Construction Journal Entry Week of 6/20/21

6/21-25/21 I went up to Camp Serendipity for five days: Monday through Friday.

I arrived at 10:45. The temperature was 70 degrees both inside and outside the cabin. I brought my gear up, hoisted the flag, and placed a plant I had brought with me on the loft ledge. It is a low maintenance plant, and we think it will brighten the place up.

After having my lunch and a nap, I went into the woods and hung a salt block from a tree near the sequoia Paul. I continued into the woods and propped up the tallest of the transplanted cedars. That tree is now as tall as me plus my hat. The cedars seem to be thriving and even the one dead one that had the green shoots on the bottom is showing great resilience. Those shoots look to be thriving.

Back in the cabin, the temperature was 75 degrees inside and 88 degrees outside. I did some stretching exercises and then spent the rest of the day reading.

On Tuesday I was up early, had my breakfast, and was outside working by 7:00 o'clock. I installed a screw-eye below the lower window. I attached a come-along to that screw-eye and used it to lift a scaffold frame up onto the deck of the 1st tier. I placed the frame in position but had some trouble because it was a tight fit. It was a little tense before it finally dropped into place. Then I installed the cross braces and found that they didn't fit either. The problem was that the tandem tower was not quite in alignment with the original tower. I used the come-along to provide tension in place of the one cross brace that didn't fit figuring that it would only be temporary. As soon as I dismantle the original tower the new tower should be able to be pulled into alignment and the cross brace attached.

While I was on the scaffolding, Dave called so I went in to have a conversation with him. He happened to be on the road driving to a Finn regatta in Corpus Christi, TX and at the moment was just crossing into Alabama in a heavy rainstorm. We cut our conversation short because of the rain and I went back out to work on the scaffolding.

I reconfigured the decking so that I had a continuous platform on the top over the second tier then I removed the cross braces from the third tier and hung them on the other side of the central frame. The tricky part was to remove the top frame from the original tower and carry it across the two platforms and set it up on the outside of the new tower.

That was a tricky and precarious maneuver, so I gave it a lot of thought. Then I bit the bullet and pulled it up out of its sockets. I had a hold of the center of gravity so I could maneuver the frame easily and I positioned it so that the feet were heading toward the new tower and I carried it diagonally so that it would go under the central frame. I got it halfway under the central frame and decided to set it down for the night. It was in a good stable position resting on the platform and leaning against the central frame toward the cabin. I did not feel strong or steady enough to work anymore that day, and it was starting to get hot, so I went in for the day.

I practiced the piano, listened to the radio, and then had my lunch and a nap.

When I got up, I did some easy jobs that I could do inside the cabin. I started by attaching small felt pads to every interior door jamb so that the doors closed without such a bang. Then I placed five doorstops on the walls that the doors could hit when swung all the way open. I had previously used small boards lying on the floor for doorstops, and it now looked much better with those boards removed.

I had miscalculated and had one extra doorstop, but behind the bathroom door I had used that little pile of boards to hold up the edge of the mop so that it could dry out. Now the mop would be resting flat on the floor and I was afraid it wouldn't dry out properly. So, I installed that 6th door stop just to rest the mop on so it could dry out.

Since it was John's birthday, I called him, and we had a nice long conversation.

On Wednesday I was up early again. I went up on the scaffold, carried the frame the rest of the way, and set it up to complete the third tier of the new tower. Then I attached the cross braces that were already hanging from the central frame ready to stretch across.

Next, I removed the stabilizer that was attached to the second tier on the outside of the original tower, and used the same parts to install a stabilizer on the outside frame of the new tower. Then I completely dismantled the first tower and put the frames and cross braces away in the crawl space. The planks all went onto the new tower. There were now plenty of planks and I completely decked the third tier.

When I went to install a guardrail on the third tier, I simplified the plan. The stanchion on the 3rd central frame was still in place as was the rope and the screw-eye attached to the log wall between the windows. But instead of installing a second stanchion, I decided to run the rope diagonally and attach it to a new screw-eye that I installed to the left of the windows.

With the deck and the guardrail in place, the tower was now ready for washing the highest window. That would wait for the next day.

I came down off the scaffolds and went into the woods and checked the hanging salt block to see if there was any evidence the deer had licked it. There was no such evidence. While I was there, I looked at Paul and Runty and both are thriving.

After lunch and a nap, I did some exercises and then tightened all the loft stair nuts. It had been a while since I had tightened them, and they each took from two facets to in some cases a full turn. I spent the rest of the afternoon writing.

On Thursday I started out by washing the top window. Then I reconfigured the deck on the second tier so that I could reach the lower window. And then I washed that lower window.

Next, I set up an outrigger on the scaffold tower to allow me to reach the small window so I could wash it. After washing that small window, I dismantled the outrigger. Then I used that second tier platform to replace the plug that I had removed in order to install the scaffold bracket on the inside. This was the last chance I would have to be able to reach that plug.

There was still a small ladder against the wall on the inside which I had used to remove the plug I had driven in from the inside, but now with the plug on the outside where it belonged, I no longer needed the ladder. I took it outside and stored it under the back porch.

I went in the cabin, practiced the piano, and then had my lunch and a nap. When I got up, I went outside again, checked the salt which still showed no signs of licking. I checked most all the giant sequoia trees and brought 5 gallons of water to Andrew.

Robert called and we caught each other up on our recent activities. Then I did some planning for installing a light fixture above the loft stairs. I needed a grommet and Ellen had told me that the grommets we had ordered had arrived, so my plan is to install that light fixture next week.

On Friday, since all the windows were washed, I was finally done with the scaffolding. I dismantled the complete tower and stored all the parts. That was a hard but rewarding job. I went in, practiced the piano, and had time for a short nap before I had my lunch and packed up to leave. I left for home at 1:30 very happy that I was done with scaffolding and window washing.

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