Construction Journal Entry Week of 3/28/10

3/30-4/1/10 Andrew and I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

We stopped at the Ď59er Diner for lunch and arrived at Camp Serendipity at about 1:30. We were promptly met by Bert and Ernie who got their hugs and biscuits as we unloaded our gear. Andrew went to work spreading the buckets full of chips over the trails.

By the time I got a fire going in the stove, Mike showed up with one of his men. He opened up the dosing tank, looked at the control box and the instructions inside of it, and explained to me how to install and wire the box and the tank. After he explained things, we decided that I could do the wiring with his help and we didnít need to get an electrician involved. He agreed to come back next week on Wednesday to hook up the septic drain line and wire up the dosing pump. He figured that the grade for the drain pipe was close enough that we could install it using just a spade and he wouldnít have to bring a tractor up. He said he had the conduit and the wire. All I needed to do was install the control box and make a hole in the wall for the wire to hook it up to the distribution panel inside. Iíll mount the box on the outside wall just opposite the distribution panel.

After Mike left, I went to work setting up scaffolding on the outside of the Grid 1 wall so we could install the vent pipe. After talking to Earl, I decided I wanted to run it up alongside the Grid C1 RPSL, then follow the ridgepole and finally turn up to go up against the fascia and stick out above the roof right at the peak. The scaffolding needed to provide access to that entire run.

When Andrew finished spreading the chips, he started disassembling the two log ramp sections that were still in place from pouring the footings. These had served as ramps not only to pour the footings, but also to wheel concrete up to the top of the foundation in order to fill the concrete block cores. That section of the ramp has been there for a long time.

When he had the structure mostly dismantled, I helped him carry it all outside where he finished the job of taking it apart. We laid the log sections under the drip line off the front porch so that the rain would wash them off. The packrats had made quite a mess of them.

Then the two of us moved the pile of boards and beams out from under the back porch and stacked it on the rocks just off the top of the porch. We needed to expose the end of the drain pipe that the boards were covering up. By the time we finished at 6:00, we were both pretty tired and sore from the work. But it was good to get it done in order to be ready for the plumbers.

We had dinner in the trailer, played three games of chess, and then went to bed pretty early feeling very tired.

On Wednesday we slept in until 9:00. After breakfast, Andrew started digging on the water line trench in the woods. I continued work on the scaffolding. We stopped work at noon and went in for lunch and naps. We went back out to work at 3:00. I finished up the scaffolding and called Andrew back so the two of us could move part of the rock pile that was still in the way of the drain pipe run to the septic tank. Before we started, though, we took some pictures of the scaffolding. I also took some pictures of Andrew digging the water line trench.

We stretched a tight string from over the drain pipe under the back porch to over the drain stub on the septic tank. This string showed us what rocks had to be moved. As we moved rocks from the pile, the pile would occasionally avalanche over where we had just cleared. So we would have to clear it all over again. Eventually, we cleared the entire run and the remaining rock pile was relatively stable.

Then after tightening up the string and positioning it more accurately, we used a yardstick to see where and how much we needed to cut and fill to make a straight bed for the drain pipe. We learned that we need as much as a couple feet of fill in the low spots. I think it is more than we want to do by hand so Mike will have to bring a machine up to do the work after all.

We quit working at 6:00 with sore muscles from throwing all those rocks. Andrew suggested that we eat our dinner in the cabin so he went down to the trailer and got the fixings. I stoked up the fire in the stove and we had a very pleasant dinner looking at the fire and at the beautiful view outside. Nason ridge was still laced with snow and the sun streaked across highlighting the high parts.

When we went down to the trailer for the night, Ellen called and told us that there was an interesting view of Mercury and Venus if we could see it. I went outside to see and there were too many trees, mountains, and clouds to see anything. While I was down at the road, the back motion light on the cabin came on. I wondered what animal had set it off so I walked up the concrete steps to have a look. When I got up there, I was greeted by Bert and Ernie. They were out pretty late, but we went down to the trailer and they got a couple of biscuits. Andrew and I hit the hay at 8:40.

On Thursday we got up at 7:20, had breakfast, and went up to the cabin and started a fire in the stove. The plumbers were scheduled to show up and we wanted to be ready for them. Andrew had just gone off to the woods to resume his digging when Mark, the plumber, showed up with his son, Craig, and his nephew Wes. They brought three trucks full of plumbing equipment.

I did what I could to help and answer questions while they went to work on the wastewater and vent piping and the installation of the tub and shower stall. Andrew finished digging the trench by noon and he went down to the trailer for lunch and a nap. I had lunch with the plumbers in the cabin. We talked about politics and discovered that we all think alike. We also talked about heating and ventilation. Craig is an expert on that subject. I learned that it is a bad idea to draw up the cool air from the crawlspace and use it in the cabin. I thought that would be a good way to keep the building cool in the summer but they said absolutely not. The air has too much bad stuff in it. I guess Iíll abandon that idea.

A winter storm was brewing in the mountains and Mark knew that Andrew and I were going back over the pass that evening. As a result, we cut the work short and quit at 4:30. All the inside piping was done, both upstairs and the crawlspace, but the vent pipe on the outside was not done and the pressure test was not done. Since I am going to have these same guys come up and install the water system, they said they could finish up those things when they do the water pipes. That sounded like a good plan to me.

The plumbers packed away their things, and cleaned up the cabin while Andrew and I packed up and loaded our gear. We all left at the same time around 5:00. We got over the pass before the snow got really thick and we had no problem getting home. The rainstorm we ran into at Skykomish was moving toward the pass so we missed it by an hour or so. It was also light all the way home which was nice.

I felt really good about getting so much work done by having someone besides me doing the work. From now on, I plan to subcontract out most of the work instead of doing it myself. This will be a new decade and a new mode of working. I did the hard work in my 50s, the easy work in my 60s, and now that I am entering my 70s, Iíll let other people do the work. The cabin will also get done faster that way.

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