Construction Journal for 1998 Part 4 of 5

8/4-6/98 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I didn't go up the previous week because my mother was having complications due to a second stroke she suffered two weeks earlier. I arrived at about 11:30 and it was very hot. I went to pick the blackberries because since I was not there last week, there should have been a great many of them ripe. Instead, I found that almost all the ripe berries were gone. I only found enough to cover the bottom of a small yogurt container. It looked as though someone had picked them ahead of me. It made me mad.

The thermometer showed 97 degrees in the shade under the trees down at the trailer. It was like an oven in the direct sun up at the work site. I rescued log #123 which I had left hanging against the wall of the building, and raised it up into position atop the three Grid F PSLs. I moved as slowly as I could in that heat but I was still drenched with sweat. I must have drunk six 12 ounce glasses of Hydra Fuel. I drove in the two rebar spikes at F1 and F3 and relaxed the crane rigging before I quit for the day at 4:30.

In order to reach up to drive in the spike at F3, I stood my longest ladder, which is 20 feet, up with its top rung against the PSL. Then standing on the third rung from the top, with my left arm hugging the purlin, I used a 4 lb hammer to drive the spike in. I had to hit the spike fairly hard to even get it to move so it took a lot of blows. In the process, I heard a strange rapid rapping sound, and after stopping to pay attention to it, I discovered that I was hearing my own pulse. It sounded like it must be up around 200. I decided that this was probably not a good sign so I finished driving in the spike, came down the ladder and quit for the day.

I stood in a cool shower for a long time and my head and face still felt flushed and were radiating heat. It was over 90 degrees in the trailer and after I got out of the shower, I laid down on the bed for a while and then had my dinner. I had a miserable headache and nausea but I called Gayle and Norma Jeanne and gave them an update on my mother. I talked for about an hour. Afterward I took a couple of aspirins and then called Ellen.

The temperature in the trailer was still 90 degrees at 7:00 and 86 degrees at 8:00. I went to bed and woke up at midnight. My headache was gone and the temperature in the trailer was down below 70. In the morning I felt fine although not too energetic.

After breakfast, I drove in the spike at F2, took apart all the special rigging, and put away the tools, ladders, and such. It was nice and cool and a very nice change from the heat. Earl Landin visited with me while I had lunch and he suggested that I had been on the verge of heat exhaustion the day before. It made sense to me and I decided to take it more easy on really hot days. Also, that Grid F purlin was the hardest log to deal with in the entire building and I was glad it was now in place. The only logs remaining before the roof goes on will go in the gable walls. I spent the rest of the day raising the scaffolding on the southwest wall.

When I went in for the night, I discovered that there had been a problem at the hospital in caring for my mother and I spent most of the evening making phone calls. I decided to go home the next day to visit the hospital and deal with the problems.

On Friday morning, I beat the considerable accumulation of dirt out of the carpets and mopped the trailer floor. Then I packed up and left for the hospital about 1:00.

8/18-21/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Tuesday through Friday.

I skipped the previous week because of my mother's doctor appointments. It was nice and cool when I arrived at 11:45. There was no sign of vandalism but there were also no blackberries. I started working on raising the southwest scaffold when Larry Copenhaver stopped by. We had a nice visit and ended up talking for a couple of hours. After he left, I finished the scaffold and started working on the handrails.

On Wednesday morning, I finished the handrails and pulled log #74 up on deck. I gwizzed #74 and cut it into 2 pieces. I made another piece from a remnant of log #12 and then treated the 3 pieces with Tim-bor.

On Thursday, I raised the 3 pieces onto the southwest wall and spiked them in. Then I cut the taper on the ends to match the roof line. After that, I cut 16 feet off the butt end of log #19 and pulled it up on deck. It had a lot of rot on it, but it also had a large diameter and the wood inside was sound. I gwizzed about 2/3 of it before I quit for the day.

On Friday, it rained. I decided to reject #19 since it would be too visible on the front of the house. I might use it later on the back. The rest of log #19 wasn't nearly so rotten so I decided to use it instead and I pulled it up on deck. It was still raining at noon when I quit for the week and left for home.

8/25-28/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Tuesday through Friday.

I arrived at noon. The weather was beautiful and I gwizzed the top half of log #19. Bob Peters stopped by when I was halfway done with it. We had a nice visit and took the grand tour.

On Wednesday, I cut 3 pieces from the top end of #19, which was considerably better than the butt end. I treated the pieces, raised them, and spiked them into the southwest wall.

