Construction Journal Entry Week of 9/24/17

9/26-28/17 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped at the Two Rivers office and talked to them about getting some drainfield gravel. The price is $30 for as much as you want to haul in a pickup, or $10 for as much as you want to shovel into your truck from the ground using your own shovel. The second option seems to be the one for me since I don't need very much.

I have been thinking ahead and making a plan for how to deal with the water in the crawlspace. I have decided to lay loosely connected pipes in the bottom of the drainage channel and then cover that with drainfield rock. I'm not exactly sure what to put on top of that. The urgency in getting the rocks is that if I want to have it before winter sets in, I need to get it pretty soon.

I proceeded on to Camp Serendipity and arrived at 1:00. After hoisting the flag and moving into the cabin, I discovered that two of the mouse traps were sprung but empty, most of the tell-tale peanuts were gone, moved, or nibbled on, and all the poop looked like it was shrew poop. I decided that keeping the shrews out of the cabin was more urgent than getting rocks for the crawl space, so I decided to put the rocks off until next spring or summer. The new priority was to seal off the subfloor to the shrews by installing shrew-proof baseboards and by plugging all the holes in the subfloor left by the plumbers. Shrews could still get into the crawlspace but not into the cabin.

After lunch and a nap, I brought the 2x4s that were earmarked for baseboards from the back porch, where they were stacked, to the front porch where I will resume working on them. Some of them have already been prepared and are ready.

To prepare them, I plane one edge flat so that the rounded edge, normally on a 2x4, is removed leaving a sharp right-angle corner. That way, when the flattened edge is placed on the floor, there is a sharp corner that won't collect as much dirt and debris as the rounded edge would have. It will also look more finished. Then to finish the preparation, I varnish the top edge and the front face that will be exposed as the baseboard.

Next, I did some thinking about how to make a carriage for a Skilsaw that will allow me to make a precise horizontal kerf in the log wall that will make the upper surface of a notch to accept the baseboard. I gathered some pieces of wood and tried out some ideas for making the carriage, but I was not inspired and nothing came of it.

Then, before I quit for the night, I went down to the crawlspace with some hardware cloth and sized up the job of plugging up the plumber's holes in the subfloor. I got a start on that job.

On Wednesday morning after breakfast, I went back down to the crawlspace and spent the morning covering plumbing holes in the subfloor with hardware cloth.

After lunch and a nap, I went into the woods to check on the sequoia trees. I hadn't irrigated them for a couple weeks because it had rained a lot but I found the trees to be doing well and the ground under all of them was damp.

While I was in the woods I decided to have a look at the big pine log that Robert wants to salvage. He had asked me whether it still looks sound and now I decided to have a look. I had previously peeled off some big chunks of bark, and the wood looked sound and dry where there was no bark. Where there still was bark, it was rather loose and I could pry it loose with a stick. I pried off quite a bit that way, but soon I decided to do it right.

I went back to the cabin, got a spud, and came back and spudded all the bark off the entire log. I didn't measure it, but I think it is near 100 feet in length. The whole thing looks sound except for a spot on the underside about a foot or two long where the wood is punky.

When I got back to the cabin, I noticed that there was a new crack in the living room window—the same one that had cracked a few months ago. I also noticed a wad of bird feathers and a smudge in the center of the window. It then dawned on me that a big bird had smashed into the window and that was probably how the first crack was made too. It also explained the dead grouse that I had found on the upper roadway last week. I'll have to think about some way of preventing the birds from thinking they can fly through the window.

On Thursday morning Dave called and we exchanged information about new developments in the family. We had a nice conversation. I spent the morning designing and building the saw carriage and this time I did get inspired. I think I came up with a good workable design. It is ready to go to work next week.

While I was working on it, and making an extra loud noise, I saw a packrat come up on the porch deck behind the workbench. He evidently came up to check out the noise and possibly to challenge me. I exposed his hiding place and we stared each other in the eye for a few moments before he finally scampered away. I'm sure glad the cabin is packrat-proof.

I took some pictures and then left for home at 1:00 enthusiastic about my new priorities and the progress made toward getting them done.

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