Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/3/16

1/5-7/16 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday. On the way I stopped and played a game of checkers with Uncle Charles. I made a careless mistake early on and Charles jumped on it. He beat me pretty badly as a result. He is slow in almost every other respect, but he sure plays a good game of checkers.

The road was bare and wet all the way over the pass, but the temperature was below freezing and the trees all had a heavy load of snow, so the drive over was beautiful. I arrived at 1:10 and could see that there was about 10 inches of snow in the driveway that had not been plowed. So I put the truck in 4wd, went down the road to turn around, and came back to barge into the driveway. I was able to drive all the way up, back into the parking area, and pull forward to park at the foot of the concrete staircase. No problem.

I had forgotten to bring the aluminum scoop home with me last week, so I used the square-nose shovel to make a trail to the staircase and to clear the snow off the staircase. Then I cut snow steps above the staircase and beat a trail to the cabin. Then I raised the flag, hauled up my gear, made a fire in the wood stove, and had a late lunch. I goofed off the rest of the afternoon.

On Wednesday morning it was 25į outside, dead calm, and with about 2 inches of new snow on the ground. After replacing the burnt out light bulbs in the front porch fixtures, I swept off the 2 inches of snow from the concrete staircase and then got my snowshoes out of the truck.

I used the snowshoes to make a trail from the cabin to the hose and from there to the parking area. I am sure the scouts will use that trail when they come up on the weekend. They will want to get their water from the hose.

Then I made a trail from the cabin to the privy. On the way, I shoveled the snow off the top of the mixer. The snow on top of the privy hadnít been shoveled off at all this year and the load was getting to be dangerously heavy. It needed to be shoveled off.

Normally I clear the roof by first working from a ladder leaning against the privy. But this year, for some reason I have forgotten, I had stored all my ladders under the back porch instead of inside the crawlspace. Now they were under a heavy, frozen load of snow that had avalanched as a result of snow sliding off the cabin roof.

I spent at least an hour trying to get one of those ladders loose enough so that I could snake it out from under the porch, but in spite of many clever approaches to the problem, I was unable to do so. I decided to clear the privy roof without the aid of a ladder.

By making a snowshoe trail up to the lowest corner of the privy roof, I was able to reach up and pull snow off the roof and pile it under my feet. As the pile grew, I could reach further up the roof and bring down more snow. Once the pile was firm enough, I took the snowshoes off and just worked in my boots.

The snow was just right for packing, so each shovelfull of snow I brought down noticeably raised the small platform I was standing on. All the while I worked, I couldnít help thinking about Zoserís pyramid in ancient Egypt. After it had reached a certain height it had collapsed and had to be redesigned and rebuilt so it wasnít so steep. I dreaded the collapse of my tower of snow.

Fortunately, it didnít fail. It got to be six or seven feet high which was enough for me to get my left knee to touch the corner of the roof. My right foot was on the pinnacle of the tower, and my body was stretched like a bridge over the 8-foot chasm below. I wondered how I was going to get up on the roof. A ladder sure would be nice, but that was not an option.

I thought about stretching a plank across, but it would be too steep, it would tear apart my snow platform, and it wouldnít be stable enough for me to trust my weight on it. Then I thought about using a rope, and that is what I did.

I got a fairly long rope, the one with the hook tied to one end, and one of my rebar S-hooks I used for my hanging scaffold system. I threw the rope over the privy with the hook end hanging in front of the door. Then I secured the hook to the rebar S-hook which in turn I hooked to the underside of a rim joist under the privy.

Then pulling the rope tight over the top of the privy, I wrapped the rope around a nearby tree and tightened it up using a series of half-hitches in the way my dad showed me when I learned how to hang a hammock between two trees.

With the rope in place, it was easy to get my left knee back on the privy roof, and getting a deep grip up the rope, I simply pulled my body up onto the roof with no trouble. Once up there, it was a relatively easy job to clear the roof since gravity was working with me the whole time. When I finished, Zoserís pyramid had been augmented so much that it was easy to climb back off the roof to safety. The whole job had been great fun.

Next I went in to stoke the fire, have lunch, and a nap. When I got up, my body was telling me that I had already worked hard enough, but I over-ruled it. There was another job I wanted to do. I was running short of firewood and I wanted to be prepared in case the scouts offer to do some work for me. I wanted to have them haul in a bunch of firewood rounds.

The loggers had left for firewood a big Douglas fir log that fell over the roadway just above the privy. The easy part, that was directly over the roadway, had already been cut away and harvested, but the top end of the log was lying on the hillside above. My plan was to find the log, dig it out, and buck it into rounds so that the scouts could get at them.

I made a snowshoe trail to the log, dug it out, and then got the chainsaw and bucked five big rounds from it. If the scouts donít retrieve those rounds, then I will do it myself later on. In any case, that should provide me with enough firewood for the rest of the winter.

After putting away the chainsaw, the cant hook, and other tools, I plopped my tired body down into Daveís Adirondack chair and just sat and enjoyed the quiet, beautiful scene from the front porch. It was delightful and my body appreciated it.

On Thursday morning, I felt a little out of sorts because I have been fighting a cold for the past week. It isnít really bad, but I sniffed salt water a few times which seemed to help. I went to bed early and slept from 8:30 until 7:30 which also seemed to help.

When I got up, it was 26į outside and there was no new snow. I split a bunch of firewood and built a fire in the wood stove. Then after breakfast, I prepared the inside of the cabin for the scout visit.

I put away all the bedding used by Cam and Bill when they were there, I put away whatever loose stuff that was lying around on the table and elsewhere, and then I vacuumed the place. Finally I brought down a few chairs from the loft so that there would be more seating on the first floor. I think it is ready. I left for home at 12:45 looking forward to the scout snow camp adventure in a couple days

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