Construction Journal Entry Week of 2/7/16

2/9-11/16 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I had gotten a call from Robert Ferrel on Monday telling me that he was going to cut down part of the trunk of the big tree on North Shore Road and he wondered if I could make a video of his work. I said I would and I told him I would try to get up there by 10:00 in the morning. That meant that I had to leave earlier than usual and skip my checker game with Uncle Charles.

Robert wasnít quite ready to start when I pulled up next to his truck right at 10:00. He suggested that I go to Camp Serendipity and get my tripod. So I drove there, opened up the cabin, brought in my gear, started a fire in the stove, and got the tripod.

I went back to North Shore Drive just as Robert was rigging up to climb the tree. I shot videos of most of the process until after a couple hours, the camera quit working. I couldnít read the messages on the viewfinder because of the bright daylight and my poor eyesight, but I figured that it was either the memory was full or the batteries were dead or too cold. I couldnít do much about any one so I got my cellphone out and continued to shoot videos with that.

The problem was that I wasnít sure how to operate the camera. I had trouble seeing the screen and when I could see it I was confused about how to take videos. After a while I remembered that the phone camera shows a red dot when it is NOT taking videos, and the dot disappears when it IS taking videos. That seems to be backward from other cameras I have used.

Anyway, I got most of the activity recorded except for one falling log sequence and Robertís final rappel down from the tree. He cut about 1/3 of the trunk by about 12:30. Heíll do some more another day with a bigger saw. He used two different saws the way it was and the diameter of the trunk where he needs to cut next is too big for the ones he brought.

When Robertís work was done, I drove back to Camp Serendipity and had my lunch and a nap. When I got up, I went up on the high rock to retrieve some tackle that had been left attached to the log that went through the roof of the cabin. Now that the log had been cut in pieces and the snow had melted back some, I thought I would be able to retrieve the tackle.

I especially wanted a 60-foot cable with a pulley on it because I planned to use it to support the sling for the Log Wizard (gwizard). The plan was to string the cable tightly overhead on the porch with the sling attached to the pulley. That way, the pulley could travel along the cable for 10 or 15 feet, and to Gwiz the slabs, I needed at most 7 feet. The log bases would only need 4 feet of travel.

I was happy to discover that the snow was soft enough and the cable was exposed enough so that I had no trouble pulling it out. I also retrieved a come-along and a couple chains that had been connected to the log.

While I was up there, I used the come-along and chains to move the top end of the big log over to the edge of the high rock and then down onto the big snow berm below the cabin roof.

Then on the porch, I rigged the cable overhead by shackling it to a log end at the Grid E1 corner of the cabin, from there through the pulley at the top of the Grid F1 PSL and the one at the end of the projection of the main loft beam that sticks out into the porch. I use those two pulleys for my exerciser. Then to use up the cable, I wrapped it around the Grid F3 PSL, then the Grid F2 PSL, and finally back to the F3 PSL again where it was just long enough to reach a foot or two past the column.

Then to secure the cable and tighten it up, I used the porch crane and hooked it to the end of the long cable. I powered up the crane winch and snugged up the cable. The pulley that is on the cable was positioned between the two exerciser pulleys so that it traveled directly over the porch deck where I would place the slabs and logs that I needed to gwiz.

Before I quit for the day, I removed the cutting bar from the chainsaw and installed the gwizard instead.

On Wednesday I rearranged the tarp on the porch so that it would catch the chips from the gwizard and then I gwizzed the two remaining slabs and the two logs. I took some video shots of some of this work. I had re-charged the camera battery and there seemed to be enough space left on the camera card. The camera was also warmed up so I donít know exactly what fixed it

After lunch and a nap, I used a long rope and a come-along to skid the big log down from where it was on the edge of the high rock all the way to the flagpole. There it was in a position where I could cut it up and it wasnít likely to get covered up by a snow slide from the roof. It started raining lightly toward the end of this work.

Before I went in for the night, I split all the remaining firewood rounds that I had. I am getting pretty short of firewood but I will get some more from the remnants of the work on the stoop and from the big log I had just dragged down.

On Thursday morning, I switched the gwizard back for the cutting bar on the chainsaw. Then I cut the log bases for the stoop square and to length. There was a nice firewood round as a remnant from each. Then I bucked each of the rejected log bases into three firewood rounds each and I threw all eight of the rounds down off the porch toward the firewood stack below.

Then I went to work on the big log by the flagpole and bucked it into 15 pieces. I hauled those over to the firewood stack under the eaves and stacked them along with those I had thrown off the porch.

Next I got a big cardboard box and filled it with the gwiz chips and chainsaw dust that had accumulated on the tarp. The box barely held it all. The tarp made it pretty easy to clean it all up.

Then I folded up the tarp and stowed it under the front porch. Finally, I mixed up a batch of Board Defense solution and sprayed it on the slabs and base logs. They will be dry and ready to work with next week. I left for home at 12:45 feeling pretty good about the progress.

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