Construction Journal Entry Week of 6/4/17

6/6-8/17 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

As soon as I got on the road, I noticed that the battery light came on in the truck. I immediately changed course and drove straight to Maddy's. Fortunately, Brian was there and was able to check it out. He had just put a new alternator in a month or two ago. He tested the truck and said that it was charging fine and the computer said that nothing was wrong. He reset the warning light and told me to just keep an eye on it. It must be OK because the light didn't come on again and everything works fine.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:15. The temperature was 70. When I entered the cabin I found a mouse in the trap under the living room window. I took the carcass outside, hoisted the flag, then came back inside and had my lunch and a nap.

Quite a few mosquitoes had gotten inside the cabin in spite of the fan at the front door, so I got out the mosquito net tent for the bed and set it up. I don't mind the mosquitoes inside during the day so much because if they land on me I just slap them. But I don't like having them keep me awake at night so the mosquito net is perfect. Even if I can occasionally hear one whining I know it can't get me so it doesn't bother me or keep me awake.

Next, I took the wheelbarrow down to the truck and unloaded the stuff I had brought with me. I had brought thirty 10-foot lengths of #3 rebar with me for making balusters and I carried them up to the porch in five trips, carrying six lengths at a time. Then I wheeled the yard waste I had brought with me over to the compost pile and stacked it on. There were a couple big limbs among the yard waste that I wheeled up to the cabin and then cut into firewood lengths.

Then I used Cindy to trim Rosie the rose bush and some other overgrown bushes near the cabin, before I took down the "boxing ring" temporary guard rails that had been there for over 20 years.

On Wednesday morning, Dave called just after I had finished my breakfast. He is getting ready to tow a boat to Cleveland and to participate in a world-class regatta there next week.

After we hung up, I went out and painted a dozen or so balusters that were the left-overs from last week's work. While they were drying, I installed the short rail section from Grid F3 to F.5,3. To make it easier, I dismantled the miter joint so that the Grid F.5 rail could remain down and engaged with its balusters. When the balusters were all installed in the short rail, I re-connected the miter joint with the diagonal bolt and then fastened the joint down to the top of the Grid F.5,3 newel post with a big lag screw. I still need to fasten the rail to the Grid F.5,2 newel post with a long lag screw, but I don't have one on hand. I need to get one.

Next, I cut the remaining 11 balusters I need to complete the railing from Grid F3 to the projecting wall logs at Grid E3. There are still two spaces (between the projecting logs and between the lower one and the deck) that need to be filled with short balusters but I'll do that later.

Since I wore down my grinding wheel so severely, I decided to skip dressing the ends of the balusters and see if I couldn't get the ends into the holes the way they were. That would be an experiment. Before I stopped for lunch, I cleaned the 11 balusters with paint thinner and a rag.

By the time I finished lunch, the previously painted batch of balusters was dry so I unloaded the rack and drove the painted balusters into holes in the deck. Then I loaded the rack back up with the newly cleaned 11 balusters and took it down and painted them. Then I went in for my nap.

When I got up, the paint was dry so I brought them up and finished installing the railing. The balusters went into the holes just fine without having been dressed so I am pleased to learn that I can skip that step. With the railing pretty much completed, I swept up the porch and took some pictures. I am very happy with how the railing looks. It really changes the look of the building to have those ropes gone and the railing finally done.

On Thursday morning, I hoisted the flag at about 6 AM in a very light rain. As I usually do in the summertime, I returned to the cabin by going around to the front door, where the fan is, in an attempt to keep mosquitos from following me into the cabin. Before I went in, though, I decided to sit in Dave's Adirondack chair for a while just to enjoy the morning. While I was sitting there, I saw a coyote trotting down the road from left to right. I was glad I just happened to be watching.

The cabin was overdue to be cleaned, so I got the vacuum out and did a pretty thorough cleaning job. When I had fixed my breakfast, I had noticed a bunch of mouse poop in the cabinet under the sink so I had planned to clean that up too.

When I started taking out the garbage can and the other things in that cabinet, I discovered that a mouse was still in there. The mouse dove into a plastic bag that contained my window washing equipment. There was a bottle of soap, two squeegees, and two fabric "soapers" in the bag. The "soapers" had been partly chewed up by the mouse, or mice, and I figured they were making a nest in there. I took the bag out on the porch with the mouse still inside and using a handy piece of plywood, I killed the mouse. I figured that if I let him go outside he would only come right back in since he knew the way.

I don't really know whether or not there was a second mouse in the bag or if a second one had escaped and gone down behind the cabinet. Mice usually run in pairs, and since I had caught one in a trap earlier, that might account for two of them. But since I couldn't be sure, I set two mousetraps inside the cabinet after I had cleaned it up. The experience increased the urgency of finding out how mice get into the cabin. I'll start doing some serious searching next week.

In spite of the mice, I was happy with my progress this week and left for home at 12::30. I'm not exactly sure what project I will take on next, aside from mouse-hole hunting, but I'll figure it out.

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