Construction Journal Entry Week of 3/2/14

3/5-7/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

Before I left home, I tarped and loaded into the truck a nice office chair that Andrew had donated to Camp Serendipity. I drove to Priscilla's where I dropped some things off for her and from there I headed for Woodinville where I planned to drop off our income tax stuff to our accountant. Just as I left Bothell and got on the freeway, the power steering and the power brakes failed. I was able to steer OK manually because there were no sharp turns so I was able to change lanes to get into the first off ramp, which is where I wanted to go anyway. I was able to negotiate the gentle right turn and the next two right-angle left turns which put me right into the tax accountant's parking lot.

With a lot of struggle, I was able to crank the steering wheel so that I could back into a parking stall. When I shut the engine off, there was the loud sound of boiling under the hood. I opened the hood and saw boiling water gushing out of the radiator overflow tube.

I called Maddy (my mechanic) and he advised checking the serpentine belt. I did and found it in a tangled clump down among the pulley wheels. I had the truck towed to Maddy's and arrived there about noon. Maddy lent me his truck so I drove home, had lunch, and waited for his call. He called about 3:30 telling me that it was fixed. The problem was that the bearing on the idler wheel had seized up. I went back to his shop, paid him, and was on my way to Camp Serendipity by 4:00. I skipped visiting with Uncle Charles and drove the speed limit rather than my usual 55 just so I could make as much use of the daylight as I could.

It got dark about the time I got to Coles Corner, but there was virtually no traffic and the black, rain-swept road was visible against the snow in the ditches. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 6:30 and was overjoyed to find that the driveway was nicely plowed out.

It was raining cats and dogs on top of about a foot of new snow. I decided against snowshoes and simply postholed my way to the cabin using a flashlight. I turned on the cabin lights, including the outdoor floodlights, and returned to the water valve to crank up the pressure, and then to the truck. I exchanged the flashlight for my bag and cooler, and went back up to the cabin for the night. Except for splitting some wood and starting a fire, I didn't get much work done that day.

On Thursday morning I went down to the truck and carried my snowshoes and the office chair up to the cabin. After unwrapping the tarp from the chair on the front porch, I carried the chair up to the loft.

Then I checked on the roof damage and saw that the snow sliding off the big porch roof had pulled all the slack out of the yellow rope of Texas which then pulled the tarp up away from the hole it was supposed to cover. Then the snow had fallen onto the scaffold deck in a huge pile.

The mistake I had made was looping the rope around a tree before bringing it back to the porch to tie it to the Grid G2 PSL. That had allowed the sliding snow to catch it and pull it. I went up on the scaffold and cleared all the snow that had fallen on the scaffold deck. I tried to pull the rope back up from up on the scaffold but it wouldn't budge. It was buried under snow on top of the roof.

When I came back down, at about 10:00 Robert Ferrel showed up. We had planned for him to come up and for the two of us to set out the flags that the DNR required. We tried postholing for just a short ways but quickly decided to use snowshoes. He borrowed Ellen's snowshoes and off we went. He had a long measuring tape and a roll of blue timber marking ribbon.

We tied blue ribbons in a line 50 feet away from the creeks to mark out the wetlands. The snow was deep, soft, and wet but with the snowshoes we were able to go wherever we wanted to go.

We finished the blue tape job and Robert left at about 1:00. I had my lunch and a nap and then went back to work on the tarp covering the hole in the roof. I climbed out on the snow berm just off the front porch and climbed the berm back to where it bridged over onto the roof. Then I climbed up onto the roof up to where I could get ahold of the rope. Once I had the rope, I was able to pull it up out of the snow all the way down to release it.

Then I went back up on the scaffold and pulled the tarp back over the ridge so that only a foot or two was still over the ridge. Then back on the front porch, I tied the rope off snug. Next I went to the back porch and pulled the other end of the rope tight and tied it off.

After looking at the roof and the tarp from up past the mixer, I could see that the rope should be pulling at a greater angle, so I untied it, flipped it so that it came over about the center of the roof at Grid A2, and then tied it off at the Grid A3 corner of the foundation.

Finally I went back up on the scaffold and tied the other two corners fast so that the tarp was held tightly across the entire hole like it was before and like it should have stayed. This time I think it will stay, but I have been wrong before. I shot a few scenes for the 5th installment of the video series on roof repair.

On Friday morning, the weather was sunny and beautiful. I built a fire in the stove, did some packing, and took care of some other odds and ends before Robert showed up again at 10:00. We used the snowshoes again to go back in the woods and use red ribbons to mark the boundaries of the proposed skid roads. I took some pictures of Robert and shot a couple scenes of Robert telling logging stories that I used to make a video.

We finished by 11:30. Robert will call Marty on Monday and let him know we have the flags out and to let him know my schedule for next week. I plan to be up Wednesday through Friday again. I will call Robert Tuesday morning to find out where we go from here. I left for home at 12:30 a little disappointed in my lack of progress on the roof but happy that the logging operation is moving along.

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