Construction Journal Entry Week of 10/21/12

10/23-25/12 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

Thankfully, this was a serene week at Camp Serendipity. I stopped at Priscilla's on the way up to deliver some things from Ellen and to help her with her water leak and to stretch a pair of shoes for her. From there, I went to Woodinville where I visited Claude McVey.

The snow level was at about 3500 feet so there was snow in the ditches going over the pass but the road was bare and wet. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:25. Bert and Ernie were right there when I parked and they followed me up to the cabin to get their biscuits. They got their hugs down below.

The weather was clear and sunny so after lunch and a nap I decided to work on the fallen tree parts. I wanted to harvest the firewood and move it from where it was lying before it gets covered up with an 8 foot deep snow berm. The snow gets pretty deep where it slides off the roof.

I ended up getting most of the logs bucked up. I ran out of chainsaw gas with about 8 or 10 feet of logs to go. I was also too tired to continue working safely so I quit for the day.

On Wednesday it rained so I opted not to work on the firewood in the rain. Instead I went to work nailing up ceiling boards on the Grid A eaves and finished up the second course of boards all the way across before I quit for lunch and a nap. Two Canadian Jays kept me company all during the work and they took a lot of peanuts from my hand.

Since it had rained during the night and was still raining, this was a chance to check on the drainage ditch plumbing. I was happy to see that the 5 gallon bucket I had set under the discharge pipe was full and overflowing. That meant that the system was working. I went down under the porch and was delighted to see that the cliff wall and the ground under it were completely dry. That meant that all the water running around the corner of the building was being captured by my plumbing system and was being routed down to the front of the building. Now I just need to see how much drier the crawl space will be this winter as a result.

With two courses of ceiling boards in place, the next course needs to be the vent course. So I made the first 4 foot section of vent board and installed it at the Grid A3 corner of the eave. Then I cut the vent holes in an 8 foot ceiling board for the next vent board. I used my new Bosch jig saw to make the holes and it worked much better than my old B&D saw which is about at end of life.

Before I quit for the day, I disconnected and drained the porch water hose. It's getting to be time to winterize the place. I also switched the ceiling exhaust fan valve to blow the warm air into the bedroom rather than outside.

On Thursday morning the weather was clear again so I went back to work on the firewood. The first thing I did was to make a place to stack the wood nearer to the cabin. Right where I had been stacking firewood I realized that I would need to set up a second steel scaffold tower when I moved my ceiling board operation around from the Grid A eave to the Grid 3 eave. I needed to get the first tier of that tower in place before I stacked any more wood there.

Fortunately the first tier fit around the firewood pile pretty well without moving much wood. I was able to get firm footing on the ground for all four legs and to shim them up to level the frames. I needed to move half a dozen rounds out of the way in order to install the back cross brace, but I got it done without too much effort.

Bert and Ernie showed up during the work so I took a break to give them their usual hugs and biscuits.

With the second scaffold tower in place, I got the chainsaw out, gassed it up, and proceeded to buck up the remaining logs. Then I discovered that the old remnant of my sand and gravel bin made a nice chute for the firewood rounds. From just about any place where the firewood was lying, it was fairly easy to throw them downhill into the bin from where they would roll down to the roadway just above the cabin. From there it will be easy to move them to a stack near the firewood pile.

I discovered that the wood was laced with a carpenter ant nest. After cutting the rounds loose, I could see big black ants slowly crawling out of the holes that were now exposed in the end grain of the rounds. A lot of them had wings which surprised me. It didn't seem like the season for winged carpenter ants.

There were also all kinds of grubs and bugs on the inside of the bark, which came right off the log when I bucked it up. I was a little concerned seeing these insects, but I figured that they were out of their element and not in a position to take up residence in my cabin in this weather. Nevertheless, I decided I didn't want to move the wood too close to the cabin. I'd stack it some distance out to be safe.

So when I went in for lunch, all of the firewood rounds were lying on the roadway just below the big rock pile. The pair of Canadian Jays visited me for a round of peanuts just before I went in.

While I was changing out of my work clothes, I noticed a new hole in a pocket of my Carhartt overalls. That was the pocket I kept peanuts in for the birds and chipmunks. Evidently a mouse had gotten into my pants that I kept hanging on a hook and they had gotten into that pocket from below rather than from the top. As time goes on, I will probably find other evidence of mouse mischief that they did during their recent invasion. Hopefully the mouse wars are over now and there won't be any more invasions. Of course, I have been there before and been proved wrong.

While I was eating my lunch, I was treated to a very pleasant surprise. I saw a Canadian Jay fly past the dining room window so I got up to take a look. To my delight I saw not only the two Canadian Jays but a couple of Stellar's Jays down on the buggy firewood rounds busily eating ants and grubs and whatever else they were finding. They would sit on a round, or on the ground, with their heads cocked, evidently listening or watching, and then they would dart over to a round to peck at it to grab a bug. They kept this up until I finished my lunch, packed up, and left for home. I quit worrying about insects invading the cabin from that firewood. The birds were protecting me from that. I left for home at 12:30 feeling pretty good about the week.

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