Monday, June 28, 2010

Some of the strawberry muffins Susan made from our wild strawberries.

This is an outdoor oven in the process of completion at our friend's home. Kind of a cool design. We may have to make one out of stone instead of brick (we have lots of stone available).

Normally Susan doesn't have any problems with mosquitoes. If someone else is around they'll bite them but not usually her. This one still hadn't done any drilling even while she was getting the camera ready to take it's picture. Me, I'd swat the stupid thing and take a picture of it's flattened carcass.

These are some of the wild strawberries. It takes a lot of time to pick very many but the flavor is good. We have one daughter who excells in tedious jobs. When she was little we'd give her a pan and have her pick wild strawberries. She'd be content for hours doing things like that.

Susan getting ready to do some sealing around the stove pipe. (One of the places the rain was leaking in.) The lader in the background is used in winter when there's snow on the roof when we need to clean the chimney.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I made huckleberry pancakes for breakfast using some of our dehydrated huckleberries. After that I washed dishes and then washed my laundry. While I was doing that Susan cleaned the rugs and mopped the floor and picked some mint to dry for making tea.. After that we tried to fix the leak in the roof. I’m not sure if it got accomplished since we haven’t had any rain since then. Susan picked rhubarb and made a couple of rhubarb pies. She also picked some wild strawberries and made strawberry muffins. While she was picking the strawberries she intruded into the space of a momma deer. It probably had a fawn hidden nearby and was pretty aggressive, stomping it’s feet and “hissing” at her (a very aggressive “hawk” sound).

Deer make quite a few sounds that most people have never heard. In addition to this hissing, they sometimes make a “cawing” sound, like a crow, when you startle them at close range. I remember one time rattling antlers when I had a buck come in downwind and very close behind me (about three feet). When it realized I was human it “barked” loudly and ran off through the woods making a “cawing” sound. When that happens you might as well pack it up and move. It’s a warning deer don’t ignore and none would be in the area for awhile. The only time I’ve had deer come in to close range downwind of me was when I’ve been rattling antlers. I’m not sure why they completely ignore their sense of smell at that time.

Later in the afternoon Susan worked in the garden transplanting broccoli plants. I cast more bullets for my 44 cap and ball revolvers and round balls for my 50 caliber rifle. We watched the first two episodes of Dual Survival on Hulu. They were very good.

Our oldest daughter passed her Ham radio licensing test Saturday morning.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I rode my bicycle to church. Susan and I had a birthday party at a friend’s house in the afternoon. He’s another of us “self-sufficiency” types in the area. He’s got a nice set-up with land bordering a trout stream. Likes to hunt and fish and grows a fantastic garden. They also raise pack goats. We may be getting one soon. It’s small yet so it won’t be able to pack anything for awhile but we plan on putting it to work eating some of our local scenery. We got a look at his grizzly bear rug from a recent hunt in Alaska. It squared about 9 feet, 1 inch. Nice bear.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rose petals in the oven to dry. We use plastic screen from craft stores over old refrigerator racks for drying racks.

Susan gathering rose petals.

The viewing window on one of Rod's established hives showing the hinel combs and bees working. He doesn't leave the "windows" open long because the bees think its a "breach" in the hive and get a little edgy.

The bottom corner details of a new hive Rod built. The small rectangular "door in the bottom center is where the bees enter/exit. This one is not occupied yet.

This is the same hive with the lid removed showing the internal construction. The bees will build combs under the wooden bars going across the top. We're hoping to get into beekeeping and really appreciate his tips and advice.

Thursday, June 23, 2010

Anyone else feel that after DIRTTIME normal life is a let-down?

We went to Kalispell this afternoon. We had some books to drop off with one of the kids. We bought chicken feed at Murdocks (farm store). We stopped at one daughter’s house and picked up some duck eggs they’ve been saving. They are fertile eggs and our setting hens (we now have two that are broody) still seem to be serious about it so we decided to see if they could hatch out some duck eggs. They look different than the chicken eggs so we’ll be able to tell which are for eating and which are for hatching when we gather eggs. It takes about a month before they hatch so we’ll see what happens!

We stopped at Costco and Wal Mart on the way back home to pick up some cocoa mix and beans and rice for long-term-storage.

In the way back we stopped at Rod and Vonda’s to look over their set-up for bees and to see where Rod makes his knives. Those who were at DT 10 met Rod. He makes the Skookum Bush Tool. He and Vonda are wonderful people. It’s nice to have them in the area. We talked until late in the evening,, sharing tea and cookies and trading wolf, bear and mountain lion stories (among other things). Susan and I both hoped we didn’t overstay our welcome. It was late when we got home.