I heard a vehicle stop and people talking on the road so I went to investigate. I found a group of geologists studying the rock outcropping on our property that is visible from the road. There were two doctors and three students and all of them were from Germany.

Dr. Hermann Lebit teaches geology at USC and was the leader of the field trip. Dr. Bernd Leiss teaches geology at the University of Goettingen in Germany. I invited them to look at the rock formation behind the log house and they got all excited to see it. It is a much better specimen of what they were observing than the outcropping by the road. They told me that the unusual rock formation on our property is a result of being on the boundary, or cusp, of two major rock formations. They pointed out where the rock had been deformed as a result of collision and interaction between these two large structures.

After a very interesting visit, and a grand tour of the property, they were on their way and I went back to work and cut the tapered ends of the logs I had just put up.

Just as I finished, Earl stopped by and gave me a book on the Libertarian party. He thinks maybe that their philosophy is similar to mine and I agreed to read the book to find out.

On Thursday, I cut 24 feet from the top end of log #52 and pulled it up on deck. After gwizzing it, I used Mother Sow with the ripping chain to cut the notches to fit over the window frames. Then I treated the log, and pulled it up onto the southwest wall.

On Friday, I trued up the window frames so that they are plumb and spiked in log #52. Then using Mother Sow again with the ripping chain I cut the tapered ends of log #52. I have decided to leave the ripping chain in Mother Sow because it works best on the tapering and I still have about 200 feet of ripping to do on the last 2 purlins, the ridgepole, and the notches for windows. The chain makes crosscuts a little more ragged than a normal chain would make them, but that doesn't matter for my purposes. I am sure glad about that chain; it makes the ripping so easy.

Before I left for home, I reset the camera I had rigged up in the woods. The trip thread had been broken and the camera had taken a picture. There was no sign of vandalism, so maybe I just got a picture of a bear! Who knows?

9/1-4/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Tuesday through Friday.

I arrived at 12:20 and found everything to be in order. It was a hot 90 degrees out. I pulled log #109 up on deck and gwizzed part of it. I cut off 8 feet of bad wood and finally ended up rejecting the log.

On Wednesday, I cut 21 feet from log #15, pulled that piece up on deck and gwizzed it. Then I had lunch and a siesta. It was 85 degrees out. When I went back out, I treated #15 and lifted it up onto the southwest wall. Then I spiked it in enough to hold it over night.

On Thursday morning, I was awakened by the sounds of what I think was a coyote. It sounded like he was in distress because he would let out a loud cry followed by a few yips or barks. Then in a few seconds, he would repeat the sequence. The sounds seemed to be coming from the drainfield area.

I got my pants on, and with a hatchet in one hand and a flashlight in the other, I cautiously walked up to the drainfield. When I got there, it seemed like the sound was coming from the dense bushes bordering the drainfield. I was a little nervous, but I took a few steps toward the bushes and then the yelping stopped. I stood there motionless for a while and then turned and went back down to the trailer. By the time I got to the log house, the yelping started up again. It continued for another 15 minutes or so after I got back to the trailer and the last few yelps and whines sounded to me like the poor thing was dying. I recorded the whole thing on audio tape, but the quality is very poor since I didn't have a separate mike and I recorded it through the open window of the trailer.

After breakfast, when it was light, I walked all through the brush beyond the drainfield looking for something but I saw no sign of any animal. I guess it will have to remain a mystery unless I smell a decomposing carcass in the next week or two.

I finished spiking log #15 into the southwest wall, and then used Mother Sow to taper the ends. Then I packed a lunch and drove to Nason Creek Campground, staked out a site, and set up camp for the weekend. Ellen, Kalimba, and Andrew were coming up on Friday to camp for the Labor Day weekend and I went over early to make sure we got a camp site.

Afterward, I went back to the property and started pulling a log out of woods. This is the log described in the 11/5/97 entry of this journal, and I designated it as log #124. I wasn't sure if the small end of the log was sound because it had been resting on the ground, so I cut the log to 47 feet to give myself an extra 5 feet of length just in case. Since this is a fairly green Douglas Fir, it is probably the biggest and heaviest log I have yet dealt with.

I used the 12-volt winch with its remote control switch and was able to reach the log with two of Leonard's old long extension cords. This made the pulling job pretty easy. I got the log pulled 10 feet or so, sort of sideways, through a dense vine maple thicket before the end of the day. After a shower and dinner, I went back to Nason Creek to sleep since a sign at the campground said that it was a violation to reserve a campsite by paying for it and then not occupying it.

