Construction Journal Entry Week of 7/17/11

7/20/11 (Wednesday) Got some good advice on waterproofing the crawlspace from a guy at Home Depot. He told me to make a concrete drain channel like I had planned, but then to fill it with washed rock and cover it with weed fabric. That way, the debris will get held up by the fabric and the water will always be able to flow through the rocks. He also sold me a bucket of leak stop for painting on the foundation. He agreed that I should use dry bentonite too.

7/21-23/11 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Thursday through Saturday.

I stopped and visited an old friend in Woodinville on the way up so I didn't arrive until 2:15. Bert and Ernie were right there to get their hugs and biscuits. I moved my gear in, had my lunch, and a nap, and then took my loppers into the woods and cleared the brush from the trails to the sequoias. Then I got my buckets and gave the surviving 11 trees a couple gallons each. They all seem to be doing well. By the time I finished, it was time to take a shower and quit for the day.

On Friday morning, I got a call from Ellen. She had Terry from Marson and Marson on the line. He told me that there was a sample cabinet door at Canyon Creek at will call for me. I told him I would pick it up on my way next week. I told him that my drywall job was on hold and he said that that presented no problem for him.

I spent the entire day working on the rocks on the cliff behind the cabin. I decided to clean the entire face of the cliff in order to minimize dirt and debris falling into the bottom. I need to get that as clean as I can before I place the bentonite and the concrete. I used a stiff whisk broom and a small garden trowel. In the process I could see many cracks that allow water to go into the rocks, and presumably come out again in the crawl space. My plan is to construct the concrete drainage ditch in the bottom which should divert the lion's share of the water away from the cabin and then observe how effective it is over the next winter. If it is not effective enough to suit me, then I will consider cleaning out those cracks in the cliff and plugging them up with bentonite. I hope I won't have to.

I took some pictures of the cliff before I started cleaning it, and I will take some more after it is all clean. I filled buckets with the dirt and debris and carried it out to the roadway going over the sewer line. That area could use a little more fill so it is a good place to dispose of the dirt.

On Saturday morning, I finished cleaning the cliff face and started on the channel at the bottom. It was clogged with debris and it was very awkward working down there. The mosquitoes didn't help. I started at the Grid E1 end and got it cleaned out from there to Grid D1.

It was pretty discouraging to see what I was up against. I did another round of measurement of the elevations of the pipes and the clearances at the ends and found that I have a challenging engineering problem. The central pipe is about an inch higher than the other two. So I thought the thing to do would be to route the water in both directions from the center and drain it around both ends of the building.

But the bedrock at the Grid E1 end is about seven inches higher than the pipes. The bedrock at that corner is nearly inaccessible to work on, and even if it weren't, that is way too much granite to chisel away. The water will all have to be routed around the Grid A1 end. The problem is how to deal with the low spots in the channel.

Pondering this problem put a damper on my spirits as I did the hot, dirty, work of digging out the dirt.

At 11:00 I was moving a huge rock that had come loose from the cliff. I thought I was being careful, but at one point it fell over against the bedrock with my right index finger in between. It didn't feel too bad so I don't think any bones broke, but it sure hurt. The skin was also broken so I quit for the week and went in and bandaged up my finger. I think it will be fine as soon as the wound heals.

I left for home at 1:00 with my mind working on the engineering problem and not coming up with any really good ideas.

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