Friday, June 24, 2010

Susan washed clothes today. She uses baking soda with a little vanilla (for scent) in the wash water and vinegar in the rinse water instead of commercial laundry detergent. She gathered some rose petals today to try to add rose scent to the clothes when she washes them. We have a daughter who makes soap and dried rose petals make the soap smell very nice. We’ll post how well it works when we’re finished. I thinned out some trees and brush where the water tank is going to go. We were given a large tank by a neighbor. I’m going to set it up on stilts near the garden for water storage. By elevating it I hope to have enough water pressure to use a hose with it. I’ll post pictures when the project is completed. We got rained out in the afternoon when a thunderstorm moved through. Lots of lightning, wind and heavy rain but no damage to anything. We cut up some more rhubarb to dehydrate this evening.

Our son went for a walk this evening and bumped into a cow moose. He heard noise behind him and she was pretty agitated with his presence so she probably had a calf in the woods behind him. He carefully backed away and chose a different route home. Momma moose are not noted for their gentle disposition.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Susan's stirring gravy with one hand and mashing potatoes with the other. When she mentioned that she had both hands tied up she thought I'd come out of my office to help. Instead I came out with the camera!!! He, he, he....

Susan doing some brush trimming and transplanting carrots to a new place in the garden. These are some volunteer carrots on their second year. They will go to seed so we wanted them in the same area because it makes it easier to save the seed from them. Those she's transplanting are a variety we've saved seed from before so we know they'll reproduce true to the original. We are keeping them separate because we have some others going to seed from a different variety we purchased last year and we don't know if they'll reproduce true so we don't want the seed to get mixed.

One of the article I'm working on is an article on splitting firewood. These are some of the pictures. A couple were taken on my big camera and had to be resized down from 9+mb file size to 280 kb for internet use. Sometimes the quality suffers doing this.

Monday, June 21, 2010

More photos;

Some of the squash plants Susan started inside and planted in the garden on Sunday.

I cast some round balls for my 50 and 54 cal. Muzzleloaders Sunday evening while it was raining.

Monday, June 21, 2010

We stopped at Trego for the Fireman’s Ball fundraiser. (Our youngest son is a volunteer fireman.) We had dinner and made a couple of bids on auction items. I bought tickets for the firearms raffle but didn’t win … again! We stayed for the band and dance primarily because a neighbor was playing in the band. It was late when we got home from that.

Sunday we got some things done in the garden. We planted more green beans and corn. Susan transplanted squash plants into the garden. We did some weeding and watering and filled water tanks and barrels. It rained a lot while we were gone so the main water storage tank was full and the grass needs mowed again. While we were gone one of the chickens laid a double yolk egg. Most people have never seen one. You’ll never see one in the grocery store. I took a picture of it with three other eggs for comparison. The big one is the double yolk egg of course. The white one on the end is a store bought egg. (It’s a long story as to why we have store bought egg in the fridge!) The rest were all from our hens.

It rained all day today (Monday). This is one of the wettest springs we’ve had in several years. We worked on some inside projects. I worked on an article, Susan worked on a fiction story she’s writing and on her notes about our time at Dirttime. We’ll post it when she’s finished. Susan made chili since we had the wood stove going all day. After smelling it simmering on the stove all afternoon we were very ready to dig into it this evening.

I used the last of our split wood to fill the wood box today. I’ll have to split more tomorrow. The pile that’s left was cut last fall but it was still a little green and the grain is twisted. We let it season over the winter to make it lighter to work with and easier to split. I have a couple more good firewood trees on the property I can cut if I need to.

Photo Captions

We sometimes use the push planter for planting seeds like peas, beans or corn. It has different plates to use depending upon what you’re planting. This is where we planted the corn Sunday. With our climate corn is a real “iffy” crop but we still try to grow it. (That’s alfalfa growing on the right side of the picture.) this is the last stack of firewood waiting to be split from last fall. The last chunk of firewood in the wood shed. Our woodshed is a garage tent we bought from Costco several years ago. We put a metal roof on it two years ago. The sides are still okay but the back part tore over the winter last year. We’ll need to replace it before winter. These are the eggs I talked about. The white egg is store bought (size large). The egg to it’s left is one of our smaller eggs. The egg on the far left is double yolked. We get about one a year.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fishing and packing