On Friday morning, I went back, had breakfast, and pulled the log out of woods into the drainfield area. Then I limbed and finished spudding it before it started to get really hot. After I put the tools away, I showered, had lunch and took a little nap waiting for the family to arrive.

They got there about 4:00 and had a look around the building site. Andrew climbed the high scaffolds and lifted a log off the ground using the winch and crane. Then we went back to Nason Creek to camp for the weekend. While we were there, I finished Earl's book on Libertarianism.

When Ellen and I drove back to the property on Sunday to retrieve the pickup, we stopped in at Earl's and returned his book. I told him that the book had convinced me to sign up as a member of the Libertarian party. When we got back to the property, Ellen had a chance to meet my little chipmunk. He came right up to her and twice got up onto her hand to get a peanut.

9/8-11/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Tuesday through Friday.

It was nice and cool when I arrived at noon. I finished gwizzing log #109 thinking that I could use it on the back wall. I had rejected it for the front wall last week, but since I was now going to work on the northeast wall which is less visible, I thought maybe #109 might be OK. It wasn't. I rejected it again.

Back down at the dwindling log pile, I cut a 24 foot piece from log #62 and pulled it up on deck.

On Wednesday, I gwizzed the piece of #62 and cut it into 3 pieces for the northeast wall. I was just brushing them off when Larry and Roberta Copenhaver and two friends stopped by for a visit and a tour of the site. Just as they were leaving, Jean and Harry Metzger pulled up and we had a nice visit and a tour of the property including the spring.

After they left, I had lunch and then treated the 3 pieces of #62. Using the crane, I moved the three pieces in one bundle into the center of the building by first moving them in through one of the front windows. The southwest wall is now too high to move logs over the top of it so the only other options are to move logs through the crawl space door, or through one of the windows. I chose the window and it seemed to work OK. Before I quit for the day, I got the center one of the 3 pieces raised up onto the northeast wall and nailed to the window frames.

On Thursday morning, I raised the remaining 2 logs up onto the northeast wall and got about half of the spikes driven in before lunch. I used the winch without the block to raise them. That way, I could get 50 feet of travel instead of 25 and the hook moves twice as fast. I used the winch block instead to guide the cable through the crawl space door. I attached the hook to a long rope that I ran through the snatch block (I only have one) that I attached to a chain around the top of the PSL or RPSL above each of the 3 respective pieces that I raised. This worked very well, although the extra rigging is very time consuming.

I was just about finished with lunch when Jacinto Carhuaz and his son Pepe came by for a visit. They brought their dogs with them and there were about 4 new ones that I hadn't seen before. Pastore was the only one that I remembered from before. Jacinto and Pepe inspected the site and climbed up on the high scaffolds. They seemed to be impressed with what I had done. We went into the trailer and had a nice visit over cookies and cups of hot spiced cider and Postum.

Jacinto listened to my recording of the animal yelping and told me it definitely was a coyote in distress. I think he's an expert in this so I believe him. I took a bunch of pictures of Jacinto, Pepe, and the dogs and Jacinto asked if I had any of the previous photos I had taken. I was sorry that I did not but I promised to bring some with me on my next trip and told him to stop by next week to get them.

After they left, I finished spiking in the three logs in the northeast wall.

The next step is to raise the scaffolds on the northeast wall so I started on that on Friday morning. The two windows are right in the way where the scaffold frames need to go so I spent the morning designing and building supports for the frames that will be attached to the window frames.

I was surprised at how poorly I was able to think while I was working. I kept making mistakes like mixing up left and right, using the wrong kind of nails, sawing off the wrong board and so on. After making and undoing many of these mistakes, I finally got the two supports built and installed and then decided to quit for the week and go home.

Part of my problem might have been the distraction caused by three energetic chipmunks. The little guy, that Ellen fed the previous week, has become quite tame was constantly pestering me for peanuts. In the process of feeding him, two others, that are considerably bigger and more cautious, tried to get in on the action. One of them, which I am sure I have fed out of my hand before, would come to me after a long hesitation, but he would gently bite the end of my finger before he would take the peanuts.

This got to be a habit and he started biting me a little harder each time. I figured I needed to correct his behavior so I started shouting at him whenever he would bite me. After a while this seemed to work because toward the end, he did take some peanuts without biting me.

The third chipmunk never did get up the nerve to come over to my hand, but he definitely was interested and got pretty close a couple times.

The little guy seemed to think that he owned my hand and any time he was around, he would chase either of the other two away. If they weren't near my hand, the other two chased him, since he is so much smaller.

I left for home about 2:30.

9/14-17/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Monday through Thursday.

