Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/28/17

5/30-6/1/17 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I arrived at noon and the first thing I saw was that the rhubarb was really big. The temperature was 70 and the mosquitoes were out. When I brought my gear up to the cabin, I set up the fan in front of the front door and turned it on. It is pretty effective in keeping mosquitoes out of the cabin. I'll use it for the rest of the summer.

After hoisting the flag and moving in, I had my lunch and my usual nap. When I got up I turned on the valve to irrigate Paul and Brian. Then I went into the woods and using buckets, I hauled water and irrigated all of the sequoia trees. The instructions on the fertilizer spikes I had bought said to soak the ground near the trees first and then drive the spikes in. So, after all the trees were watered, I got the spikes and a hammer and drove a spike into the ground next to almost all the trees (I inadvertently forgot Dan).

Then I went back to the cabin and got the sawzall and went back into the woods. There were some 2" vine maples that had been bent down over the trail near Andrew, Earl, and on the Pipe Trail. I used the sawzall to clear them from the trails. That is really a handy tool for that purpose.

Just after I had lowered the flag for the evening, it started to rain. A fairly violent thunderstorm and downpour developed. It rained most of the night.

On Wednesday morning, Dave called just after I had finished my breakfast and we had another delightful conversation. By counting the left over fertilizer spikes, I realized that I had missed one tree. After some thinking I realized it was Dan so I took a spike and a hammer and went back to fertilize Dan.

Next, I went to work on the front porch railing. I finished dressing the rest of the rebar balusters using the bench grinder. When I finished, I realized how much the grinding wheel had been worn down. It was about an inch smaller which I think is unacceptable. I don't know what a replacement wheel costs, but I think I will change my method of dressing the rebar. I'll either go back to a hammer and anvil, or I will grind them down a lot less. Or, I could drill larger holes in the wood. We'll see.

Next, I cleaned all of the balusters by dipping them into the tank of paint thinner and wiping them down with a cloth. I took some pictures and shot some video of the process.

After lunch and a nap, I went back to work on the porch. I discovered that bees had plugged up several holes in the deck, the rails, and in my painting rack. The bees evidently lay an egg in the hole and then plug it up with sand and sticks glued together. When I drilled some of them out, I got mostly sand, but others had a more developed bee inside so they were goopy and mustard color. I felt bad for messing up the bees' plans, but I did what I had to do.

After clearing the holes in the painting rack, I loaded it up with 19 balusters and took it down to the upper roadway and sprayed on a coat of primer followed by a coat of black enamel.

On Thursday morning, I tapped the 19 painted balusters into the holes in the deck under the Grid F.5 rail starting at the Grid F.5,2 newel post. Then I loaded up the paint rack with 19 more balusters and took them down and painted them.

Between coats, and while they were drying, I drilled the bees out of the holes in the underside of the Grid F.5 rail. Then I disengaged the mortise and tenon joint at Grid F.5,2 so I could lift that end of the rail up and set it down on the balusters that were sticking up from the deck.

It took a little while to get all 19 balusters to go into their holes in the rail so that it could be pushed down enough to reengage the mortise and tenon joint, but I eventually did it. By then the next 19 balusters were dry enough so that I could install them in the other half of the railing in the same way. Then, to avoid the same bee problem, I drilled out all the holes in the rail and the deck for the Grid 3 railing and stuck a piece of tape over each hole to keep the bees out. I did the same for the paint rack.

I was really happy with the look of the final result and took some pictures of it. After harvesting a few stalks of rhubarb, I left for home at 1:00 happy about making visible progress.

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