Construction Journal Entry Week of 9/27/09

9/29-30/09 I went up to Camp Serendipity (the new name for "the property") for 2 days: Tuesday and Wednesday.

I spent the morning dealing with our sick kitty so I didn't arrive until 2:30. Bert and Ernie ran down to greet me right away. When I went up to the cabin, I found another dead mouse in a trap upstairs. I went right down to the crawlspace and saw that they had enlarged the same hole they used before. My rebar tie-wire patch hadn't been big enough.

I had brought a bunch of yard waste with me so I unloaded that and piled it on the compost pile. In the process I noticed a huge number of big king boletus mushrooms growing all over the place. Some of them were as big around as a dinner plate. I checked them and found that the bugs were already in all of the big ones. But I found three smaller ones that looked really good. I harvested them and decided to have them for dinner.

Since the conditions were perfect for working in the woods, I decided to work on burying the next 60-foot section of water pipe. I got a tarp and laid it out to hold the dirt and then started digging the trench from where the copper pipe ended and the temporary hose connected to it. I used a new shovel that I had bought in Monroe on an impulse. It is called the "Razorback" and it is only about three inches wide. But it looked to me like it was well engineered to dig a narrow trench like I needed. I was amazed at how well it worked. I am usually a pretty severe critic of design but in this case, I concluded that this shovel was designed by a very clever person and it should win awards. I have usually been disappointed by modern hand tools because they have obviously been designed for manufacturing expediency, or for marketing appeal, or for fashion, or for some other reason. But definitely not for utility. I sometimes feel as though I am the last guy in the world to use hand tools to get work done and that they have quit making tools for that purpose. This Razorback is a very welcome exception to that trend. I had a great time digging and got 10 or 12 feet done in a couple hours in spite of thick roots and rocks.

When I went in for the night I cooked the mushrooms and since there were so many, that is about all I had for dinner. That night Ellen called and told me that Electra was not doing well.

On Wednesday, I decided to go back home that day to help take care of Electra. Bert and Ernie showed up again before I had finished breakfast. I cut a patch of hardware cloth, removed the rebar tie-wire from the mouse hole in the vent screen, and fastened the patch over the hole. I discovered that there was a 2x4 up against the vent screen on the outside that had allowed the mice a good place to stand in order to chew on the screen. They had also chewed quite a bit of wood off the 2x4. I figured that if they couldn't have a place to stand to work on the screen they wouldn't be as able to chew a hole in it. I moved the 2x4 and resolved to keep everything away from the outside of the vents from now on. Next, I set a new mouse trap down in the crawlspace but this time I tethered it to a board with a cord so next time they won't be able to drag the trap away. I think I won this round. We'll see what the mice have up their sleeves for next time.

I went back into the woods with my Razorback and dug some more of the trench for a total of about 25 feet. I left for home at about 1:20.

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