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:
   showing Gretchen the Six Acre Bog and the outflow falls
Saturday, May 18 2024

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

This morning we did as we often do on mornings at the cabin: we drank coffee and played Spelling Bee. But I didn't bother with starting a fire in the woodstove, as temperatures were in the mid-60s and would rise into the low 70s naturally (though outside it wouldn't get quite that warm). It was occasionally sunny outside, but whenever we'd try to spend any time out there, the black flies would drive us back indoors.
Eventually we decided to take the dogs for a walk, and Gretchen prepared for that with a lot of insect repellant. I don't like the smell of that stuff on my skin, so I opted not to use any, banking on the fact that we'd be a moving target. I decided to show Gretchen the landscape I'd walked through on the western boundary of our parcel, so that's what we walked, though in reverse. I still don't quite understand the origin of all the streams we cross on the way, some of which are tiny and one of which carries the outflow of Woodworth Lake. We eventually arrived at the boggy six acre clearing (43.12569N, 74.34208W), which was unexpected for Gretchen, since we were in the middle of the wilderness. But I explained how we'd actually both hiked to this clearing once before, back in 2013 when we were renting a cabin on Lake Edward. On the map, the clearing is so rectangular that it looks man-made, but on the ground, it looks like a natural bog, with no evidence of logging. Even if it were logged, how would the logs be extracted? (It probably was logged once, along with nearly all the other forest in eastern North America, though now the bog and surrounding forest is protected as "forever wild" by the New York State constitution.) We walked out into the bog until we came to what looked like a canal that had been engineered by beavers. It was deep and the water seemed to be barely moving in it, so we followed it upstream until it came out of the woods and saw that it was just a segment of the creek running down from Woodworth Lake on its way to Lake Edward. Then we walked across the clearing (most of which was boggy enough to require rubber boots, which we were wearing) to the other side and then walked in the woods to the east and then back south, crossing the Woodworth Lake outflow creek and climbing up through the woods, eventually getting to a series of small waterfalls that I'd visited several times but that Gretchen had never seen. She was so delighted by it that she wanted me to make a trail from the cabin directly to it.

Later this afternoon while Gretchen was trying to muster the motivation to plant all the plants we'd brought with us, I transplanted most of the larger plants that had been in our little garden plot (a small patch just south of the center of the south-facing wall of our cabin). These included three kale plants that had somehow survived the winter and were now going to seed along with some volunteer coltsfoot and a few large dandylion with carrot-like taproots being heavily-visited by pollinators. (Given the generally-barren and erosion-prone nature of our cabin's immediate vicinity, I've considered every plant, no matter how weedy, to be valuable, so I've often transplanted them to bare patches of ground whenever I've needed their location for some other use.) Later Gretchen managed to do most of the work of planting all the plants, including some that ended up in pots. We'd brought a bunch of compost and garden soil with us, but there's never quite enough of that. So I managed to gather a five gallon bucket of great forest topsoil that I found attached to one of the stumps that had been bulldozed off our cabin's site into the woods to the west.

At some point I disassembled the cheap Chinese relay that had failed yesterday and had a good look at it. Fortunately, though the plastic tape appeared to have burned off most of the coil, when I tested the resistance across it, it hadn't changed, meaning that when it failed, it probably hadn't affected the electronics driving it (in this case a TBD62003APG, a modern remake of the ULN2003).

This evening I tried to settle in to the loft couch with a non-alcoholic negroni to which I had added gin. But when I was moving the pillow to get more comfortable, I somehow managed to knock my drink over, spilling nearly all of it into the carpet. This resulted in an aggravating cleanup that, as I was doing it, revealed a leak in the spray hose (aka "ass blaster") next to the upstairs toilet. I then had to fix that leak, which was spraying a tiny jet out of the side of the nozzle. Nothing seemed to work until I wrapped the threads of the nozzle part with plumbers' tape. As I was in the midst of all this, Gretchen announced that she wanted to take a walk, and off she went with Charlotte. I finished my cleanup and impromptu plumbing only a minute or so later and wanted to join them, so I hurried off on the mountain bike. But when I didn't find them on our driveway, I stopped looking, since they could've gone either way. Or perhaps they'd actually gone to the lake instead. So hurried down to the lake and took a short but very pleasant kayak to the beaver dams at the lake's outflow, hoping to maybe see Neville and Charlotte somewhere along the way. The water was glassy and there were no sounds from humans or their machines, which is the best way to experience the lake. It turned out that Gretchen and Charlotte hadn't gone to the lake; instead they'd gone up the driveway belonging to Andrew, one of the other people with a parcel in our Woodworth Lake homeowners' assocation, and was demoralized by the logging that had recently been done there. As I said to Gretchen when she told me what she'd seen, "maybe somewhere there is a lake where all the people living on it appreciate nature." But, given the evidence we've seen, most people like to go to lakes mostly to shoot guns, destroy nature, drive gas-powered all-terrain vehicles, fish, and drink. (Of those, the only activity I enjoy is drinking, but Gretchen doesn't even do that. She mostly just wants to hike, swim and lie on the dock reading a book.)
Later this evening, I tried to debug an issues with my local remote, which occasionally turns off the backlight on its LCD well before it should (that is, before five minutes have passed since I last touched a button). The problem turned out to be that a comparison detecting when a value was larger than another value was also triggering when both values were the same for some reason. I was also thinking about another problem, one that causes the screen to be filled with garbage, and after I went to bed I realized that it probably happens when a button is pressed while the screen is being redrawn, since that triggers an interrupt. It doesn't take much of an imagination to picture an interrupted screen redraw producing screen garbage.


The Six Acre Bog described above with the outflow creek flowing through it. Click to enlarge.

Gretchen delighting in the bog. Click to enlarge.

The blown Chinese relay's coil, with a good one for comparison. I'd removed the plastic shell from the bad one. Click to enlarge.

The blown Chinese relay's contacts, with a good one for comparison. Click to enlarge.

The blown Chinese relay's base, with a good one for comparison. Click to enlarge.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next