Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/28/18

1/30-2/1/18 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I arrived at 12:40 in a very light rain. The driveway had been plowed but there was about eight inches of very wet, heavy, new snow everywhere else. I left my gear in the truck and postholed up the concrete staircase carrying just my scoop shovel.

I scooped the heavy snow off the front and back steps and the back porch, hoisted the flag, and then cleared the concrete steps on my way back down to the truck. I brought my gear up to the cabin in two trips, had my lunch, built a fire in the stove, and had a late lunch. Then I took my usual nap. When I got up, I listened to the State Of The Union address on the radio.

On Wednesday after breakfast, I shoveled away the new berms that had formed under the eaves. I also shoveled off the new snow that had fallen overnight on the concrete staircase. Then I widened the channel through the snow on the upper roadway by clearing it away all the way to the rock curb at the edge. That was about two feet further than Robert had cleared it with his snow blower. I also got out an 8-foot 1x2 to use as a gauge board to make sure the clearing on the roadway was wide enough everywhere. I was satisfied that it was.

I was expecting Robert later on but while I was waiting, I reconfigured the clamping system holding the porch rail pole so that I could drawknife the other side of it.

I did a little drawknifing before Robert showed up at 10:00. Our objective for the day was to get the skidder up the upper roadway, past the cabin, and up to the privy area. We started out by enlarging the roadway a little at the berms. Then we went down and installed a set of chains on the front wheels of the skidder.

Those are huge tires and big, heavy chains. We used a come-along to pull the chains up onto the tires one at a time. When a chain was draped over the tire, he rolled the skidder back to get the tire on top of the chain. Then we shackled the two ends of the chain together to complete the job. When we finished, we went into the cabin and had our lunch.

After lunch, Robert straightened the cable windings on the skidder's winch. He backed the skidder up to a tree and fastened the winch cable to the tree. Then he drove ahead paying out the winch cable for a hundred feet or so. Then he re-wound the cable, pulling the winch backward as he went, but making sure that the cable wound back up correctly as he went. While he was doing that, I did some more drawknifing on the porch rail pole.

Next, Robert tried to drive the skidder up to the cabin. His plan was to back the skidder up into the bushes behind the hairpin turn and then drive forward up the upper roadway. Mike had made a huge berm just to the right of the hairpin turn as you go up, so Robert had to stay to the left of the berm.

Since there were no chains on the rear wheels, and the skidder is front-heavy, he was unable to get up onto the unplowed snow in the hairpin turn. So, he turned the skidder around and used the blade to clear the path to the hairpin turn. Then he came back down, turned the skidder around, and backed it up into the bushes behind the hairpin turn as he had planned.

But then, when he tried to drive up the lower roadway, the back wheels kept sliding down hill causing him to get too close to the edge. After struggling with it for quite a while, he gave up. We simply needed to clear more of the snow away.

After discussing our options, I agreed to pay Mike to come over with his tractor and clear the roadway all the way up to the privy. Robert called Mike and got him to agree to come over in the morning and clear the snow.

Robert left at 3:30 and I was so tired that I didn't do any more work for the day. I went in and had my nap. I also went to bed early because I know Mike gets out to work at first light, so I wanted to be up when he arrived.

On Thursday morning, Dave called first thing and we had another great conversation. Then Robert called and asked me to call him as soon as Mike got there. He also asked me to call Marty and let him know our plans and to find out if there were any restrictions on logging because of the warm weather. I called Marty and learned that there were no restrictions that applied to us and he thanked me for keeping him informed. I called Robert back and told him what I had learned and told him that Mike had not showed up yet.

I gathered a bunch of tools and material that I needed to bring home for a repair job and brought them down to the truck. I also started packing up my gear to go home. I figured that I might have to leave later than usual once Mike got here and started work. I wanted to be ready to go when the work was done.

At one point, I looked out the window and saw that the privy door was open. That was strange because it latches fairly tight and there were no tracks in the snow around it, so it couldn't have been opened by the scouts or by Robert when I wasn't looking. I stamped out a trail to the privy to check it out and shut the door. Everything was OK inside but there was a huge hornet's nest right in the middle of the ceiling.

Mike had still not shown up by 11:30 so I had my lunch and called Robert to tell him. I learned that he had just left to come over here. He showed up at 11:45. He brought his lunch up to the cabin and while we were eating, I told him about the hornet's nest. He said they had some value on eBay. We went to the privy to look at the nest and also to figure out whether and how to move the privy so that it is out of the way for the skidder. We agreed that it will have to be moved.

Robert went down and started doing some maintenance work on the skidder while I finished packing up to leave. I left at 12:45 with Robert still working on the skidder.

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