Construction Journal Entry Week of 1/18/15

1/17-18/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity with Boy Scout Troop 100 for a snow camp.

We left on Saturday morning in the troop bus along with two cars carrying four Cub Scouts with their leaders. There were 14 scouts and three adults, including me, on the bus. Fortunately there had been an inch or two of new snow that had fallen on top of the ten or so inches of old frozen snow that had been on the ground for a few weeks. The new snow was enough to make for good sledding, snowball throwing, snow fort making, and other ways in which boys have fun in the snow.

The bus and cars parked at the driveway entrance and the scouts set up their tents in the parking area. The cub scouts set their tents up near the privy, which was off-limits, so that they had easier access to the cabin. All of them slept outside in their tents except for me. I slept inside the cozy warm cabin in my nice bed.

The boys cooked outside in their campgrounds but brought their cooked meals up to the cabin to eat, either outside on the front porch, or inside the cabin. The adults cooked their meals on the porch.

Before the boys got too wet, they all put on snowshoes and I led them on a snowshoe hike through the woods behind the cabin. I took them through the giant sequoia grove where they could at least see the copper signs showing where the trees lie buried beneath the snow. There were a couple trees, though, that they could see. Dan had a few small branches visible above the snow, and Brian is so well sheltered by a big tree that the entire tree was visible. I guess that is an advantage during the winter, but it is a disadvantage during the growing season.

From the sequoia grove we proceeded on to the spring where the boys were able to see where the water comes from. Then we continued around the upper loop of the trail and re-joined the trail back to the cabin.

After the snowshoe hike, the boys played in the snow, got wet, came into the cabin to dry their wet garments, and warm up. Some stayed out longer than others but they all ended up in the cabin sooner or later. I got out every chair I had up there and they all got occupied.

It snowed lightly most of the day, but it increased as night fell. By morning there was another foot of snow that had fallen. It collapsed a couple of tents, but the occupants were able to pop the snow off from the inside and get the tents up again. Others had the walls of the tents push in on them, but again, they just pushed them back out again and went back to sleep. Everyone reported sleeping reasonably well.

One canopy, which I think was used for cooking down at their tent site, was crushed by the new snow and was damaged beyond repair. Bill Dunnell, the scoutmaster, said that they will no longer use that type of canopy for winter camping.

We spent Sunday morning packing and loading gear. The snow turned to rain so all of their gear was wet.

One of the Cub Scout cars left pretty early in order to get home in time to host a party to watch the Seahawks play the Packers. The bus and the other car left about 10:00 and we arrived in Seattle at half-time. Our power was out due to a windstorm in Seattle so I went home with Ken Dunkelberg and watched the game with him. It was a fun weekend.

1/21-23/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Wednesday through Friday.

On the way I stopped in at Priscilla's to feed Puddy. Priscilla was in the hospital for a bout of pneumonia and her cat was all alone. From there I proceeded on to Monroe where I played another game of checkers with Uncle Charles.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 2:20. I had a big load of fir boughs and a garbage can full of fir cones that I had raked off the lawn after the big windstorm. As soon as I parked the truck I carried all the boughs and cones over and stacked them on the compost pile. The snow was very stiff so I could almost walk on top of it. I shoveled a pit in the snow at the top of the compost pile and dumped the cones into that. Then I stacked the boughs on top. The compost pile is about six feet high.

Next I could see that the boys had gotten into a stack of boards that were left over from taking apart my old trailer snow shed, and they had used them to make snow forts and appurtenances. These boards had been stuck all over into the snow, which was soft at the time the boys were playing, but now the snow was frozen into ice. It was not easy to get the boards loose and out, but if I left them where they were, they would be ruined by the snowplow over the winter.

I got most of the boards loose and stacked in a more-or-less neat pile. I'll stack them more neatly on some day when they are thawed out if they don't get completely buried before spring.

By the time I got my gear moved up to the cabin, it was too late to do any work on the ceilings. I lit a fire in the wood stove and relaxed by working on the big jigsaw puzzle.

On Thursday morning the temperature was about 26 so everything outside was frozen solid. I decided to rename the giant sequoia named Chuck to Bill instead. So I took a big hammer with me and pulled up the 'Bill' sign, took it up to the 'Chuck' tree and replaced the sign. Then I took the 'Chuck' sign and drove it in at the original 'Bill' site.

While I was at the concrete staircase with the 'Bill' sign, I used the rebar signpost to chip ice off the steps. The traffic on the staircase over the weekend had smashed the snow to slush, and now it was solid ice. It was dangerous the way it was so I chipped it loose with the rebar. It worked pretty well.

Next I went inside and worked on the ceiling boards. It went pretty smoothly and I installed a couple courses of boards before lunch and a short nap.

When I got up, I decided to call Action Plumbing to ask about the sewer gas that came out of the washer hook-up. I talked to Mark who assured me that there was a trap in the line inside the stud wall and that it needed water in it in order to work. I simply needed to pour water down the drain and I wouldn't need the tape any longer. That was a great relief. I poured the water in.

On Friday morning I nailed up another course of ceiling boards. As I get closer to the ridgepole, I have to reach higher and nail directly over my head. That makes it a little more dangerous and harder to do. I need to fix my riser to get a little higher and make the job a little easier. I will make a point to fix it and bring it back next week. I left for home at 1:00 a happy man.

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