Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/8/11

5/8/11 (Sunday) I cut 80 lineal feet of six-inch strips of 1/4" mesh hardware cloth and 80 lineal feet of six-inch strips of metal window screen for use on the ventilation boards I need for the cabin porch ceilings.

5/10-12/11 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I stopped at Marilyn's on the way up for a short visit. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:20. Bert and Ernie evidently didn't hear me drive by because they didn't show up. The temperature was a pleasant 65 degrees so I skipped building a fire in the stove. After moving in, having my lunch and a short nap, I strung 350 feet of hose from the cabin to the sequoia trees.

The hose ended at the fork in the trail between the trees Dan, Dave, and Chuck. There was plenty of water pressure at that point to fill buckets. I had asked Dan about watering all the trees each week all summer and he said that would be a good idea. I figured that the work of stringing a hose all that way would be more than offset by the work of carrying all those buckets of water those 350 feet all summer long. This way, I can fill the buckets right near the trees and save a lot of time.

The hoses I used had some taped-up leaks in them but they didn't leak too much. The worst leak was where I connected the first length to the hose on the porch. Fortunately this leak was dribbling right over Rosie, the rose bush, right under the front porch. Since Rosie doesn't get much water from rain due to the large eaves, I decided that it would be good just to let that leak dribble and water Rosie all summer. I wasn't sure how it was going to affect the pressure in the shower but when I took my shower in the evening, I learned that it did stop the flow out of the top four or five holes in the shower head. It was tolerable but I decided to slow the leaks later on.

Once the hose was strung, I watered all the trees and added Superthrive to the water for Bill, Andrew, Dave, Earl, and Ellen. When I went into the drainfield area to water Paul, I noticed that the new "spring" that had sprung up was now dried up. It evidently was not a spring after all but simply drainage from snow melt.

About 5:00, I noticed a lot of fire trucks going up the road. They didn't seem to be in much of a hurry, but there must have been a couple dozen of them. I couldn't imagine that our little firehouse had that many trucks, but yet there they were. I told Ellen about them when I talked to her later that evening, and while I was talking to her, at about 8:00, the fire trucks came back down the road going the other way. Ellen got on the Internet and learned that there was some kind of regional training activity going on in the area so that explained it.

On Wednesday I got around to doing some productive construction work on the cabin. I started by making the third and last ventilation board for the front porch ceiling by cutting the holes in a 1x8 and rasping the edges smooth. I measured once and cut twice to get the board to the right length. I seem to get that old rule wrong more times than I like.

Next, I stained all three of the vent boards and placed them on my rack to start drying. I took some pictures of me rasping and staining the boards.

After lunch and a nap, I stapled 6-inch strips of 1/4" mesh hardware cloth followed by metal window screen on the back side of the entire length of one of the vent boards. The hardware cloth will keep rodents out, the window screen will keep the bugs out, and both will keep birds out. I took a picture of the screens on one of the boards. A chipmunk visited me on the porch quite a few times during the work and each time I took a break and fed him peanuts from my hand while he sat on my lap.

I installed the first 16-footer in the porch ceiling and then screened and installed the second 16-footer before I quit for the night. It started raining off and on towards evening.

On Thursday morning, I had just installed the screen on the third board when Bert and Ernie stopped by. I got them each a biscuit and then went in and got them each a tray of left-over gravy. They were happy dogs.

After they had had enough hugs, I installed the last vent board and a few more short boards. There was room for only one full-size board plus a couple more inches between the vent boards and the Grid G purlin. After a little experimentation, I figured that the easiest way to fill the gap was to install a complete board up against the purlin first and then fill the small gap later. That way the small gap wouldn't be right up against the purlin, which I figured would make it harder to install the small board. I figured this even though I hadn't tried to install the small board at all.

I also learned that since the board mated with the existing one on top of the purlin tongue first, and I had to work uphill, it was very difficult to mate the boards. The solution was to cut the board into 4 foot lengths. That made it a lot easier to install. I'll have to do some more thinking about exactly how to fill the small gap. A chipmunk visited me on the porch again several times for peanuts during the work. I took a couple pictures of what I had done on the ceiling so far.

Before I quit for the week, I replaced the rubber washer in the hose connection that was dribbling on Rosie. That sealed the joint up completely. Rosie will still get a little water, though because there is a taped-up leak in the hose right near the coupling that still drips on Rosie. After I opened the valve to let the water flow into the creek full bore, as I always do before I leave for the week, I went back up to see if there was enough pressure up at the cabin so that it was still dribbling. It wasn't, so I guess Rosie will only be watered while I am up there. I left for home at 1:50.

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