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:
   a mouseproof basement ventillation system
Saturday, May 11 2024

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

I was a little worried that the trauma of removing porcupine quills from Charlotte's lips would cause her to revert to the skepticism she once had about me back when she first joined our family (following few incidents where I had to be the "bad" parent, forcing her into the house for the first time or to get in a car when she didn't want to). But last night she only spent some of it up in the bean bag. At some point this morning she came back to the bedroom where Neville and I were sleeping and joined us on the bed. Some of the involuntary flinchiness she's shown around me had returned, but it almost seemed as if she understood in some way that, though unpleasant to go through, my extraction of the quills had ultimately been a good thing and that maybe I really am a good dog-parent.

The day ended up being sunnier than had been predicted, allowing me to put some power back into the Chevy Bolt and have plenty leftover for operating the equipment that has me feeling like I was living in the 21st Century. I also built a fire in the woodstove to drive out the morning chill. Figuring that I'd be busy today on my various projects, I took a recreational 150mg dose of pseudoephedrine.
Eventually I took the dogs for a walk down to Woodworth Lake, hoping to avoid the two places where I knew porcupines to be. It was cold and unpleasant, so I continued walking northward along the lakeshore to the outlet and then up the trail through the cliffs. As I was doing this, I heard Charlotte start barking at something further to the north in a part of the cliffs I've rarely looked at. So I went running over to her, finding a fairly fresh rock fall along the way. Charlotte rejoined our party and didn't have any apparent new quills in her face, which I took to be a win.
By this point, I had a working theory that explained some of things that had been mysteries, starting with the fan-like middens I'd seen at the High Cliffs (now "Porcupine Cliffs"). They dropping had resembled those of rabbits or deer, neither of which one would expected to be frequenting small caves in a cliff face. But perhaps those cliffs (and others like them) are prime denning sites for porcupines. Then those middens might be comprised of porcupine droppings, which (like deer and rabbit droppings) are pelletized. As for suddenly encountering so many porcupines in places with prominent cliffs, that might be a function of the late end of winter in the Adirondacks. Over winter, porcupines would want to stay close to their denning locations and only start fanning out once the weather gets truly warm and the need for good dens recede. In the interim, they might be more visible near their dens.
Back at the cabin, I decided to paint some of the Wonderboard that was recently exposed in an erosion event on the east end of the south foundation wall. (Apparently a downpour exceeeded the capacity of the gutter system, which overspilled the gutters and washed away some of the sand despite the many anti-erosion measures I'd taken.) I was thinking I might actually leave the newly-whittled-down terrain the way it now is or maybe only backfill it a little, in which case I needed to paint the exposed strip of Wonderboard at the bottom. As I worked, I was mercilessly attacked by small black flies, the ones that hover annoyingly in front of your face. If one is walking or otherwise free to move one's hands, the flies can usually be shooed away before they land on you and begin to bite. But when you're painting, you are forced to stand in one place for a long time with one hand occupied with a paint brush and the other by a bucket, so the flies eventually begin to bite. They were especially vicious on my ankles and the back of my neck, though they also flew into my ear canal (not a pleasant sound!) and got tangled in the hair along my browline. I'd swat as many as I could, but there were always more. Strangely, though, the dogs didn't seem to suffer much from them when they'd lie out on one of the decks. Perhaps their fur protected them better than my sparse human hairs protect me.
Late this afternoon, I turned on the generator so I could run my power-hungry mitre saw. I wanted to make custom screens for two of the small (29 by 13 inch) basement windows so I could install the thermostat-controlled fan to blow in warm air whenever the temperature rises into the 60s. I built the screens much like one would build a picture frame, with mitred corners and a routed-out recessed area so the frame could be flush against a surface without the screen cauing a problem. Somehow I had an error in one of the measurements, so one of the frames ended up being only 26 inches wide instead of 29 inches wide. But then I figured out how to install the mesh itself in a built-in slot in the basement windows without needing a frame at all. The mesh I'm using has holes that are each a square centimeter in size, which I'm hoping are small enough to screen out mice. Once I had two windows screened this way (one actually using a custom wooden frame), I set up the window fan unit, and it worked pretty much the way I need it to. I put it in one of the two west-facing basement windows so the temperature it would be affected by would tend to be close to the outdoor temperature, since winds tend to come from the west. And I could make it so it would turn on at a wide range of temperatures. Unfortunately, its has no anti-bounce logic and often the fans will turn on only to immediately shut off again when the blast of air it is sucking cools down the thermostat. The only thing I need from this system is for it to gradually use summer air to warm the basement so that going into next winter it will be as warm as possible.

Later this evening, I added a relay to the 16 amp car charger circuit. I put the relay in a connection box attached directly to the circuit breaker box, wiring things up in manner similar to my first attempt at remote-controlling the boiler circuit (that is, intercepting power from right off the circuit breaker and sending it to a relay). Then I added the necessary database rows to the backend control system, and on my very first test, the thing worked. The only fly in the ointment was that the fifth item to be controlled by the local remote exposed an interface bug that I would now have to fix.

The dock on Woodworth Lake today. Click to enlarge.

Fiddleheads near the Woodworth Lake outflow. Click to enlarge.

That sky seems ominous. Click to enlarge.

Neville near the Woodworth Lake outflow. Click to enlarge.

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