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Monday, September 12, 2011

What I Did Last Summer, Part 1

I apologize to all who follow this blog for my long absence.  Tonight I have just completed my first class of the fall MBA term here at Plymouth State University.  I have been sipping black coffee for two hours, and thus have both mind and body well stimulated.  I couldn't go to sleep now if I tried, so I've decided to break my silence and spill stream-of-consciousness memories into the blog in hopes that I can later add illustrations to back up my claims of an absurdly busy summer for a man of 68 years.

Maine Trip 1.  May, 2011

In May I went to Maine to repair the pond dock at the Tenant's Harbor home of my friend Wickham.  We built this dock a few years ago to my design, and while it looked great and served well for awhile, it seems I left a weak spot... screws too small and too short secured the deck boards to the frame, and then the hinges mounting the dock to the concrete base were lagged into the deck boards, and only the deck boards.  So, when a rainy season came, the forces acting on the hinges popped the first couple of deck boards loose, and the floating dock was set adrift.  Fortunately, it is in a small pond on Wick's property, so it did not go out to sea and become a hazard to navigation.  However, a local beaver found it resting in the reeds some 50 yards from its base, and decided that its end, a swimming raft, would make an excellent roof for his lodge.  He proceeded to secure it to the bottom with a maze of small birch and poplar logs.  So, when I rowed over to it, I found the dock/raft assembly almost impossible to dislodge (note the appropriate wording), and to tow back to its proper location.  Wick was in Ireland that week, so I was working alone.
Picture this whole assembly snagged in the reeds on the far right..
I thought about the situation awhile, and decided that from the shore I might have sufficient strength to break things loose, so I went into Rockland and visited Spear's Lumber and Hardware.  I bought forty feet of line, a pair of rubber fishing boots, and some mighty fine lag bolts and washers.  Back at the pond, I put on my new boots, rowed back out, tied one end of the line to the dock, then rowed close enough to shore to hurl the rest of the coiled line up onto the shore.  Sure enough, all the rockng and pushing I had earlier done on the raft had loosened things up. and with just a modest effort at the shore end of the rope, I had her broken loose and afloat.  I pulled that sucker back to its home base, and faced the next challenge: how to hold her in place as I drove a first lag bolt down through the hinge and into the frame of the dock.

She's well screwed now, if you ask me.
I have to admit that progress was lagging, before Chip appeared on the scene.  Chip is Wick's grandson, a strapping lad of about twenty, or so.  He was over at Wick's to cut a bit of firewood, and a good thing, too.  With Chip's help, running out onto the raft and securing the line to it so he could hold her steady for me, the job of remounting it to its base proved a snap.  And, now I have new fishin' boots.

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