Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/5/19

5/7-9/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way up I stopped and visited with Earl and Dana. We had a nice visit. We talked mostly about ticks and Parkinson's. From there I drove to Camp Serendipity and arrived at 1:00. The temperature was a pleasant 60. I carried my gear up, hoisted the flag, had my lunch and a short nap.

When I got up, I built a small fire in the stove to take the chill off. It was cooler inside the cabin than outside. I enjoyed watching the mason bees busy doing whatever they do in the bee block that I had cleaned out. I was glad I cleaned it when I did because the little guys are sure active now.

At one point, I went out the back door and shut it behind me. When I tried to go back in, the door was locked. I tried using my key to unlock it, but it wouldn't budge. I had to walk around to the front door to get in.

Then I spent a considerable amount of time trying to get the lock out of the door. I had a lot of trouble retracting the bolt so that I could open the door. I finally got it and then took the whole doorknob assembly out of the door. I did my best to analyze the thing and figure out why it failed but I couldn't. It was just plain broken. I covered the hole in the door with masking tape to keep the insects out and I used the deadbolt mechanism to keep the door closed. I'll take the broken doorknob home with me to get it repaired or replaced.

I spent the rest of the afternoon fabricating a strainer for the intake end of the pipe that I will install in the creek with the hydraulic ram pump.

On Wednesday morning, I finished making the strainer. Then I brought the coil of copper pipe up into the cabin and laid it on the dining room table. There I clamped the strainer onto the end of the pipe with a pipe clamp.

Next, I got the Trapper Nelson backpack out of the pantry and placed it on the table under the coil of pipe. Then, using some small ropes, I lashed the pipe to the pack frame so that I could carry it up to the creek. When it was lashed on good and tight, I stood the pipe and pack frame on the loft staircase with the shoulder straps aiming out so that I could easily get the load on my back.

Then I loaded the pack frame onto my back, carried it out of the cabin and all the way up to the creek at the top of the run where the pipe will go. After unloading and unlashing it, I rolled the pipe out into the creek bed all the way. There had been a newly fallen tree over the creek bed since I was up there clearing it with the chainsaw, so I had to remove some of that debris in order to lay out the pipe, but it wasn't too bad. I didn't need to get the saw again.

With the pipe in the creek bed, I got the water flowing through it and I was satisfied that the flow was strong enough to drive the pump. But since I needed to solder the pump on the lower end of the pipe, I raised the upper end with the strainer on it up out of the water and propped it up with a stick. That way the pipe would drain and be dry by the time I got back with the pump.

I went back down to the cabin and got the pump and the soldering supplies and brought them back up to the pump site. I also brought the camera and tripod up so I could start making another video.

After cleaning the mating parts of the joint and gooping them up with flux, I realized that I had forgotten to bring solder. So, I made another trip down to the cabin to get it.

When I got back, I sweated the joint together, positioned the pump down near the creek, and then went up and submerged the top end of the pipe with the strainer. I expected the pump to be running by the time I got back to it, but no such luck. There was water running out the end of the pipe, but not much. I couldn't figure out why it didn't work, and I spent a lot of time fiddling around with it. I finally came to the conclusion that something must be wrong with the end check valve. It acted as though it didn't have a flapper.

By then it was after lunch time and I was tired and pretty dejected. I went back to the cabin not really knowing what my next move was going to be. I had my lunch and was about to take a nap when it dawned on me that I could remove the check valve easily because it was threaded on. I decided to go back up with a wrench, remove the valve, and bring it back so I could diagnose it.

After unscrewing the check valve and taking it off, I could immediately see that there was nothing wrong with it. It had a flapper inside and it worked just fine. Just about the time I realized that, I noticed that the water flow out the end of the pipe started increasing.

There was obviously a lot of air in the pipe which started gurgling out. The more air that was expelled, the faster the water flow, until after all the air had obviously been flushed out, there was a strong stream of water making a 3/4" geyser shooting straight up about a foot. I was pretty sure that was enough to drive the pump, so I screwed the check valve back on.

As soon as the first couple threads were engaged, the pump started pumping. I was overjoyed and tightened the valve back down.

What had evidently happened was that the air in the bumps in the pipe slowed the water flow and the smaller orifice on top of the check valve prevented the water from flowing any faster. But once all the air was out of the pipe, then the flow was plenty strong enough to slam the flapper valve shut and start the pumping cycle. I went back down to the cabin for a very welcome nap, but I couldn't sleep any more than 10 minutes because of my excitement. I was eager to get back up to see if the water was making it up to the top of the hose.

I went up to the bluff where the loggers had used a long hose for fire protection, and I coiled that hose up. It was no longer needed for fire protection and it wasn't being used for irrigation. I decided to use it to complete the run from the pump to Andrew. Since I had already strung hoses from the pump to the big ponderosa pine butt log, I took the fire hose directly up to the butt log.

All the way up I was hoping that when I arrived, I would find water coming out of the hose. And, sure enough, that was what I found. I was a happy man. It meant that the pump had not only continued to run during my absence, but that it developed enough pressure to pump water up and over the ridge.

This time I had my camera with me, so I shot video scenes of me stringing the fire hose the rest of the way to Andrew. It turned out that the hose was exactly the right length. It terminated about 8 inches uphill of the tree. Perfect. A small stream of water began irrigating the tree.

Even though the job was complete, I went back to the pump just to see it in action and to take more shots for the video. I was a happy man to the point of almost being giddy when I went in for the night.

On Thursday morning, I went back into the woods and inspected all the sequoia trees. I especially checked the ones I was irrigating, which were Paul, Dan, Brian, and now Andrew, along with a little transplanted cedar.

With the irrigation diversion done, I went back to working on the cabin. I wire brushed, cleaned, primed, and painted another batch of 20 balusters. Then I went down to the parking area and got the skinny 11-foot pole Robert had cut for me and carried it up to the back staircase. I laid it out to see whether or not it would work for an upper rail and I was happy to find that it would. Then I carried it over to the front porch where I will work on it. By then it was time to leave. I left for home at 12:40 after having my lunch especially happy about the week's progress.

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