Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/4/09

1/6-8/08 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

It rained cats and dogs the entire drive over except that it was snowing in the pass. The road was a mess with a lot of slush on it. I arrived at 1:15. I could see that it had snowed a lot since I had been there and that Mike had plowed the driveway quite a ways back. But since then, there was new snow that hadn't been plowed.

I put on my full rain suit including waterproof gloves and I shoveled through a foot or two of very wet slushy snow before I could park the truck. The road had an inch or two of clear ice frozen to the pavement and that was covered with two or three inches of slush with rain pouring down on that. I was very careful in maneuvering the truck into the parking place so that I didn't get stuck.

Before I moved in, I decided to shovel off the concrete stairs and go up and start a fire in the wood stove. I got the fire going and then since I had my shovel, I went over and dug out the wood pile. There was a couple feet of wet snow on top of the tarp so it took some digging to get down to the firewood. I hauled four or five loads of firewood up to the back porch.

Then I went back to the truck and hauled my gear up to the trailer. Since I had my full rain suit on, my clothes were nice and dry which made me proud and happy.

Since it was getting so late, I had a small lunch. Then I went up to the cabin and nailed one full seam on the gable wall. It was pleasantly warm in the loft working in shirtsleeves but the continual sound of the rain pounding on that metal roof was oppressive. Driving rain on deep soft snow is one of my least favorite weather conditions up there.

On Wednesday, it was still raining cats and dogs. It must have turned partly to snow during the night because the roof had a thin layer of slush on it which slid off during the morning.

I started another fire, nailed two more seams in the loft, and then got out the motion sensing light that I had bought some time ago. I did quite a bit of thinking and planning about how I was going to install the light.

I discovered that ground water was running into the privy hole and was threatening to fill it to overflowing. I got a shovel and dug the snow away and then dug a drainage ditch on the high side of the privy and around the side to divert the water. That seemed to stop the inflow of water into the privy. Unfortunately I hadn't put on my rain pants, so by the time I finished my pants were getting pretty wet, along with part of my jacket.

Next I got Ellen's and my cross country skis from the crawl space so that I could bring them home. Mine needed waxing very badly so I decided to wax them. I held them over the stove long enough to heat them enough to melt the wax. Then I rubbed the wax on and it soaked right into the wood. I am probably the last guy to use real old wood skis.

When I took the skis down to the truck, I found that the parking place was flooded with five or six inches of slush and water so I couldn't approach the truck without overflowing my Sorel boots. From the snowbank, I could reach and get the square shovel out of the truck and then I walked over the snowbank to the road. There I chipped a channel through the ice down to the pavement, and worked my way up to the driveway so that my channel would drain the driveway. It took quite a bit of work, but it worked.

I thought that the driveway might be flooded because the culvert was plugged. I took my shovel up to the culvert and tried to find the opening. There was deep snow completely covering the creek and where it went into the culvert so I couldn't tell whether it was plugged or not. I couldn't even see the creek or where it was. I dug a lot of snow away looking for the creek and the culvert but after a lot of work I gave up. It really didn't matter where that water was coming from because my drainage ditch was working well enough.

By the time I went back up to the cabin, my pants were almost completely soaked, along with my jacket and one boot and sock. I spent quite a bit of time in the cabin in front of a roaring fire drying my clothes, all the time listening to the relentless pounding of rain on the roof. It was toasty warm and kind of fun in front of that fire, but kind of depressing.

On Thursday morning, the rain slowed down and had pretty much stopped by 10:00. The forecast said the weather would clear in the afternoon. I was glad of that. I figured I'd have a nice clear drive back home.

Since I had figured out where I wanted to mount the motion sensor light, I decided to string the wire to it. I want to get all the wires installed in the rafters as soon as I can so I can insulate the ceiling. I got the extension ladder out, and propping it up against rafters, I climbed up and knocked out a series of knockouts in the rafters so I could string a wire from the Grid E1 corner to about the Grid G2 location of the light fixture.

My drills were still in the truck so rather than go get one, I used an old fashioned brace and a long augur to drill a hole through the top flange of a bird block in order to pass the wire from inside the building out into the porch rafters. I fed the wire through this hole and then went back out on the porch with the ladder and fed the wire through the series of knockout holes to get it down to the fixture location.

Then I measured the rest of the run for the wire and cut it to length. I fed the rest of the wire down through the corner of the loft into the loft floor, then along a floor joist to the wall above junction box N at Grid E2 where the switch will be installed. I used the same brace and bit to drill up through the top plate of the wall to make a hole for the wire. Then I connected the wire to box N.

Some time during that process, Bert and Ernie showed up on the porch so I stopped work and went down to the trailer to get them a treat. By that time the rain had stopped and things were a lot more pleasant. My mood greatly improved.

I had lunch, packed up, and left for home at 1:20. When I got to Cole's Corner I found that the pass was closed and they said it would open at 4:00. I got in line behind one other truck and read while I waited. It was nice and sunny so it was pleasant just sitting there reading. By the time they let us go, at 3:52, the sun had set behind the mountains and it started to rain again. As I drove over the pass, the rain turned to snow so it was a little hairy driving through the slush in a snowstorm as it was getting dark. I ended up having no problem getting home, though, in spite of the fact that roads all over western Washington were closed due to flooding. I felt lucky.

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