Construction Journal Entry Week of 7/1/18

7/4/18 (Wednesday) Robert called me at home to report that the water system at Camp Serendipity wasn't working. I couldn't understand what was wrong unless it was a serious failure at the springbox. Robert agreed to open the circuit breaker to the water heater in the cabin so that it couldn't overheat and cause a fire. I decided to go up to Camp Serendipity as soon as I could to check out the problem.

7/5-8/18 I went up to Camp serendipity for 4 days: Thursday through Sunday.

I had caught a cold a couple days earlier and Ellen and I both felt that if I went up to Camp Serendipity to recover, I not only could work on the water problem but it would reduce the chances of giving my cold to Ellen or to Ocean, who was visiting us for three weeks.

I arrived at 11:00 with a plan to fill two 5-gallon buckets with water from the creek and take them up to use to flush the toilet in case I couldn't get the water system working right away. When I went into the crawl space to get the buckets, I saw that there was one mouse in one of the traps. I dumped the mouse, reset the trap, and took the buckets down to the creek along with a smaller container to use as a dipper.

It took a while there in amongst the mosquitoes to fill the buckets, but I eventually did. Then I realized how weakened I was from the cold when I carried the buckets up the hill. It was a chore, but I got them up and put them in the bathtub ready for use later.

After having my lunch, I packed some plumbing tools and two 1-gallon water jugs in my trusty Trapper Nelson backpack and headed up to the springbox, both to try to diagnose the problem and to get two gallons of good water for drinking and cooking.

On the way I decided to detour and check the cedar trees. I started by taking a look at Paul, the sequoia, and was surprised that it looked so green. The dirt under it was nice and damp.

Then I continued over to cedar tree #11, and it, too, was lush and green. As I stared down at the irrigation hose that ran by, I was shocked to see water running out of a leak in the hose. If my water system wasn't working, there should be no water flowing out of the hose. It seemed that there was at least some flow.

Then I headed up to the springbox wondering what I would find. When I got there, I was surprised and pleased to see that there was about an inch of water coming out of the overflow pipe, which has been the norm for several years. Nothing was wrong at all.

After trying to make sense of it all, I realized that I had given Robert bad information. I told him he should expect a discharge from the copper pipe and hose at the creek, but I was wrong. I forgot that I had closed the valve to that discharge hose in order to pressurize the irrigation system for the cedars that I intended to have running 24/7 all summer.

Back inside the cabin, the water system worked just fine, so I took the two buckets of water out to the front porch and dumped them on Rosie. With the anxiety over a possible water supply problem gone, I took a very welcome nap.

Ellen called, just as I dropped off to sleep, to find out what I had learned. I explained the situation to her and we agreed that this phone call would serve as our daily call and that she needn't call me again that evening. After we hung up, I took some more Dayquil and went back to my napping feeling pretty sick.

I got up to shower and to have dinner, but then I went right back to bed. Camp Serendipity is really the ideal place to recover. It is completely quiet, comfortable, no interruptions, and inside my mosquito net tent, there are no mosquitoes while I am in bed. I made it through the night without taking any more cold medicine, but I did sniff salt water several times.

On Friday, I was still feeling pretty sick and weak. At 7:30, just as I was finishing my breakfast, Robert and Tim showed up. I put on my work clothes and went down to see if I could help them. I kept my distance so I wouldn't give them my cold. I watched them use the jammer to pull logs down over the edge of the bluff and then Robert would use his log loader to pick the logs up and stack them in a deck ready for a log truck.

After a while, one of the drums on the jammer began to fail. It got worse and worse until the jammer couldn't pull the logs at all. By that time, it was 11:00 and Robert and Tim left for the day.

I had my lunch and another long nap. I went outside for a while and did some re-configuring of the many hoses I have hooked up.

On Saturday morning both Ellen and Robert called: Ellen to check on me and Robert to let me know that he wouldn't be over that day. After breakfast, I strung hoses down at the driveway all the way to the driveway entrance, and then set a sprayer up to wet down the lower part of the driveway. Robert had said that that would help him.

With the driveway being watered, I did some more hose re-configuration up above and then had my lunch. After lunch, I went down and changed the sprinkler pattern in order to water a different part of the driveway. Just as I got back up to the cabin, I saw the neighbors, Mike and Pam Newman, walking their dogs on the road. I hailed them, and we chatted by shouting back and forth. I explained that I had a cold and that it was best to keep our distance.

I spent the rest of the afternoon repairing the axe handle I had broken. It was a clean, diagonal break with almost no splintering and without any splitting inside the axe head. I figured I could fix it simply by gluing it back together. I had done the same kind of repair on my spud and it has held together after many hours of use all these years. I figured it would be the same for the axe.

My plan for clamping the glued joint was to tightly bind it by wrapping nylon mason's string around the handle while under tension. I would make the windings neat and tight against each other in the same way guides are fastened to fishing rods using nylon thread. I had wound many guides when I was a kid, so I was confident I knew what I was doing.

I started by tying one end of the mason string chest-high to the Grid D2 PSL. Then I ran it down the hallway and around the Grid B2 PSL keeping it chest-high. from there I strung it over to the stuffed chair in the living room and cut it off. I pulled on the string until it broke just to get the feel for how much stretching force the string could take. Then I tied it back together where it had broken.

Then I carefully prepared the mating wood surfaces of the broken axe handle to make sure they were clean and splinter-free. Then I smeared carpenter's wood glue on both surfaces making sure each was completely covered.

Next, I put the two pieces together and got them to line up exactly right. I used a vise-grip to bind the two pieces together about an inch from the axe head. I had the vice-grip sticking out on the opposite side from the blade of the axe so it was sort of counter-balanced. Then I used a couple doubled-up rubber bands that I had worked over the handle down to where the short piece was tapered to nothing. Between the rubber bands and the vise-grip, the handle was held pretty much in its final position. It just needed to be squeezed down tight.

To do that, I took it over to the stuffed chair and started wrapping the string around the handle. I wrapped it by holding the axe handle horizontal and rotating it toward myself while I maintained tension on the string. I ran out of string before I was halfway done so I set up another run of string the same as before except that I added two loops around the Grid B2 and C2 columns before I took it over to the stuffed chair.

That was enough string, but I ran out of time. I wasn't finished by 5:00, which is my usual shower time. Instead of stopping, I kept going until I was finished which took until about 6:00. I took a picture of the result.

On Sunday morning, Robert and Tim showed up at 7:00. I still wasn't feeling all that well, but I helped them a little, watered down the driveway, and took some pictures of the logging operation. Since the jammer wasn't working, they used the skidder to pull the logs down. It was a lot more work, but at least it worked. They were able to get somewhat more than two log trucks full of logs piled up, which was their target. Now they need to find a log truck to haul them away. I left for home at 9:30.

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