Construction Journal Entry Week of 10/28/07

10/30-11/1/07 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I arrived at 1:00. After moving in and having lunch, I set about cleaning things up. Bruce Barkley was planning to visit me the next day so I had an incentive to catch up on some long overdue cleaning. I beat the rugs in the trailer, swept the trailer out, and mopped the floor. It looked a lot better in there after that.

Next, I went up to the cabin and did the experiment of pre-heating the stovepipe from the inside with a propane torch. I loaded the stove with wood but before I lit it, I held the propane torch up into the stovepipe and let it burn for sixty seconds. That got the pipe warm, if not hot. Then I lit the wood fire and it started burning nicely with no smoke. I'll do one more experiment tomorrow by lighting the fire without pre-heating the stovepipe and if it doesn't smoke, then I think the smoking problem is solved. It was just burn-off of the new pipes and fittings.

I spent the rest of the afternoon putting things away, cleaning up in the cabin, and taking time to enjoy the roaring fire in the stove. It was very pleasant. I also fed a couple of gray jays when I had occasion to go outside.

On Wednesday, I started a fire in the cold stove without pre-heating the stovepipe. It was 26 degrees out when I got up in the morning, so this would be a good test of a cold stovepipe. The fire started without any smoke outside the stovepipe at all. I am sure the smoking problem is solved now and I am happy about it. I really enjoy that fire.

I wasn't sure when to expect Bruce, so after the stove was burning good, I decided to start working on the staircase tread. Just as I got some carbon paper from the trailer to use on the stair, Bruce drove up. He had taken Skip's course and he told me about an upcoming meeting of the LHBA on Saturday. He was interested in the details of my project so I had a great time showing him all around the place, answering his questions, and telling him stories about my experiences building the cabin. We took the grand tour of the trails up to the spring. When we were checking out the monument at the high corner of the property, a couple gray jays ate peanuts from our hands. I got some pictures of them. We went into the trailer for lunch and we had a great conversation telling each other our life stories. He was particularly interested in Larry Markegard, my childhood buddy, whose picture he spotted on the wall. After lunch, we went back up to the cabin, did some more chatting, and then about 3:00 he left to continue on to Seattle.

This was the first week when almost all the leaves had fallen from the trees. I figured this was the right time to find all the surviving sequoia trees in the woods and to transplant the potted ones. Dan Cress had given me some bigger nylon protective sleeves for the trees so I took some of them with me and headed into the woods to look for the trees.

I had put some smaller white sleeves on the ones I planted, but even at that, it was hard to find them. I spent a lot of time looking and I think I found most of the 20 that I had planted. For those that survived, I removed the small white sleeve and replaced it with a bigger yellow one. I also straightened up the branches and cleared away debris that had fallen over them. All in all, I found only 8 survivors from the 20 I had planted. And, there were only 3 survivors among the 9 potted ones. I had explained to Bruce earlier that it was probably because I have an orange thumb that so many died.

When I finished that, I moved some old poles from the woods to under the eaves in the front. The poles were only good as firewood and I figured I'd better start stockpiling some firewood under the eaves before the snow covered it all up. I also lit another fire in the stove and spent some time enjoying sitting in front of it.

On Thursday morning, I took the three surviving potted sequoias into the woods and transplanted them near where most of the other survivors were. The trees did better lower down where the ground was wetter. Almost all of those that were planted in higher ground had died. I had learned some tips from Dan about how to plant them which I didn't know the first time around, so I have more confidence that these three trees will all survive the next winter. The others had already survived one winter so I expect they should survive another one as well. We'll see.

After that, I got the chainsaw out and bucked up an old log in the woods. It's pretty rotten but it has some value as firewood. When I finished and stopped the saw, I realized that Larry had been standing there watching me. We went back to the cabin and had a nice chat. When he left, I closed things up at the cabin and went in for lunch. On the way, a couple gray jays came around for peanuts. I left for home at 2:00.

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