Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We were getting low on water for the garden so I fired up the Dodge and hauled 300 gallons of water from the marsh. (If that doesn’t make it rain nothing will!) I replaced the door knob and latch assembly on the back door of the cabin then dug out more of the trench for the asparagus bed. While the water was siphoning out of the barrels I brazed the last of the leaks shut on the water pump housing. Our youngest daughter and her boyfriend were up this afternoon so he and I shot a few gophers before supper time. We only had about 45 minutes so we only got three. When we got back I noticed that a front tire was flat on the pickup so after supper I took the tire off and fixed it with a plug. I got approval from a magazine to do an article on repairing tires so I took pictures of each step as I repaired the leak. I was kind of wondering if I was going to have to run a nail through a tire to get pictures for the article so I guess it was a good thing that the tire went flat on it’s own … maybe!

While we were out shooting gophers a census worker arrived. (The gov’t. got the brilliant idea that they’d hand deliver census forms in outlying areas here to be sure they didn’t miss anyone. The problem is that their maps are a bad joke and the census takers can’t find half the people who live here. Plus it cost us - the taxpayers - a lot more than a stamp would have to pay people to hand deliver the forms.) Just as he got to the door we shot our first gopher. The sound of the shot reverberated off the cabin and it sounded like we were nearby when we shot. The poor census taker nearly had a heart attack. My wife explained that the “guys” were out shooting gophers and he seemed to relax a little. He told us that they were officially “warned” to be careful in this part of the county so he was a little apprehensive. He also showed her his map with the names of other people he needed to contact. The maps didn’t even show the roads but had little “X’s” where the houses were supposed to be. The “X” they had for our house was in the wrong place on the map. Anyway she gave him directions for the other family living full time on our road and he went on his merry way.

This area does have a reputation. Even the cops contact residents they know before coming out to get some information about the people they‘re calling on. We’ve never felt threatened here. In fact we feel safer here than about anywhere I’ve ever lived. We have good neighbors and we watch out for each other. As long as you’re not a thief and you keep your nose out of everyone else’s business you’ll get along just fine.

Susan peeled more carrots from the root cellar (last year’s crop), diced them up and ran eight trays through the dehydrator.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We made another trip to Kalispell today … sigh. We dropped some raspberry plants off for two of our daughters’ at their houses. My wife has been thinning out the plants. They’ve gone crazy the last couple of years and we have raspberry plants expanding everywhere. We’ve given them away and transplanted them to different places on the property but still have too many. While we were in town we took a couple of the kids to Costco for some things they needed. We take turns with the kids buying a Costco membership then when someone needs something they just have the person with the current membership take them through the store to make their purchases. With six kids on their own we only have to pay for membership once every six years. We went to another of our kid’s places after that. They had our old Cherokee which we’d given them to drive after their car threw a rod. It wasn’t much and finally died in their driveway. They bought a pickup and needed more space in their driveway so we went down there to strip parts off the old Cherokee to keep for spares for the Cherokee we now drive. They’ll have a nearby salvage yard come pick up the skeletal remains. We actually found some strawberry plants while we were in town. They’d just got them in and expected to sold out in a couple of days so our timing was good this time. On the last leg home we saw a black bear eating grass in a meadow about a mile from our home.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I finished digging the trench for the new asparagus bed today, filled it back up with compost and planted the asparagus roots. The final measurement was 18 feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep. That’s about 2.5 cubic yards of dirt (and rocks) dug out and 2.5 cubic yards of compost put back in. I’d better get some really good results out of that asparagus. My wife mowed grass and trimmed around some of the obstacles in the yard and planted the new strawberry plants in some tires. (We filled them with compost using wheel barrows.) She also sowed grass seed around the grandkids play area. (And put netting over it to keep the chickens from scratching it up.) I did some work on an article in progress then my wife and I cut up the rest of the carrots she brought in for dehydrating. (There’re quite a few left in the root cellar that still need to be dehydrated.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I spent more time on the article today. We drove into Eureka this morning to deposit a check. While there we bought some chicken food to have here while we’re gone to Dirttime. We have a neighbor who’s going to feed the chickens and water the garden as needed while we’re gone. We told her she could keep the eggs that week. On the way back we stopped so I could put the tarp back over the buffalo’s hay stack … again. The wind keeps blowing it off.

