Thursday, October 6, 2016

10 Days at the Cabin.



I got to the cabin around noon. Bob was already there when I arrived.

The first thing I did was to hook the battery to the refrigerator and turn the propane on.


I had a bunch of frozen meat that had to go into the freezer. I heard the ignitor clicking and then the burner lit. Good, that works so I’ll be able to put the meat in this evening.

Bob Comes Over to Say Hello.

I unloaded a couple things from the Jeep when Bob walked over and I took a break.
We sat on the bench by the big stump and shot the bull for a bit.
Every now and then we would hear a “clunk”. We couldn’t make out what it was.

Refrigerator Problem.

After a bit Bob went back to his camp  to get a drink. I sat there a little longer and could here the refrigerator ignition clicking and the burner light. After a little while I heard that “clunk”. “Hmmm, that doesn’t sound right.”
I went over and checked the fridge and sure enough the ‘check’ light was on.
“Now what?”

At first, I thought that it was a problem with the thermocouple that tells the controller that the flame is on.

I took off the cover of the controller and checked the connections. They had a little corrosion on them so I unplugged and replugged them and all the other connections on the board. I hooked the battery back up and turned the fridge on.

“Click, click, bop, burn, burn, burn, Clunk.”  Fire’s out.

I looked at the burner and saw at once what was wrong. The burner was covered with a pile of rust.
The burner sits at the bottom of a vertical tube and the heat from the burner goes up the tube and through heat and chemical reaction, makes the fridge work.

For some reason rust forms in this tube and falls onto the burner head.
This time the rust was keeping the thermostat from getting warm enough to tell the controller that the flame was lit, so after a specific time the controller shut off the gas. Its a safety thing.

So anyway, I cleaned the burner, turned on the fridge and waited a while. It started right up and worked just as it should.

Fortunately all that meat was in my small propane cooler with a bunch of ice packs and the cooler is set to max.


I’ll wait until tomorrow morning to transfer the meat to the freezer.

Bob went back to his camp for a while and I finished unloading the Jeep and moving into the cabin.

Low Water.

Later in the day we took a ride to check the main water system up the hill. When we got to the tanks we noticed the overflow was not as good as we thought it should be. There are two good springs feeding the tanks so the flow should be better than what we are getting now.

We will have to check that out tomorrow.

OK, that’s about it for today.


Once we got going (around 11:00) I took Bob up the hill so he could check out the upper springs to see why the flow was so low.

I returned to the cabin to start working on the septic tank problem.
First I cut the top out of the drum that was the second chamber of the leach system.


As you can see the barrel is almost full with roots. The roots had grown into the outlet pipe from the digester barrel and plugged up the whole system. We have already cleared the outlet the last time we were here but I wanted to try and remove some of the roots.

Once I got the top off I tried chopping away the roots from the side of the barrel and found it next to impossible.
I managed to clear enough roots to allow the water to flow into the barrel.
At least we can use it for a little while yet.


I’m going to put a top on this barrel and cover the whole mess up for now.

Bob Comes Back With a Spring Report.

As I was working on the barrel Bob came back from checking the upper springs.
He found that indeed one of the springs had washed itself out a little during the winter and he had to do a some repairs. Now both springs are feeding the tanks.

A Solution to the Septic Tank Problem.

Bob had an idea for replacing the septic tank system.
After looking things over good and discussing it for a while I agreed to go for it.

The system will take a little pipe and a couple of new barrels but it should work fine and be easier to maintain than the last one as it will be partially above ground.

By the time we decided what to do, it was too hot to do it, so we spent the rest of the afternoon, shade hopping.
The afternoon temperatures the last few days have been in the mid 90’s. Too hot for old farts to dig ditches.

Backhoe Bob.

After things cooled down a little Bob decided that it was time to dig a ditch.

I decided to watch.

Here is Bob working with his favorite tool, the Polausky.


This is the ditch Bob dug.


We will abandon the old system completely and run a new system down the hill.


working on the toilet.

Today, the goal was to cover up the excavation behind the wash house.
We have an old plastic barrel that had collapsed.
I cut the bottom off the barrel to use as a cover for the barrel that I had opened up in the sump.


