Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/12/03

1/14-16/03 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I stopped at Kelsey Creek on the way up and visited with Gus. He is recovering much faster than anyone expected. He's a tough guy. I arrived at 1:40. It was clear and 36 degrees out. The driveway had been scooped out but I noticed that the gatepost had been pulled out of the ground and knocked over. It's still OK so I'll just have to put it back in in the spring.

Just as I parked the pickup Bruce and Barbara Harris came walking down the road. We got to talking and I invited them up to see the project. They just finished building their house in Whispering Pines and they said they have been watching my progress from the road for several years. They toured the building and we had a nice chat.

After they left, I moved in to the trailer, had lunch, and went to work. I rigged up chains and a come-along to finish pulling the log to the ripping station. It was frozen down so tight that I had to get the big steel bar to pry it loose. I got it in place for ripping about the time it got dark. This log was 18 1/2" in diameter on one end and 20" in diameter on the other end.

On Wednesday it was 26 degrees, clear, and still. I scribed the log for the first slab. I took a break in the trailer when I finished because I felt extra tired for some reason. I listened to the Grieg A minor piano concerto on the radio while I rested and debated on going back to work before lunch. It was only 11 o'clock when the concerto was over so I dragged myself back up the hill, got Mother Sow out, and started ripping the log. I couldn't believe how well it went. The saw seemed to cut extra fast and I had no trouble following the lines. I ripped the entire 10 foot cut at one go without slowing down or stopping. It was the first time I ever made a complete cut on one tank of gas. This was the best ripping cut I ever made and it sort of re-energized me. I went down to have lunch feeling pretty good.

I tried to figure out why this cut went so well. I had the log slanted up more than usual so I could stand up almost straight rather than stooping over. The chain seemed to be extra sharp. I had given each tooth two strokes the last week and that must have done it. There were no knots on this cut, so that probably helped too. And then, my technique has improved so I was able to keep the engine RPMs at the optimal speed throughout the cut. Finally, the log being so cold and frozen might have made a difference too. Whatever it was, I felt pretty good about it.

After lunch I took a nap. I didn't plan to but I fell asleep after I had my coffee. Then I went up and skidded the slab down to the gwizzing station. I decided to roll the log over so I could cut the other slab next. I found out last time that if I rip one slab and one plank, the log is too heavy for me to roll over without some fancy rigging. But with only the slab cut, it was fairly easy to roll it over with a cant hook. I scribed and ripped the second slab, but I didn't do as well. I ran out of gas before I finished the cut and the cut wasn't nearly as nice and straight as the last one. I wasn't sure why.

I skidded the second slab to the gwizzing station and rigged up to scribe the first plank. It was too dark to see the strings so I called it a night.

On Thursday morning I scribed for the plank and ripped it. This was a terrible cut. I only got halfway through on the first tank of gas and the cut was really bad. A quarter of the way through, I filed two strokes on each tooth thinking that was the problem, but it didn't help. The temperature was 28 degrees so that shouldn't have made much difference. I'm beginning to think I just got lucky on that first cut. I left for home at 12:30 so I would have time to see Gus again on the way.

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