Construction Journal Entry Week of 10/24/21

10/25-29/21 I went up to Camp Serendipity for five days: Monday through Friday.

The drive up was beautiful with the fall colors brightened by the rain and fresh snow in the high mountains. I arrived at 12:10, brought my gear up in one trip and built a fire in the stove. The temperature outside was 38 degrees. I hoisted the flag, had my lunch and a nap, and then practiced the piano. Emily Dickinson called, and I signed up to have Josh plow my driveway.

On Tuesday morning the temperature was 34 degrees, and it was raining cats and dogs. I built a fire in the stove, practiced the piano, and then started work on filling the gap between the log wall and the wall dividing the bathroom and the bedroom. I moved the furniture away from the corner in the bedroom so that I could work and so that I could sleep without much interference. There wasn't much to move in the bathroom except a wastebasket, but the quarters will be cramped because there's not much room to work between the log wall and the cabinet.

I started by scribing newspapers and using those patterns to make the cardboard cutouts for the first four feet of the bottom of the joint. I found that what works best is to tightly tape the newspaper to the drywall so that enough of the paper is hanging out toward the log wall to reach into the chinking. Then I cut slits in the paper at various points from where the paper reaches the log wall to the edge of the paper. Then I use a sharpie to poke the paper toward the log wall while trying to keep a nice flat surface between the drywall and the pen tip. To get the pen in all the way to the chinking, the slits allow the paper to relax enough for the pen to reach the wall. I also make a vertical mark on the paper all along the edge of the drywall. The result is a pattern drawn on the newspaper.

Then I tape the pattern tightly over a piece of cardboard and with the tip of a knife, I poke down into the cardboard all around the pattern on the pen marks. Then, I remove the pattern, and with a shears, I cut out the cardboard piece. Then I try it for fit in the gap, and usually it takes some additional trimming to get it to fit snugly. When I am satisfied with the fit, I take it to the other side of the wall and try it there. In the utility/bath joint, the cardboard fit pretty well so with some minor adjustments, I used the first cutout as the pattern for the second one.

When I tried this trick on the bath/bedroom joint, I found that the drywall board was not even on the two sides, so I had to scribe a new pattern for the other side.

Once I had both cutouts that fit, I made a bunch of 4" cardboard strips, with the corrugations perpendicular to the run of the strip, to make the inside webbing. I then folded the webbing in alternate directions every 2 or 3 inches and stuck the webbing into the gap. When the folded strip tried to unfold, it sort of filled the space. Then I squeezed glue onto the edges of the webbing and then pressed the cardboard cutouts into place on both sides. It works very slick.

After lunch and a nap, I called Earl and got caught up on his activities. Then I practiced the piano and spent the rest of the afternoon writing.

On Wednesday it was another cold rainy day. A major storm system was hanging over the Pacific Northwest and I was glad to have projects to do indoors. After practicing the piano, I added three feet to the cardboard structure.

After lunch and a nap, I did some writing and then finished installing the cardboard structure all the way to the ceiling.

On Thursday the rain had not let up and it was still cold and rainy outside. After practicing the piano, I scraped the edges of the drywall on both sides to make a smooth connection when I apply the mud. then after cleaning the logs and the chinking, I applied masking tape to the log wall on both sides.

After lunch and a nap, I mixed up a big batch of mud and started mudding the joint in the bedroom. I ran out of mud and mixed up a second batch. With that I finished the bedroom side of the joint and got a start on the bathroom. I think I must have been slow because before I used the mud up, it had started to set up in the pan and was useless. I didn't realize I was that close to the 40-minute limit.

When I went to make my dinner, I put a yam in the microwave as I have done hundreds of times, but this one decided to explode. It blew cooked yam all over the inside of the microwave and gave me quite a job to clean it all up.

On Friday morning the rain finally subsided. That was a welcome change. I built a fire in the stove, practiced the piano, and then took the wheelbarrow down to the truck and hauled a bunch of yard waste over to the compost pile. It was delightful being outdoors, so I walked up and checked Paul and was pleased to see that it looks healthy. Then I walked over and checked Runty and was just as happy about how that tree looked. With so many leaves fallen, it was getting easier to see through the woods and I did some scouting for firewood. I identified a few big fir rounds and a clump of big dead vine maple trunks that I will harvest when I get a chance.

Back in the cabin I put away a bunch of tools, cleaned up a lot of scraps of paper and cardboard, and then vacuumed the first floor. It had gotten very cluttered and dirty, so it was nice to have it clean again. I left for home at 1:00 o'clock after spending another pleasant week in the mountains.

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