Construction Journal Entry Week of 8/3/14

8/6-8/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

On the way, I visited with Priscilla in the hospital. Then I proceeded on to Monroe and visited with Uncle Charles. We walked around the garden together.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 2:00. The temperature was 85. When I entered the cabin, I found two mice in the traps. Now I will have to put more energy into finding out how they get inside. The rodent wars are on again.

After moving my gear in and resetting the mouse traps, I turned on the valve to water Brian, the giant sequoia. Then I had my lunch and a nap. When I got up, I went into the woods and checked on the sequoia trees. I gave Andrew a bucket of water. The tree looked healthy, but the dirt around it was dry. Brian seems to be thriving. I think the irrigation is working.

The temperature inside the cabin was an uncomfortable 76 but it was much hotter and too hot to work up near the ceiling. I opened all the windows and had a fan blowing in during the night to cool the place off.

On Thursday I got up early to take advantage of the cool morning. I worked on installing the ceiling fan mounting bracket on the underside of the ridgepole at Grid C2.5. When that was done, I assembled the fan body and attached the 48" downrod so that it was ready to hang in the mounting bracket. I had just carried it up to the loft and lifted it up onto the scaffold when Robert Ferrel and his helper, Tim, showed up.

They came inside and helped me lift the ceiling fan and get it into the bracket. I could easily have done it alone, but I was glad they were there just in case I had any trouble.

Robert said he had done a little more work clearing brush and cutting some small trees. He had been kept busy by a lot of other projects but was about ready to start work in earnest soon.

After they left, I completed step 21 of the ceiling fan instructions. The next step is to secure the canopy but that couldn't be done without cutting away some more wood from the ridgepole so the canopy would fit. By that time it was too hot to work in the loft.

On Friday morning, I started early again, watered Brian, and then rigged up dust protection for the ceiling fan. I made a big heavy paper cone that I taped around the downrod and over the fan body. Then I attached a shallow cardboard box to the downrod which was intended to catch the sawdust and chips that fell when I cut into the ridgepole.

I used a big caliper and a sharpie to mark the ridgepole log where it needed cutting. Then I used the vibrating saw to cut vertical kerfs on the marks. Finally, I used a hammer and a quarter-inch chisel to remove the wood to the kerf. That saw makes very fine sawdust and it blows it all over the place. I had to wear a respirator and my paper cone worked perfectly to protect the fan from the dust. The chip-catcher box also worked pretty well, but still a lot of chips fell to the floor.

Once I had all the dust and chips cleaned up on the scaffolding, I attached the canopy which fit nicely. That completed installation step 22. Then I swept the loft stairs and the first floor where the chips and sawdust had fallen.

Finally, I decided on a plan to begin narrowing down how the mice get into the cabin. The plan is to use peanuts on the floor as tell-tales. I got two more mousetraps and set them so that there were a total of six traps out: one in the loft, one in the crawlspace, one in the bedroom, and three in the living room. Then I put two tell-tale peanuts on the floor for each trap, one on the left and one on the right along the wall. The idea was that if I caught another mouse, I might be able to tell which direction it came from if one of the peanuts near the trap was gone. Other peanuts being gone would be additional clues. Now that fall is on the way, mice are looking to get inside so I want to figure out how to stop them.

I left for home at 12:30 after taking a couple pictures of the fan body hanging from the ceiling.



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