We are going to use the rest of the barrel for the leach tank for a new system. The tank had a big dent in it that had to be pounded out.


Here is Bob beating the barrel into submission.


It took a while but eventually we got the tank rounded out enough to use.

The Cover Up.

I put the bottom of the barrel up side down over the one in the hole.


I cut off the vent pipes, capped them and covered the whole thing.


I’ll cover it more later.
We will tie the new system to the 4 inch pipe in the foreground.

Bob continued working on digging the pads and ditches for the new system.


Clearing the Road.

Patti’s brother-in-law, Bobby, is planning to drive his class ‘C’ Motorhome into the cabin area on Thursday.
This evening Bob and I took the jeep up to the top gate. When we got there Bob took over driving while I stood in the back with a pair of loppers. We slowly drove down the road and I cut any branches that looked like they would be a problem for the motorhome. We cleared the road all the way to the cabin.
I think Bobby might be able to make it to the cabin now.

Okay, That’s for today.


Easy Day

I spent a while cleaning all the leaves out of the jeep after clearing the road.

We just hung out BS’ing until around 1:00 when Bob decided it was time to go home.

I had to go to town to get the 10 gallon propane bottle for the fridge filled.

Calling Patti.

When I got to town I pulled into the gas station / hamburger joint and pulled up to the propane tank.

Before I went in to get someone to sell me propane, I called Patti.
I found out that my friend Don was not going to be able to make it.
Also Kathi and Bob were not bringing their motorhome and weren’t sure if they would be here or not.

I guess we didn’t have to clear the road after all. That’s ok, it is always good to trim along the roads up here.

While I was talking to Patti the battery on my cell phone went dead so I didn’t get any more information from her.
At least I don’t have to drive back to SRO to get camping gear for Don and don’t have to worry about Bobby making it to the cabin with his motorhome; although the road looks pretty clear.

The rest of the day I just goofed off. Winking smile


A Cold Morning

It was cold last night and this morning was foggy and cold so I started a fire in the wood stove.The fog didn’t burn off until after 10:00.

Frozen Meat

After breakfast I pulled the frozen tri-tips from the refrigerator. I had taken them out of the freezer yesterday and moved them to the fridge. The were still frozen when I took them out of the fridge so I filled the sink with water and placed the packages of meat in the water to thaw.

Charging the Battery

The new battery has been running the fridge for about four days. Normally the batteries only last about 3 days. I decided to put the battery on the charger today.
That way I won’t need to run the generator while people are here later in the weekend.


Unfortunately the generator ran out of gas around 6:00 pm. before the battery was charged so I’ll have to run it for a while tomorrow.

Stopping Mouse Holes.

While I was sitting at the table, I noticed light coming through some gaps in the roofing where the roof goes over the end rafter.
I went around back and found the calking gun and some calking.
I moved the table out of the way and got on a ladder to fill the gaps.  While I was at that I found a couple more places where light was coming through so I calked them too.
Eventually all the mouse access will be closed. I Hope!Sarcastic smile

Moving Dirt.

After a while I decided to finish covering the old septic system and clean up the area.


Birds Bathing.

I was having a bite of lunch sitting at the table.
As I looked outside I noticed these two birds bathing in the water feature by the stump.

One was showering on the shovel blade and the other was bathing in the old disk.




Marinating the Meat.

By afternoon the meat was finally defrosted so I mixed up my marinade; red wine, soy sauce, Balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Lowerys seasoned salt, pepper, garlic, oregano and basil.
I put each tri-tip in a ziplock bag with some of the mixture. Then put the bags of meat in the small fridge.


The First Arrival.

In the late afternoon I heard a vehicle coming in.
It turned out to be Ray.
We BS’ed for a while and then he went to set up his camp.

Okay that was the Day.


A Fire Pit.

When I dug up the septic system I removed a bunch of rocks. When I filled in the hole I left the rocks out.

This morning I decided to make a camp fire pit. I don’t really like putting my fire in a hole but a rock ring isn’t so bad.

It took three trips with the wheel barrow to get all the rocks to the spot as I had to go up a steep hill with them so I only took small loads.

