Construction Journal Entry Week of 8/30/20

8/31-9/4/20 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 5 days: Monday through Friday.

I arrived at 11:45, brought my gear up to the cabin in two trips, hoisted the flag, had my lunch and nap, and then irrigated Andrew.

Then I did some work in the crawl space clearing and leveling the floor. I called Earl to check in on him but I got his voicemail, so I left a message to call me.

On Tuesday morning, I was practicing the piano and when I finished one piece, I heard applause coming from the high rock opposite an open loft window. It was Robert who then came in and visited for a while.

I went down to the skidder with him to help him get it ready to move. There were a lot of long cables lying around, some good and some old and useless. Robert used his cable cutter to cut some of them so we could coil them up and prepare either to scrap them, or in one case to use a good half-inch cable on the winch of the skidder.

Next, he jumped the battery from his truck and started the engine on the skidder. After a warm-up, he discovered that the transmission fluid was too low to allow the skidder to move. He knew that in advance and had brought fluid with him so he filled the transmission.

At some point, Josh and a friend drove up and delivered part of an engine cover for the skidder. I was surprised to see that Josh's hand seemed to be normal. I asked Robert about it after they left, and he told me that the doctors had almost completely restored it. The story that his hand had been completely blown off by the mortar shell was evidently greatly exaggerated.

As part of the logging equipment we were going through, Robert said that he had no more need for a set of logging tongs, and he said that I could have them. I graciously accepted.

After Robert left, I irrigated Andrew, and had my lunch and a nap. I then took the wheelbarrow down and hauled the tongs up to the front porch where I will put them on display. I had just gotten the tools out to install a big lag screw in the log wall for hanging the tongs when Earl called. We had a rather long, delightful conversation. He is doing well.

We no sooner hung up than John called. We hadn't talked in a while, so we had a long conversation that went well past my shower time and even my dinner time while he caught me up on his activities in Florida. Then, before I got started on a late dinner, Ellen made her usual call and I ended my day by hanging up the telephone.

On Wednesday after breakfast, I installed the big lag screw in the log wall making it ready to mount the tongs. I tried lifting the tongs up and mounting it, but it was just too heavy, and I didn't want to hurt myself. I decided to have Robert help me.

Robert showed up early and I went down and helped him change the oil in the planetary gears on the four wheels of the skidder. He had forgotten to bring his drain pan, so I got my mortar mixing pan and we used that to drain all four hubs. Each one holds about a gallon, so that halfway filled the mortar mixing pan. He also didn't bring the new oil or his used-oil receptacle, so we covered the mortar mixing pan with sheet metal and planned to finish the job in a day or two.

Before he left, Robert came up to the front porch and lifted the tongs up and hung them on the lag screw. We both thought they looked nice up there on the wall.

Before I had my lunch and nap, I went into the woods and irrigated Andrew. I was awakened from my nap by a call from Earl. He told me that he had just finished watching the entire interview I had with LHBA. He said he was impressed by the professional job done by Steve White in conducting the interview. I had to agree with him.

As soon as I had hung up with Earl, the front doorbell rang. It was a guy taking information for the US Census. He came in and asked a few questions about who lived in the cabin and about the neighbors.

After he left, I had a little time to go down and get some work done in the crawl space.

On Thursday morning, Dave called first thing and we had another delightful conversation. After breakfast, I spent some time in the loft disposing of the many cardboard boxes that the flooring panels had been packaged in. I folded them up in bundles that are suitable for burning in the wood stove. I have found that by burning a bunch of corrugated cardboard occasionally, the accumulated creosote build-up in the flue gets burned off. I hope to avoid the need for a chimney sweep that way.

I also happily pinned the Certificate of Occupancy prominently on the log wall in the loft. I have given a lot of thought to what my next long-range projects should be now that I have the CO and I decided to do some writing.

The cabin, isolated and quiet as it is, is the perfect environment for doing some serious writing, so I decided to get a computer to install and use up there. There was a perfect table for a computer up in the loft and I brought it down to the living room and set it in front of the big easy chair that I use for relaxing. It will work perfectly there. Now I just need a computer. In our recent conversation, Dave had given me a lot of advice for making the choices.

After lunch and a nap, I irrigated Andrew and then worked in the crawl space. I built a big shelf by leveling two 4x4s horizontally on the rock outcrops and then decking the 4x4s with an old hollow-core door that I had stored down there. One of the outcrops interfered with the door at one corner, so I marked the door, took it outside, and cut a chunk out of the corner of the door with my big one-man crosscut saw. That huge, crude tool cut through that hollow-core door like it was paper.

The cut was perfect, and the door now lay flat and snugly up against the rock making a nice big shelf. Then I began loading the shelf by moving boxes of nails and electrical stuff off the concrete pad they had been stored on, over to the new shelf. That offloaded an old concrete mixing box that I brought outside for dismantling later.

It also revealed a lot of garbage that I loaded into a big garbage bag as I went. At the bottom, amongst more garbage, was my old hand-made 12-volt concrete vibrator that I hadn't used, or even seen, for 25 years. It is now a museum piece.

On Friday morning, Robert came over early and I helped him pour the used oil from my mixing pan into his used-oil can. Then we scrubbed the pan out with gasoline, which also went into the used-oil can, and then I cleaned the pan further with soap and water.

Next, we set about filling the hubs with new oil. That meant rolling the skidder ahead or back to get the plugs on the hubs in the correct position, which meant starting the skidder, which meant jumping it again.

When we opened the plug on the first hub, we were shocked to find that used oil started running out. We had drained that hub two days ago and it was a mystery as to why it was full now. After thinking about it for a while, Robert figured it out. That hub was on a rear wheel and Robert figured that the seal between the planetary gears and the rear end had leaked and that the oil had come from the rear end.

We drained the hub again and filled it with new oil. After moving the machine again and filling the other three hubs, Robert crawled under the rear end, drained it, and filled it with new oil too.

The skidder was now ready to drive away, but time was too short; I had to get ready to leave for home. We'll have to do that next week.

Robert tidied up and got ready to leave while I went into the woods and irrigated Andrew for the last time this week. I had my lunch, packed up my gear, and left for home at 12:50. It had been another interesting and fun week.

Go to Next Journal Entry
Previous Journal Entry

Index to all Journal Entries
Go To Home Page

©2020 Paul R. Martin, All rights reserved.