I arrived at 12:30 and began working on new ladder abutments for the scaffolds. I needed to raise the northeast scaffold which previously supported the ladder. Since this scaffold will need to be moved again as the gable grows, and since the southeast scaffold will not be moved again, I decided to connect the ladder to the southeast scaffold. In the process, I fed the little chipmunks from my hand and scared up a small garter snake.

At about 4:00, Dr. Hermann Lebit and his wife, Dr. Catalina Lebit (I assume her last name is Lebit), stopped by for a last look at the outcropping behind the house before they ended their field work season and headed back to California and Germany. Catalina had not been with the group on the previous visit and I think they made this visit specifically so she could see the outcropping. We had a great visit talking mostly about geology and science. When they were finished looking at the rocks, we went inside the trailer and they looked at my photo album of the log house project.

We were still visiting at about 7:45 when Ellen made her routine call to me. Shortly after that, the Lebits left and I promised to send them some pictures and keep in touch.

On Tuesday, I moved the ladder to the southeast scaffold and raised the northeast scaffold.

On Wednesday, I made the handrails for the northeast scaffold and shimmed and secured them. The sun was beastly hot against that northeast wall, so I rigged a tarp sort of like a square sail on an old sailing ship and raised it high up with the crane so it shaded my work area on the wall. This worked great and I plan to use that technique again any time it gets too hot.

Next I raised the boom control cleat now that the scaffolds were raised. This allows room for another 4 or 5 logs on the wall. When that was done, I cut 25 feet from log #82 and pulled it up on deck.

On Thursday, I rigged the crane up to gwiz and in the process, fed several chipmunks and gray jays out of my hand. Then I saw Jacinto Carhuaz coming over to visit.

He had wanted to see some of my pictures, so I had brought the picture album with me. He seemed to enjoy looking through the album. I took out several pictures of him and of me and gave them to him. Then I used my tripod and the timer on the camera and took a couple of posed pictures of Jacinto and me together. He was impressed with the tripod and asked me how he could get one. I told him he could have mine and consider it a birthday present. His birthday is September 11 which is the day after he visited me last week. He seemed to be very happy and proud with his new tripod. I took a picture of him with it.

He told me the sad news that over the weekend, Bruno, one of his new sheepdogs, had been run over by a truck and killed. I felt bad for the dog and for Jacinto.

Pepe was not with him this time for some reason that I didn't quite catch, but Pepe will be back with the sheep for the next 3 years. Jacinto will go back to Peru and probably will not be back. I told him to make sure that Pepe stops in to visit and I will give him the new pictures. Jacinto said he would.

After Jacinto left, I gwizzed log #82 which is a nice looking lodgepole pine. I left for home about 2:30.

9/19/98 Made two ladders to go from one scaffold level to the next.

9/21-22/98 I went up to the property for 2 days: Monday and Tuesday.

I arrived at 11:30. It was a beautiful fall day - 60 degrees outside but 48 degrees inside the trailer. I carried the new ladders up to the site and found that I had made one of them too wide. I redesigned it, took it apart and reassembled it so that it was narrower. Then I installed both of the ladders on the scaffolds.

I fed peanuts to a lot of chipmunks that are getting quite tame by now. I also fed a group of gray jays that visited. At one point, I saw a dead mouse lying on the roadway and after wondering why the body was still there and not eaten by whatever killed him, I got to thinking that he might have been poisoned. If that were the case, I didn't want any other animal eating him so I decided to bury him. I went into the building to get a shovel and when I came back out the mouse was gone. It is still a mystery to me how he disappeared under my nose.

That evening, John called and said that he was going to fly out on Wednesday to come for a visit. I told him I would pick him up at the airport.

On Tuesday, I installed 3 lag screws through the PSLs and the RPSL into the southwest wall. Then I cut log #82 into 3 pieces destined for the northeast wall. I left for home at about 1:30 so I could pick up Andrew from day care. I cut my stay short in order to be home to pick up John.

9/23-25/98 John and I went up to the property for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

We arrived at about 7:30 PM, had dinner, a nice chat, a short tour of the building in the dark, and then we went to bed.

On Thursday, after breakfast, we had the grand tour of the property and the building site. We were just finished with that when Dave and Janet drove up. We repeated much of the tour with them, then had lunch and spent the rest of the day visiting and feeding the chipmunks. We had a great time. Janet really made a good friend of Ralph the chipmunk. He ended up crawling up her jacket begging for more peanuts when she ran out.

After Dave and Janet left, John and I had dinner, another long visit, and then we went to bed.

