Construction Journal Entry Week of 11/29/20

11/30-12/4/20 I went up to camp serendipity for five days: Monday through Friday.

There was snow on the road from Scenic on. It was beautiful. The trees were all covered with fresh snow. The road was plowed and there wasn't much traffic, so the trip was no problem. I arrived at 11:20. It was snowing lightly, and I had no trouble parking on the old snow. The driveway had not been plowed.

I brought my gear up to the cabin in two trips, hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, and had my lunch. I practiced on the piano and then noticed that the small heater in the living room had quit working. That was disappointing.

I had a short nap that was interrupted when Joe Hebert called. He offered us some help in our attempts to get the cabin insured. I got up and brought all of the shelf parts up to the loft. I started assembling the shelving and got four parts screwed together when the power went out at 4:10 in the afternoon. It was still light outside, so I stopped work on the shelving to take advantage of the remaining daylight in case the power didn't come on for a while. I walked to the school bus turn around where I can get cell phone service and called the PUD. I learned that the power was out all the way from Lake Wenatchee to Cole's corner to Stevens Pass and wasn't expected to be restored until 10:00 PM.

I also called Ellen and told her the situation. She suggested that I heat up some of the turkey soup that she had sent with me for my dinner. That sounded like a good idea to me.

I walked back to the cabin, prepared a bunch of candles, and placed them strategically around the rooms and then had a fairly normal shower by candlelight. There was plenty of hot water in the water tank. I took Ellen's suggestion and heated the turkey soup up in a pan on top of the wood stove. It worked great.

I was pleasantly surprised that the music I had playing just kept on playing despite the power failure. Evidently the Bose speaker system and the tablet that was playing my music both had batteries that kept working. That made for a very pleasant evening by candlelight.

I turned off all the light switches except the one by my bed and went to bed at my normal time. I was awakened at 11:20 when the power came back on. I couldn't help but notice the full moon. It was absolutely brilliant. The sky was clear, and it seemed as bright as daylight except that things were in black and white instead of color.

On Tuesday I started out by practicing on the piano and then I finished assembling the shelves. I took a picture of the finished shelves. Ellen called and we had a conversation regarding insurance on the cabin.

Next, I tried to fix a battery-operated lamp that wasn't working and I failed. I was not impressed with the engineering of the lamp.

After lunch and a nap, I vacuumed and then spent the rest of the afternoon writing.

On Wednesday I practiced the piano and then worked on repairing that battery-operated lamp. After failing again and giving up in disgust, I set the lamp down on the table rather abruptly and it magically started working. I guess I know how to fix it now. Just slam it down on the table.

Next I did some work on some drawings for a woodcarving project and I failed at that also. The geometry is very tricky. I had my lunch and a nap and then since the weather was so pleasant, I went for a walk in the woods and looked at the trees. About half of the Sequoia trees were already bent over and buried under the snow. The other half were proudly standing up.

Back at the cabin I tried to write, but I was not inspired and gave up. Instead I went outside and split a bunch of maple firewood and stacked it. I have almost burned up all of the fir firewood and I'm looking forward to switching to burning maple.

Next, I discovered that the heater I thought was broken was working after all. That was a pleasant surprise. Both the lamp and the heater were fixed without me doing much at all.

On Thursday morning the temperature outside was 18 degrees when I got up. After breakfast, I started working in the loft by opening boxes, sorting stuff out, throwing junk away, and packing boxes to store on the new shelves. In the process, I inventoried the kitchen things that we had by arranging it on the floor and taking pictures of it. Ellen wanted to know what we had at the cabin and this was the way to let her know.

After lunch and a nap, I got the idea of using a big pine stump that was down by the hairpin turn for my woodcarving project. The thing probably weighs 150 lb. and was 100 feet away down the hill, but I figured that I could use the porch crane to drag it up the hill and lift it onto the porch.

At 2:05 I walked out the front door, powered up the crane, threw the clutch, free-wheeled the entire spool full of cable out and let it coil up off the end of the porch. Then I set the clutch, unwound the 40 feet of control cable, and lowered it over the side of the porch too.

Then I walked down off the porch, got two log chains from the crawl space, and carried the chains, cable, and control down the hill. I set the control down in the snow when it reached as far as it could, and I continued stretching the chains and cable down and was happy that they reached the block of wood. I didn't have to get another chain.

I chokered the block with one chain and hooked the two chains together. Then I walked up to the control, picked it up, and fired up the crane winch. In one fairly continuous pull, the crane dragged the wood block up the hill, over the snow berm and down onto the legal landing at the foot of the porch stairway.

At that point, I re-rigged the chain choker so it wouldn't slip off when the block was suspended in the air. Then I lifted the block all the way up as far as it would go.

While it was hanging there, I could see that it was too low to clear the porch rail. It needed to be re-rigged again. But while it was hanging there, I swung the crane boom around so that the block could pass over the top of Rosie, the rose bush. Then from there, I lowered it all the way to the ground but this time on the other side of Rosie.

I re-rigged the chains so that the crane hook was a lot closer to the wood block and so that the wood block would hang horizontally instead of vertically.

Then I raised it all the way up again and this time it easily cleared the rail. I walked up the front stairs bringing the control with me, swung the block over the rail and positioned it above the two big sawhorses, and finally set it down on the sawhorses.

Then I relaxed the crane hook, swung the boom over to its normal position, powered the crane off, wound up the control cable, carried the chains back down to the crawl space, and went up into the cabin and looked at the clock. It said 3:05. It had taken exactly one hour from start to finish to pull that big block of wood up onto the sawhorses. I felt really good about getting that done. I took some pictures of the block before I ended my day.

On Friday morning, after practicing the piano and while listening to the radio, I cleaned up about half of the flooring mess that was on the big table and the bed in the loft and put it in a big garbage bag. The bed was now completely off-loaded, and you can lie on it again. I'll get the rest of the mess next week. I left for home at 12:30 happy about another fun week.

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