Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/31/09

6/2-4/09 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

Before I left, I visited with the knee surgeon to find out what to do about my knee. I expected him to drain the water off the lump on my kneecap, but instead, he just said that I was doing fine, that the knee would heal in a few more weeks or months and that he encourages exercise and that he didn't think I had been overdoing it. That was encouraging to me. I concluded that I have been judging about right as to how much work to do and when to stop. So I'll keep doing what I have been doing.

Prior to the visit, I had decided not to buy any more mortar mix and to take it easy for another week. After the visit, I changed my mind and drove from the clinic straight to Lowe's and bought six more sacks of mortar mix. Then I headed for the mountains.

I arrived at noon and was promptly greeted by Bert and Ernie. I gave them their usual hugs and dog biscuits.

After moving in and having lunch, I took the video camera up into the woods and made another video showing the 12 giant sequoias. This time I didn't talk about the springbox so much and I skipped talking about the transplanted tree I have dubbed "Little Tree" so that the video would stay under 10 minutes, the limit for YouTube. The video turned out to be under 10 minutes by 20 seconds or so.

Next I swept the porch. There was a lot of tree pollen which made the deck look dingy. There were also a lot of mouse turds, which I expected, but also some bigger ones that I thought might be packrat turds. I was afraid that the packrats were back so I decided I would set the trap again in the evening.

Next, I decided to set up a crane on the porch and use it to lift the sacks of mortar mix up onto the porch deck. First I unfastened the electrical components and wires that were fastened to the 4x4. Then I unbolted the angle iron holding the winch to the 4x4 and flipped the 4x4 end for end. Using the same holes, I bolted the 4x4 back to the angle iron and now the winch was facing the right direction.

I fastened chains around the log ends projecting from the Grid E3 corner of the cabin and used them to anchor the 4x4 in position as the crane boom. It didn't take too long to rig it up and see that it was going to work. In the process, a chipmunk came up on the porch and approached me for a handful of peanuts. Of course I took a break and fed the little guy. It occurred that maybe the bigger turds I saw were his. We'll see.

With the crane ready, I drove the truck up to the upper roadway and got out a sling I had brought with me. I had made the sling from a piece of carpet and had used it to store my sailboard, when I had one. This was a perfect sling for the mortar sacks.

The first time, I decided to lift only one 60 lb sack of mortar. The crane lifted it high enough to clear the guard ropes around the porch, and after I went back up on the porch deck, I easily swung the boom over and lowered the mortar sack down on the deck.

It worked so well that the next two times I lifted two sacks at once. I was able to load the sacks into the sling from the ground so that I didn't have to climb up into the truck bed. That made it easy. The fourth load was a single sack again because that took care of all six sacks. While that last sack was still suspended in the air, I went down, got the camera, and took some pictures of the crane and its load. I'm really glad I decided to set up the crane because I have a lot more mortar to buy and this will make it easy to get it where it needs to go.

After I backed the truck back down, I set out some ant bait that I had brought with me. I didn't see any ants around, but I would rather get them early and not see them rather than wait for an infestation. Before I went in for the night, I set my usual trap on the porch to see what rodents were active during the night.

My leg hurt quite a bit during the night, but I used a heating pad to keep it comfortable.

On Wednesday, I found that I had caught another mouse in the trap and I let him go. I concluded that those were chipmunk turds. I didn't see any more of them on the porch in the morning and that would be what to expect since chipmunks are diurnal. I decided that the packrats were gone after all and that I didn't need to set the trap any more for now.

I went to work chinking in the loft and did one seam before lunch. In the process I made a video of how I mix mortar and another one showing how I do the chinking.

After lunch and a nap, my leg was hurting enough that I decided not to do any more chinking and to just relax and read up in the cabin. It was very pleasant.

Before I went in for the night, I whacked the weeds and bushes that were starting to grow around the trail to the privy. I have found that if I whack them down in the spring when they are small and tender, it is easy to knock them down and they don't come back after that.

On Thursday morning Bert and Ernie came around first thing for a treat. I went up to the cabin and cleaned around the seam that I had chinked the day before. I had planned to chink another seam, but after the cleaning, my leg hurt enough that I cancelled that idea. Instead I treated myself to some more reading and then quit for the week. I left for home at 1:30 after another pleasant week.

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