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:
   bean bag cuddle puddle
Saturday, November 11 2023

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

Charlotte spent a second night sleeping on the bean bag in the loft, about as far away from the bedroom Neville and I were sleeping in as one can get inside the cabin. Since Neville and Charlotte are getting along great again and spending most of their days snuggling together on the couch, I'm confused why she's insisting on sleeping on the bean bag.

I don't know if temperatures ever rose out of the 30s (Fahrenheit) at all today at Woodworth Lake. The temperature inside the cabin had only fallen to 56 degrees overnight, making it easy to raise it back up into the 60s with the woodstove alone. (I'd turned off the boiler, since it uses an appreciable amount of electricity even when it's doing nothing.) I'm burning a fair amount of wood, though today I went and got a little more from the bottom of dead sugar maple that was leaning against another tree.

Eventually I bundled up with a coat, gloves, and even a scarf and got both dogs to follow me on a walk along the top of the granite cliffs west and north of the cabin. We followed these roughly parallel to a trail marked with red badges until we got near to where the red-badged trail descends through these cliffs in a switchback and then ends up just below the beaver dams at the outflow of Woodworth Lake. Along the way, Charlotte did something unexpected, jumping down off a low cliff onto some steep terrain beneath it. Had it not been so steep, she would've been fine. But she ended up sliding uncontrollably down the slope and looking bewildered at the bottom. I'm used to dogs exercising more caution near cliffs, though perhaps Charlotte is lithe enough to throw such caution to the wind.
After crossing the outflow creek and passing through the old Boy Scout campground, we continued northwestward to a gorge where a small creek comes in from the northeast to join the outflow creek on its way down to Lake Edward. Along the way, I was mostly interested in keeping to the tops of low ridges and other highlands I found in the landscape. Somehow on the walk back I got a little lost and ended up well east of where I wanted to be, well inside Joels' big parcel, passing through a forest where numerous trees had been marked by red paint (presumably because that area will soon be "managed" by chainsaw). Charlotte was very good at staying fairly close during this walk, and even Neville managed to keep up okay (despite his plodding style of walking).

This afternoon I put some more effort into that spec project I am doing for my old boss Alex. Today I managed to get PHP-based parsers working to import both Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat files, although that second importer relied on a pre-processing scheme known as Composer, something I didn't want to be dependent on. So I ended up hand-writing my own loader for the couple dozen files it needed to load. Interestingly, these files had to be loaded in a very particular order that I had to find by trial-and-error. I looked at the composer setup JSON and it seemed to vaguely say "load all files in the given directory," so it's hard to imagine composer working reliably with such little guidance.

The plan for this weekend was to put the cabin in a state of shutdown so I wouldn't have to worry about pipes freezing and bursting or food going bad when power fails to keep the refrigerator going. To that end, I've been doing my best to eat the three mostly-full pints of Ben & Jerry's vegan icecream (since that was the thing least likely to survive a two hour drive back to Hurley).
Later this evening, I undertook another small project to make the cabin easier to winterize in the future. This involved the pipes leading out of the two circulator pumps providing hot water to the two heating zones not in the basement. Those pumps have one-way valves on their outputs, and since there are no taps on the output pipes, water in those pipes cannot be drained. I discovered this after the first winter, when freezing ice in those pipes blew open the rubber gaskets where the pipes attach to the pumps. So when I winterized the system before the second winter (this was a year ago), I was forced to remove the bolts securing the pipes' flanges to their respective pumps. Having to disassemble and then reassemble that connection every year is a huge pain, so the project today involved cutting the pipes a little above the pumps, installing T-fittings, and then installing ball valves allowing the pipes leading out of the pumps to be drained. I figure that since there is a good chance the new foundation wall insulation will keep the basement from freezing, it's not essential to drain all the water out of those pipes. All I really need is for the part of those pipes leading out of the basement to be empty, since freezing conditions will only be expected on the first and second floors. Similarly, it's doubtful I need to drain the pipes carrying water to the registers in the basement heating zone. The only complexity in installing these new drainage valves was the fact that I was working close to press-fit fittings, which cannot be exposed to soldering temperatures. To protect those, I installed the new plumbing several inchese from the closest such fittings and wrapped them in wet paper towels while soldering. Happily the newly-soldered joints held nicely when I pressure-tested them.
I was feeling pretty good about where I was on the spec project and winding down my cabin projects for the season. I had a nice buzz going from a recreational 150 mg dose of pseudoephedrine I'd taken this morning, and to help unwind that I started drinking. I also ate a reasonably-large nugget of cannabis. Meanwhile, Neville had come up the stairs to lie on the bean bag where Charlotte has been sleeping, and Charlotte was delighted to join him there even though I was nearby noodling around on my computer. Charlotte tolerates some snuggling behavior from me if Neville is nearby, so all of us were able to form a nice cuddle puddle on the bean bag.
It was near the end of the billing cycle, and I had about ten gigabytes of bandwidth left of my 20 GB/month hotspot plan, so I decided to waste some of that by watching stupid YouTube videos. After some hours of doing that, I was so drunk (and/or stoned) that I was having trouble watching the video on my screen with both of my eyes, as they kept wanting to resolve separate pictures that refused to converge into one (the way our eyes usually work automatically). So I was forced to keep one of my eyes closed to see what was happening.
At some point in all this, the SolArk inverter decided to cut off the power for the night. But I wasn't yet done for the night, so I stumbled to my feet with drunken purpose and proceeded to fire up the generator. I ran it for about an hour, charging both the cabin's battery and adding more range to the Chevy Bolt's battery as well.
Later when I went to bed down in the bigger of the first floor bedrooms, only Neville joined me. For whatever reason, Charlotte continued to behave as though Neville didn't want her in the bed.

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