Construction Journal Entry Week of 8/12/18

8/14-16/18 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

Robert called me before I left to warn me about the smoke from forest fires. It was so thick that he thought I might not want to come over. I told him I would risk it. The air was smoky even in Seattle when I left and it was smoky all the way over, but it seemed tolerable to me.

I arrived at 12:35, carried my gear up to the cabin, hoisted the flag, and had my lunch and my usual nap. The air inside the cabin was nice and fresh so I didn't open any windows. The temperature inside was a comfortable 70.

When I got up, I realized that I had forgotten to call Earl as I had promised. I called him right away and we had a nice chat. He is doing pretty well and didn't need any immediate help from me.

Next, I went up to the bluff and checked the cedar trees. They are all doing well and getting irrigated properly except for #11. That one is definitely dying. I opened the valve to irrigate Brian and cedar #12. Then I went into the woods and gave a bucket of water to Andrew. I also noticed a pinhole leak in the hose near Dan, so I rearranged the hose a little so that the leak watered Dan whenever the valve was opened.

On the way back to the cabin, I scouted for long poles that would work for the back porch railing. I found one and dragged it back to the cabin and got it up on the front porch.

On Wednesday, I wanted to check out a couple poles at the bottom of the pile of old logs in front of the back door. There were a bunch of vine maples and other brush that had grown up in amongst the logs and I wanted to cut them away so that I could get at the logs.

I went down to the truck to get Cindy and while I was down there, I decided to cut away some vine maples and some sticker bushes that were in the blackberry patch. I spent quite a lot of time there and cut down a lot of brush. That should help next year's berry production.

I went back up to the log pile and cut away the brush. Then I pulled out three poles, one of which was 21 feet long. I dragged it out from under the log pile and got it up onto the front porch.

Next I measured the distance for the back porch rails and found that if I cut the 21-footer in half, each half would be the perfect length for two of the poles that I needed. The plan is to use the butt half of the pole, which is about 5" in diameter as the bottom rail because it is big enough that I don't think it will sag under the weight of the balusters.

The problem is that the gap between that bottom rail and the porch deck looks like it will be bigger than 4 inches, which is unacceptable. To fix that problem, I decided to install a pole in that space, and the top half of the pole that I had just cut was perfect for the job.

So, after cutting the pole in half, I started working on the skinny top half to fit in the gap between the deck and the lower rail. I started by cutting off a couple of the many knots that were sticking out of it. I thought a sawzall would work well, so I tried it. It worked, but not very well. A hammer and chisel worked better. So, I cut a few knots off that way before I went in for lunch.

While I was eating, Robert called and told me he would be right over with the check for the timber sale. He showed up just after I finished eating. He came in and went over the figures with me and then wrote the check. He told me he was pretty sure that when he got home, he was going to have to evacuate because of the fire. After he left, I took my usual nap.

When I got up, I switched from hammer and chisel to the bulldog rotohammer with the wood chisel bit which worked best of all. I flattened all the rest of the knots with it. Then I flattened the top of the pole with a planer and notched the ends so that the flat top would be roughly even with the porch deck. During the process, I took the pole out to the back porch three times to try the fit, and it fits pretty well.

On Thursday morning Dave called from LA where he was going to race in a regatta. We had another nice chat. Then I went back to work on the skinny pole. I used a drawknife to work down the entire surface of the pole between and around the knots that I had flattened.

Robert called and told me that he didn't have to evacuate after all, but he was on alert. He said the fire had stopped moving toward his place. He also talked about options he was considering for increasing the capacity of his fire engine by adding one or more tanks.

I finished working the skinny pole so that it is ready for Board Defense and stain. I left for home at 12:40.

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