Construction Journal Entry Week of 8/16/20

8/17-21/20 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 5 days: Monday through Friday.

It was very hot when I arrived at 11:50. I carried my gear up to the cabin, hoisted the flag, had my lunch, and then returned a call from Earl. After a fun conversation with him catching up on things, I took a nap.

When I got up, I went into the woods and irrigated Andrew. Then, since I didn't have a good picture of the cabin with the porch railings installed, I decided to take some from the old trailer site. But since bushes were obscuring the staircase, I decided to set up a 20-foot extension ladder against a tree and take the picture from a higher vantage point. I was a little disappointed.

The first tree I tried had so many dead branches that they ruined the pictures I took. I moved the ladder to another tree that didn't have dead branches, but the pictures I got weren't really much better. I think I need to wait until the leaves are gone from the bushes and try again.

On Tuesday, I went down to the crawl space and began clearing the floor where the old freezer body had been. I removed three 4x4s that had provided the support for the freezer body and I removed a bunch of other odds and ends that were on the floor.

I saw that there were two or three big rocks taking up space that made me wonder whether or not I could get them out, or if I could even move them. One of them looked like it might be an outcrop of bedrock and impossible to move. I got out my big steel bar and tested the rock. I found that it was not bedrock but a boulder buried deep in the ground.

I hung a come-along from the main floor beam at about Grid B.5,2 and used it as an anchor to drag one of the big rocks over to directly under the beam.

Then I hung a log chain over a projecting log on the outside of the cabin at Grid A3. I hung the hook of a second come-along to this chain and brought the come-along in through the door and fastened it to the rock I was moving.

Then, with two come-alongs attached to the rock, I alternately tightened one and relaxed the other so that the rock slid all the way across the floor and out the door. Once it was outside, I disconnected the first come-along and used the one hanging from the projecting log to slide the big rock off the stoop so that it formed a nice big step down from the stoop. It will work very nicely there.

Next, I had my lunch and a nap, but I overslept in my nap. When I got up, I had just enough time to go into the woods and irrigate Andrew. For the first time this season, I didn't wear my bug hat or use any bug juice. Only one mosquito tried to bother me, but he didn't get very far.

On Wednesday when I woke up, I experienced the same sort of dizziness that I had some weeks ago. It wasn't quite as bad, but I was still concerned because I didn't know what was causing it or what it meant. It got a little better as I fixed my breakfast, but I still wasn't sure how much hard work I was going to try to do.

Shortly after breakfast, Joe O'Leary called and told me that he planned to come up and visit. Right then I decided not to do any hard work and instead spent the morning reading, listening to the radio, and practicing the piano.

Joe showed up shortly after noon and we had a great time touring the property and the cabin. He was interested in everything. He went up on the high rock as I explained the interesting geology of the place. Up there, after I pointed it out, he could see how flat that big roof is.

From there, we went inside the cabin and talked about various features and challenges that went with the building process. Then we went outside and toured the giant sequoia grove. We skipped going deep into the woods to see Earl, Ellen, John, or Larry, but we saw all the rest of the trees.

On the way, I demonstrated how I water Andrew by using the two buckets and carrying the water up the hill. After Andrew was watered, we continued up the trail, over the top, and down to the springbox.

There I was dismayed to see that there was no water coming out of the overflow pipe. The water level has slowly been dropping as a result of leakage that I have unsuccessfully tried to stop, but this was the lowest I had ever seen it. I had never seen it completely stopped before.

I removed the overflow pipe strainer and found that the water level was right up to the bottom of the nipple, just not high enough to flow over. That was a little encouraging.

Joe and I proceeded on to the ram pump where I demonstrated it by getting it started but explaining how the project had been a failure after a lot of frustrating and disappointing work.

After returning to the cabin, Joe told me that he would like to take a couple big rocks and bring them home for his garden. He picked one out and I loaded it into the wheelbarrow and wheeled it down to his car. The two of us lifted it out of the wheelbarrow and rolled it into his trunk. When he saw how big it was, and after having lifted it, he decided to skip the second rock and just take one.

Joe really liked the taste of Camp Serendipity spring water, so he took a gallon of it with him, along with a couple other smaller bottles.

After he left, I had a late lunch and a nap. My dizziness had completely disappeared by that time and I was glad for that.

On Thursday morning. Dave called and we had another delightful conversation. Then, I went down to the crawl space and rigged the come-along up to move another rock. This one was the one I thought might have been bedrock and getting it out of the ground was like pulling a tooth.

The come-along that was hanging from the floor beam was attached to the rock and I would crank it up to maximum tension. Then, I would take the big steel bar and use it to wiggle the rock as much as I could.

This would allow me to take up another click on the come-along. I would then wiggle the rock a little more which would again allow me to advance another click. By repeating this process, eventually the come-along was able to pull the rock out of the dirt and start sliding it across the floor.

When the rock was half-way across the floor, I stopped for lunch and a nap.

When I got up, I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to know if I could restore flow in the overflow pipe at the springbox if I closed the valve supplying irrigation water to the trees and also the valve that let water flow into the creek in order to prevent freeze up.

I closed those two valves and then went into the woods and irrigated Andrew. When I finished, I continued up over the ridge and down to the springbox. I was happy to see that water was flowing out the overflow in a stream about a half-inch wide.

The next question was whether there would still be some overflow if the freeze up valve were closed and the irrigation valve were left open. The freeze up valve doesn't need to be open except in winter when there is a danger of freeze up.

I went back to the cabin, opened the irrigation valve, and went back up to the springbox. As I suspected, there was no overflow, so I have to decide which is worse, not irrigating or not overflowing. I decided that not overflowing is not much of a problem in the short term and when the weather turns to rain, the flow in the spring should increase. We'll see.

Next, I went down to the crawl space and moved that second rock all the way outside the building and used it as another step on the other side of the stoop. It filled the space where Joe's rock had been.

In the process of working, I could hear sheep across the road. This is the time of year that the flock shows up.

On Friday morning, I used the same rigging and started moving the third big rock out of the crawl space. This one was bigger than either of the other two but still I managed to get it half-way across the floor before I quit for the week.

I went into the woods, irrigated Andrew, had my lunch, packed up, and left for home at 12:50. This had been another fun week, but there's more: when I got home I opened the mail and found the long-awaited Certificate of Occupancy. That marked a major milestone.

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