Construction Journal Entry Week of 6/3/12

6/5-7/12 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped in and visited with Claude McVey. He seems to be doing better each time I visit. The weather was sunny when I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:30. Since today was going to be the last transit of Venus across the Sun for another hundred years, I was hoping I might get a chance to see it. There was no chance in Seattle where the weather was rainy and overcast.

I had my lunch and a nap and then set about making a pin-hole camera out of some big boxes in order to form an image of the sun. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten my camera at home. Since I don't have proper dark lenses for looking directly at the sun, I figured that I would form an image on a sheet of paper with my pinhole camera and then use a digital camera to take a picture of that image. I was able to form a nice image of the sun by about 2:30 and I knew that the transit wouldn't begin until about 3:00. But I was very disappointed that I wouldn't be able to share what I hoped to see without a camera.

I decided that the thing to do was to take my cardboard camera over to Mike Tutino's and share the experience with him. He just might have a camera. Then it dawned on me that he would also have welding goggles so we might be able to use them as well.

By the time I drove into Mike's driveway it was just after 3:00, but unfortunately it had clouded up. I explained the situation to Mike and he went into his shop and got a couple of lenses for welding goggles. I set up my cardboard box and we chatted waiting for breaks in the clouds. There were some breaks but we couldn't see any black dot against the sun through the welding lenses and I couldn't get anything but a washed out image on my cardboard box.

After it looked like there would be no more breaks in the clouds, I gratefully accepted Mike's offer to borrow one of his welding lenses and I went back to Camp Serendipity to get some work done. Bert and Ernie followed me back and got their usual hugs and biscuits when we arrived.

I went to work nailing up ceiling boards and got a few nailed up. Several times the sun came out fairly clearly but I never did see Venus against it either with the welding lenses or with my cardboard box. Oh well, at least I tried. I'll have to satisfy myself with other people's pictures of the event.

On Wednesday it was 40 outside which is pretty cold for this time of year up there. It's OK with me though because it keeps the mosquitoes down. I started out by installing two wye valves on the porch hose connecting each of the two hoses to the sequoias to their own valve. Bert and Ernie showed up during the work. They not only got their hugs and biscuits, but I also treated them to some left-over gravy. They love that.

With the valves installed, I went to work installing the remaining ceiling boards between Grid F and G. This involved a lot of ripping to fashion the last course to fit in the remaining space, but the method of measuring and making the cuts that I worked out earlier made the job fairly easy.

A chipmunk also showed up several times during the morning and ate peanuts out of my hand while I sat in Dave's Adirondack chair. Those were fun breaks.

After lunch and a nap, I finished nailing up all the ceiling boards between Grid F and G. I also got a couple boards nailed up above the Grid F purlin.

Before I quit for the day, I took down my temporary scaffolding on the porch and set things up in preparation for staining boards the next day. I will need major re-scaffolding in order to reach the ceiling above the Grid F purlin and that will get in the way of my board staining operation. My plan is to stain a lot of boards before I set up that scaffolding.

On Thursday morning it was raining pretty heavily so I decided I would skip watering the giant sequoia trees this week.

Before I started staining boards, I decided to do the touch-up staining on the ceiling boards I had already installed. The main thing was to stain the new groove formed by ripping the middle out of the last boards. That meant reaching up pretty high all the way across the ceiling, which meant setting some of the scaffolding back up that I had dismantled the night before. But I did it.

That was a fairly messy job because all of the staining was done with my brush with the bristles straight up, which meant that stain was soon running down the brush onto my glove. I tried to find some rubber gloves, but I couldn't find any. I used a plastic bag instead to try to keep my leather gloves dry and that worked pretty well.

After all the touch-up was done, I went into serious production mode staining new boards and placing them in my drying rack. Bert and Ernie came by for hugs and biscuits at one point, but they went home again when they knew it was time for me to get back to work.

It was pleasant working on the porch while it was raining cats and dogs outside. I stained 20 boards, which is all I can fit in my rack. When I finished, I took all the boards down from the rack and stood them up vertically in the Grid E1 corner of the porch. That keeps the stain from pooling in the milled trough in the boards. I left for home at 2:00 happy with the look of the new ceiling and happy with my progress.

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