Friday, October 29, 2010



It’s been raining hard since last night and looks like it’s going to last a while.

I went up to I.C. on Tuesday although for a while I wasn’t sure whether I was going to make it or not. It was about 9:30 and as I was putting the last small bag of groceries into the jeep. I bent down to pick up the bag and tweaked my back. The pain buckled my knees and I was just able to get into the house to sit down.

Dave was supposed to meet me at I.C. so I tried to phone him to let him know what had happened but his phone was off so I left a message.

I took some pain pills and did some stretches, then I walked back and forth in the house for a while to try and loosen up my back. After a while the pain lessened a little and I decided that I had to go up there because the refrigerator was standing up in the back of the jeep so the top was off and there was rain in the forecast.

I left Santa Rosa around 11:00.

As I was going down the road to the camp and just past the first gate I came upon Dave driving up the road. He had been at the camp for a couple of hours and was on his way up the hill so he could check his cell phone for messages.

At the camp we unloaded the frig and the rest of the parts and stuff that I brought up.

We put the refrigerator where I had been keeping my little propane powered cooler, at the end of the counter. It was totally in the way but we left it there for the day.

The next thing we did was to install a couple of valves


and run a waterline from the wash stand, through the chase that Patti and I had buried a few years ago, to the wash house, where we put a stub up for the Shower


and then on down the hill to Joanne and Dave’s camp where he connected it to hose bib.

hose bib

Dave did most of the hard work because of my back but by the end of the day my back was not hurting as bad as it was in the morning.

Wednesday morning we moved the frig over to the side of the room by the table. I still have to build an enclosure for the frig but that will have to wait until next year


We cut down that old funky set of shelves that we had there and moved that over to the food preparation area to put the stove on.


This it a temporary situation as we hope to use a 1930’s style apartment stove that our friend Mike has in Quartzsite if it works and will fit in the spot.

I hung up the clock and the “Tool Shed” sign.

tool shed  

It was a fairly productive couple of days.

I got home around 2:30.

Thursday morning I took the jeep into the shop to get the lockers removed. Then I went to the cardiologist for an eco cardiogram. Every thing looks good. No changes from the last one so I’m good to go for another year.

The shop called last night and said that they need the jeep for another day because they didn’t have the right parts.

Okay, that’s it for today.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Wow! Who turned the thermostat to Winter?

It’s been raining pretty hard for the last couple of days but it is supposed to be partly cloudy today, tomorrow and Wednesday.

Patti had some minor surgery on her foot last Wednesday

Patti's foot

and was limping around for a couple of days but is healing very well and she is walking normally now.

I have been staying busy working on stuff for the tool shed and Thanksgiving.

For the last 18 years we have been having our Thanksgiving (“Autumn feast”) at Indian Creek. In the past we all lived in tents for the weekend and had our thanksgiving meal in an 18 X 20 foot Marque tent.


The roof of the Marque was beginning to leak so about 5 years ago I (with a lot of help from everyone who comes up for Thanksgiving) built what we call the “dining hall”

with wood milled from logs that were fallen on the property and donated by Peter the owner.

Every year Joanne has boiled a large pot of potatoes over a camp fire for mashed potatoes.

cook pot

This year I fixed up an old (smokeless) propane burner I had laying around, to cook the potatoes on.


Last year Kim gave us a three burner stove so I cleaned it up and checked it out and will take that up with me tomorrow for use in the Dining hall.


I checked out the refrigerator and it works. I had to buy a deep cycle battery to run the controls but I wanted to install a 12 volt system up there anyway. I used some pieces of scrap paneling that Bob gave me to replace the door skins.


Oh Yeah! I almost for got! I made a clock out of an old shovel


and a sign for the tool shed.


Another thing that has been going on this week is, I finally have had enough with the lockers in the rear of the jeep. I have decided to get them removed and replaced with new spider gears. The lockers worked ok in the dirt but were a big pain in the butt on the road. Parking lots are the worst. when turning into a parking spot the jeep crow hop’s and clunks and scrubs rubber off the tires. If I put in the clutch when turning into a spot, the whole drive train rattles like it is trying to fall out. The jeep also lurches around tight turns on the highway and even on dirt roads. I finally got tired of all that and will have them replaced on Thursday. I am going up to I.C. tomorrow morning. It is going to be a cold ride because I have to have the top off the jeep so I can stand the refrigerator upright while I transport it and it is supposed to be cold and foggy tomorrow morning. Burrrrrrrr!

