Construction Journal Entry Week of 7/22/18

7/24-26/18 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

When I left Highway 2 at Coles Corner, I was following right behind a brand new-looking empty log truck. I suspected it might be the truck that had just hauled the second load of logs away from Camp Serendipity. When I arrived at 11:45, the log truck kept going but when I pulled into the driveway Robert was there. He told me that the truck had just gone to the next driveway where he hooked up a trailer and then came back to Camp Serendipity.

Robert had his fire truck parked in the driveway and was using it to spray the driveway. I took a picture of his fire truck. Then I met Mike Whitford, the log truck driver, and he said that he had just returned from Everett after delivering the second of the two loads of logs. Now he was going to load his excavator onto the trailer behind the log truck, collect his check from Robert, and head for home. Robert paid him, and he then left. I'm sorry I didn't get to see him load the logs with his excavator, but I'm glad the job got done just the same. Robert said we should expect payment for the logs in about 3 weeks.

I brought my gear up to the cabin, hoisted the flag, and discovered that I had a message from Earl. All it said was "I'm back."

I called Earl right away and learned that Dana was still in Utah, but he was back in his house. His eyes are still messed up, but his eye doctor said that he thinks he can fix them, maybe even without surgery, so that he can drive again. Earl is eager for that to happen.

While I was on the phone, Robert came up to the cabin and I gave the phone to him so that he could say hi to Earl. Then we hung up and Robert and I talked about his plans for logging and for his machinery. Logging is pretty much over at Camp Serendipity until October, or so, and Robert is going to take some of his equipment to other jobs. He left at about 1:30.

I had my lunch and a nice nap. My cold was pretty much gone, and my strength was coming back, but I still appreciated the naps. When I got up, I went out and picked 24 oz. of blackberries. Fortunately, the mosquito season is about over so that made it nice. But the temperature was 92 so that made the berry picking pretty uncomfortable, especially in the direct sun.

On Wednesday morning at 5:45 I heard an engine start in the driveway. I got up and saw Robert just driving the fire engine away and Tess following him in her car.

I got up and decided that it was time to take down the mosquito net tent over my bed. I had successfully kept the mosquitoes out of the cabin recently, so I didn't think I needed the tent until next year.

After hoisting the flag and having my breakfast, I went out and checked all the cedar trees. I was watchful for deer, but I didn't see any. The cedars and the irrigation system all looked great. Then I flipped the valve to irrigate Brian and then went into the woods and checked cedar #12 and all the sequoias. I was surprised that Larry had such a bushy crown and yet only had about a quarter of an inch of new growth on its main stem. I haven't watered Larry for several years and it is on a high bank in a lot of shade. Even though it is growing super slow, it looks like it is surviving.

The rest of the trees were doing well, although some were doing better than others. I carried a big bucket of water to Andrew, giving some of it to Dan before I left.

Then I returned to the cabin and went down and picked 16 oz. of blackberries. I wanted to get down there while the patch was still in the shade, but I was just a little too late.

Next, I went to work on the porch railing. I made a handle for holding a screw eye with a plumb bob string running through it. I used it to mark the holes for the balusters in the porch deck. To use the device, I hold the handle in my left hand and press the screw eye up into a hole in the underside of the rail, which is in its proper place. The plumb bob string runs down along the handle of the device so that with my left hand I can hold it fast. With my right hand, I grab the free end of the string and pull it so that the plumb bob is up off the deck. Using both hands, I raise and lower the plumb bob until it stops swinging and is hanging just above the deck.

Then I gently let the string out until the plumb bob just touches the deck. At this point I clamp the string against the handle with my left hand so my right hand is free and the plumb bob is just touching the deck. Without moving it, I grab the plumb bob with my right hand and apply a lot of force on it so that the point makes a dent in the deck.

The dent is very visible, and I found that there is no need to mark the spot with a sharpie, as I started to do. It's a lot faster just to push a dent in the deck with the plumb bob and then move on to the next hole. I did all thirty-some holes before I went in for lunch and a nap.

When I got up I made a gauge out of a 3/8" copper tube. I put the gauge over the 7/16" spade bit so that it left 1 inch of bit exposed. That way it would stop the bit when the hole was 1 inch deep.

I snapped a chalk line over the line of baluster hole sites, and I pulled a tape across them to make sure the spacing was right. Some of the marks were off a little and I debated what to do. If I trued up the holes in the deck, and the holes in the rail were off, then the balusters would not be parallel. I think that would look worse than if some of the balusters were off a little but still plumb and parallel. So, I decided to drill the holes in the marks from the plumb bob even if they were a little off.

Using my drilling gage, I drilled a 1-inch hole in each of the baluster sites in the deck, and then with a 1/4" spade bit, I drilled a weep hole all the way through the deck in the bottom of each hole.

On Thursday morning at 6 AM, I heard another engine start in the parking area and I watched Robert drive his loader away and Tess followed right behind him in her car. I wasn't fast enough to get down there to talk to them before they left.

Dave called right after breakfast and we had another delightful conversation. Next week we will be having out of town guests and one of them will be spending a night with us at Camp Serendipity. So, I put all the tools away, cleaned the place up, and set up a cot with a table and lamp in the living room. I also put together some things I need to take home for the family reunion picnic we will be hosting.

Then I went back down to the berry patch and picked a few more berries. I also unloaded a bunch of yard waste from the truck and put it on the compost pile. I was really happy that my strength was back to normal and all of the cold symptoms were completely gone. I left for home at 12:45.

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