Construction Journal Entry Week of 9/28/14

9/29-10/2/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 4 days: Monday through Thursday.

I got up at 5:30 and called Robert letting him know that I would be up at Camp Serendipity later in the morning. On the way, I visited with Priscilla and Bill Odgers at the Anderson house. Then I visited with Uncle Charles in Monroe. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 10:50 and found Robert, Dee, and Tim Warman already at work.

I brought my gear up to the cabin, put my boots on, and was happy to see there were no mice in any of the traps.

I went out with my camera and recorded video shots of the loggers felling a big tree from deep in the valley behind the cabin. How the tree would fall was uncertain and dangerous because it had to hit the rock cliff some 30 feet away. As it turned out, the tree didn't break on the rock but instead teeter-tottered over it with the butt going high in the air before it settled back down and lifted the rest of the trunk in the air. The loggers skidded the tree down the hill using a cable, a couple blocks, and with the cable being pulled by the loader backing down the roadway.

Robert hurt his back at one point so they left early at 1:00. I had my lunch and then went to work cutting, rolling, and stacking big firewood rounds the loggers had left for me to the east of the front porch. I was super tired when I went in for a nap at 4:00. It was a little chilly in the cabin so I split one round and started a fire in the stove. That brought the temperature up from 66 to 76 in just a few minutes.

On Tuesday Robert and Tim showed up at 8:30. Robert's back was well enough for him to work. He used the loader to yard the big log down the hill where they limbed and bucked it and then stacked the logs. We started building a burn pile with dry wood intending on using it to roast weenies when the last tree in Phase I was down. Phase I is the harvesting of trees to the east and south of the cabin.

Skidding the logs down the hill had torn apart part of the rock retaining wall on the upper roadway. Since the last of the logs had come down that way, I worked on re-building the rock wall. When the loggers left at 1:00, I continued working on the rock wall.

I had just finished it up when Earl came by on his motorcycle. We had a nice chat and he admired the logs in the log decks. He had worked as a log scaler so he would know a good deck.

On Wednesday Robert, Dee, and Tim showed up at 8:30. Robert brought all the fixings for a weenie roast we planned to have when the last tree in Phase I was down. I put the fixings in the refrigerator.

The loggers went to work felling a big Doug Fir fairly high up on the slope of the valley behind the cabin while I shot video clips of the work. The tree was just 4 or 5 feet from the rock wall so it was questionable about how it was going to fall over the rock. It didn't fall quite right and it broke as it hit, but the logs were still OK. Robert reported that he hauled his 41st dump truck of brush out.

Dee and I used Robert's cable cutter to cut up some old 3/4" cable that previous loggers had left on the property when we bought it. We cut it into 5-foot lengths so that Robert can scrap it out.

The loggers left at about 12:30. I went to work digging the water line trench. It was mostly dug already but the trench stopped at the point where the copper pipe comes out of the ground and connects to the temporary hose. My plan was to dig under the end of the pipe so that it could be bent down to 18 inches below the surface with the new length of pipe attached.

As soon as I started digging, I ran into solid rock. I was afraid that it might be bedrock, but I soon learned that it was simply two big rocks. I got the digging bar and used it to work one loose and lift it out of the trench. It probably weighs 60 or 70 lbs. The other one is a lot bigger and I couldn't get it out. I went in for a nap pretty well exhausted and with a pretty sore back.

When I got up from my nap, I worked on the last step of installing the bathroom cabinet over the toilet, which was to attach it to the wall to prevent toppling. The problem was that I couldn't find a stud and I couldn't find my as-built diagram showing where the studs are. It must be in Seattle.

On Thursday morning the loggers arrived early again. Robert climbed the last big tree that will be felled down toward the hairpin turn. The tree grew out of the top of the rock cliff directly behind the cabin. This tree had served as the anchor for the backstay of the crane I used to construct the cabin. It had supported the weight of virtually every load lifted by the crane.

Since it was so close to the cabin, Robert climbed it and cut off all the lower limbs to keep them from damaging the cabin. While he was up in the tree, he attached a cable to the trunk so that tension could be applied to the tree to pull it in the direction it was intended to fall. That further reduced the danger of the falling tree.

I shot video clips of the climbing and felling of the tree. After the tree was down, the loggers cleaned up the brush, bucked the trunk into logs, and yarded the logs to the various piles and decks. By noon, things were pretty well in order so the burn pile was lit, the fire burned down to coals, and the four of us roasted hot dogs over the fire for our lunch. That was our celebration of the completion of the timber cutting for Phase I of the Camp Serendipity Logging Project. I left for home at about 1:00 very happy with the loggers and the progress they have made.

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