Talk to you later

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10-07-10 to 10-19-10



I am finally back from I.C.

I went up there last Thursday, 10-07 and was supposed to come home on Wednesday, 10-13 but I called Patti and convinced her to come up and join me so we didn’t come home until yesterday Monday 10-16.

On Thursday, after getting settled in, I finished putting the lag-bolts in the front steps. I spent the rest of the day getting the area around the spring cleaned up so we could work on it tomorrow when Bob comes up.

Friday morning around 10:00, I was building a new wash stand with an actual sink, to replace the old wooden plank with a hole in it that we have been using, when Bob’s Subaru came rumbling up the lower drive way.

We visited for a while, then we went up to the spring to see what we had to do the next day. The spring had made it through the winter very well so there wasn’t much digging to do. I had all the tools up there already so we went ahead and dug out the old tap

X old Tap

Old Tap

old tap

and put in the upgraded one.

new tap

After we got the new tap in, the dam built and clay laid in to form the basin.

clay fill

We called it a day to let things settle out.

Saturday morning, we went down to the creek to get a load rock for the spring.

load of rocks

After laying the rock in the spring cut

fill with rock

we covered the whole thing with plastic garbage bags

cover with plastic

Then covered that with dirt,

covered with dirt

Then covered that with forest litter.

critter proof

That should keep the critters out.

The spring is now running clear and cold.

Later in the day I took Bob up the hill in the jeep and dropped him off so he could walk back down through the woods to camp and check for other springs along the way. He found some water but it was a couple ridges over and not convenient to bring down to the camp.

Late Sunday morning I took Bob back up the hill to look for springs.

While he was gone I did some more work on the wash stand and spent some more time taking care of trim work on the “tool shed”.

Bob didn’t get back to camp until late in the afternoon. He had found a good spring and is very keen on tapping it. Apparently he did a lot of digging in the spring and was very excited about the prospects.

Bob Left around noon on Monday, he wanted to do some kayaking on the Navarro river before going home.

I needed to go to town to get some bananas and some gas for the generator so I left camp around the same time as Bob did.

On the way back to camp, I tried to call Patti on my cell phone but she was not home.

After dinner I drove up to the top gate and called Patti again. This time I got through to her and convinced her to come up and join me. She came up on Wednesday.

Tuesday morning I went down to the creek for more rock. This time it was some old fill rock that was used to fill in the ends of a temporary bridge over the creek when they were logging the place a few years ago. The rock was in a big pile near the road by the creek but very hard to shovel. I wanted the rock because I noticed after I set the wash stand in place that the pad for the stand was too small and would have to be enlarged. Also I wanted some rock to put in front of the tool shed steps.

load of small rock

I dug out old rock and dirt

wash stand base

then split a redwood log to make the sides for the pad and bolted a small log across the end.

wash stand base 2

Then I filled the area in with new rock. It took two loads of rock to fill the pad area, a little rock spread in front of the wash area and some in front of the steps. I still need two more loads to to finish the job.

wash stand

On Wednesday morning I erected a temporary awning over the porch.

temp roof

Patti showed up around 12:00. It was good to see her.

For the next couple of days we worked on trim and mouse proofing.

Joanne and Dave came up on Saturday to do some work on their spot.

So, it looks like all the trimming and mouse proofing is done. The last thing I did was to build a “ Food preparation tool storage area”


Connie and Bruce gave us an RV AC/propane refrigerator (thank you very much Connie and Bruce). It worked once but doesn’t now so my next task is to try to get the fridge working. If I can get it to work on propane it will be great!

Okay, well, we are home now. I’m not sure when I will be going back up to the camp. It is supposed to start raining later in the week and I need to get firewood cut and covered before the rains start in earnest so it can’t be long.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I am going up to I.C. today and won't be back until Wednesday.
My friend Bob is coming up to help me clean up and sanitize the spring we tapped last year and perhaps tap another spring.

Talk to you next week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Hi, we are back.
I know it has been a long time since my last blog but I forgot to do a blog before I went back to Indian Creek last week and of course there is no Internet connection up there.

The week I was home (09-19 to 09-25) wasn't all that interesting anyway.
It was a week of doctor visits, blood tests, ultra sound's, poking and probing. The result of all that stuff is that I am good to go for another year, once I get some new eye glasses.
Patti has been going through a similar regime but since she is a woman there are more things to check so she has a couple of more procedures to undergo. So far, she is also in good health.

