Saturday, July 21, 2018

June 2018 - Rappelling, Exploring, New Granddaughter, Sedated Grizzly Bear ...

It's been a busy spring here.  Fortunately it began and stayed wetter than last summer so the fire danger has at least been delayed a bit.

This little guy lives in the neighborhood.  He's been spotted several times.  Don't know if mom's around or not.  He is big enough to fend for himself if need be.

We ordered a small battery operated chain saw for trimming up the trees.  It wouldn't be much use for cutting a winter's supply of firewood but it works great for cutting the low-hanging limbs off the trees around the cabin.

We've been thinking about doing some rappelling. These are some climbing cliffs on the highway on the west side of Lake Koocanusa.  This is a "close up" of the person hanging on the cliffs above.

This is taken from the same spot without telephoto.  Yep, that's the cliff way up at the top of the photo. 
This is one of the rock walls near the highway.  There's a climber on it too!  This area is so popular that the highway department or Forest Service or some other organization set up a porta-pot for climbers to use.  A local climbing club installed anchors in the cliffs and at the tops of the most popular climbing cliffs which makes it much easier and ultimately saves the cliffs since people won't be pounding in their own all over the walls.

This was taken at the top of the cliffs in the photos above.  We used the trail to get up there though.  That's Lake Koocanusa below.  It was a windy day and the waves on the lake were impressive.  Normally it's placid and a deep blue in color.

Scott has been wanting to try some rappelling off of cliffs.  (He learned doing it down the side of our camper van.) so we found a location with a little more modest walls to try out first.

And ... over the top he goes!

And he obviously hates it!  Haha!  He climbed back up the wall (barefoot!) three more times before calling it an evening.  I only had to assist him once on the first climb.  (I was on top manning the safety rope.)

What can I say ... it's northwestern Montana!

The batteries in my GPS went dead and really corroded the battery compartment on my unit.  I found out that they clean up well with just soapy water and a toothbrush.  I love my GPS.  It gives me a lot more freedom to roam.  A compass is good and a map is good but our timber is tall and thick.  You can seldom see anything except trees ... no landmarks.  Even climbing to the top seldom helps because the trees are tall and thick there as well.  So I use the GPS to get a compass heading back to home or camp then use the compass to point the way.

There are lots of turkeys this year.  This guy was still trying to impress the hens tagging along.

I parked the car in it's usual spot then I noticed a couple of days later that the tire was flat.

When I got it off I noticed that the inside of the outer tread had been kind of ground off.  I have no idea how that happened.  It isn't alignment nor is it rubbing anywhere on the wheel well.  The good thing is that the new tires seem to be doing well on it.

Scott over playing with his brothers. Sand is always a good "toy" when kids are involved!

Out on our 4-wheelers doing some exploring.  We visited some areas where I used to get a lot of my firewood then we tried out a few more roads.  A lot of the roads are gated most of the year but some are opened up at certain times in the spring and summer.

Our neighborhood is in the valley below. 

An old clear cut. 
We spotted this rig for sale along the highway.  Our motor home is showing it's age so we've been kind of looking around a bit for a replacement.  We never looked at 5th wheels for various reasons, one of which was that we didn't have a truck to pull it with.  This guy was selling the truck and trailer together.  We bought it.  I swore I'd never own a 5th wheel camper or a rig with slide-outs or a diesel pickup.  Now I have all three.  It is a nice rig though and all set up and ready to hit the road.  Getting it home up our "road" was an adventure I hope to never do again!  We're getting it all set up for winter.  (More about that in the July blog.) We'll take it down south with us and leave it there in storage next summer. It's got us antsy to hit the road!

That's our son in the white T-shirt.  This is a grizzly that the FWP trapped and tranquilized at the golf course where he works.  It's getting radio collared and moved to a new location.  Saw a video on You Tube where they tried releasing a different grizzly from a culvert trap.  The bear was a bit angry and went directly for the game warden on top of the trap.  He had to shoot it with his sidearm to stop the attack.  It all happened rather quickly!  Usually they run away ... usually!

Scott holding his new baby sister at the hospital.  She has three older brothers to watch out for her.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

May 2018 - Spring time and game camera photos.

Look like it's been awhile since my last post!  A lot of our winter time is spent far from internet service so we end up hot-spotting our cell phones when we need internet access.  Posting the blog takes a lot of data due to the photos posted. We have "unlimited" data but when we reach a certain point the phones get very slow so we try to avoid using them for posting the blog or other high data uses such as movies/you tubes/and games (our grandson!).   We can sometimes use WiFi at libraries and fast food outlets but then time is limited.  So, the blog gets neglected

On any case, we're home now and I'll attempt to get caught up some.

This was taken at the wildlife management area at Overton, NV.  We often see turkeys, rabbits, quail, coyotes, burros, and waterfowl there but this is the first time we've had peacocks strutting through our camp site.  We often use the WMA as a sort of staging area when we first arrive to get our motor home out of storage and again when we're ready to put it back in storage before heading home again in the spring.  It's close to town so if we need anything we can get it.

This is probably in Montana along I-90 between Butte and Missoula.

Our turn off I-90 and heading north on the last (190 mile) stretch.

When we got home we found out that we had a broken elbow in the water supply line to the sink.  That's the first time that has happened.  I drain the pipes and tanks each winter before we head south.

One of my projects was to get a mower running (we have two gas powered mowers, three reel mowers, and a recently acquired electric mower for close to the cabin, we power the electric mower  using our solar power system).

This particular mower quit suddenly a couple of years ago when I hit a stump while mowing. I was almost finished and it was the end of the season so I just parked it and finished up with the string trimmer.

