Construction Journal Entry Week of 9/16/18

9/17-20/18 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 4 days: Monday through Thursday.

I arrived at 1:06 and when I got out of the truck, I was immediately struck by an extra loud chorus of frogs croaking. I had just seen my audiologist and she had cranked up the volume of my hearing aids. That seemed to explain the frogs, so I experimented by lowering the volume a couple notches. Sure enough. One click down and I could barely hear the frogs. Two clicks down, which is about the way they used to be, I couldn't hear them at all. I guess they have been croaking all along and I just couldn't hear them. I was happy to be able to hear them again.

I brought my gear up to the cabin and hoisted the flag. The temperature in the cabin was 62 so I built a fire in the stove to take the chill off. Then I had my lunch and a nap.

When I got up, I went up to the spring to check it out. There was a nice stream coming out the overflow that was somewhat better than before, but it still was not all that strong. Still, this is the driest time of year when the flow is typically the lowest. I expect that the bentonite might still settle down into the gravel and improve the flow later on. I decided to do nothing more to the spring except remove the aluminum skirt and then hook the plumbing back up.

I set up the 2x4s and the come-along rigging and lifted the lid off. Then I gently pulled out the aluminum skirt trying not to stir up the bentonite any more than necessary. It did make the water cloudy but not too much. I replaced the strainer over the take-out pipe and then replaced the lid. I decided not to hook the plumbing up until the next day just to give the cloudiness time to settle back out. I still had jugs and buckets of water in the cabin for cooking, washing, and flushing, so I could do without running water for the night and morning.

When I didn't get my usual call from Ellen, I checked the phone and discovered that the service was out. I went to bed and checked for dial-tone periodically after that. At 12:30, I checked and there was service. I called Ellen to let her know and we had our usual conversation.

On Tuesday when I got up, the temperature outside was 31. Inside it was 60 so I lit another small fire in the wood stove. I also went down into the crawlspace and re-configured the ventilation system to winter mode.

After breakfast, I went up to the spring and hooked the plumbing back up. I brought a clear glass with me and used it to check the clarity of the water, first from the overflow, and then from the service pipe after I had removed the cap and replaced it with the bell reducer. Both tests looked as clear as my weak eyes could discern.

The plumbing hook-up was easy: it is a lot easier reconnecting an open union than it is to open one that was tightened 10 years, or so, ago.

I was a little concerned that I might have a problem re-establishing the flow, but I opened all the valves in a strict logical sequence and the flow was restored to normal right away. I sprayed water on the lower roadway for a while just to clear the pipes a little, and then went into the cabin and opened the faucets to test them. They all produced clear water just as they should. Then, I re-energized the water heater and everything was back to normal.

After lunch and a nap, I took a wheelbarrow up to the bluff to harvest firewood. The loggers had left a huge amount of firewood that they had bucked up from Doug fir logs and had just left them lying wherever the logs had been. I figured I'd take advantage of the beautiful weather to store away some firewood.

With all the fallen logs, bushes, branches, rocks, and other irregularities, it is very hard to walk around up on the bluff. It is virtually impossible to run a wheelbarrow up there. So, my plan was to make a usable wheelbarrow trail up as far up as I could and then carry the firewood to the wheelbarrow for a trip down to the woodshed where I would store it for seasoning. I planned to drag the rounds out using a stout rope that I have with a noose in it.

There was a fairly big log, maybe 25 feet long and 8 or 10 inches in diameter at the butt, that way lying right in the way of my wheelbarrow trail. I used the stout rope, and a lot of brute force and awkwardness to move that log out of the way to open up the wheelbarrow trail. In order to move the log, I had to lift it up and over a big stump. To do that, I used a branch to make a ramp up to the stump and then I jockeyed the log up the ramp, onto the stump, and over on the other side. It was sort of a struggle, but a nice challenge, and I felt pretty good about getting it moved without any tools but that rope and the branch.

With the log out of the way, I had a nice trail all the way into the first of the transplanted cedar trees. Then I proceeded to drag firewood rounds, one at a time, out of the brush and load them into the wheelbarrow. The rounds were big enough so that four of them usually made a full load.

It is downhill from the bluff to the woodshed, so the wheelbarrow run is pretty quick and easy. I filled a big garbage bag with some old tarps and other trash that was in the woodshed to make room for the firewood. Then I made several more trips with firewood and got quite a bit of it stored.

There was one pile of firewood that was cut from small diameter trunks that wouldn't need to be split so on my final run, I brought a big wheelbarrow load of that all the way down to the cabin and stored it on the split-wood pile for use as it is.

On Wednesday morning, I slept in. It felt good. The temperature outside was 35 outside so I built another fire before breakfast.

Robert called and told me of his work plans for the next few months. He expects to get back to the Camp Serendipity logging project in late October. We should be able to burn by then.

Next, I turned my attention to an actual building project. I resumed working on the back porch rail. I used a 4" hole saw and made the mortise hole in the Grid A1 post. Then I started making the tenon on the end of the lower rail. I got it about 3/4 done before I took a break and went up and checked on the cedars to make sure the irrigation system had been restored. It was working fine, and all the cedars looked healthy and happy. I also watered Brian, Dan, and cedar #12.

On Thursday morning, Dave called after breakfast and we had another great conversation. Then I went out on the back porch and resumed work on the Grid A1 tenon. I used the bulldog with the wood chisel to do most of the carving. After many iterations of trying the fit and then cutting away a small amount of wood, the tenon went far enough into the mortise hole so that the tenon on the Grid A2 end of the rail could go into its mortise hole. Then, by driving the rail back into the A2 post, it ended up in its eventual final position. Hooray.

When I put the tools away, I discovered that the hole saw had seized up on the arbor. I tried a lot of things, like clamping the saw in the vise and turning the arbor with various wrenches. I got it to turn a little, but it was stuck so tight that I gave up. I decided to buy another arbor but when I got home, I found a YouTube video that claimed that a stuck arbor can be removed using an impact wrench. I'll try that when I get back to Camp Serendipity.

I left for home at 12:50 glad to have gotten the rail fabricated and installed.

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