Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/21/19

4/22/19 (Monday) Collected all the parts necessary to make a hydraulic ram pump.

4/23-25/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped in and visited with Earl. I was surprised to find that he was playing a keyboard. I didn't know he played the piano. (He was likewise surprised to learn that I did too.)

After I left, I proceeded on to Camp Serendipity and arrived at 1:30. The weather was 60 and windy. I carried my gear up in two trips, including the parts for the ram pump. Then I hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, had my lunch and a nap.

When I got up, I assembled the hydraulic ram pump and soldered the joints together. The plan is to set the pump up in the creek just below the spring and have it pump water up to the sequoia tree Andrew.

On Wednesday Robert called first thing and told me that he was planning on coming over later. I asked him to bring a chainsaw and cut down the tree I want to use for a railing on the back steps. He said he would.

After breakfast I sprayed the primer coat on the 20 balusters that were ready. Then I took a length of cable, a rope, a ladder, and three shackles down to the tree I wanted Robert to fall. I attached the cable to the tree some 20 feet up and strung it over and fastened it to a stump. Since the tree is tangled up in the branches of bigger nearby trees, the plan is to use the cable to pull it down once it is cut.

After bringing the ladder and the rope back up to the cabin, I sprayed the top coat of paint on the balusters that I had primed earlier.

Then I went into the woods and measured the height and bushiness of all 11 giant sequoia trees. I do this each year about this time and record the results in a chart .

When I came back out of the woods, Robert showed up. We had a nice visit and then he felled the tree. He hooked my cable to his truck and after making the cut, he used the truck to pull the tree down. Then he bucked a 12-foot section out of it that I wanted for my rail and he limbed the trunk. I was happy to have that done.

Robert left and I went in for lunch and a nap. When I got up, I stacked the limbs from the fallen tree onto the compost pile.

Next, I dug a pressure-treated 4x4 out from the bottom of the stack of planks and lumber under the porch. I took the 4x4 down to the concrete staircase and used it as the new newel post at the top of the stairs to replace the one that had been broken by falling trees during logging.

Then I re-strung the rope that makes up the handrail for the staircase and put the tools away. I was happy to have gotten that project done too.

On Thursday morning, Dave called first thing and we had another great conversation. After we hung up, I took a 100-foot tape and a rope up to the spring to figure out exactly how and where to install the ram pump. I had 40 feet of pipe so I used the tape to lay out candidate positions of 40-foot runs to find the best place where I could get the most drop from one end to the other and still be able to run a hose up over the ridge to reach Andrew.

After selecting the route, it was evident that I would have to do a lot of cutting with the chainsaw because there were all kinds of logs and branches over the creek that would have to be cut away in order for me to place the pipe.

I went back to the cabin to get the chainsaw, but I realized that I didn't have enough time to work up at the spring. Instead I decided to clear the trail through the sequoia grove because of the tree that had fallen right over Ellen. It was also blocking the trail to Earl. The tree was only about six inches in diameter where I had to cut it so after cutting two sections out of the trunk and clearing away the branches, I had freed Ellen and opened the trail back up to Earl.

While I had the saw up there, I decided to finish the bucking cut I had started on that giant Doug fir that I have been harvesting for firewood for the past several years. The last time I had bucked the log, I had run out of gas shortly before I had completed the last cut. I had just left it that way.

So, in a short time, I cut the round loose and then rolled it down the hill to join the ten other rounds that were down there waiting to be hauled to the cabin for splitting. I'm not sure when I will do that hauling. Maybe next winter.

I packed up and left for home at 12:45 feeling a little bad that I hadn't made much progress on the loft railings, but happy that I got some other things done outside that took advantage of the nice weather.

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