I suspected it had sheared the flywheel key and I was correct.  The slot in the upper crankshaft and the key slot in the flywheel should align but they don't.  This throws the timing way off and the mower won't run.

Back in the old days the factory cut screw threads to use a gear puller to get the flywheel off.  They decided to cut corners on that so if you have to pull the flywheel you have to cut threads for the bolts needed to pull the flywheel off.

This is the sheared key on the mower. The can tab is for size comparison.

This is the way it should look.  I had a couple of crankshaft keys on hand but I had to file one down a bit to make it fit.  I installed it and put it all back together, checked the oil and filled it with gas and it fired right up.  I got the rougher part of the lawn mowed and it worked fine through two tanks of gas.  I used the old reel mower to cut the level sections of grass and on the road to the shack (storage) on the back corner of the place.  I tried out the electric mower in the yard near the cabin.  I prefer the reel mower because it doesn't stir up the pollen, dust and weed seeds.  I often have to spend some time on my nebulizer after mowing (asthma and allergy problems).

We've put a few miles on the four wheelers since we got home.  This is just outside (south) of Fortine taken from some state land.

Susan, Scott and Buttercup (our Pomeranian) admiring the scenery.

Same place as above but looking southeast instead of southwest.

This is about a mile or so (as the crow flies) south of our cabin on timber company land.

Buttercup enjoys travelling whether by car, bicycle (she rides in the front basket) or four-wheelers.

Doing some rototilling on our long neglected garden. We are going to plant a few things this year but mostly I'm going to keep tilling it up to get rid of the weeds and grass.

We need a new fence but don't want to mess with it this year so we had a couple of old trampoline frames laying around and decided to use them for a temporary garden fence.  In typical Scott fashion anything that will hold him is obviously made for climbing and playing on.

Scott and I are putting the fence wire around it.

Susan began transplanting while we were working.

She's putting the greenhouse to use this summer too.

And she planted strawberries in one of the raised beds.

Gardening is iffy here.  The cold is always a problem and in the past we have had frost every month of the year but the major worry is a relatively new one.  We've had ground squirrels move in and take up residence on the property in the last few years.  Despite my efforts to trap and shoot them (and the dog's constant harassment) we have a very healthy population of the little rodents.  The fence will keep the deer out and the garden will be finished before the bears become a problem in the fall but the ground squirrels can pretty much wipe out a garden in a couple of days.  We'll see what happens!

Susan had to get her driver's license renewed which called for a trip to Libby (the county seat 80 miles each way ... but only 40 miles by air ... if you have a helicopter!).  This is along the Kootenai River a few miles outside of Libby.

While we were there on a second trip for another issue, Scott took some time to play in the water park in town.  They have all kinds of fountains to play in. 

Now he's at the lower pool at the hot springs.  It's about a 120 mile drive each way.  The Symes Motel has four pools.  One upper pool is hot (about 15 minutes in it and you have to get out!).  The other upper pool has a privacy fence (clothing optional) and is also hot.  Below the first pool is one that's about like hot bath water.  Below that one is a full sized pool where we spend most of our time.  It's heated also but not as hot as the others.  When we were here this time the two upper pools were closed for repairs so they had heated the lower pool up quite a bit but it was still fun.

In case you haven't noticed there are two things Scott likes more than any others: those are climbing things and playing in the water!

We got him a new game for his "half-birthday."  When he was younger we told him he could celebrate half birthdays.  He didn't have much concept of time so about once a week he'd spout out that, "It's my birthday!" so we'd have a birthday party  ...  again!

Scott wanted a hummingbird feeder so he and Susan got one and put it up at the edge of the porch.  We have at least three different hummingbirds feeding there now.

He still likes riding in the wheel barrow.

He's raking up leaves with Susan.

I ordered a new bow for him but despite what the advertisers claimed its still a little too big for him.  He did, however, love the release that came with it so he's using it on his old bow to thunk arrows into my new 3-D deer target.  

Sunset on lower Stillwater Lake on the way home from Kalispell one evening. That photo was taken at 9:22 PM.  It is still light out until almost 10 PM around here.  

I decided to post some of the game photos taken from cameras on our property. Except when noted they were all taken in our driveway or next to our porch.

A bobcat at the same place the photo below was taken.

This was taken below the cabin on our property.  We have does and fawns coming in the yard quite often in the summer.

This bobcat photo was taken about five feet from our porch door. The photo below this one was from the same camera but it's light out so you can get an idea of the location.

This was taken at the corner of my shop (about 100 feet from the porch). It's a grizzly that broke into our chicken feed the night before.  The chickens and I cleaned up the mess as well as possible the next day but I knew he'd be back so I set up a game camera. We had a bit of a stand-off the night before.  I heard the dog barking so I went out to investigate with my single barrel shotgun loaded with bird shot.  I'd had problems with skunks trying to get to the chickens a couple of times so I figured there was a skunk to dispatch.  When I rounded the corner (in my PJ's and flip-flops) I came face to face with the bear.  He moved over to the road that runs on down to the shack and just sat there watching me from about ten feet away.  I watched him and he watched me.  I had the shotgun cocked and pointed at him with my finger on the trigger. He finally got up and waddled down the road toward the shack.

Now when I go investigate things during the night I carry a short barreled 12 gauge loaded with slugs and buckshot.

If you want an interesting grizzly and chicken story type in a search for "beeman, fortine, montana, grizzly."  He's a neighbor in town and the confrontation occurred about the time we were moving here.

This mom and her two cubs were photographed by a game camera about 200 yards from the cabin on a neighbor's land.