Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/17/09

5/18/09 I made 4 signs by riveting copper name tags to 5 foot lengths of 5/8" rebar. I broke quite a few bits learning how to drill holes through the rebar.

5/19-21/09 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

It snowed lightly in the pass as I went over. I arrived at the property at 11:50 and was promptly greeted by Bert and Ernie. After moving in and having lunch, I finished making the remaining 8 signs for the sequoia trees.

About the time I finished making the signs, Phil and Jeanne Leatherman drove up. They had come to get some water and to see what I was up to. Jeanne asked about my knee and I showed her the swollen lump on top of my kneecap. She said I had water on the knee and would have to have a doctor drain it. She seemed to know what she was talking about. Phil asked me for my advice on how to make column bases. I described my method of making pinwheel forms from boards and using CB66 or CB88 to fasten the columns to the bases.

After they left, I set a trap on the porch to catch any remaining packrats on the property. I also installed the protective screens over the plug wires in the truck in case they got in there again. There were almost no mosquitoes which I hope means that this will be a light mosquito year.

On Wednesday morning, I found a mouse in the trap and I let him go. I took that as a good sign. Maybe that last packrat I evicted was the last and only one around.

Next, I loaded the 12 signs in the wheelbarrow along with a big hammer and headed into the woods on the trail between the privy and the woodshed. It was a pretty heavy load because it was 60 feet of 5/8" rebar plus the hammer and copper signs. I had cleared the trail enough so that I was able to wheel the signs all the way to the sequoia trees. I drove each sign into the ground in front of its respective sequoia tree and fastened the top of the nylon mesh screen to the top of the rebar. That should help keep the mesh from collapsing so badly during the winter, I hope.

With the signs planted, I decided to take pictures of all the sequoias. If I waited, the leaves, brush, and the mosquitoes would be out. This was the perfect time. It was very pleasant in the woods.

I got the camera and went up to the spring on the way to the first tree. I stopped at the spring and cleaned out the springbox. There was quite a bit of flow. The 3-inch overflow pipe was about 3/4 full.

Then I proceeded on to the sequoia trees and took a picture of each one. My leg was hurting quite a bit, but I took it as easy as I could. It was nice to have the trail cleared as much as it was.

With the pictures taken, I prepared to get some real work done. I cleaned up the mess I had made in the cabin making the signs and then I set up my mortar mixing batch plant out on the front porch and went in for lunch and a short nap.

After lunch, I mixed mortar and chinked two seams in the loft gable wall. My leg hurt but I tried to be gentle with it. When I carried buckets of mortar up the ladder, I did all the stepping up with my left leg only.

Before quitting for the day, I cleaned up all the tools and set the trap on the porch. About 9:30 in the evening, just after I had hung up talking with Ellen, I heard the trap on the porch spring.

On Thursday morning I found another mouse in the trap and let him go. The pattern is encouraging. Maybe the packrat problem is solved for a while.

It was only 36 degrees out so I built a fire in the stove and made it nice and comfortable to work inside. I cleaned the logs around the two seams I had chinked and then I mixed mortar and chinked another seam. While I was on the porch mixing mortar, a chipmunk came around for peanuts a few times. This was the first time I had seen the little guy this spring. It was good to see him.

I cleaned up my tools, locked up, had lunch, packed up, and left for home at 1:20. The drive home was stunningly beautiful with new fresh snow all lighted up on the mountains.

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