It is not that there is nothing to show for that time at camp though. The list of projects was long if not entirely glamorous. The second half of the summer saw primarily outdoor projects, mostly dealing with excavation or moving material from one location to another. We brought a lot of material into camp this summer. A lot of material. All told, nearly a quarter of a million pounds of crushed ledge and gravel. all of that material and much, much more was moved with the help of my brother Chad's John Deere 4WD diesel tractor with bucket and backhoe. I got very familiar with the machine this summer and became fairly proficient at operating a backhoe, which not be a video gamer, was way harder than it looks. All told I spent nearly 70 hours on the machine over the course of a few months this summer.
|Tractor time for all|
None of that work was terribly glamorous. Digging holes and filling them in, moving and reshaping the Earth with the hope that what you are left with is more usable, practical and workable than that with which you started. That said, when the grass grows in over the bare Earth and you see the final work, there is a certain undeniable satisfaction. Things start to look neat and tidy and back in place once again. And so it does now, finally.
|Finished wall and trim, sub-panel and blocking|
|Steep section, drive and ditch|
|Driveway, parking and upper ditching|
Another relatively large project this summer was tackling the existing 8x12' shed that came with the property when bought the place, which was the only storage we had for tools and equipment. It was small and pretty full of materials, tools and machinery. Much of the material was scrap and junk that over the course of the summer I culled out. Still, there are many hand and power tools housed there. The shed was structurally sound but the asphalt shingle roof and plywood sheathing siding were in need of help. We also needed more storage space for the lawn tractor, push mower, a wood chipper, firewood and numerous other implements of destruction. My plan was to add on to either side of the shed, extending the existing roofline.
|The shed before|
I used 4x6" beams that I'd taken from the camp supports when we put the foundation under it along with A braced 4x4" PT uprights as the main carrier beam outer wall to support the ends of the rafter extensions from the existing shed wall. I sheathed the roof and then, with the help of my folks, laid the new 12' long x 3' wide tin roofing sheets. Once the roof was in I framed and vertically planked the walls with more of the hemlock. Hemlock, like cedar, is swamp soft wood and is naturally rot and insect resistant.
|The shed after|
The old shed now looked terrible compared to the new shed additions so I sided it after installing a could of slick, super inexpensive mail order shed windows. For something fun and different I did it with cedar shakes. They look great but are expensive and very time consuming. It took a day and a half to do the one end but the result was very, very appealing.
I also needed to get power into the basement for all of the utilities as well as the build out. I chose to get a local electrician to drop a sub panel in and it was a bargain. Best money I've ever spent. Amazing how affordable things are in that area as compared to MA. Easily cost me less than a quarter of what it would have cost here in MA to have that same work done.
|Finished, covered deck area and stairs|
We opted to have one drilled. The neighbor only went down 180' before hitting water. The state average is 300'. We were optimistic and hopeful. Drilling costs $13/ft and steel casing (6" pipe), which you have to run from the surface until you hit bedrock in order to seal the well from surface water contamination, costs $18/ft. We knew that we were right on ledge, literally, which minimized the casing cost. The whole well with pump and installation should be in to $6k range, we hoped.
|Drilling for water|
The rain finally stopped on Saturday and then Cathy and I spent the entire weekend fixing the driveway. I used nearly all of the stash of 15 tons of crushed rock I'd amassed. We spent hours and hours trying to get it usable again. That was a very, very low point of a summer that saw it's fair share of low points. The mired truck seemed a perfect metaphor for my summer, or at least parts of it, feeling utterly mired and sinking in a never ending list of projects that I had no chance of finishing before the season was up. Swimming against the tide or struggling in quick sand, you chose, but they all seemed suffocating.
|Hot water to spare|
The drillers packed up and headed out, running back through the ditches one more time for good measure. What was left in the wake was a mess of ledge slurry, mud and ruts. Everything was covered in stone dust, but the job was done. Just needed to get the pump installed and we would have water. That took another week, which gave me time to fix the drive, excavate from the well to the camp for the water line and power and clean things up. Another 20 ton of crushed ledge went into the drive and then two load or 40 ton of gravel would make a the new parking area up top. Throw in many, many hours of time brushing the sides of the road and on the John Deere ditching as well as leveling as well as running the hand rakes, not to mention seeding and mulching and we were finished.
At present, the heating system isn't quite done but is very, very close. Should be complete this weekend. We chose a Rinnai direct vent propane heater. Simple and efficient and way more than we should need. I bought a pair of 100# propane cylinders which have direct cut over. I can easily transport them and get them filled right in town, which simplified things as compared to a big tank that would require a delivery truck, which would never make it up in the winter.
So that's where we are. Summer is long gone and a didn't get nearly as much done as I'd hoped. Still, we are way closer. I'm sure that there are a mess of small projects I didn't touch on here, that sucked up time as well. Still, this is the bulk of the major projects. It's easy to see now why I didn't get much riding in this past summer and frankly, didn't have much energy or desire for it left anyhow.
I'm still tired, more so after writing this.
Can't wait to get started again though.