Construction Journal Entry Week of 10/20/19

10/25-27/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Friday through Sunday.

The drive over the mountains was gorgeous. It was very windy when I stopped to visit with Earl, and I noticed the remnants of a few trees that had fallen across the road. Patty and Earl's sister were also there, and we had a nice visit. I proceeded on to Camp Serendipity and arrived at 12:45.

I brought my gear up to the cabin and hoisted the flag. Before I started the fire, I moved the varnished wood out of the way. The wood looked beautiful. I stood the posts and the 2x6s up in the Grid E3 corner of the living room where they will be out of the way. I discovered that I had left a half-can of varnish completely open. It didn't seem to smell strong and it didn't seem to look different from usual, so I just put the lid back on. I hope it will be OK.

After having my lunch and my usual nap, I took the wheelbarrow down to the truck. While I had it down there, I pumped up the tire. Then I used it to wheel some yard waste over to the compost pile. And then I used it to wheel up to the cabin, a box of firewood I had cleaned out of the garage at home. Finally, I brought the chainsaw up into the cabin and tightened up the starter rope again. If the weather permitted, I planned to use the saw in the woods the next day to harvest a big maple log.

Around dinnertime I discovered that phone service was out at the cabin. I decided against driving or walking up to the school bus turnaround to let Ellen know. She would find out soon enough when she tried to call me, so I went to bed without having our usual conversation.

On Saturday morning the phone service was still out, so after breakfast, I walked up to the school bus turnaround. I used my cellphone to call the telephone company and found out that there was a big outage, evidently caused by the windstorm, and they couldn't predict when service would be restored. I communicated with Ellen by text letting her know. I couldn't get cell phone service there for some reason, but I could text.

Back at the cabin, I gassed and oiled the chainsaw and took it into the woods. I used up a tank of gas bucking up a big maple log just past the China Gate. Then I brought the chainsaw back to the cabin to gas it up and regretted not having brought the wheelbarrow up with me so I could bring some firewood back. I gassed up the saw, re-wound the starter rope and brought it back to the Khyber Pass in the wheelbarrow.

The saw had enough gas for me to completely buck up the big maple log. I then brought the saw and a load of firewood back to the cabin. After unloading the firewood, I got the camera and brought the wheelbarrow back up to the Khyber Pass. I took some pictures of the bucked-up log and brought the biggest round back to the cabin with me. That one round was a heavy wheelbarrow load, but the rest of them would each be a little smaller. Now it was just a matter of getting them all brought down.

By the time I stacked the firewood, it was time for lunch and my nap. When I awoke from my nap, I suddenly realized that my hearing aid was gone. I knew that it had been with me when I was working in the woods because I had noticed that it fit inside the hearing protection muffs that I wore. With a foreboding sense of dread, I realized that the hearing aid had probably come out one of the times I had taken the muffs off, and if so, it would have fallen on the sawdust and leaf covered forest floor somewhere. I thought the chances of finding it were near zero.

Feeling really stupid, and with my head full of a thousand thoughts about the hearing aid, I took the wheelbarrow back up to the Khyber Pass and started looking at that extremely littered forest floor hoping to spot that tiny hearing aid.

After looking for a while, I decided to search systematically. I had done most of the bucking of the log from one side so that side was covered with sawdust. I figured that each time I had stopped the saw and taken off the muffs, I was probably standing on that side somewhere. So I went down to the end of that strip, which was slightly downhill from the butt of the log, got on my hands and knees and started examining each square inch of ground.

First, I would pick up branches and leaves that were in the way of my seeing the ground, making sure the hearing aid was not hanging on, and then discard the branches and leaves to one side. Then, using a skinny twig about 8 or 10 inches long, I would scrape a square inch of sawdust toward me so that I could see the undisturbed ground underneath. I did that in a swath all the way across the 2- or 3-foot strip.

When I finished the swath, I started again just above it and scraped the sawdust into the old swath. That way, I gradually made my way up toward the butt of the log.

After about an hour, when I was about 3/4 of the way to the end, after one happy scrape, there was the hearing aid lying down in the sawdust. I was overjoyed and could let go of all the negative thoughts that had been going through my mind about how I was going to explain the loss and when and how I was going to decide to give up searching. None of that was necessary now and life was back to normal. I felt that it was another example of serendipity. I felt really lucky and also pretty stupid for wearing that hearing aid in the woods in the first place.

I wheeled another big round of maple firewood back to the cabin with my emotions running high. The phone service was still out when I went to bed that evening.

On Sunday morning, I vacuumed the first floor of the cabin and then made two more wheelbarrow trips up to get more firewood. I left for home at 12:45 feeling pretty good about the week. The phone service was still out when I left.

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