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:
   conflict between Neville and Charlotte
Thursday, November 9 2023

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

This morning I used the Bolt to recover the three pieces of trunk I'd cut from the bottom of a chestnut oak yesterday west of the Farm Road. Once I'd processed these pieces, the resulting wood was enough to just about fill the indoor wood rack, which had been one of my goals before this weekend.
My brother Don called me from down in Virginia as I was packing up the Bolt prior to a drive to the Adirondacks. It was his 59th birthday, so I wished him a happy one of those. After his usual listing of oddball factoids (a recent one being about Hitler's several Jewish "friends"), he mentioned that he was dealing with a major mouse infestation at the Creekside trailer, and that the mice were proving untrappable (he probably has the kind of traps that kill the mice with a spring-powered bar). I told Don that he had nobody to blame but himself, that if he cleaned up the trailer and got rid of the half-eaten bags of food lying around, forgotten about, the mice would go away. But no, his slovenly lifestyle is probably feeding hundreds of mice at this point.
After loading up the dogs, I began my drive to the cabin in the early afternoon. Gretchen had various things she needed to do this weekend and couldn't come. I stopped at the Hannaford in Cairo to get some things I knew I needed, such as a long french bread, vegan lunch "meat," peanuts, various fruit juices, and a nice strong beer (that Rasputin Russian imperial stout) for use as a road beer. I then stopped at a nearby liquor store to buy cheap gin and cheap blended scotch. (I probably won't go back to single malt until after I have a job.)
As I drove, I was mostly listening to the audio portion of a very long YouTube video I'd ripped by Isaac Arthur in which he discusses numerous possible explanations for the Fermi Paradox (why are we the only intelligent life evident in the Universe?).
Somewhere north of Schoharie in the vicinity of Charleston State Forest, I passed a car accident where a car had somehow ended up upside down. Evidently the drive had lost control in the curve. It was cold and a little drizzly, but temperatures were somewhat above freezing. At around that time, I noticed Charlotte down in the foot area in front of the backseat. And then I smelled a horrendous fragrance that forced me to open the windows despite the 38 degree temperature outside. I thought maybe Charlotte had to take an emergency shit, but when I finally stopped to deal with the mess in Fonda, I found it was just regular vomit, most of which had gone onto a cloth shopping bag.
When I arrived at the cabin, temperatures outside were 35 degrees Fahrenheit and a glaze of ice was covering the vegetation (though not the ground), indicating a low-level ice storm. It was 44 degrees inside the cabin, and I immediately started a fire and turned on the boiler. Together, these heating systems managed to raise the temperature to 60 in only about an hour and a half.
At some point I ate a sizable hunk of cannabis and took a bath. The cannabis kicked in while I was in the tub, rendering me somewhat handicapped when I finally got out. Gretchen had wanted me to tune in to a poetry reading she was giving at 7:00pm, and I was barely able to get that streaming in my impaired state. (I left the video and audio off, because I was now naked except for a bathrobe, and The Gathering was blasting from speakers in the loft.)
I'd been having trouble getting Charlotte to join Neville on the couch, but by now she had, and I snuggled with them for a time. But there was no sound coming out of my Chromebook and I thought I needed to stream Gretchen's thing on a real laptop.

In my altered state, I rather enjoyed the poetry, including the poetry of other non-Gretchen poets.
Eventually I went to bed, but for some reason only Neville joined me. Later in the night I managed to convince Charlotte to come down from the beanbag in the loft and join us, but when she did, Neville growled at her quietly, and it freaked Charlotte out enough that she returned to the beanbag. Evidently Neville was still holding a grudge from whatever had happened between them on the drive. I told Neville that there was no way I would tolerate him being mean to Charlotte, and that he had to be a good boy. He sort of acted like he understood, but then on a second attempt to get Charlotte to join us, he growled at her again. I've never known Neville to be angry at another dog, and I was wondering if their relationship was now permanently ruined. That's not a good fear to have when you're jacked up on cannabis.
On the plus side, I was noticing that Charlotte's behavior was unusally good this afternoon and evening. She was only chewing things that I'd approved for her to chew, and there wasn't any pissing or pooping in unwanted places. It seems she knows how to behave and was now choosing to do so because she was uncertain about the durability of her alliance with Neville (which had seemed perfect and eternal until today. Evidently her calculation now was to do what she had to to make me happy.
At some point I read an article about the relationship between wolves and beavers, and I realized something: its in the best interest of the plants in an ecosystem to aligned themselves with the predators in it, since predators reduce the numbers of plant-eating animals. For that reason, plants should do all sorts of subtle things to encourage predators. For example, dead trees should decay in a way that maximizes den opportunities for foxes and wolves.

The state of the wood rack in Hurley before I left for the Adirondacks today.

Near the Broome Animal Sanctuary on the drive through the northeast Catskills to the cabin. Click to enlarge.

The south side of the cabin as it appeared when we arrived this afternoon. Click to enlarge.

Charlotte at the bottom of the cabin's front entrance stairs. Click to enlarge.

Icy vegetation west of the cabin this afternoon. Click to enlarge.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next