It rained all day long. My wife put more carrots in the dehydrator and peeled and cut up apples from the root cellar to dry them later. She also made a couple of rhubarb pies and beans-n-dumplings for supper (one of my favorite meals). Our youngest son was at home so he ran his generator all day to play video games on his X-box. We always try to take advantage of the electricity when the generator is running.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I went to church this morning then in the afternoon finished up the article I’ve been working on. The dog and I walked over to the buffalo pen and threw in a couple of bales of hay. I moved all the top bales that were wet from the rain to the front of the stack. I’ll feed them first. I put the tarp back on again and tied it down in several places and stacked rocks on the bottom. Hopefully it will stay now. My wife made buns and cooked a roast for supper. She cut a bunch of thin, deli-slices off the roast and we had roast beef sandwiches, Jello stuff (orange jello with mandarin oranges and cool whip mixed in and stirred up - I don‘t know what it‘s called … I just know it tastes good!) and potatoes for supper. Afterwards, I sorted pictures for the article, wrote up some photo captions and sent it in. She went out and planted 72 hills of potatoes in the garden. Our son spotted a moose below the cabin but it was gone when we got back out with the cameras. It’s raining again.

Photos are of My wife planting potatoes in the garden. It's a little cool outside, (hence the coat). The tires are the new homes for the strawberry plants we bought in Kalispell. The trench is the new asparagus bed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It was kind of a windy, overcast day today. We got a late start (too much time on the computer!) but still got a few things done. My wife planted a couple of the apple trees and I got a stump pulled, another section tilled up and I began digging out a spot for a new raspberry bed. I used my High-Lift jack to pull the stump. I dug out around it with the shovel and mattox then cut the side roots with the mattox. I then wrapped a short section of chain around the base and jacked it up out of the ground. A tripod, come-along and chain will accomplish the same task. The tree diameter was about 6 inches when I cut it down. Pine trees don't have a very good root system so they're lot easier to get out than hardwood trees. My wife is holding part of last night's dinner: home made rolls and rhubarb/raspberry pie. Great stuff! Got some kids up today so I’ll fire up the barbeque grill and char some hamburgers in a bit.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Had the Forester inspect the thinned area and it passed so we needed to go to the post office to mail the forms in to get paid. We decided to ride bicycles (15 miles round trip). It was easy to tell my wife just got back from a three week, 1,000 mile ride. (And that I'd spent too much time at home NOT riding.) Stopped and watched gophers taunt me from the meadow down the road. No gun with me except my 357magnum revolver. Since I want to kill them rather than just educate them I decided not to do any shooting today. Washed dishes when we got home. My wife prepared the most wonderful meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes (Yukon Gold, still firm and fresh in our root cellar), and pineapple from our garden. Hah, I wish! Now we're waiting to eat the rhubarb/raspberry pie she made. The rhubarb was picked fresh and the raspberries were canned from last year's harvest. Got a call from a neighbor this morning. Seems they have some kittens to give away and wanted to know if we want one. Since our cat's been missing the last two days we may be in need of a replacement. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We went into town today to get some things. Stopped at a grocery store to pick up some milk. Stopped at a parts store to get an oil filter for the car and some candied brazing rod to (hopefully!) fix the water pump housing. Stopped at a couple of greehouses, the post office, a neighbor's place to visit and see their new garden plot. They have a great fence around it. It's eight feet high made out of heavy gauge woven wire. We called it "hog wire" when I was a kid. I got permission (encouragement?) to shoot ground squirrels at the new garden spot. I may set some traps if I can't get enough of them by shooting. We stopped at the church to fill water jugs on the way back in. We're back home now waiting for the rain to stop so we can get some things done outside. I got the crack in the water pump housing brazed and tried it out. It works but I have a couple of small leaks to fix on the old repairs. That will be tomorrow's project. My wife has been transplanting tomatoes and peppers into pots so we can move them inside this fall and keep them alive longer (we hope). Still having scattered rain showers.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I spent some time on the lake today (and have the sunburn to prove it!). I took my kayak out to look for a couple of traps I couldn't find last fall (the ice got too thick and the snow buried everything). I found them but it took some diligent searching. One of the problems with trapping at this lake is that it has acres of floating mats of cattails. When the wind blows hard they shuffle themselves around and the shoreline takes on a whole new shape. Often small channels close up or large sections break loose and deposit themselves on a different shoreline. I saw turtles, ducks, red-wing blackbirds, beaver, muskrats and the unidentified long-legged bird in the picture.

My wife finished the short story she's been working on and planted more stuff in the garden.