Construction Journal Entry Week of 10/7/12

10/9-11/12 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way, I stopped at Dunn Lumber and picked up two gallons of TWP. Then I proceeded on to Woodinville to visit with Claude McVey. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:20. The air was pretty smoky.

After lunch and a nap, I started a small fire in the wood stove. Then I fed a few peanuts to a chipmunk before I started work. The first thing I did was to stabilize the Grid A2.5 to A3 section of my scaffold. I did this by screwing in a hurricane tie at each of the four corners to connect the intersecting 4x4s, and then by screwing the big OSB sheet to the 4x4s at each corner. That kept the structure from swaying at all.

Then, I lifted two more planks that were on the lower levels of the steel tower and I lifted a bunch of sheets of plywood and OSB to use for decking. I lifted them by hooking my big rope fitted with the rebar hook to light rope slings that were attached to each board. I placed these planks and sheets on the scaffolding, constructing it as I went.

Then, starting at the Grid A2.5 support, I screwed down a 2x4 or a board to connect each consecutive pair of supports to tie them all together with the stabilized first section. That made the entire structure nice and stable. I now had a good platform from which I could install the ceiling boards in comfort and safety.

During the work, I got a call from Bob Burton telling me that he and Pat would be in the area on Thursday. Since I planned to leave early that day, we agreed to meet for lunch at the '59er Diner at noon.

On Wednesday I started installing the ceiling boards at the Grid A3 end of the eaves. I got four 8-foot boards nailed in place. During the work, I was visited frequently by the pair of Canadian Jays who eagerly took peanuts from my hand. I was also visited by a chipmunk who got his fair share of peanuts too.

During my climbing around on the new scaffolds, I noticed that the mice had chewed a new hole in the screen over the vent opening in the Grid A1 birdblock. That meant that the mice could get back into that space between the rafters straddling the Grid 1 gable wall. That was a huge disappointment. That cavity had been completely cleaned out and deodorized, and now the mice were back in. Worse, I didn't know whether there were any mice inside at the moment.

I got a patch of hardware cloth and stapled it over the new mouse hole. If there weren't any mice inside, that would keep them out. But if there were some in there sleeping, they would now be trapped inside. When they wake up during the night, they will panic and maybe even chew a new hole and let themselves inside the cabin. I planned to listen for mouse activity during the night and to set a bunch of mousetraps in case they get inside.

After lunch and a nap I didn't feel like going back up on the high scaffolds. Instead I spent the afternoon cleaning the place up. I hadn't had a mouse inside since I finished the ceiling on the Grid 1 eaves so I figured it would be safe to clean things up.

I vacuumed up all the mouse mess where they had nested in the ceiling insulation. Then I replaced the insulation I had taken out and I stapled back the Visqueen that I had removed in order to get the insulation out. Then I completely vacuumed the loft and when that was done, I completely vacuumed the first floor. The place is finally clean again and I hope it stays that way.

Sure enough, during the night I was kept awake periodically by fairly loud rodent noises. But each time I would sit up, or get out of bed, to listen, it was pretty clear that the sounds were coming from the top of the Grid 3 wall. And the noise was loud enough that it sounded like packrats rather than mice. That was another discouraging disappointment. But it still wasn't clear whether or not there were mice above the Grid 1 wall.

On Thursday morning, I was greeted right away by Bert and Ernie who came over for a visit and for their usual hugs and biscuits. I started a fire in the wood stove, had my breakfast, and decided to replace the patch I had put over the new mouse hole with the sheet metal rodent valve I had made. In case there were any mice trapped inside, the valve would let them get out but not let them get back in. I put a chip of wood on the end of the flapper so that I will be able to tell if a mouse opens the flapper. I took a picture of the rodent valve after I installed it. I also took a picture of the scaffold system I had built.

Next I took the wheelbarrow into the woods and hauled in all the rest of the firewood I had cut back there. After the rains come and the fire hazard has diminished, I will take the chainsaw back out there and buck up some more of that big log. There is still a lot more firewood to be had.

The Canadian Jays showed up numerous times while I was working in the woods and they got their fill of peanuts from my hand. The chipmunk also showed up on my trips to the cabin.

I quit work at 11:00 and left for the '59er Diner at about 11:45. I had a nice visit with Bob and Pat before I headed home from there.

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