Construction Journal Entry Week of 2/4/18

2/6-8/18 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

Robert called me at home before I left to find about my plans. He is eager to get going on the logging, but he was disappointed that the weather had turned so warm. He said the snow is melting fast and that mud might be a problem. He planned to get started anyway.

I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:00 and found the driveway to be completely free of snow but fortunately, the ground was not too wet. The only mud was right at the entrance.

I hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, had my lunch and my usual nap. Then I went outside and dug four 14-foot 8x8 timbers out from under the snow berm by the back door. I used a stout rope to skid each of the timbers over to the privy. I shoved one of them all the way under the privy on one side and could see that to get the other one shoved under I would have to do some digging in the dirt.

On Wednesday Robert called first thing asking about the weather and deciding whether to come over or not. I told him that I didn't need any help moving the privy and he decided to get some other work done.

I started out by blasting the hornet's nest in the privy with hornet killer. There wasn't any sign of the hornets getting active, but I think the spray will kill them before they get started.

Next, I dug a hole on the uphill side of the privy about where the timber on that side needed to go. I also dug from the front side until I hit the hole I had dug. Then after a little more digging, I was able to shove the second timber under that side of the building. I went in for lunch and a nap at about noon.

When I went back to work, I brought two 8-foot 2x10 planks with me. I put one plank on top of each timber so that they were under the privy floor. The one on the high side, where I had dug the hole, was very tight but I could see that I could drive it into place with a big hammer. I got my 10-lb sledge hammer and sure enough, I was able to drive it all the way under the building. The other timber was also close enough so that I needed to hammer the plank in place, but it wasn't as tight or difficult.

The tight fits were fortunate because I needed to transfer the building load off the foundations and onto my timbers and that tight fit helped on the far end. Both timbers were sloped down so once the far ends were in place, the timbers were snugged up against the building by lifting the other ends and shoving concrete blocks under them. I used the second set of timbers as levers to lift the ends of the first timbers, and the 14-foot 8x8s were plenty stout to lever the first timbers up enough to take the weight of the building and hold it up while I placed the concrete blocks under them. To test how much of the load I had taken, I tried to move the top concrete blocks on the original foundation and found that there was no weight on them. They were loose. That was great news. The privy was ready to move.

Before I quit for the day, I made some measurements and made a drawing of the pattern of concrete blocks I needed for the new footings. I'll need that for preparing the new foundation.

On Thursday morning, Robert called again and asked whether I needed any help moving the privy. I told him no so he decided not to come over this week.

I took two come-alongs, two chains, and four rebar S-hooks up to the privy and rigged up to begin moving the building. I used two S-hooks to grab the far ends of the two planks. These were hooked to come-alongs that were attached to S-hooks grabbing the near ends of the timbers.

That worked well on the downhill side and pulled the plank and the privy with each click. But on the uphill side, the plank moved, and the privy stayed put. To fix that, I relaxed the come-along on that side and hooked it to a chain that was fastened to the privy instead of to the far end of the plank. That worked. With each click of that come-along, the privy and the plank slid along together.

After moving the privy for a few feet, I got the next two timbers lined up and supported so that the planks could make the transition and slide from one timber to the next. Then I dug holes in the snow and placed concrete blocks in the holes in position to support the other ends of the second set of timbers.

In the process, one of the come-alongs broke. The small spring that is used to switch the come-along between being engaged or free-wheeling bent out of shape, so it didn't work. When I tried to bend the spring back, it broke. I could still use the come-along, but it was awkward because I needed to use two hands instead of one to operate it.

Also, one of the rebar S-hooks started straightening out and I was afraid it would lose its grip. I had moved the privy about 5 feet when I decided to quit for the week. I used Dr. Dick's rebar cutter/bender to bend the deformed S-hook back into a hook and I took the broken come-along home with me so I could fix it. I took some pictures of the progress and left for home at 12:45 happy about the progress. The privy move is more-or-less in steady state now, so except for getting it onto its new foundation, it is simply a matter of cranking and moving timbers.

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