Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bridge parts are set over Buck Run

First Piece

Second Piece

3rd Piece

4th Piece

5th Piece

6th Piece

7th Piece

End caps down creek side

End Caps up creek side
After a very long day seven individual box shaped pieces where dropped down to the footings for the bridge. Four long cables went completely through each of the sections and they were tightened together. Then the last four pieces which will funnel the water toward the hole were bolted on. All pieced were also bolted to the footing.
They will fill about four foot of the depth of the hole with stone to make the level of the bottom of the hole the same as the creek. There are some more retaining walls to be poured and much back filling to be done. They are saying another 3 weeks of work before the bridge is passable. So Labor Day weekend will be a big drive around if you are coming up to camp. They are promising to kill the pumps as soon as the bridge is full of rock. I am expecting that to be next week sometime. That is when I will feel a big relief from all the noise. Maneuvering all the equipment in our front yard today was quite a feat and amazingly enough no one got stuck. I am still suffering from a bad head cold aggravated by all the dust so this project can't be done soon enough.
On a much weirder note, while walking Leo and Speck yesterday morning up the road past Hooke's cabin, I heard a distressed barking sound. At first I thought it was Leo who had wandered down by the camp. It was the kind of bark he does when he sees something and is confronting it. Speck was next to me and the bark was too low for him or for a coyote. The next sound I heard sent a chill up my spine. The dog let out a scream of pain. Now I was worried, had Leo grabbed a porcupine or worse yet, had something grabbed him. I called Leo and headed towards the sound, then I noticed Leo coming toward me. My relief was short-lived when I again heard the barking alert followed by another scream of pain. Now I imagined someone's lost dog caught in a trap or being attacked by another animal.  My rescue self kicked in and I followed the sound up Misner Trail keeping my own dogs close in case there was a predator up ahead. Sound is very illusive in the mountains and trying to hone in on the location of the animal was difficult. The sounds repeated four times and just when I thought I might be able to figure out where it was it stopped. I looked as far as I had could but without anymore sounds it was useless. I went home upset that I couldn't help the animal and wondering what caused the incident.
I told Lee about it when I got home and she said, "What if that had been a Mountain Lion?"
The thought had crossed my mind while looking and I guess if I had seen one, I would have been in a bit of trouble. So if any of you hear strange noises over Labor Day in Leetonia let me know. I know Dee on the other side of mountain heard what he thought was a large cat several weeks ago, so it is always possible.
 Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Crane visits Mountain Girls

Today the large Crane that will be putting the bridge together on the footing was delivered. There were several counter weights which had to be brought down and attached to the crane. A tractor trailer delivered each set of weights. The problem was there is no place to turn around, which meant they would have to back down the mountain two miles or come up with another solution. The video shows the other solution. If you are getting this in email you will have to go directly to this blog to see the video. 
The crane is HUGE it dwarfs our house and I think could easily lift the entire house and place it in another location. Too bad I don't have another foundation to move it to my dream location on top the mountain. Tomorrow the road will be closed from the pipeline down and they will be moving the eight pieces of bridge down to the location in front of the house. According to them this should only take one day. I am not sure it will be that fast since it took quite some time just to set up the crane. I am betting the bridge parts will be in tomorrow but the crane won't be out until Friday. 
I am going to be searching for some of the old bridge pictures before the culvert pipe which  lasted 40 years to show you the size of bridge they are putting over this small stream. It is pretty amazing how we have money for some things and not others. I am certainly being entertained by the process, except for the noise and dust. I will definitely have some pictures of the parts being placed into the stream. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bridge Progress

2nd footing forms

pump truck in my driveway

Both Footings complete
As you can tell from the pictures they are still working on the bridge. They just completed the second footer and will be setting the bridge boxes on the 29th of August. We will have no ability to come and go for most of that day as the road going out will be completely shut down in order to get the crane and bridge parts back to the site. If everything fits the positioning of the bridge box should go relatively quickly. Then it is my understanding they will be forming retaining walls for the entrance and exits of the stream, which will hold the bank in place. The final bridge surface will be asphalt. 
I think my request to make the entire road asphalt fell on deaf ears, but a girl can try. Both Lee and I have had upper respiratory problems during this entire process and two of my dogs are coughing. I think all the dust, and exhaust fumes are affecting our ability to breath and get over our sore throats and head congestion. Although, I am pretty sure they won't be willing to take any responsibility for our suffering. If mine isn't better by Monday, I am going to the doctor to get it checked out. I am not counting on the road being open before Labor Day weekend so maintain alternate routes around us.
After doing construction for years I have never had to endure it 24/7 and I will admit it is wearing on me. Too bad the stream crossed the road so close to our house. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bridge Work Progress

Forms during concrete pour.
In the picture you can see there is one woman on the crew helping pour concrete. They walked above the forms and guided the concrete in from the pump, while she was using the vibrator to get all the air pockets out of the concrete. Unfortunately, they forgot one safety issue when working with rebar pointing upwards...Always put safety caps on. I guess not too long after my pictures the woman slipped and rebar went into her knee. A bar also headed towards her neck, but she was fortunate enough to stop before that one entered.  Construction work seems so benign until someone gets hurt and it always happens fast. The problem is help isn't too fast in coming out here if you are seriously hurt. Hopefully, this will be their one and only accident. I am sure I will see some caps on the next pour.
The noise is continuing to bombard us and the end of this project won't be soon enough. Remember to go around. You aren't coming through this site in any sort of way other than walking. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hummingbird Central