Just as I was dumping the last load Patti drove up. We unloaded her car and visited for a while, then Patti helped me lay out the fire ring.


More Arrivals.

A little later Doug and two of his drumming buddies (Ted and Mark) showed up.
After visiting for a while they got busy setting up their camp.

Soon, Josie arrived. We visited with her for a while , then she went to get set up.

Around 7:00 Joanne and Dave arrived.

Drumming Around the Fire.

Around 6:30, it was getting cold so the drummers started a fire in the pit.


After supper we all sat around the fire until late, drumming and having a good visit.


Another Good Day.


Party in the Woods.

Today is the day for my 75th birthday celebration.
The day started off cold but clear.
By noon everyone who was going to be here had arrived for the party, except Kris (2pm) and Peter and Gene (5pm).

A hornets nest.

Josie came to the cabin in the morning and informed us that there was a large nest in a tree near where she camped.
We went over to take a look. Sure enough there was a very large nest hanging in a tree close by.


We watched the nest for a while and didn’t notice any activity around it so we figure it has been vacant for a while.

People Came From Far and Near.

The furthest traveled was Kathi and Bob, from Glendale, Oregon.



A little after noon some of us went down to the shooting range to break a few clays.


We were at that for about an hour before we ran out of clay pigeons.

Back at camp.

Back at camp, everyone was hanging out around the fire pit talking and enjoying each others company.


Around 2:30, Dave started the charcoal to cook the tri-tips for supper.


While we sat around waiting for the coals to get hot we made a little music. Even my old friend Swamp took a turn on the guitar.


Dinner Is Served:

By 4:00 the tri-tips were ready and dinner was served in the Dining Hall.


Of course most of us ate siting around the fire.


Someone decided that we needed to dine formally and we had to wear a tie.
You might say that we tied one on.
After dinner we took a group photo.


The Cake.

Patti picked up a cake at Costco. It looks like a refugee from a kids “Barney Party”.Winking smile Cute!


The cake was delicious.


After Dinner.

Peter and Gene showed up around 5:00; by then we had eaten up all the food except for some tri-tip but they were in time for cake.

After dinner, Kathi, Bobby and Swamp left.

We spent the rest of the evening sitting around the fire and drumming into the night.


It was great!


Going Home.

Sunday morning around 6:30am it started to rain; it continued to rain off and on for the rest of the day.
We hung out in the cabin and watched our guests taking down there camps and packing to go home.
By the time they were done they all looked like drowned rats.

Everyone was packed up and gone by 11:00.
Only Joanne, Dave, Patti and I were left.

Later in the day we played cards until dinner time. After dinner we played more cards until bed time.

Okay that was Sunday; pretty low key.


Dave and Joanne Leave.

We woke up to rain on the roof. The rain started about 4:00am.
and continued off and all day.
Joanne and Dave spent the morning loading their truck and about 2:00 they headed for home.

Bob Arrives.

About twenty minutes after J&D left, Bob showed up with all the supplies to finish the septic system.


I guess I know what we will be doing Tuesday.


Patti Leaves.

We loaded up Patti’s car and she left around 11:00.

We get to Work.

After Patti left, Bob and I started installing the new septic system.

We laid out the the first pipe.

Next we had to cut the pipe from the toilet and put in a 45 with a “T” for a cleanout.


We ran the pipe to the digester barrel.
The elbow in the tank is for the outflow. The inflow comes through the top.


We had to make a hole in the top of the sump barrel for the inlet pipe.


We put the sump in place and plumbed the whole system.


Here is the whole system connected. You can only see the digester. the sump is further down the hill, hidden behind the brush.


Next we covered the pipes and camouflaged the system so it doesn’t stand out too much.


We were done by around 4:00 and goofed off the rest of the day.

A good productive day.Smile



Going Home Day

This is the worst day of any trip up here.
Bob left around noon.

I puttered around until almost 3:00, slowly getting things together and loaded into the jeep.
Eventually I couldn’t put off leaving any longer and headed for Santa Rosa.

I got home around 4:30.

It was a fun time at the cabin and a fun birthday. I hope to get at least one more trip up there before we leave for Arizona.

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