Construction Journal Entry Week of 9/20/15

9/22-24/15 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I stopped at Rite Aid to get a prescription and a flu shot. Then I proceeded on to Monroe and played a game of checkers with Uncle Charles. Then I proceeded on and arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:50. The temperature was a balmy 68. After moving my gear in, having my lunch and a short nap, I went outside and spent the rest of the afternoon backfilling the trench.

On Wednesday morning the temperature outside was 31 but it was still 65 inside the cabin without any source of heat other than the heat stored in the log walls, beams, etc. from the previous day. The sun is low enough in the sky this time of year so that the light comes in through the big front windows and reaches deep into the bedroom and bathroom. That provides enough solar gain to get the temperature inside up to about 73 without any heater on or any fire in the stove. Very nice.

After breakfast, I went back to work and finished backfilling the water line trench. That represented another milestone: the last project in the construction of the water supply system. The plumbing had been completed earlier, but this backfilling project was the very last of the job. I was delighted to take a couple pictures, bring my shovel and hoe back to the cabin, and turn my attention to the next project.

After lunch and a nap, I started on a string of projects leading to the drying out of the crawl space. After many unsuccessful attempts to prevent water from seeping into the crawl space, I realized that the seepage was coming from springs inside the crawlspace itself. I gave up on stopping it.

Instead, the strategy will be to lower the water table inside the crawlspace so that the dirt on the surface of the floor will stay dry. I hope to achieve that by digging a set of narrow trenches that will run from the places where the water oozes out down to the drain at the lowest point of the crawl space.

I had already dug such a trench on the low half of the crawl space, and it worked. The problem is that there is a ridge of bedrock that runs across the middle of the crawl space that is higher than the level of the dirt floor. That makes a solid stone dam that prevents the water from the high half of the floor from draining out through the lower half. To fix that, I plan to use my Bosch Bulldog roto-hammer to cut a channel through the bedrock in order to connect the channel on the low half to the channels on the high half.

But before I can work on the channels, I needed to clear away a pile of old boards and a supply of galvanized ducting that were right on top of where I needed to dig. I started by organizing the ducting and then moving it out of the way.

Next I got the propane torch, a vise-grip, and a big crescent wrench and used them to remove the fittings from the two pieces of 1" copper pipe that I had removed in the process of installing the last section of pipe in the water line.

On Thursday morning the temperature inside the cabin was again 65 without turning on any heat during the night or early morning. This is a very pleasant time of year.

After breakfast I went back to work preparing to move the old board pile out of the crawl space so I could dig the trench.

The plan for the boards was to take them outside and separate them into either firewood or usable boards. The problem was where to stack the usable boards.

I decided to stack them under the eaves between Grid C3 and E3. I could build a rack big enough not only to hold the usable boards from the crawl space, but also the boards lying in two piles on the front porch and a couple stacks in the loft left over from installing the ceilings.

But that space for the new rack was already filled with an accumulation of other old boards, all the old mortar sacks, and some other stuff. So the first order of business was to clear that area so that I could build a rack for the usable lumber.

I started by collecting and bundling up all of the mortar sacks. I will burn them when the fire danger outside is near zero.

Then I went through the lumber and carried all the firewood to the "firewood station" at the other side of the cabin between Grid A3 and B3. I broke all the skinnier boards into firewood lengths and stacked the bigger boards which I intend to saw into firewood lengths later.

I set aside all the usable lumber, including several big pressure treated pieces, which will form the base of the new lumber rack.

When everything was removed from the new lumber rack site, I used a hoe, a broom, and the hose to clean the area, including the foundation and the bedrock that is at the surface there. I am now ready to build the rack and start moving boards. I left for home at 12:45 feeling good about progress but hating to leave, as usual.

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