If you are getting this through email you will have to go to to see the video of the hummingbirds. They were quite active this morning after a good rain fall. Since the sun was out I was able to get a good video of them trying to catch up on feeding. This is the height of the season for them with babies and adult bulking up for the long winter flight to the South. It is a good thing most of them are fast as Felix is trying to snag a few in the air as they run by him on the fence. He is a very bad kitty. Enjoy the hummingbirds. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ruins has new owners

After a long day of cleaning
This weekend the new owners of ruins spent some long hard hours cleaning. The picture of them is a bit dark, but from left to right are: Eric Kosek, Pat Wildeman, and John Schilken. They bought the Ruins to have a nice place to bring family members who are interested in the hunting and fishing in the back woods of Leetonia. It had been a while since the Ruins had seen so much soap and elbow grease and the smell of dead things was greatly reduced by the time I visited on Saturday evening. In fact, the place smelled so good I wasn't sure I was at the Ruins.
They have a lot of plans for the Ruins, not the least might be a name change according to Pat, they are looking for something a little more upbeat. Also plenty of maintenance and remodeling will be going on to give the place an inside face lift.
The men were smart getting the most of the cleaning done before they have the women come up who I am sure will re-clean everything without the knowledge of squirrels and many mice who had taken up residence in the camp during the periods when few people came up.  So when you see some new faces in Leetonia give them a big welcome to our area. 
On a sadder note. Jimmy Crooket, who was one of the previous owners of the Ruins, passed on a couple weeks ago. I think he did this so he can spend all his time walking around the hills and mountains of the woods of Tioga with all the old hunters and residents of Leetonia who have gone before him. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

If you want to see the Half-track that used to be at Ruins click here.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dinner at Bear Mountain Camp

Wilma and Sonnie Eberly

Corn Pie
On Thursday, Lee and I were invited over to Bear Mountain Camp by Wilma and Sonnie Eberly for dinner. They went all out to adapt to our vegetarian ways with a "Corn Pie." We had never heard of before this pie before, I guess it is a down state stable around corn picking time. The little ceramic bird in the middle lets the steam out of the pie as it cooks. Reminded me of the old child's poem twelve and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. The pie is made with regular pie crust, corn, potatoes and seasonings in it. You can top it with boiled eggs and warm milk when you eat it to add some protein. It was very good along with the beets, beet-pickled eggs, homemade macaroni and cheese. For desert they had some nice peaches topped with whipped cream. I was not only full then but enjoyed the care package of all the food they sent home with us the following day.
As usual Wilma and Sonnie are the perfect hosts with great conversation to go along with the food. It was a welcome break away from our noisy bridge pump and well worth the extra long drive around the mountain to get to them. Thanks to them both for a wonderful night. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bridge mess continues..

Excavator above hole

Excavator in hole

1/2 Bridge footing forms

Rebar for footing
Well, I awoke to the sound of lightening, thunder and a heavy rain this morning. One hit so close I thought it might have gotten some of the equipment outside the house. It rained pretty hard for about an hour and shut down the bridge work until about 9am. The rain caused them to turn the pump up so it is making more noise tonight along with a smaller pump and generator they have running. They dropped the forms down into the hole and will probably be leveling them up, anchoring them and putting the rebar in tomorrow. I don't know if they will pour the footing tomorrow or Monday. 
As you can see from the second picture the hole is big enough to swallow the large excavator and anything else foolish enough to drive into it. Since our drive is right at the bridge they have to leave a space big enough for us to get around the bridge out sign. I hope no one else drives around thinking they can get through in middle of night. They do park the excavator across the hole, but there is a space to the right someone could plunge in. If they do they won't be driving out and I am sure we will be the first to know. 
They are making quite a muddy mess of the driveway and yard and the rain helped speed up the mess making progress. I think I will be listening to music tonight to fall asleep as the sound of pumps running isn't too soothing. Tomorrow I will be posting something other than bridge progress. I am hoping to get some pictures of some small colorful birds, which have shown up before the bridge work scares them off. Mountain girl, Paula, logging off and trying to get some rest.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Noise Pollution in the Quiet Woods

Ear plugs are the only thing keeping us calm. The reason we live out here is for the peace and quiet. I think that is being seriously challenged by this project. I was prepared to be disturbed during the day of digging, but I hadn't braced for a 24hr, 7 day a week until the project is over noise challenge. They are saying 2 months to complete this bridge. If any of you know a "legal" solution to this problem I would sure like to hear about it. I am wondering if a noise baffle can be put up around the pump. This is the first time since we have lived here being away from the house is more peaceful. :(  Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

The digging continues

Hole looking away from house

Hole looking toward house
Well all the pipes are out from under the road and there is nothing but a very large hole. I noticed an old piece of wood that is quite large directly in line with my mailbox and I am thinking that might have been part of the bridge retaining wall before the culvert pipes. That bridge was a cool little wood bridge with rails you could look over and fish from. The culvert pipe replacement was functional but much uglier. I think they did that somewhere in the mid 60's. Getting to Leetonia other than walking which is a mile and a half for me is now 11 miles away. The block is quite large to go around. The best route around still remains Francis-Leetonia to Cushman not Cedar Mt Rd. Cedar Mt Rd. has pipeline trucks running to the top Ridge Rd and over to Wilson Pt and meeting them is almost a near-death experience.
The sound of the pump they are using to divert the water in Buck Run is very annoying. I had to wear ear plugs last night just to get to sleep. Two more months of this is not a happy thought. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.