Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/4/10

4/6-8/10 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I arrived at 12:30 and was promptly greeted by Bert and Ernie. There was no snow on the ground, but I could see that it had snowed earlier because of the berm under the eaves of the cabin. The weather was pleasant. I built a fire in the wood stove and then called Mike to tell him that I was there. He said he would try to get over on Wednesday.

After lunch, I went to work installing the dosing pump control box on the outside wall directly opposite the electrical distribution panel. I started out by marking the location of the box on the wall. I positioned it so that the conduit connection on the bottom was directly across from the stud wall containing the distribution panel. Then after a lot of work with a hammer and chisel, I had cut a flat recess in two wall logs so that the box could be mounted flush with the chinking between the two logs.

Next I used an inch-and-a-half augur and the half-inch drill motor to bore a hole through the log wall for the conduit. I also used it to bore a vertical hole through the sill log which sticks out about three inches beyond the other logs in that area. This was to allow a ĺĒ PVC conduit to pass vertically from the control box down to the ground below on its way to the dosing tank. I also had to chisel notches in a couple other logs in order for the conduit to fit.

I used a long radius 90-degree elbow to go from the bottom of the control box through the hole I had bored in the wall. Once the elbow fit, I screwed the box, with the elbow in place, to the wall.

On the inside of the wall, the first stud was only a couple inches away from the logs, so there was no room for an elbow on the inside. Instead I used an LB which fit nicely after a little work with hammer and chisel. I still needed a short piece of conduit to connect the elbow to the LB. I was evidently ďin flowĒ during this work because I didnít stop until 7:30. I was very tired but also very pleased with how the box mounting came out.

On Wednesday I was back out working at 7:00 AM. I wanted to get power to the control box before Mike got there. He said he had a meeting at 8:00 so I didnít expect him until late morning or even after noon. I built a fire in the stove and then bucked up a log that was lying in the upper roadway so I would have enough firewood for the day.

Then I cleared away a bunch of lumber that was stored under the back stairs and which was in the way of the conduit run from the building to the dosing tank. Next I strung the string again over the pipe run and measured a little more carefully where I needed to cut and where to fill. Mike wouldnít be able to get a tractor up near the cabin so I decided to do the digging there by hand. I ran into a lot of rocks and roots, which I dug out, but then I hit two really big rocks. I was able to loosen them up using a big steel bar, but I ended up using a chain and a come-along and a big tree to pull those two big rocks up out of the trench.

Some time during the work, Mark, the plumber, called. I got a paper and pencil and followed him as he explained a plan for installing the water supply system. He tried to incorporate my desire to have the water continually circulate and discharge into the creek and yet have a pressure pump to boost the pressure. Instead of using a bladder tank, he proposed using a demand pump and a large (and expensive) steel tank in the circulating loop. This was to ensure an adequate volume of water for the pump.

I opined that I thought the 1-inch delivery pipe would provide adequate volume for the pump simply using a tee instead of a big tank. We compromised and decided to use a vertical length of 6-inch PVC pipe maybe 5 feet high. This could be fitted with an air escape valve on top and would do the same job as a big steel tank.

He described some other details of the plan which I sketched out on paper. He told me that Craig will come up next week to test the pressure and flow rates at various points, install a dry vent on the tub drain, and help me install the vent stack on the outside of the building. The pressure and flow rates will help in deciding on the final design of the system.

After I hung up with Mark, Earl called and we had a nice chat. He told me that he has been feeling good but the weather has interfered with his motorcycle riding lately. After Earl hung up, I went back to work digging the trench until I was really tired and sore. It was 1:00 and time for lunch and a nap.

Mike called during lunch and told me that he would be over at 8:00 AM Thursday. That was a relief to me because I wasnít ready for him yet. The trench wasnít done and the control box didnít have power yet.

I went back out to work in a light rain at 3:00. I finished digging the trenches near the cabin, one for the sewer pipe and the other for the electrical conduit. There ended up being big rock piles lining both sides of the trench corridor when I finished.

Bert and Ernie showed up for hugs during the work but I didnít take the time to go down to the trailer for biscuits. The dogs didnít seem to mind.

Next I unscrewed the control box and took it back down. Then I stained the log wall every place that I had chiseled or drilled into the logs. I fabricated the conduit run through the log wall, and screwed the box back onto the wall for the final time. Then I fished the wires through the wall and into the box, and connected them up inside the box. The wire wasnít yet connected to the distribution panel. By that time it was 7:30 and I was very tired. I went in for the night.

On Thursday morning it started to snow. I went up to the cabin and built a fire in the stove. Just as I finished, Mike called and said he would rather wait for better weather and we postponed his visit until next Tuesday. Iíll call him when I get back up there next week.

I was happy to have some spare time and the opportunity to leave for home early rather than late, especially now that it was snowing. I decided to harvest a lot of firewood so I bucked up a lot of wood that had been the rack for the woodpile for the past few years. This was right in the way of Mikeís getting fill dirt from behind the privy, so it was a good idea to get it out of the way.

I bucked it all up and then wheeled six wheelbarrows full of firewood blocks to the cabin and stored it under the eaves. That should almost last me until next fall. Bert and Ernie visited during the work, and this time we all went down to the trailer to get biscuits. There were many hugs along the way though.

Up in the cabin, I tidied things up a bit, put away a bunch of tools, and I wired up circuit breaker number 39 to the wire coming from the pump control box. I was now electrically ready for Mike. Finally I used a hammer and screwdriver to tamp in a wad of steel wool all around the conduit elbow that enters the log wall on the outside. Iíll cover this with caulk later, but the steel wool will discourage any rodents from chewing their way into the building around that conduit.

I had lunch and left for home at 12:30. There was quite a bit of snow but I had no trouble getting over the pass.

4/9/10 Drew a diagram of Circuit 39.

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