Cavorting River Creatures

Something's infesting the river!
Something’s infesting the river!

October 31 & November 1, 2020

This was the weekend for real progress on my new shed. I was determined to lay the plywood scrap flooring, frame the walls, and use as many remaining pieces of plywood scraps as possible to side the walls. No more messing around. I would get it done.

I laid a gravel pad for the foundation.
Using the floor frame to level the 12″ pavers on the newly laid gravel pad.

I headed out early Saturday morning and swung by the gravel pit for a scoop of gravel. Part of it was for the shed foundation, but most was for a low spot in the driveway. I noticed last weekend the rain had softened the ground a bit, threatening to turn it into mud. The extra gravel filled in the spot nicely, leveling out the driveway.

I carried the remainder of the gravel, about eight five-gallon bucketsful, to the shed area and spread it over the soft, rich topsoil. I knew I should have removed the first few inches, but I didn’t feel like taking the time. I’ll deal with the consequences later. In any event, I walked on the dirt for about 15 minutes, compacting it the best I could, and then spread gravel over the top to level it out. After walking on it another 15 minutes, I called it good. It seemed nice and solid and much more firm than the dirt had been.

Hauling all that gravel was hard work. I fixed myself a quick lunch and took a break on the deck.

The river was moving weirdly.

After leveling the 12" pavers, I used the floor frame to level the cinderblocks.
I also used the floor frame to level the cinderblocks, completing the shed’s foundation.

Waves were flowing in the wrong direction.


I stood on the edge of the deck and watched for a few minutes.

Yes, small waves were moving against the current, flowing sideways and upstream.

Something was cavorting in the river.

Or somethings.

I wasn’t sure what. I watched for about 20 minutes while I ate my noodles.

Whatever it was, it didn’t come out of the water or surface, so it must have been fish. Big fish. Pretty sure it was salmon. This river is home to winter steelhead, coho (silver), and chinook (king) salmon. They might be waiting for the river level to rise so they could continue upstream for spawning.

I got most of the plywood scraps for the floor installed by the end of the day.
I got most of the plywood scraps for the floor installed by the end of the day.

I debated grabbing a climbing rope and heading down to the river for a closer look, but I had a lot of work to do. And with the shorter daylight hours and the onset of monsoon season, not a lot of time to do it. Instead, I set up my camera and went back to work on the shed.

With the gravel pad in place, I could now add the foundation blocks. This time, I used 12″ square pavers under the cinder blocks. I hadn’t used these when I built my cabin. But, it seemed like a good idea as they gave a flat, firm surface for the cinder blocks.

It took a few minutes to level the ten cinderblocks. I had to bring in another bucket of gravel from the driveway to spread under a couple of blocks, but then it looked good. This should provide a more stable foundation than the cabin’s.

I’d already framed the floor the previous weekend. Instead of using single studs as I had with the cabin, I doubled them up. Not only will it give more surface area with which to support the frame, but also it would provide more surface area to attach the plywood scraps. And yes, I know I should have used pressure treated 4x4s, but that is outside the realm of my budget. Doubling up 2x3s is not.

Scrap wood floor complete!
Scrap-wood floor complete!

The plywood scraps fit great, especially since I had doubled up the floor joists. I got most of them in place and decided to call it a day. I was pretty tired from hauling all the gravel.

Time to check out my camera footage of the river and fry up a 12-ounce steak!

Sunday, November 1

Sadly, today marked the end of daylight savings, bringing an earlier sunset. Especially here in the river gorge, where sunset came an hour earlier to begin with. Which meant knocking off early to give myself time to pack up my tools and gear before dark.

Still, I had enough time to finish laying the floor and frame in the back and side walls. The walls were framed similarly to the main cabin–24 inches on center. More than sufficient for a small shed.

Floor done, three walls framed. It's starting to look like a shed!
Floor done, three walls framed. It’s starting to look like a shed!

The back wall is a full 96 inches wide, while the side walls are 53 inches, which should be wide enough to accommodate storing sheets of plywood and OSB.

It was pretty cool! I was happy with my progress this weekend. The scrap-work floor looked OK. Not super great, but not bad for a freebie. And, it depleted almost half my stock of plywood scraps. Sweet! It’s a little bouncy, but OK for a shed. I may add another layer of flooring in the future if lumber prices drop. But if not, it will be fine.

I tarped the shed floor for protection and packed up my tools and gear before heading home. The creatures were still cavorting in the river when I left.