Construction Journal Entry Week of 6/26/11

6/27-29/11 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Monday through Wednesday.

I arrived at 12:25, moved my gear to the cabin and noticed that Ron had been there just one more time since last Tuesday. The flat seams and the screws had had one more coat of mud since I had seen them. It looked like he needed to come back at least a couple more times to finish the drywall job.

I had my lunch and a nap, and then I went into the woods and watered all 12 giant sequoia trees. I gave Bill a dose of Superthrive along with the water, but the poor little tree looked pretty sick. There was no new growth at all.

Next I went to work on the old snow shed and removed the 8th and last corrugated steel panel from the one side. That left the 8 panels on the other side which was lying flat on the ground. In order to be able to remove the panels from that side, I would have to tip the entire structure over.

I planned to use roughly the same technique I had used the week before last to tip the structure over to get it out of the road.

First I decided to unload the paint I had brought with me so I backed the truck up into the hairpin turn as far as I could and used the wheelbarrow to haul the paint and tools up to the cabin. Then I rigged up a pulley and the long 30-foot chain I had salvaged from Oscar, the chain hoist, and hooked the rigging to the trailer hitch on the truck.

By driving the truck slowly down the roadway, I pulled the snowshed up and rotated it 60 degrees. That left it in its original position with the remaining roof panels slanted up where I could get at them.

I removed 3 or 4 panels from this side before I quit for the day. Bert and Ernie came by for biscuits during the process. The mosquitoes got so thick by the end of the day that I decided to quit early. I had worked up quite a sweat so the shower felt great when I went in.

On Tuesday I went back to work on the snowshed demolition. I got all the steel panels removed and stacked, and I removed three of the purlins from the top of the structure, one from one side and two from the other. Bert and Ernie showed up for biscuits again about the time I stopped for lunch.

After lunch and a nap, I loaded all of the metal roof panels into the truck. I discovered that they were 10 feet long rather than 8 feet as I had previously thought. I loaded them in the truck with the tailgate shut and the panels hanging out over it.

Next, I dismantled the rest of the snowshed so that I had a pile of the purlins still full of nails, and triangles and 'V's of logs still fastened with my fancy sheet-metal connectors. Most of the purlins were made of two cedar 1x8s nailed together, so there were still a lot of nails to take out of them. I stacked them out of the way at the side of the roadway.

I quit early again, about 4:00, because there were too many mosquitoes. I went in and vacuumed the loft before I showered and had my dinner. I was very tired. I'm not used to that much hard work any more.

Ron called and told me that he had thrown his back out and that was the reason he hadn't finished the drywall job. I told him not to worry about coming back until his back was healed up.

Quite a few mosquitoes had gotten into the cabin, so in order to get some sleep, I rigged up a mosquito net tent over my bed. I could still hear them whining, but I knew they couldn't get me so I slept well. This is turning out to be a pretty bad mosquito year, in spite of them showing up late.

On Wednesday I started out by pulling two chunks of rebar out of the roadway. They had been used to anchor a log strut connected to the showshed and they were sticking up out of the ground about 3 inches. It looked like they were right in the way of the trailer tires so it was just serendipity that Ron didn't blow a tire when he pulled the trailer out.

I tried a few methods of using log levers and a small chain to pull the rebar out, but what ended up working was simply to grip the rebar with a vise-grip, and then rotate the rebar with the vise-grip until it loosened up. Then, using the vise-grip as a handle, I simply pulled them out of the ground.

Bert and Ernie showed up for biscuits again. They carried hordes of mosquitoes around with them, but they tried to keep moving to keep them off.

Next, I rolled up the 10-2 w/ gnd wire that was strung between the cabin and the trailer which had supplied power to the trailer. With all the copper thievery going on I wanted to get that wire inside as soon as possible. I had to fight my way through the brush on the cliff in order to retrieve the wire so I was in the thick of the mosquitoes during this work. But I got the wire rolled up and stored in the crawl space.

Then I went to work on the telephone wire that followed the same route from the cabin to the trailer. First I disconnected it from the pedestal at the trailer site. Then I noticed a ground rod that had been driven into the roadway. This presented the same hazard as the rebar had, so I rigged a come-along to a tree and used it to pull the ground rod out of the ground. Finally, I rolled up and stored the telephone wire.

Before I stopped for lunch, I went back in the woods to give Bill another couple gallons of water. The tiny little leaves were still somewhat green, but I felt them and they felt dry and crisp. I think it is probably not going to survive. I felt bad to have to come to that conclusion.

After returning to the cabin and having my lunch, I felt something on my neck and I brushed it off with my left hand. It was a caterpillar about an inch and a half long. It had a tan body and a series of black fuzzy bands all along its body.

I immediately felt a stinging sensation on my neck and on my left thumb that felt like I had gotten into stinging nettles. That critter had evidently gotten on my shirt while I watered the sequoia tree and it had then crawled up to my collar and gotten onto my neck. I'll have to be more careful from now on. It was obviously poisonous.

I packed up to leave by about 1:30, and while I was tying down my load of sheet metal, Earl stopped by on his motorcycle. We went up to the cabin where he had a look at the progress. It looked a lot different now that the drywall was up. I told him about my caterpillar incident and he guessed it was a Tussock Moth. I looked it up later and I think it was something else but I couldn't find an exact match.

6/30/11 (Thursday) I loaded up a bunch of metal scraps from the garage, along with Oscar, the old chain hoist, and took it all to Pacific Iron and Metal in south Seattle to recycle it. While I was in that area, I also stopped at Seattle Pottery Supply on S. Hanford Street and bought 50 lb. of bentonite. I'll use this to help seal up the water leaks in the foundation. I need to get the crawl space as dry as possible before I can insulate the cabin floor, so that will be a high priority project for the rest of the summer.

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