On Friday, we decided to get some work done so we treated one of the pieces of log #82 and lifted it up onto the northeast wall. It worked very smoothly having two people doing the job. John ran the winch and a tether from the ground and I was up on the scaffold setting the log into the wall.

John drilled the first hole and drove the first spike in just to get a feel for what I was doing. I finished spiking the log into the wall.

We left for home about noon and just before Mike Tutino's place, we stopped to move a dead coyote out of the road. It looked like it might have been hit the night before and something had eaten all of his entrails. I took a couple of pictures of him before we left for home.

On Friday, we decided to get some work done so we treated one of the pieces of log #82 and lifted it up onto the northeast wall. It worked very smoothly having two people doing the job. John ran the winch and a tether from the ground and I was up on the scaffold setting the log into the wall.

John drilled the first hole and drove the first spike in just to get a feel for what I was doing. I finished spiking the log into the wall.

We left for home about noon and just before Mike Tutino's place, we stopped to move a dead coyote out of the road. It looked like it might have been hit the night before and something had eaten all of his entrails. I took a couple of pictures of him before we left for home.

9/28-10/1/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Monday through Thursday.

I arrived at about 1:00 and after moving in, I treated the remaining 2 pieces of log #82 that I had prepared for the northeast wall. Before the end of the day, I lifted the center piece up onto the wall and spiked it into the window frames.

On Tuesday, I lifted the third piece of #82 up onto the wall and spiked both logs into place. In the process I noticed a mummified frog in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket that I had left standing upright. The only thing I could figure out was that the frog was unable to climb out maybe because of dust or oil on the inside of the bucket. I felt bad about it and decided not to leave buckets upright again whether they have water in them or not.

John called me about noon and told me that he had just gotten home after spending three days and nights in Atlanta. He couldn't get home, much less go to work or go sailing, because hurricane Georges had just come ashore near where he lives and the Pensacola airport was closed.

I spent the rest of the day making measurements in order to place a nail at the exact peak on the northeast wall.

On Wednesday, I built a batterboard on top of the northeast RPSL and installed a nail with strings at the exact location of the roof peak. Then I used the newly installed strings on the northeast wall to scribe the new log course, and then I used Mother Sow to taper the ends of the logs to conform to the roof line.

I need one more log course on the southwest wall before the purlins, so I measured the length to see what I needed. It was 17' 10". Then I went down to the log pile and measured the remnant of log #82. It was exactly 17' 10"! That's what I like; no scrap. Log #82 is a nice looking log so I plan to put it on the front of the building.

I called Earl Landin to see if he would come over and fall a big dying Douglas Fir for me. He said that with the high fire danger, you were not allowed to use a chainsaw in the woods after 1:00 PM. He agreed to come over in the morning to help me.

I spent the rest of the day clearing the brush and trees from around the base of the tree we were going to fall, and then I raised the southwest scaffold. In the process, I got a nasty rope burn on each of two of my fingers. I slid down a rope trying to hang on with my hands but I couldn't keep a grip on the 5/8ths rope. My left glove had a couple holes in it, through which I got the burns. Another small lesson learned.

On Thursday, I did some bracing of the southwest scaffold before Earl showed up. The trunk of the tree was about 24 inches in diameter, but Earl felled it almost exactly where I wanted it using Mother Sow with its 20 inch bar. I was happy with the results. After he left, I limbed the trunk and spudded some of the bark. The bark is on pretty tight, but I have spudded worse logs. I will designate this as log #125. I left for home at about 2:00.

10/7-9/98 I went up to the property for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

This was a short trip because I stayed home the first part of the week to help with Andrew since Kalimba had been sick. The weather was cool and nice for working when I arrived at 11:00.

I started by putting the handrails back on the southwest scaffold. Then I pulled up the last piece of log #82, gwizzed it, and treated it. The piece was already the exact length I needed for the southwest wall.

On Thursday, it rained off and on all day. Fortunately, there was sort of a break in the rain starting just as I went to work at about 7:00 AM. I raised #82 up onto the southwest wall and spiked it in place. I drove the last 3 or 4 spikes in the rain that had come back by then.

I spent the rest of the day spudding most of the #125 butt log, and then piling the slash from #125 into a burn pile near the privy. The entire trunk of #125 was infested with insects; there was a little black insect about the size of a grain of rice about every two or three inches under all the bark. There were also larvae of a couple different species of insects interspersed among them as well. Earl told me that these insects will winter over in the slash and then in the spring they will go out and infest live trees. He recommended burning the slash during the winter to avoid this problem. Needless to say, that is what I am going to do.