Photo Captions: Murphy Lake; Bryan (oldest son) and bass; filling water barrel; packing for DIRTTIME!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More company… I changed the oil and filter in the car. Susan cleaned it out and we got ready to do some packing for Dirttime. Our oldest son came up with a load of compost and his boat. We unloaded the compost and went fishing. Youngest daughter came up in the afternoon. The weather was intermittent rain and cold all day. The fishing was good. Lots of fish biting but not many large enough to keep. We went to Murphy Lake. They have some good sized Pike and bass in it but we only caught one bass and no Pike. Lots of perch and sunfish. Murphy is a warm water lake and takes an extra license stamp to fish in it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Needed to go into Eureka to take care of some business then spent the day packing and taking care of the garden. We filled the water reservoir above the sink and the barrel in the house. then took the empty jugs into town to refill them on the way home. Went over list of things for youngest son to do while we were gone. Lots of concern for the garden. It’s supposed to get pretty warm and sunny and some of the new plants are at a tender stage in development. Hopefully they’ll do okay while we’re gone.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Photo Captions:

Cat sleeping on one of it‘s toys.
Two of the pies Susan made. (The one not pictured was chocolate.)
Son-in-law, me, David.
Daughter shooting 50 cal. CVA “Hawken.”
Jonathan and fish.
Anna, the youngest of our grandchildren.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We began the day casting ballots in our local primary elections. Our oldest daughter, son-in-law and their kids (4) came for a visit and almost beat us home. After they arrived we shot my self-bow (first and only one I’ve made so far). After that Kevin (son-in-law) and I did some gopher shooting. The gophers were quite cooperative and we went through about 50 rounds before we headed back to the house. (Didn’t get nearly that many ground squirrels!) When we got back to the cabin I got out my 50 cal. CVA Hawken replica and we made some white smoke for awhile. Our oldest grandson made a list of the guns he wanted to shoot and a muzzle loader was on the list so we all took our turns shooting. I went through on full horn of powder before we finished for the evening. When we finished that I fired up the grill and we barbecued hamburgers for supper. Afterwards we started on the pies Susan made.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We went fishing after having pancakes breakfast. It took me about an hour to find the oars for our 12 foot aluminum boat. (They’d fallen behind some things we had stored with them.) We have trolling motor for it (we have a 7.5 hp gas motor also but don’t usually use it on our local lake) but I always take the oars along just in case… It was raining lightly but the fish were biting. Amy paddled around in the kayak while Kevin and I had the boys in the boat. When the boys got bored Amy and I drove them back to the house and Kevin stayed out fishing. After we got back I cleaned the muzzleloader. Kevin came back about two hours later with a pile of fish to filet. We just talked and played with the grandkids the rest of the day. Susan made another pie for us to devour. The kitten was hit with the grandkids and they pretty much wore it out. The boys love gathering eggs so we checked the eggs about every two hours. They have their own chickens at home and carry them around like pets and didn’t know what to do about out setting hen that pecked at them. After they went back home in the early evening Susan and I watered the garden and refilled the storage tanks in the garden. The bean sprouts we planted are doing great.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More work in the garden. Planting bean sprouts. Putting new plastic on the hoop house. New beans in hoop house. New beans planted in this plot in the garden. On the left end sprouts were planted and covered with a floating row cover. The center part is covered in plastic. I planted bean seeds there. The plastic will keep the ground warm so the seed will sprout better. The floating row cover is permeable so the plants can breathe and rain can filter through yet it protects them from frost and keeps the ground warm. We've usd it the last few years with remarkable success.

Photo Captions;
These are potatoes we've dehydrated. One is sliced, the other mashed. Both were cooked first so all we need to do is add hot water and spices to taste. The sliced potatoes may be cooked as scalloped potatoes or fried once rehydrated. The jar of dehydrated mashed potatoes were about 4 to 5 cups of fresh mashed potatoes before drying them. The slicer makes the pieces more uniform which makes them easier to dehydrate. All potatoes were from last year's crop and stored in the root cellar.

Photo Captions:

Susan crumbling dehydrated squash into the jar. This jar contains one complete squash. We labeled it "pumkin" so that if the grandkids are up and we make pie they'll htink it is pumpkin pie. You really can't tell difference once it's cooked.

The cat is standing guard on the porch entrance but I think it may have met it's match with the chicken.

The cooked (and partially eaten) rhubarb/coffee cake. Very, very good!