jack the floating end of the half-floating section of dock out of the lake for the season. This required first setting a long pole on the lake bottom off the end of the dock, attaching the winch to it, jacking up the dock, and then attaching chains to hold it in place once I removed the winch. All of this went very quickly, since I was building on the experience of having done it a year before. While I was down there, I used some additional chain to better secure the fully-floating dock on the shore. I then climbed a hemlock and put a small length of chain around its trunk about 18 feet above the ground, thinking I will use that as a second winching location to better position the fully-floating dock a year from now when I pull it out of the lake a third time.
Meanwhile there was a flock of at least five bufflehead ducks out on the lake. They kept flying to new locations and then diving beneath the water to do whatever it is they do. Sometimes they'd all be under water and I couldn't see where they were. I've seen them on the lake last year and the year before at around this time. Supposedly they nest in the boreal forests far to the north and come through at this time of the year on their way to wintering locations along the Atlantic coast (which is also where loons go in the winter).
Back at the cabin, I processed a bunch of the white ash that, after being killed by emerald ash borers, fell and nearly landed on the propane tank. I'd already processed some of that tree a year ago and also back in the spring, but there was still a long section of trunk left to be done. Once I'd split it all up into many smallish pieces (four to six of them split from each bucked piece measuring about nine inches in diameter), Gretchen stacked it up in a neat pile just north of the propane tank, with the idea being that it would better hide the tank and make the view out our south-facing windows less cluttered with ugly human artifacts.

This evening Gretchen made us a sort of Mexican buffet of various leftover beans, onions, tomato, and lettuce. She also pan-seared some broccoli. I ate these things mostly on tostadas (one of my favorite Mexican substrates), though Gretchen made herself a sort of taco bowl.
At some point while she was working on her critique of AI-generated poetry, Gretchen asked if I was a little jealous that she was the one with an AI job, not me. I said I was, sort of, but that there was no way I could do what she was doing, since it was basically a poetry job, not really one requiring technical knowledge.
This evening I made myself a series of stiff drinks and puttered away down in the basement, mostly further organizing the tools down there by driving screws and finishing nails in the plywood wall I'd made down there and hanging such things as my speed squares, pipe wrenches, and a c-clip spreader.
I also added some wooden strips to the top of the foam panels covering the concrete walls inside the bulkhead under the Bilco doors. This was to keep them from being destroyed from objects impacting them from the top. I then added some spray foam to fill in the gaps between that strip and the styrofoam panels. Now all I have to do to finish the walls in the bulkhead is to use some sufficiently tough material to cover the exposed foam. I have several gallons of a material I'd originally intended to use on some of the foam that I ended up covering with portland cement instead; hopefully that will be up to the task.

Neville being adorable with his head on Charlotte this morning. Click to enlarge.

The boathouse on Woodworth Lake today off our truncated dock (before I jacked the floating end of it out of the water). You can see some buffle head ducks a little to the right of it. Click to enlarge.

Some bufflehead ducks.

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