Construction Journal Entry Week of 4/28/19

4/30-5/2/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped and visited with Earl for a while. He was busy working on his car, so I didn't stay long. I proceeded on to Camp Serendipity and arrived at 12:55. The weather was a pleasant 60. I carried my gear up to the cabin in one trip, hoisted the flag, built a small fire in the stove, had my lunch and my usual nap.

When I got up, I decided to test the hydraulic ram pump I had made. I had a 40-foot coil of 1" copper pipe left over from the plumbing of the cabin and I decided to use this up near the head of the creek to feed and power the ram pump. Since I couldn't be sure the pump was going to work, I figured that it would be best to test it before I went to too much work up at the creek.

To do the test, I laid the coil of pipe on the ground directly under the porch crane hook so that I could use the crane to hold up one end of the pipe. I installed the pump at the other end of the pipe just by sliding the fittings together. I decided not to solder the joint until I install it up at the creek and if the joint didn't stay tight enough for the test, I could always hold it with duct tape.

With the pipe being held up by the crane, I could easily raise and lower it to simulate different head pressures. I wanted to learn what head pressure was required in order to drive the pump, and I wasn't sure how much head pressure I could get in a 40-foot run down the creek bed.

I decided that this test was going to be momentous enough that it should be recorded. So along with setting up the test apparatus, I set the camera up on a tripod and made a video of the process.

After a few failures, which I patched up with duct tape, I was just ready for a good test when two visitors, Marianne and Mylynda happened to see me filming from the road and they came up to see what I was doing. I explained that I was just about ready to open a valve to test my pump, so they watched while I did so.

To my amazement and joy, the pump began working correctly for the very first time. I was very happy. After running for a while, the duct-tape joint holding the pump to the pipe blew open and the test was over. I had seen enough though and was satisfied with the proof of concept.

The two visitors were very interested in the log cabin, so I took them on a tour of the cabin answering their many questions. As part of the tour, they looked at the scale model of Mt. Rainier National Park as well as my scale model of the cabin. It was nearly 6:00 PM when they left.

On Wednesday Robert called first thing and said that he would try to stop by and pick up a galvanized cable he had left here. After breakfast, I went outside and shot the final piece of the video.

Then I used a tin snip to flare open the top end of the copper pipe. This was for two purposes. One was to help anchor the hardware cloth strainer that I will make and install on the upper end of the pipe, and the other was to help make a connection with the garden hose for testing that reduced the pressure. The hose is supplied with about 10 lb. of pressure and with a tight duct tape joint, that pressurizes the copper pipe to 10 lb. during the test. That is too much because I am not going to get that much pressure up at the creek.

After fiddling around and doing some more testing of the pump I decided to spend no more time on it and do the rest of whatever fiddling is necessary up at the creek when I install it.

Instead, I turned my attention to installing the pump up at the creek. The first thing I needed to do up there was to take a chainsaw up and cut away the many trees and branches that had fallen across the creek. I would need to do that in order to lay the pipe in the creek bed.

But before I could do that, and since I had the saw, I cleared the trail going up to the spring. The trail had been blocked by the giant ponderosa pine that had fallen across it several years ago. Then last winter Robert had harvested that log and skidded it out of the woods. But that had left a lot of smaller trees and other obstructions that still blocked the trail. That is what I cut through and got the trail in a condition to where you could now walk upright all the way from the cabin to the spring.

Then I proceeded on up to the spring and used the saw to cut away the branches that were over the creek for the 40-foot run where my pipe was going to go.

When that was done, I brought the chainsaw back to the cabin and got my post hole digger and brought it back up to the creek. I used it to pull out the segments of branches that I had cut away as well as other obstructions in the creek bed until it was ready to receive a pipe and to allow me access on the banks in order to place the pipe in the creek.

Then I scouted the best route up from where the hydraulic pump will be for the hose that will go over the ridge heading for Andrew. I wanted to find the route with the lowest high point, and which will have the minimum number of peaks along the way. It turned out that the best route took it right under the big ponderosa butt log that was still lying there. It had enough rot in it that Robert did not haul it out with the rest of the log.

By that time, it was time to quit for lunch and a nap. When I got up, I took a 100-foot tape, a small level, and two long hoses up to the creek. I used the tape to accurately locate where the pump is going to go, and I used the level to sight from there up to where the top of the pipe will go to estimate how much head I will have over that run. It looks like it will be from 5 to 6 feet of drop which I think should work just fine. We'll see.

Next, I strung the two hoses up from the pump site, over the ridge, and down to the ponderosa butt log. It was long enough to go under the log and about 10 feet past it. My guess is that that point is about halfway to Andrew so I will need a couple more long hoses, which fortunately I have.

Then I went back to the cabin and re-established the first part of my irrigation system. Several of the hoses had been disconnected and dragged out of the way for the logging operation last winter, so I re-strung the hoses, hooked them together, and turned on the water. I wanted to make sure Paul and Brian would get water, and after adjusting a few valves, I established a nice drip at each of them. On the way, the little transplanted cedar tree near the trail, as well as Dan, also got drips since there were convenient punctures in the hose at those points.

I decided not to irrigate the ten new cedars just yet. As the weather turns drier, I may start it up later.

On Thursday morning, Dave called first thing and caught me up on current political events. We hung up when Robert showed up. I went down and talked with him as he loaded up the galvanized cable he had come for.

When Robert left, I drained the water out of the coil of copper pipe, which took some doing. The pipe is heavy enough to carry and with water inside, it is even heavier. Since I will have to carry it up to the creek, I wanted it completely empty. To do that, you have to slowly roll the vertical coil completely over as many times as there are loops in the coil. Each time the end of the pipe is rolled to the bottom, a loopful of water runs out. After six turns, the pipe was empty and I carried it into the crawlspace to prevent someone from ripping it off.

Next, I fixed the starter rope on the chainsaw. Every once in a while, the starter rope mechanism slips somehow and doesn't retract the rope all the way. That had happened when I used the saw up at the creek. I took the mechanism apart and wound three or four more turns around the pulley and then put the saw back together ready for next time.

In order to make at least some progress on the railings this week, I cut another 20 rebar balusters.

Then I ended the morning by vacuuming the loft steps and first floor of the cabin. It needed it. I left for home at 12:45 very pleased with the results of the pump test.

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