Construction Journal Entry Week of 7/26/15

7/28-30/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped in to visit with Priscilla but she was sleeping. I did not wake her but proceeded on to Monroe where I visited with Uncle Charles. We took a walk in his little park and had a nice visit. From there I proceeded on to Skykomish where Marilyn served me an excellent lunch.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:35. The temperature was 80º. The temperature inside the cabin was a nice cool 69º. After hoisting the flag and changing into my work clothes, I used the wheelbarrow to wheel my gear up to the cabin. Then I wheeled four sacks of mortar mix up in two additional trips.

I turned on the valve to water Brian, the giant sequoia tree, and then went into the woods to make sure it was getting water. It was working fine and the trees that I checked all seemed to be thriving.

Back at the cabin, I set out all the tools I would need to begin mixing mortar and laying up rocks in the morning. Then, back in the cabin, I wound and adjusted the antique clock. It had lost 12 minutes in the past 6 days, so by my calculations, it had lost two minutes per day. According to the clock repair person, one turn on the nut at the bottom of the pendulum changes the speed of the clock by one minute in 24 hours. So I tightened it up two full turns. We'll see how close it is next week.

On Wednesday morning I got up before 5:00 and got out to work early. I hauled stones, washed them off, figured out where they should go, mixed mortar, and laid the stones up in mortar. It was fun but hard work. I took one short break but otherwise I kept working until shortly after noon.

By then I was beat and super hot. Most of the work had been in the shade, but when the sun got high enough, I had to stay under the big beach umbrella to be in the shade while I was working on the steps. My batch plant where I mixed the mortar was in the shade of the eaves for most of the morning, but by about 10 o'clock, that shade receded so that I was mixing in the direct sun after that. I had used a little more than half of my mortar mix—two sacks plus a little more.

I had my lunch and a very welcome nap. I didn't work outside any more that day.

On Thursday morning, I got up early again. I had a very bad night. The loud ticking and the bonging of the antique clock every half hour either kept me awake or woke me up if I was sleeping. At about 4:00 I put earplugs in and slept fairly well for another hour or so. Having that clock in the living room is going to be unacceptable. I moved it up to the loft.

I was very sore from the previous day's work and didn't feel like working at all. I sort of decided not to lay up rocks. But when I went outside, planning on putting away all the tools, it was so pleasant in the cool of the morning, I changed my mind. I really wanted to get the job done, so I decided to mix up just one batch of mortar and lay up a few rocks.

Once I got going, I worked the kinks out of my body and my enthusiasm grew. I could see that I could completely finish the job if I just kept going. So I did.

I used up all but about a half-sack of mix and finished laying up all the stones to complete the staircase. What a nice reward to see the finished job. After cleaning and putting away all the tools, I took a couple pictures of the completed stone staircase. It's a great feeling to get a job like that done and to begin thinking about the next project. There are, of course, a few to choose from. I left for home at 1:00 very happy with the week's work even though I was dog tired and super hot. The temperature in the truck was about 95º all the way home.

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