Construction Journal Entry Week of 11/2/14

11/4-6/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped in to see Priscilla and help her with her TV. When I got there, I found that she had just called the EMTs and they were on their way to take her to the hospital. I waited until she was in the aid car and then proceeded to Monroe where I visited with Uncle Charles. I planned to play a game of checkers with him, but instead I got involved in a game of batting a big balloon with nerf bats. It was good to see the old residents so active.

It rained pretty heavily all the way over the pass but when I arrived at Camp Serendipity, at 1:19, the rain had pretty much stopped. I wanted to start a slash fire as soon as I could so that it could get pretty well established before it started raining again. So I carried only my suitcase up to the cabin so that I could get my work clothes out of it and change into them. I went outside, cut up some pine kindling, and used it to get a fire started in the upper burn site. I got it going well and stoked it up with brush and limbs.

Then I started a fire in the wood stove inside the cabin to warm it up and when it was going, I had my lunch. After lunch, I went back outside and loaded up the fire with chunks of big wood so that they would start cooking down.

Next I carried up my remaining gear and a bunch of things I brought from Priscilla's house that we will keep in the log home. And finally, I had a nap before showering and having dinner.

On Wednesday the weather was overcast, damp, and 40 with an occasional interlude of light rain. Perfect weather for working outside for me. After breakfast, I revived the fire outside and stoked it up with brush. Since the brush near the fire pit was pretty much already burned up, I had to go farther and farther to get more brush. To avoid walking back and forth, I threw the brush down from high up on the rock so that I wouldn't have to climb up and down so many times. Then I could reach the brush I had thrown down and place it right on the fire until it was all burned.

I also got out the wheelbarrow and used it on the more-or-less level section to haul brush to the fire. That way I handled the brush only once when I loaded it into the wheelbarrow. When it was full, I would wheel it to the fire and dump the load directly onto the fire. All of the brush I picked up was soaking wet so when I dumped it on the fire, it would temporarily knock the flames down but by the time I was back with another load, the flames would be blazing again. It worked very well so that the fire never did get too big even though I burned a huge amount of brush.

From time to time I would take a break from stoking the fire and I would go into the woods to work on backfilling the water line trench. Digging into the mineral soil and throwing it into the trench was easy. But trying to dig into the topsoil that was laced with vine maple roots and other vegetation was a lot tougher. The excavator had taken out big chunks of topsoil like that and piled them to the side. I couldn't handle the entire lump because it was too big and heavy, and I couldn't cut through the rootballs with the spade, so I just had to pick at it and take it apart the best I could. I worked on one particularly tough rootball lump all day. By the end, I had gotten it all back into the trench and backfilled about 5 feet of it. That leaves about 65 feet to go, but the rest should be easier, I hope.

After finishing my lunch, Earl stopped by for a visit. He and Dana will be leaving for Palm Springs in one week so I probably won't see him again until spring. I took a picture of him looking at a book of old logging photos. He told me a good logging joke: When the logger was asked what he would do if he won the lottery, he replied "I'd keep on logging until it was all gone."

After Earl left, I burned some more slash, took a nap, burned more slash and then quit for the day. It's beginning to look like a park out there now.

On Thursday morning it was raining cats and dogs. I decided not to try to revive the fire or to work in the mud at the water line trench. Instead I sat in the truck where I can get radio reception and listened to the commentaries on the election results.

I had just started a fire in the wood stove to warm up the place when a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on the door. I spent a half hour or so with them. When they left, I tried the fit of the ceiling board I had made a week or two ago and found that it almost fits. It will need a little trimming to go in snugly but I put that off for later. I packed up and left for home at about 1:00 happy that I had another fairly productive and very pleasant week.

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