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Slow but steady

I ended up not putting in as much time on the weekend as I had hoped.  I needed to spend more time on my company bookkeeping as they are more messed up than I hoped and taking a while to sort through.  I also took time out Sunday to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday.  But I did get 5 hours of tarp repair in on Saturday and on Sunday Sean from Burley Boys returned to re-attach a shackle at the north tree that provides the north tension point so the tarp does not sag.  The job took longer than the promised 5 minutes due to a missing set of tree spurs, but we got the job done.

I decided Monday that in order to make it much easier and faster to raise the tarp I would buy an electric winch. I bought this 2500 Lb unit from Princes Auto. As this was out in Coquitlam and had taken much of the morning to research, I combined the trip with several stops along the way to pick up other items I am needing from places generally not open on the weekend.  By the time I got back it was after 4 and too late to do anything substantial on the tarp.

So today was to be the tarp raising day and it did get up part way.  But in the end it was more of another prep and repair day, than a raising day.

First off, the winch is garbage and will be returned.  It has no where near the rated pull force.  When it would grind to a halt, I would be able to step on the cable and easily stomp down another couple of ft.  Unless I have gained a LOT of weight over the last couple of days, I do not think I can be exerting 2500 Lbs of force.  This was a big disappointment and made the raising of the main cable painful again. Now that the pit is present, I cannot hook onto the truck and pull it back in a few seconds.  So I will have to use the come-a-long to pull it up in 3ft stages.

I also needed to wait over an hour while all the water pumped out of a large puddle that had formed on the top side of the tarp from days of rain.

Pumping out the water
Pumping out the water

But the big disappointment was that the north tension cable (that Sean had just raised Sunday) snapped when I had the tarp about 3/4 of the way it needed to slide on the main cable.  It was a 1/8″ cable and in hindsight I should have changed it out before Sean came.  So I have now upgraded it to a 1/4″ cable and will have to use my 32′ ladder to route it through the shackle up in the tree.  This snapped at about 2 PM and so by the time I bought the new cable, and lowered the partially raised tarp back to the ground so I could attach the new cable, it was 4:30 and again too late to raise the tarp up.

If I have learned anything with this tarp, it is that I need to be able to get it fully raised and tensioned in one go so that the wind cannot pull at it and the water cannot puddle.  So tomorrow will hopefully be the final push that gets this task behind me.

I have booked Brian from Embers for half a day of labour on Thursday AM.  I will get him to move all of the ICF blocks currently in the pit to the north side at the basement walkout space so it is out of my way.  This will let me dig out the final footing areas, scrape away all mud, and then arrange for gravel delivery. I hope to be ready for gravel early next week. If we finish the blocks in the pit early, I will get him to start also moving the blocks from the road side into the pit (probably using a chute).

Finally I want to express my deepest sympathies to my good friend Richard who lost his almost completed airplane in a hanger fire last night. Richard had been working on an electric plane ElectraFlyer-X for a few years now.  He had pushed through many challenging setbacks including the total rebuild of the electric motor and controller and re-wiring of aircraft (he purchased the unit close to complete).  The plane was very near complete and he was just ironing out some brake issues before undertaking the final taxi testing and airworthiness testing.  I do not have a lot of details, but apparently it was a battery fire and he has a 100% loss.  The photo he sent is just too devastating to post.  Richard – my thoughts are with you.  I am so sorry!



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