Construction Journal Entry Week of 10/26/14

10/28-30/14 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped at our tax accountant's in Woodinville and from there proceeded on to Monroe where I played a game of checkers with Uncle Charles. He beat me for the second time in a row. It was raining all the way and there was snow in the pass but it had been plowed off the road before I got there. There were cars crashed in the ditch in two different places. They had evidently slid off the road before it was plowed.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:00 and just as I got there the rain stopped. Since the ground was so muddy, I put the truck into 4wd and was able to drive up into the hairpin turn. I couldn't go further because there were still a bunch of rocks in the way left over from skidding logs.

I was very glad the rain had stopped because I had a lot of stuff to haul up to the cabin. I was also happy to see Ernie coming up the roadway. I hadn't seen him for quite a while so we had a good time while I gave him his hugs and biscuits. I think we both miss Bert.

To start unloading the truck, I first had to take out a lot of fir branches and brush that had fallen off the trees in Seattle during a wind storm. Then I unloaded the hand truck I had brought and pulled back the tarp covering a big wooden chest that is a family heirloom. We will store the chest in the loft of the log cabin. Inside the chest were two tents, four sleeping bags, and two boxes of canned goods that also came from Priscilla's house.

Since the rain had stopped, I was able to carry those things, along with my usual gear, up and stack them on the porch. Then I tackled the chest itself. I pulled it out of the back of the truck and stood it on one end off to the side of the roadway so I could back the truck out of the way. I parked the truck down below in the usual parking place and then went back for the chest.

In the standing position, it was easy to strap it to the hand truck and then pull it up the hill and set it down under the porch. Then, after rigging a rope sling around it, I used the porch crane to lift it up onto the porch. By 2:00 everything was now under cover and it started raining again. More serendipity.

Next, I got a load of wood that Dave had split for me and had my lunch and a nap. I spent the rest of the afternoon pulling the chest up to the loft using a piece of plywood and a length of rope with tautline hitches. I left the lid of the chest open so that it could completely dry out.

On Wednesday, first thing, Robert called and said that he would be over later and we could burn slash. Looking out the window, I noticed the first snow of the season on Nason Ridge. After breakfast I ripped and fashioned one of the last two ceiling boards for the east half of the ceiling.

It was raining very lightly so I figured I should get the slash fire going and burn as much as I could before Robert got there. I cut up a bunch of small pine scraps left over from my ripping of ceiling boards, and used them to start a fire on the old burn pile. It worked well and I soon had a blazing fire going by piling small brush on it in spite of the wood being wet.

There were some very big chunks of wood that I couldn't lift, but I was able to roll them over to the fire and get them piled onto it. I wanted to get the big wood burning well as soon as I could. I made a lot of progress and had a big fire going before I went in for lunch.

After lunch I went back out to the fire and piled more brush on. Then Robert drove up and we went inside the cabin to talk about finances. The market for logs had been very disappointing so Robert's balance sheet was deep in the red. We renegotiated our deal and I agreed to take less of a cut and to pay for most of the cost of brush removal. From my point of view, Phase I had removed the tree-fall hazard from that side of the cabin, reduced the fire hazard from that direction, and turned the property into a park instead of a jungle. And I got all that for $500. I consider that to be a very good deal. In turn, Robert agreed to continue working and finish the rest of the job.

The two of us went back outside and burned some more brush. There was a huge stump that had been cut loose and it was too big to handle and put on the fire. Robert explained to me how to burn it. He said to cut it into slices 5 or 6 inches thick and then burn them. Those are called cookies.

After Robert left, I cut the stump into 7 or 8 cookies and put them on the fire. Some of the cookies were even too heavy for me to lift and carry so I got out the splitting maul and the sledge hammer and split three of the cookies in two.

On Thursday morning the weather was the same with only a slight mist or rain. No need for a raincoat. I went out to the fire site and found that even though the fire was burned completely down, I could dig out chunks of burning charcoal from under the ashes. I scraped the charcoal into a pile and it got going pretty hot in a short time,

Robert showed up at 9:00 and gave me a new pair of light weight waterproof PVC gloves. He said that they work a lot better doing the grubbing than the leather ones I had been using.

There was enough of a fire to start the brush burning, but Robert got his blower anyway to get the fire blazing back up so we could throw green brush on the fire and have it burn right up. We didn't throw any big wood chunks on the fire because we wanted it to burn down before I left for home mid-day. It had burned down to a nice weenie roasting fire by noon. We roasted hot dogs over the fire for lunch.

Ellen called me a few times during the day keeping me informed of what was happening with Priscilla. She had been taken to the hospital and it was unclear when she would be released. We had scheduled a dinner with her, Marielle, and Marilyn at the Chateau and those plans had been thrown into a tizzy. I left for home at 1:30 still not knowing where I was supposed to meet the family for dinner. It eventually got straightened out and we all met at the Chateau for dinner.

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