Construction Journal Entry Week of 3/3/13

3/5-7/13 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way, I stopped in Woodinville to pick up our tax return, then in Monroe to visit with Uncle Charles, and from there I proceeded on to Camp Serendipity.

I arrived at 1:00 and was greeted by Bert and Ernie. The snow had shrunk back a little so my parking place was a little bit bigger than before. After lunch and a short nap I staged four stained boards and then went up on the high scaffold and nailed on the rest of the ceiling boards between Grid D and Grid E except for one board and the special final strip. I made the measurements for the strip and after climbing down from the scaffolding, I ripped the strip.

On Wednesday morning I slept in a little later than usual. It was snowing lightly. It was very peaceful. After breakfast I nailed the last board and the final strip to finish up the Grid D-E span. That left only one span, the Grid A to Grid B span, which I got a good start on before lunch.

After my usual nap, I went back up on the scaffold and nearly finished the Grid A to Grid B span. There were only about four courses of boards to go and I wondered what to do about the packrats that might still be inside. Once those last boards get nailed, there will be no way in or out for the packrats. And I didn't know whether there were any inside or not. I thought maybe that all my pounding had convinced them to leave, but I didn't know for sure.

I decided to jam four pieces of scrap board ends into the slot to temporarily close up the way in and out of the cavity. If there were any inside, I would be able to hear them during the night, and, hopefully, they might gnaw a hole in the scrap boards and let themselves out. I quit for the night and went in very sore and tired wondering what to expect with the packrats.

Before I went to bed, I jury rigged a fix for the broken wheels on my vacuum cleaner. All night long I could hear packrats scurrying back and forth in the cavity and doing a lot of gnawing. It seemed to get more frantic and panicky toward morning. I tried to figure out whether the gnawing and scurrying ever happened at the same time. If so, it would mean that there were more than one rodent in there. But I never did hear them happen for sure at the same time so I really couldn't figure it out, not that it matters.

On Thursday morning about 6:00, the gnawing and scurrying was pretty intense so I got dressed, went outside, climbed up on the scaffold and pulled out a couple of the temporary boards. That provided an escape for the packrats and I stood back quietly hoping that they would jump out. But nothing happened. I replaced the boards plugging the hole back up and went in for breakfast.

I decided I didn't want to trap the packrats inside so I set to work making the fourth-generation rodent valve. I decided to install the valve and wait until next week to install the ceiling boards. That way, the packrats would have the weekend to find their way out of the cavity and they wouldn't be able to get back in. I could then finish up the ceiling boards next week and have the packrat problem finally solved for good.

I made my new 4G rodent valve by making a wooden adapter between a notch in a scrap piece of ceiling board and my old 3G model valve. When it was ready, I took it up on the scaffold and installed it in the ceiling. It will allow the packrats to walk out next to the outside of the log wall where they have no trouble hanging on and moving about. I placed a wood chip on top of the flapper so that I will be able to tell whether a rodent went through or not.

Then I spent the rest of the morning caulking all the seams where the ceiling boards meet the log wall and the purlins. It's exciting to know that next week I will be done with outside ceilings and rodent invasions. I left for home at 1:00 feeling very good about my progress and my treatment of the packrats.

Go to Next Journal Entry
Previous Journal Entry

Index to all Journal Entries
Go To Home Page

©2013 Paul R. Martin, All rights reserved.