Construction Journal Entry Week of 9/24/23

9/25-29/23 I went up to Camp Serendipity for five days: Monday through Friday.

The drive up was interrupted by a collision of two big dump trucks right in front of Zeek's that blocked both lanes of traffic for most of the day. I didn't arrive at Camp Serendipity until 4:55 in the afternoon.

I brought my gear up in one trip, hoisted the flag, and then had my dinner. The weather turned to rain by the time I went to bed.

On Tuesday it rained. I mixed up one batch of mortar and laid up a few stones in the wall. It is sure nice having 6-foot eaves which protect my entire work area and the wall from the rain. The only thing out in the rain is the table I wash rocks on. The rain doesn't hurt that at all.

After lunch and a nap, I attempted to cut a big stone that was almost too heavy for me to lift. This was sort of an experiment and it turned out very well. I cut the stone in three pieces by scoring two parallel lines across the top and bottom faces. I marked the lines with a hammer and chisel but then I used the bulldog with a chisel bit to deepen the lines on both sides. When I thought the lines were deep enough, I propped up one end of the stone with a thin board and then bashed the stone on one of the lines with a big sledgehammer which neatly broke the stone along the line. Then I propped up the remaining piece of stone the same way, bashed it, and it broke neatly the same way. Now I had three stones that I could lift that were shaped perfectly for the wall. I was very happy with the outcome of that experiment.

I mixed up another batch of mortar and laid up a few more stones causing me to work later than usual.

On Wednesday it rained again all day. I practiced the piano, listened to the radio, and went out and laid up one batch worth of stones. Then I had my lunch.

Just as I was finishing, I saw a car drive into the driveway. It was Byron who asked me if I could help pull a bobcat off the edge of a cliff that he had gotten stuck on. Since I don't have any heavy machinery that would be suitable, I had to decline. I suggested he contact the guy he rented the bobcat from. After a nap, I went out and laid up a batch worth of stones in the wall.

On Thursday it rained again. I practiced the piano, laid up one batch of stones and had my lunch. While I was eating, I saw a truck with a trailer carrying a bobcat coming from Byron's direction. I figured that Byron's problem was solved.

Next, I took a nap. When I got up, I filled the water jugs and staged them in the cabin. Then I made two rebar anchor hooks by using Dr. Dick's rebar cutter/bender and fashioning a loop that will extend out away from the wall 11 or 12 inches. It will be anchored to the old anchor hook and stick out to provide the same service. I got so much use out of the old anchor hooks that I figured I'd better provide anchor hooks in the stone wall as well.

On Friday morning the weather was finally clear, but it was 30 degrees outside. It didn't look like there was any freezing damage to my mortar joints. I went searching for material to make Z-brackets. These are steel straps that fasten two planks together end to end for use on my future scaffolding. I found plenty of material for making the brackets. Next, I measured the work so far and estimated the progress on the stone wall. I'm not sure of the accuracy of my measurements because according to them I have completed 24 square feet and I need to do 464 square feet, which means I'm only 1/2 of 1% done so far. I'll be rechecking those figures.

After practicing the piano, I loaded the water jugs into the truck. Then I took a picture of the wall showing the status after 26 batches of mortar. It also shows one of the newly installed anchor hooks. I left for home at 12:30 happy to have gotten a full month's work done on the wall.

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