Sunday, October 31, 2010

27 - 30 October, 2010 Monsoon Season???

Susan got the rest of the chicken food (all 350 lbs. of it) in plastic buckets and stored in various places.  On Wed. Susan made chili, cornbread and dinner rolls for supper.  On Thursday evening it was chicken mixed with gravy and poured over mashed potatoes. Friday we had barbequed hamburgers with home made buns and french fried potatoes. Saturday Susan made cream of potatoe soup using potatoes, turnips, and jerusalem artichokes.  We try to use food we produce at home for most of our meals. 
The weather has been drizzly rain all week long so it's been difficult to get much done outside.  I've been writing and working on the Uhaul and hunting at time and weather permits.  Trapping season opens tomorrow so I've spent a little time getting stuff ready for that too.

Susan made dinner rolls and we were out of bread so one morning I made French toast using dinner rolls.  It came out pretty good.

We've been shelling dried beans as we have time.  These were grown from the seedlings we started indors and transplanted into the garden last spring.

Dried rutabaga, turnip, beet and carrot tops for  use as goat food.

Carrot and potato peelings being dried for goat food.

The cat was feeling "outdoorsey" so it decided to sleep next to my web gear and magazines.

Tomato, parsley, pepper, basil growing in pots on a south facing window.  The tomato was started from a branch trimmed off of another plant.  (Thanks for the idea John and Denise!)

Dried lemon balm.  It makes the best tea (especially mixed with a little honey!).

This is what you do when it's 16 miles round trip over bad roads to the nearest store -- about an hour and 15 minutes of driving time -- when you don't have any miniature marshmallows at home.  You cut up some rgular size marshmallows.

Home made hamburger buns.   Much better than store bought.

French fries using potatoes from the garden.

Susan going through some of the wheat we grew last summer.  The next step was to take it outside and winnow it so the wind could blow away the chaff.

Monday, October 25, 2010

23-26 October, 2010 Big game Rifle Season begins.

The rifle season for big game opened here on Saturday. We didn't hear a lot of success stories. The weather was cloudy and drizzly all day. I went out on a couple of forays into the woods around here and walked probably five miles total. I had the scope on five does but the season is bucks only this year so I didn't fill my tag. In previous years you could shoot does the first week and last weekend but the predator population has grown considerably the last few years. Wolves seem to be the biggest problem. They were introduced in Yellowstone National Park over the objections of the majority of Montanans and have spread like lice throughout Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. They've far exceeded the target population needed to sustain viable populations but the animal rights wackos keep fighting delisting in the courts. So we're stuck with a species that took years to eradicate and few people in the state want. This is just one more intrusion into our way of life by people who don't live here but desire to control what we can and cannot do. To say that there's a lot of anti-federal government animosity in the state would be a severe understatement! One of the side effects has been that big game populations have been decreased and movement patterns have been changed as elk, moose, deer, coyotes, and mountain lions have all been displaced because of the impact of wolves. Many of us here depend upon big game for our annual meat supply and the wolves and their advocates are not appreciated.

Susan spent Saturday in Kalispell at a birthday party for our second youngest grandchild and puicked up more stuff to finish the Uhaul. She went to a salvage yard and bought a door for the Uhaul and loaded it on the roof rack.  She went to the farm supply store and bought our winter's supply of chicken feed while it was on sale.  We decided to use 3-way for most of the winter when they don't lay many eggs anyway then go back to Layer feed in the spring.  The Layer cost about 25 percent more than 3-way.

Sunday it rained steadily most of the day. Susan made waffles for breakfast. Afterwards WE got out some clothes crates and I switched out my summer clothes for the winter wardrobe (although in northwestern Montana there isn't a lot of difference between the two!). Susan went thorough a couple of sewing crates to take inventory of and consolidate her sewing supplies. I went out for awhile in the late afternoon (it quit raining about 3:30) but didn't see anything legal to shoot. I worked on the article for Dirttime in the evening.

Monday I spent most of the day hunting. It was cloudy with light drizzle for the most part. Saw grouse and more does. Buck sign is sparse this year which doesn't make a lof of sense. You'd think the sexes would have close to an equal ratio of bucks/does. I've only found one rub on one very spindly tree. That's way below normal. Not as many deer beds as normal either. Bear sign seems to be about right though which may also explain the lower number of deer. Bears can be hard on the fawn crop but at least we can hunt them.  Susan had most of the day to herself and finished up storing some dried stuff and other odds-n-ends. She made pizza for suppee. It was fantastic and better than any store bought piza we've ever had. We watched a couple more episodes of CSI on the DVD in the evening.

Tuesday was another disaster weatherwise. We got some snow in the morning but not enough to stick on the ground. Snow makes the hunting much easier. First you can see more tracks and second you can see the deer easier. Most of my hunting is in the woods and it's difficult to see the deer before they see you. Snow makes spotting the deer much easier. We went to Eureka to wash my laundry and see about buying half of a hog from the butcher. It turned out that the add he ran a couple of weeks ago was a short term thing and he didn't have any to sell now. We went to the grocery store and bought some pork roast for supper. Susan cooked it in a large skillet on the stove with potatoes, turnips and carrots. It was great! We ran into several people we hadn't seen for awhile and by the time we got done yacking and went to the thrift store it was almost dark when we got home. I fed the buffalo on the way into town and they'd almost eaten the entire bale by the time we got back. I'm beginning to think they're too lazy to go look for food in the pasture. We got a couple of Netflix movies in the mail so we watched one of them on the evening.

A hill top near the cabin.  The view is out over Marl Lake with the mountains off in the distance.  There's some fog in a couple of the valleys before the highest ridge.

A stump pulled apart by a bear looking for vittles.