On Friday it only drizzled slightly from time to time. I finished spudding as much of log #125 as I could reach and hauled all the bark to the burn pile. I also rolled log #124 back up on a couple of supports. Earl and I had rolled the log off the supports and onto the ground just in case #125 landed on it. Since #124 is such a nice log and I plan to use it for the ridgepole, I didn't want it to get broken if #125 happened to fall on it. As it turned out, #125 fell where we wanted it to and #124 was safe. I left for home at about 3:30.

10/12-15/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Monday through Thursday.

This was a very eventful week. I arrived late because I drove to Wood Care Systems in Kirkland on the way to pick up 25 lb. of Tim-bor. It was raining, the southbound traffic on 405 was crawling, and it took me a half hour to get there from Bothell. I also stopped for a cinnamon roll so I didn't get to the property until 12:30.

The first thing I saw was a beer can in the road where I park my pickup. Before I parked, I got out and pushed the can off to the side with my foot. I was afraid I might find some vandalism but the water was running fine and the trailer seemed to be fine.

Before I unpacked, I went up to inspect the building site and found that someone had entered the building, probably through one of the upper doorways. They had unlocked the crawlspace door from the inside, but the deadbolt was still locked and there was no evidence that they had tampered with the steel cover over the deadbolt handle. My work had evidently paid off.

Looking further, I found that they had broken the hasp on the big tool box and gone through the contents. To my relief, both chainsaws and the half-inch drill motor were still there. I called the sheriff and reported the incident and after I hung up, I discovered that both of my come-alongs were missing. Later, I also discovered that a half-inch drill index full of bits was also missing. I called to add these discoveries to the report, but the deputy I had talked to was not available so I left a message for him to call me.

Needless to say, I felt rage and outrage. I worked out some of my anger by building a log gate in front of the driveway. I used the log I had prepared for a new crane boom but didn't use because it was too big. It was just perfect for the gate.

On Tuesday, it rained off an on most of the day. I cut a 24 foot piece of log #11 to make three logs for the northeast gable. I got it pulled up to the brink of the cliff by 12:30 just as Priscilla and Herb drove up with four friends. I knew they were coming and was just working until they got there. They were in Sid and Natalie's RV. Howard and Bunny were the other couple.

They watched me finish getting #11 safely up on deck and they took some pictures of the process. Then we toured the property and the building site before going into their RV for a big lunch. After lunch, we gathered some pine cones and they left at 3:30.

I spent the rest of the day gwizzing #11 and cleaning up the chips.

On Wednesday, I cut #11 into 3 pieces and treated them with Tim-bor. It rained intermittently so when it was raining, I worked on fixing the broken hasp and making a chain anchor for inside the box. When it wasn't raining, I worked on #11.

I used three pieces of 16 gauge steel strap to make the hasp stronger. I riveted each part of the hasp to one of the straps and I riveted two of the straps to a hinge. Then I nailed and clinched the three straps to the box. That will make it a very hard job for anyone to jimmy the hasp open again.

The chain anchor is a loop of #4 rebar that sticks into the box from the outside on the backside of the box. Both ends of the loop lie against the outside of the box. I nailed a piece of tin over the hole and around the rebar to keep the box mouse proof. With this anchor, I can lock up the chainsaws and the drill inside the box by padlocking a chain that loops through the handles of the tools and also through the rebar anchor loop. So if anyone does jimmy the box open, they will still have to fight with that locked chain to get the saws or the drill loose.

Sid brought along two new padlocks that he bought for me. I had called Priscilla the night before and told her my problem and asked her to get the locks for me. The ones he got for me are good commercial grade hardened locks.

Before I quit for the day, I was able to get two of the three logs up and in place on the northeast wall.

On Thursday, I got the third log up on the northeast wall. The three logs are spiked into the window frames, but they are not spiked in with rebar spikes yet.

Instead of spiking them in, I turned my attention back to security. I snaked a chain around a log that is part of my chip bin and then through a part of the winch. Then I used one of the padlocks through the chain to lock up the winch.

Then I retrieved the camera that was spying on the water hose crime scene and rigged it up to monitor the new gate and the beginning of the driveway. That way, I hope to be able to get a picture of any intruders and their vehicle. All kinds of thoughts went through my mind of other booby traps and surveillance devices. As I get time, I intend to continue to beef up the security up there. It really makes me angry that there are people loose out there that we have to protect ourselves and our property from.

