Sunday, September 5, 2010

5 September, 2010 firewood, wheat harvest, chainsaws, and rain

It's a good day to catch up on the blog!  Cloudy and cold outside with intermittent rain and hail.


This is one of the areas where I'm cutting firewood.  It's been logged but there's still a lot of stuff left on the ground.  About half of what I'm cutting is green so we'll put it in the back of the wood shed to season until we need it.  Generally once it's cut into firewood length it will be dry enough to burn in 3 to 4 months. I usually cut about a pickup load a day.  It can take me anywhere from four to six hours to drive there, cut and load the pickup and return home.  Most of it depends on how easy the wood was to get to.  What is best is a large dead Larch or Fir tree that you can drop on the road.  Unfortunately, everyone is looking for those so they're not that easy to find. 

Tristan went with me Saturday to cut wood.  While out we stopped at this cave.  It's along an old logging road that was closed off but is now open while they log the area.  The cavern where he's standing is about 8 X 10 feet long/wide and would probably be about six feet to the roof if it was cleaned out.  Packrats have made it their home at times so it smells bad and has a lot of small branches, pine cones and assorted trash in it.

This is the inside of our wood shed after we put the last load in it.  We're not quite half full yet.  The wood in there now is mostly green although there's some seasoned wood in it.  We usually split it before storing it but green wood is difficult to split so this will have to wait until it's dry and we get ready to use it.  The wheel barrow in the foreground has alfalfa in it.  We still need to tie it into a bale to store until we need it.

Our outside pile of wood waiting to be split is growing too.  The dry wood is being thrown here and will be split and stacked in the front half of the wood shed where it will be used first.

I've had my share of problems with the chainsaws this fall.  The coil went bad on the Stihl (my primary saw).  I called the local saw shop and they wanted $110.00 for it and it would be almost a week to get it.  I checked on Ebay and found a new one for $40.99 and they paid shipping.  It will be here in about a week too so the Stihl is downf or repairs.  I took our 18 in. Homelite out next.  It cuts fine but is slower and the bar is 6 inches shorter than the Stihl.  I went to replace the chain and found out that the new chains we bought for it don't fit.  So ... since I'm not going into town just to buy a new chain ... I began using the old Craftsman saw.  It was made by Homelite and cuts well but uses more gas and oil than the new Homelite.  Both have 18 inch bars but the chains we bought will fit the Craftsman saw so I can replace the chain as needed.  Tristan and I took it out Saturday and about half way into a full load on the truck it began having problems starting.  Once you got it running it was fine but if you shut it off for a couple of minutes it didn't want to start again.  It acted like a fuel restriction somewhere but as I fiddled with it I came to the conclusion is has an air leak in the fuel line.  Tristan was using my MiniMac with the 14 inch bar to trim limbs.   When it gets hot it won't start.  Probably a bad coil but the part costs more than the saw is worth so I usually use it for little trim jobs at home.  I took it along in case the bigger saw got pinched so I could use it to relieve the pressure to release the big saw.  We had about 3/4 of a load and both saws were acting up so We headed for home before I threw both saws off a cliff somewhere.  Looks like we'll be going into town soon for fuel line and saw chain.

This is one of the second year carrots that have gone to seed.

We've had a couple of hard frosts this week.  Even though we covered everything except the carrots, strawberries and raspberries the frost burned the tops of our tomatoes, squash (pictured here), beans and corn.

Our corn isn't doing well (which isn't unusual this far north and this high in elevation) but we've let it grow so we can cut it up for fodder for the goat.  We have squash planted in there too.  The cold season stuff is doing great.

We'll get some apples from our apple trees this year.  The top one is doing well.  A rabbit girdled the other trees during the winter while we were gone down south.  The top tree had very little damage from the rabbit.  The bottom one was badly chewed up but still had a few apples on it.  The other trees are in worse shape with one being dead as the proverbial doornail.

Our raspberry bushes are growing well but producing little.  We had to trim a bunch of the vines out last year because of disease so what you see is mostly vines that grew new this summer.  They won't produce until the second year.  Usually we pick gallons of raspberries not counting those we snack on anytime were near enough to pick a few.

Susan was cutting wheat and took the goatling into the pen with her so it could graze.  It's standing where we had soybeans and peas and sunflowers planted a couple of years ago.  The deer got in one night in the fall and ate all of the peas and beans right down to the ground.  They ate a couple of the sunflowers.  Susan came out and sprayed the remaining sunflowers with pepper spray (the kind you use on bears).  The next morning we saw where the deer had eaten one of the seed heads then spit it out and stomped its feet all over the place.  It was nice to think we caused them at least a little bit of distress for their transgression (of course we put a couple of them into canning jars later during hunting season too).

This is part of the wheat we grew.  There's a little rye mixed in too.  It's all volunteer now.  We planted wheat as an experiment a few years ago just to be sure we could grow it but some of the seed fell to the ground during harvest and it came up the next year .... and again the next year ... and again ... well, you get the point. Same thing with the rye. 

She clips the tops of the heads off and puts them in a bucket.  Later we'll thresh and winnow out the grain and through the leftovers to the chickens.  They'll scratch around on it and find a little more we missed.  We've used it for people and chicken food.

Susan's digging potatoes.  It's a joy to play in the dirt in the garden now.  It's so soft and crumbly from years of piling on compost.  When we first work it up it's mostly clay and rocks.

Some of the potatoes and a few volunteer carrots that were excavated too.

This is Shepherds Purse Susan dried.  She stripped off the leaves and saved them in a jar for later use.

We made a quick trip into town last night to get the mail, fill gas cans for use in the pickup and chainsaws, dump trash and fill water jugs.  She made sphagetti in the solar cooker yesterday and made dinner rolls to go with it.  Very, very good!

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