While I was home I made the brackets for the porch beams on the cabin and wired up the new running lights on the jeep.

I left Santa Rosa, Saturday morning. The weather was warm enough to put the top down on the jeep and the ride to I.C. was beautiful.

I spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday putting up more trim and starting the porch. Using jack stands as a temporary foundation for the porch worked out great.

Patti came up on Monday around noon.
We got her moved in and had lunch.
The weather was very warm so after working on the porch for a short time, we went down to the grove and sat by creek for a few hours.

Tuesday, we continued the work on the porch. The weather was very warm with temps in the low 100"s so we could only work in short stretches of maybe 10 to 20 minutes. we spent a lot of the day just siting in the shade watching the lizards play.

but we still got the frame done.

On Wednesday the weather was about the same and we had to take a lot of breaks

but by evening we had the deck on.

Thursday was my Birthday so I took most of the day off. I did do a little work on the stairs though.
About five years ago I found a down redwood that had been laying on the ground for a long time. The bark was gone and the out side "white wood" was in bad shape but the redwood core was still good. I cut the tree into two 13 foot lengths and drug them back to camp behind Pigpen. One of the sections I made into the stairs for the dining hall and I saved the rest to make the stairs for this project.
This 13 foot section was about 12 inches in diameter at the fat end and about 10 inches at the other end. The first thing I did to make the stairs was to cut two 4 foot lengths. Then I split the 4 foot logs in two. With two 4 foot lengths you get four steps.
The third piece was 5 feet long. I left it for tomorrow when I would split that to make the side rails.
One thing I have to put in here is, that this particular log was very easy to split because it had a crack that ran the full length and was about half way through the log. So it was more a matter of carefully opening up that crack. I used two large ax's and a 6 lb splitting mall to bust the logs.
Redwoods are pretty easy to split even if they are whole but it usually takes a lot more wedges and a lot more work than what I had to do with this one.
I am not a real good stair builder so my methods are probably much slower and clumsier than some one who knows what they are doing.
Anyway, here is what I did.

First I cleaned up the split surfaces and flattened the round side of the treads with a draw knife.
I put the first (top) step on a couple of jack stands. When it was at the right height and level I measured from the bottom of the step to the ground on each end and then cut a redwood stump (which I had split for this purpose) to size for each end.
The other steps were set in a similar manner, except that I had to use wooden blocks and shims for the lower steps because the jack stands were to tall.

Here are the treads stacked up but not leveled or bolted down yet.

The sides were a lot more work than the treads. After splitting the 5 foot log in two I had to draw knife the flats then we decided to try and split off a 3 inch board from the back but that didn't work out because the white wood doesn't split like the redwood does. We ended up using the draw knife on the back side of the log to flatten it.
We both got a good work out but eventually we got the logs shaped into side rail blanks.
Cutting the angles on the side boards was another hassle especially due to the fact that if I blew it I didn't have an other board to use.

I got lucky and after a small mistake which made the left hand rail a an inch shorter than the right one, we got the stairs done. The whole thing is lag bolted together. The treads are bolted to the support blocks and the side rails are bolted to the treads. The whole thing is bolted to the porch.

About an hour after we finished the stairs, Dave and Joanne drove up.
We spent the rest of the day hanging out on the porch and visiting with them.

That is the last of the big building projects for this year. Next year I will put on the rails and put a tin roof over the porch . That will finish the (Oh that's right! I forgot! This is not a cabin, its a) "tool shed".

We took it easy on Sunday.

Patti is pretty proud of the porch she helped to build.

I worked on the never ending trim work.

Joanne spent her time cleaning out the Dining hall.

She cleaned out the Loft and found the top to the old Marque tent that we used to use for Thanksgiving.
She pulled it out and we opened it up. It was in pretty bad shape as the mice have been using it as a hotel.
One half of the canvass was pretty chewed up and pretty filthy with mouse poo and pee so we decided to cut off that half and throw it away. I wanted to use the scalloped edge as a flap over the top of the canvas walls for the dining hall so we cut that off.

I think Dave may use the good half for one of the floor layers on their deck.

Dave spent the day working on his platform.

Monday, we slept in.

Dave finished his deck.
By the time we got the place cleaned up and the cars packed it was around 1:30.

We headed for home and stopped at the Hamburger Ranch for lunch/dinner.

We got home around 4:00.