After that, I unloaded a bunch of yard debris that I had brought from Seattle. Then I winterized the trailer. For some reason, I didn't have enough 12 volt power to run the water pump. I don't know if the battery is shot or if I had some bad connections. Rather than diagnose the problem, I jury rigged a connection using the jumper cables and got the job done.

By the time I got all that done, got the pickup out on the road, shut and locked the new gate, and rigged up the camera trip wire, it was 3:35 and I left for home.

10/20-23/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Tuesday through Friday.

The weather was beautiful and the Fall colors were at there peak when I arrived at about noon. I spiked the three logs into the northeast wall and just as I finished, Earl Landin stopped by for a visit. I showed him the gate I had built and we discussed what I could do during the winter to keep the snowplow from hitting the gate. I also asked him to help me fall a couple more trees sometime when he had time and the weather was nice.

Earl told me a very funny story from his childhood. I have burst out laughing at least a half dozen times since then when I think about the image he described of a bewildered, airborne, weightless dachshund in his '49 Ford just as Earl had caused the car to be airborne after speeding downhill and going over a bump. Earl said that everything became deathly quiet and time seemed to stop the instant they left the ground. The dog was level with the windshield and staring straight ahead as if to say, "OK, I trust you, but I sure don't know what is going on." The car filled with dust and the loud noise resumed as soon as they hit the ground again. The dog returned to the seat and the car and passengers were unhurt from the experience.

After Earl left, I scribed the new logs on the northeast wall in order to cut the tapers on the ends.

On Wednesday, I used Mother Sow to taper the ends of the logs. Then I went into the woods to clear the brush from around a big dead Douglas Fir that I was going to have Earl fall. In the process, I discovered that the tree is actually on the Forest Service land. Earl called a little while later, and when I told him about the location of the tree, he said that I could just go to the Ranger Station and buy a firewood permit, which I promptly did.

When I returned, Earl came over and felled the tree exactly where I wanted it. It is a huge tree, and I am not sure what I am going to do with the butt log. This log is designated #126.

Next, I had him fall tree number 37 from my old survey of trees. I used a cable and a come-along to help pull this tree so it fell exactly where I wanted it also. This log is designated #127.

I spent the rest of the day limbing and partially spudding these two fallen trees. In the process, Karen Arnold stopped by and told me that another cabin up the road had been vandalized, probably the same weekend that I had been broken into. She said that the vandals had dropped a parking permit from Lake Stevens High School that may help authorities find the culprits. Karen had stopped by the week before when I was building my new gate and I had told her about my break-in.

On Thursday, Larry Copenhaver stopped by, and as we were visiting, we discovered that there is an apple tree, with about a dozen apples on it, growing on our property at the end of the log pile. This was a pleasant surprise. All of the apples are too high to reach, so I figured that maybe the bears had taken all of the lower ones, if there were any.

After Larry left, I cut three pieces from log #127 and drawknifed the bark off of them by hand. Since the tree had been alive, it was easier to get the bark off with a drawknife than it would have been to use the gwizzard. This way, I can say that at least some logs in the building have an authentic drawknife finish done by hand with a drawknife by me.

Before the end of the day, I treated these three pieces and got two of them up onto the northeast wall.

On Friday, I got the third piece up on the wall and spiked all three of them in place.

Larry and Roberta Copenhaver stopped by with a couple friends, Vik and Nita Jacobs. They seemed very interested in the project and we had a nice visit.

After they left, I had lunch, packed and locked up the tools, and loaded the empty propane tanks into the pickup. I knocked one of the apples out of the tree by repeatedly throwing a hoe up trying to hit one. I told Ellen that I would bring her one of these apples so she could judge what best to do with them. It took me a while to reset the booby trap camera, which I had accidentally set off, so I didn't leave for home until almost 4:00.

10/26-29/98 I went up to the property for 4 days: Monday through Thursday.

It was a beautiful fall day, my ideal kind of weather. I arrived at about 12:30 after having a cinnamon roll on the way. My booby trap camera had been tripped by someone walking up the driveway, but unfortunately, the camera didn't go off. Fortunately, there was no evidence of vandalism or theft. I guess if I want that camera to work, I need to work on a more fool proof trigger mechanism. Everything takes time.

The first thing I did after moving in was to scribe the ends of the new log on the northeast wall and then use Mother Sow to taper the ends. Then I cut 24 feet of log #127. There were no big knots in this section, and hardly any small ones, so after a little experimentation, I discovered that the easiest way to remove the bark and get a drawknife finish was to use an actual drawknife and do it by hand.

