Construction Journal Entry Week of 5/12/19

5/14-16/19 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way up I stopped and visited with Earl for about an hour. He was doing a lot better than he was last week. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 1:00. The temperature was 50 and there was a light drizzle. I was happy to see that the mason bee block was nearly filled. There were only about 10 holes left and a few bees seemed to be working on filling those too.

I hoisted the flag, built a fire in the stove, and had my lunch. By then the drizzle had pretty much stopped so I went into the woods to check on whether Andrew was getting irrigated. There didn't seem to be any water coming out of the hose. So, I went over to check the pump and found that it was pumping steadily. I went back to the cabin and took a nap without understanding why there was no flow at the tree.

When I got up, I tried installing the new doorknob set I had brought with me. I thought I was about done and was tightening the two screws that hold the inside knob to the outside knob when, with about an eighth of an inch to go, I felt some resistance.

After jiggling the knobs and trying to figure it out, I decided just to turn the screwdriver against the resistance. It was as if my door was an eighth of an inch too thin.

After turning the screws, I noticed that I was forcing the locking knob at the center of the knob to stick out. It came out about an eighth of an inch and I knew that wasn't right. So, I took the knobs off again and tried to figure out what was going on. It looked like the small nylon pawl protruding from the locking knob on the inside was supposed to go into a hole in the end of the shaft coming out of the outside knob, and it looked like it was probably mis-aligned when I tried to screw the assembly together. I think the shaft pushed against the nylon pawl and squeezed the locking knob out of its seat.

I tried to work the knob loose and get it back to where it would turn, but I was unsuccessful. I gave up.

I called the help number that was provided with the knobs and spent 10 minutes or so waiting for a human to answer. When help arrived, the technician got the information about the problem, walked me through several diagnostic steps, which involved me locking myself out of the building and having to go around to the front door to get the lock open again, but to no avail.

The conclusion was that I was given instructions to take a picture of the lock as proof of purchase, and then send that picture to the Kwikset company in answer to an email they would send me. Then they would send me a new lock. Of course, that would have to wait until I got home. In the meantime, I jury-rigged the lock enough so that I could use the back door and get in and out.

On Wednesday after breakfast, I went back up to Andrew. I found that water was coming out of the hose but very slowly. It was on the order of 50 seconds between drips. I followed the hose up the trail and into the bushes looking for leaks. I didn't see any.

When I got to the joint by the big ponderosa butt log, I opened the hose to see what was going on. The pump was obviously pumping because water came out of the hose in rhythmic spurts. There wasn't much pressure, but there was a lot more volume than I had observed down at the tree. Since the hose went downhill from where I was, I couldn't figure out why there wasn't more flow down there. I went back to the cabin just as confused as I had been before. I decided that even at that slow rate, that was enough to water the tree, so if it stayed like that, I wouldn't do anything to change it.

Back at the cabin, I did a little more work on the doorknob trying to fix it, but nothing worked so I gave up. I took the picture of the knobs that the technician had asked for and went on to other projects.

I spent the rest of the morning drawknifing the bark off the fir pole that Robert had harvested for me. Then, after lunch and a nap, I cut the bumps off the pole using a bow saw, a Sawzall, Rasputin, a smaller rasp, a scraper, and the drawknife. Different tools worked better in different situations. When all the bumps were off, I sanded the pole with a power sander and 80 grit paper.

After my shower in the evening, I noticed a tick that was stuck to me under my right armpit. I tried a special tick-removing tool I had, but I couldn't manipulate it accurately enough using a mirror, so I just grabbed the body of the tick and slowly pulled it off. The thing seemed either dazed or dead and I think that it probably was nearly drowned from the shower. At any rate, it hadn't embedded itself much at all, so I think I got the whole thing out.

On Thursday, I measured for the newel post at the foot of the back staircase and learned that the post I have in there is too short. I will have to look for a log that will make a good replacement.

Then I looked over a few logs and poles that I had stored up on the front porch as candidates for rails. There was one fairly big one that was about 20 feet long that I pulled out. In addition to the top rail, that I had just sanded, I need two more lower rails. The one on the outside will anchor the balusters on the outside of the staircase. The one on the inside will take up the space that will later be filled when the rock facing is installed against the wall. In the meantime, there is an unacceptable gap between the stair treads and the cabin wall that needs to be filled.

I bucked the log to 11 feet to make a rail that should work for one of the lower ones. That left a fairly big remnant that might work as a new newel post. I'll assess and deal with that later.

I put the 11-foot pole up on the big sawhorses and started drawknifing the bark off. I also cut bumps off as I went. It was probably 80% done when it was time to quit and go home. My body also told me that it was time to quit because I am not used to doing that much drawknifing at once anymore. I left for home at 12:50 disappointed with my doorknobs and the irrigation system, but happy that at least I was back to making some progress toward that final building inspection.

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