Monday morning - snow on the mountain tops to the east.

Tuesday morning - snow at home.  Unfortunately it didn't stay!

The cat helping Susan with her sewing stuff.

Sunday morning - a bored Steven tormenting the cat while it sleeps.

The cat had it's head under the lamp and we took it's picture.  REminded us of the hair cutting machine Dick Van Dyke had in Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.

The back door fo the Uhaul.  The screen needs replaced and the outside needs cleaned up and painted but the price was right and it fits the opening.  (We only have a 71 inch max height for the door.)

Susan took the paper off the windows on the Uhaul.

Ahh!  Cookies!

Sorting sewing stuff ... uhm, where's the cat?

We always laugh about the sign saying "Main Post Office."  We have a saloon, an antique store, grade school and a church in town.  How many post offices does anyone think we have anyway?

They had a fire at the bank last week.

They're routing their customers to the other two financial instituions in town while they put together temporary housing for the bank.

Our winter supply of chicken food will go into plastic buckets and be stored.  We don't have to worry about mice getting into them that way.

Friday, October 22, 2010

21 - 22 October, 2010 Shootin' - n - Sewing

We did more work on the Uhaul.  Susan got the rest of the box painted.  We had a bunch of problems with the paint sprayer.  I finally firgured out that a rod that fit inside a plastic piston was coming loose.  I tried a dab of super glue to the rod and it worked.  Of course I had the stupid thing apart about a dozen times before I figured it out.  Susan washed clothes and we sorted the last of the potatoes and put them in the root cellar.

The big game rifle season begins tomorrow.  I checked the zero on a couple of rifles and did a little reloading.  I'm having some problems with one rifle.  I may have to start a thread on it to see if anyone has any ideas about what's going on.  Susan made a dress for our second youngest grandaughter for her first birthday.  It's very cute.  She dug up the Jerusalem artichokes in the garden then we brought all the sheets and blankets in for storage over the winter.

This is one of the grids for the ceiling in the Uhaul.

Susan got the rest of the box painted.

Wash day!

Susan's deciding which color touse on the dress.  It will go around the seam on the waist.

The finished product!

Digging the artichoke roots.

This is our first time growing these.  They did well but aren't nearly as productive per square foot as potatoes, rutabagas or turnips.  We're going to plant more next year and get them started earlier.

The Jerusale Artichoke bed ready for witner.

I moved the goatling to a new area today.  Looks like he found plenty to eat.  I'm starting to wonder if they have pouches (like the cheek pouches on a gerbil) instead of a stomach.

We've been discussing reloading on one of the threads so I thought I'd bring up some of my saved brass to illustrate what you don't want to see when reloading.  These all show symptoms of case head separation.  The one on the left pulled apart enough to leak gas from firing.  The second from left has a small crack but no gas leakage.  The third from the left has a line aournd the case showing where the brass is thinnning from being pulled apart.  If it's reloaded and fired again it will crack like the first two.  The case on the right side is unusual in that the case is separating near the mid-point (see the line?).  It's the only one I've ever seen do that and I've been reloading ammo for close to forty years.

This is a case that split along the center.  It should never have been reloaded.  I picked it up from the ground where someone left it.  It was dinged up pretty bad and I wanted to see if firing it would iron out the dents.  It didn't as you can see.

This is the neck of the previous cartridge case.  This is what a split neck looks like.  In all of the above instances the cases have been reloaded too many times.

Here the primers have been flattened and the centers blown out because of high pressures.  If you have this happen with reloaded ammo immediately back off on the powder.  If you still have problems take the rifle to a gunsmith.  In this case I suspect I have a head space problem with the rifle rather than a reloading problem.  These were mild loads according to the manuals I used and they show absolutely no signs of high pressure in my other rifle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

18-20 October, 2010 - Carrots and Pizza

We've been busy putting the garden to bed.  We've got all the beets, turnips and rutabagas dug so the only thing we have left out there are the Jerusalem Artichokes.  The rutabagas did well, the potato crop was disappointing (last year we planted less but harvested more), and the carrots did fantastic.

The last patch of carrots from the garden.  These still need to have the tops cut off, sorted and stored.

These are from our original carrot patch.  We left a few in the ground after the first year and let them go to seed the second year.  Everything that has come up in the last four years are "volunteer carrots" from the original seed. 

We sorted five buckets of these this morning.  One box of small carrots and multiple leg carrots to be used first, another for the large carrots for long term storage in the root cellar.  The green tops will be dried and used as goat food.

Susan cutting the tops off and sorting them for the root cellar.

Our daughter gave us some apples from their trees.  Susan made a pie out of the first batch.

I decided to clean the ashes out of the wood stove while it was cooled down during the day.  We've been using it in the mornings and evenings now that the weather has turned colder

The cat inspecting my work.

The chickens were absolutely sure there was food in the empty ash pan.

The goat's getting his winter coat and has managed to grow a goatee during the summer.

Susan decided to make chicken and dumplings for supper.  Of course this is a rabbit but we didn't tell Tristan.  He thought he was having chicken with his dumpling.

We didn't tell him that when he thought he was eating "potatoes" he was also eating rutabagas and turnips.

We had a warm afternoon and Susan found the paint sprayer so she got started painting the Uhaul.

I've started on the ceiling now.  When I finish it I'll do the front wall next then I'll build the back wall and door.  After that it'll be time to put in the insulation and paneling.  The dog was hoping Susan had some dog treats instead of just a camera.

Susan getting our last jar of pizza sausage from the root cellar.  We raised and butchered two hogs a couple of years ago.  She made breakfast sausage and pizza sausage out of part of the meat.  Both were good but the pizza sausage is the best we've ever had.

Dinner tonight!