The chips I made were about 30 inches long which is about as far as I could reach in front of me. I think that I would have tied, or maybe even won, a race against a Log Wizard on this particular log. This log was unusual in that it was very straight, no knots, and was freshly cut late in the season. The bark was too tight to peel off with a spud, but it came off nicely with the drawknife. For all other logs, the Gwizzard would win hands down, by maybe a factor of 100.

I got about half of the log drawknifed before I quit for the day, but before I did, I measured the lengths and diameters of the last three logs that Earl had felled for me. There is a huge amount of wood in these logs (For example, log #125 is 100 feet long with a butt diameter of 23 inches, and log #126 is 91 feet long with a butt diameter of 21 inches.)

These butt logs are way too big and heavy for me to use as wall logs and I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I can use them for. I came on the idea of cutting them into rough hewn beams and using them for the porch joists instead of using round logs. This will save me the time and expense of procuring straight 5 inch logs, and it will put those big logs to use. I can't think of any other use for that much wood.

When I went in, I discovered that I had a message from Margaret Neighbors. I called her back and we had a nice chat. She invited me and Ellen to their home the following Tuesday when Tom and Kathy Leitch would be visiting Lyle and her. But since Ellen would be working, and the four of them wanted to see my project anyway, we left it that they would come up and visit me at my place on Tuesday. I am looking forward to seeing all of them again and showing them what I have done.

On Tuesday, I finished drawknifing the section of #127, treated it with Tim-bor, and pulled it up onto the northeast wall. I had worked the log up by the privy so this was a new way to get a log up on the building. I used the crane in its extreme westerly direction and pulled the log onto the building from behind the rock pile. This was sort of practice for pulling the next two purlins and the ridgepole up, since those three logs are also up by the privy.

I had just gotten the log in place and stabilized at 4:00 when it started to rain. This was the cue for me to quit for the day, since there was less than an hour of daylight left anyway.

On Wednesday, I found that I didn't have any rebar spikes of the size I needed for the new wall log. Fortunately, Sid Fadden had given me a bunch of half inch rebar which I had been carrying around in the back of the pickup. I made the spikes I needed from these and proceeded to spike the log into the wall.

In the process, I straightened up the two window frames. This new log goes right over the tops of the two window frames and ties the structure together across the whole wall. Since the weight of the scaffold is supported by these window frames, and there was not much longitudinal stability before that new log was spiked in, the frames had twisted a little out of alignment. I used a 2x4 through the frame with a come-along on the end of it on each of the window frames. These held the frames in alignment while I spiked the log in over the top. I used 4 come-alongs for the whole process, including holding the new log in place, so it was a good thing I got so many to replace the two that were stolen.

I was pleased when I removed all the come-alongs that the window frames were in near perfect alignment. Then I scribed the log for the taper and used Mother Sow to taper the log.

The remaining logs from Louie Brender are of such poor quality that I am going to try not use them if I can help it. I haven't figured it out yet, but I think I will have enough logs from the most recent trees that Earl felled for me. My strategy is to use the smallest diameter pieces first and work up to the largest diameter. That is because as I work up the gables, the logs get shorter so I won't have to deal with such heavy logs that way. Also, the larger diameter logs provide better insulation, and I think that will be needed more up high where the temperature in the house will be higher. Another reason is that because of perspective, the logs will look more uniform in diameter from down on the ground because the fatter logs are further away. This may be a small reason, but it added a little weight to my choice of this strategy.

Following this strategy, the next two logs on the northeast wall will be the top sections of logs #125 and #126. Both of these sections have a lot of taper, but when one is set on top of the other, that will cancel out. So, pursuing this strategy, I went into the woods, and with a couple chains, a come-along, and a lot of elbowgrease, I pulled the top section of #125 out of the woods and down into the drainfield clearing. Then I cut a 21 foot section from it, and used the crane to skid this section down to the privy in order to skin the bark off.

This log has a lot of huge knots on it, and after working on it for a while with the spud and the drawknife, I decided it would be easiest to use the gwizzard.

It was now time to bite the bullet and move the crane I had erected over the log pile, up to a tree near the privy. I have known that I need to gwiz the remaining purlins and the ridgepole in this area and sooner or later I would have to set up a crane to hold the gwizzard sling. This was the time. I spent the rest of the day dismantling the crane down at the log pile.

On Thursday, I moved the crane from the log pile and set it up attached to a tree just behind the privy. When this was done, I gwizzed the 21 foot section of #125 and then packed up and went home. It took me until 4:00 again to reset the camera after taking another couple of false shots. I may have to either make a better mousetrap, or quit setting that camera.

1998: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5

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