Wednesday, November 24, 2010

22 November 2010 Hunting success ...

The weather's been a bit on the cold side the last few days so I've been a  little negligent about getting out to hunt.  (Got some writig done though.)  It was -6F today but the wind was calm so I headed out into the woods again to see about filling my deer tag.  I saw three does in the first loop but does aren't in season this year (of course most of the deer I've seen are does.  I've seen two bucks since the start of the season and probably about 25 does or fawns.  I didn't have my rifle with me when I saw one buck (I was coming back from checking traps) and didn't get a shot at another one as he ran through the woods. 

I got one today but it had some challenges too.  I had four misfires before I got a round to go off.  The only thing I can think of is that the gun oil thickened enough in the below zero air that the firing pin wasn't striking the primers hard enough.  Every time the buck would take off I'd give a couple of grunts on the grunt tube and the dumb fool would circle back around.  He did it one too many times and is now hanging in the shed.  It was about a fifty yard shot in the woods.  I had to shoot between trees to put the bullet where I wanted it.  I always shoot for the heart on deer as that ruins the least meat.  (A real consideration when you're shooting a 338 Win. Mag.)  He still went about fifty yards before piling up dead.  He was spraying blood and pieces of lung and heart all the way and bounced off a couple of trees there towards the end.  I've never had one go that far after a heart shot.

Tristan, our youngest son, went hunting with friends and got a spike buck today also so we'll be firing up the canners.  I didn't get mine skinned today so it will be frozen tomorrow and a real pain to get the hide off it.  Both bucks were in prime condition with plenty of fat on them.

Tristan's deer.  I guess we can't tease him about his becoming a vegetarian now that he brought some meat home!

I got this one about an hour later.  It was west of the house on timber company land.  It was a real chore getting it home.  We had to drag it through the woods quite a ways.

Me, after a couple of hours outside on a day when the high was +4F.  The wool coat I modified is great!

Monday, November 22, 2010

21 November, 2010 Cold and more snow...

The snow keeps coming down although the total accumulations aren't much.  We've had a cold front move in so the last couple of days the temperature has been about 20 degrees (f) for the high and it's been down to around 6 degrees in the mornings.  It's supposed to keep getting colder the first part of the week and warm up into the 30's by the weekend.  (That's as of last night's forecast.)

Every morning (and sometimes during the day if it's snowing heavily) we go out and brush the snow off the solar panels.  We use a soft bristle broom with a handle extension.

The garden blanketed in snow.

The unused hammock...

The marsh in winter.

You know how some people always have it together and get things done ahead of time?  They aren't talking about me.  First snow of the year?  It's time to put the snow tires on.

This is my Harbor Frieght Tools tire mount/dismount tool I bought a coulple of years ago.  Here I'm breaking the bead loose.

You roll the tire off the rim one side at a time then reverse the procedure to put the new tire on.  It's usually pretty simple and the tool works good for tires up to fifteen inch.

I seated the bead and inflated the tire in the wheel barrow to keep it out of the snow.  Next I'll put it on the car and go to the next one.  I was going to replace the front drive axle U-joints but when I got the front tires off I found out the ball joints are beginning to get loose too.  Since I have to disassemble the front end almost to the same point to put ball joints in as to replace the front U-joints I decided to to do them both later.  I think I can use our son's heated shop and do it there.  He has my ball joint press at his house too.

We took the time indoors to do a few projects.  Here I'm repairing some wool pants I use when tromping around in the snow.

We bought a couple of used wool coats at the thrift store last time we were in Kalispell. I didn't like either one by themselves so I bought them both and am making one coat out of the two.  When I'm finished I'll have a decent wool coat for less than $15.00.

Susan is making soem things to sell at the Christmas Bazaar in Eureka.  Our son had his generator running so she took advantage of the electricity to do some sewing.

The two pictures above are some of the things she's making to sell.  She has some other, nonChristmas,
 material she's going to be using also. 

The buffalo still think they should be fed as do the chickens, cat, dog and goat.

Susan is emptying the last rain collection (half) barrel.  It will be dumped in the kettle and boiled then added to the dish/wash water.

When we have snow we melt it on the wood stove for water.  

After the snow water is brought to a boil we pour it from the kettle to the storage barrel.

We use a coffee filter to filter out the debris.  No matter how clean the snow looks there'll still be bits of lichen and moss from the trees and often a little soot from the chimney.  The funnel is for canning and has an extension at the bottom.  We sandwich a coffee filter between the tow halves.  If you put it off center you can get several uses out of one filter.  Simply rotate the filter to a clean spot for each use.

And of course, cold weather and snow is also gives you a good excuse to relax and do some reading.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

17 November, 2010 Snow!!!!

Finally got enough snow to conver the ground well.  I've been out hunting much of the day for the last couple of days.  I've seen does but only one buck and he was going full speed away from me.  I carry a grunt tube and if I blew it he would have stopped but the trees were pretty thick and I thought he might have a bunch of them between us when he stopped.  There was a clearing ahead I thought he'd cros so I took out after him but he turned before the clearing and I never caught up with him again for a shot.  If you give a quick call on a grunt tube when you jump a deer it will stop for a few seconds.  The problem is that it only works once so if they stop with a tree (or trees) between you then start moving off again they won't stop again if you blow the call.  This was a decent buck and I didn't want to educate him when the chances of geting a shot were slim even if he did stop.

The view from our window this morning.  There's between 1-2 inches of snow on the ground.  When I went out hunting today I took a break to build a fire.  Not so much to get warm as it was for practice reasons.  The snow has everything wet so I had to shave the outer part of some sticks to get to dry wood then I made a pile of shavings for tinder to get the fire hot enough to dry the wood as it was put on.

I'm assuming that this is some type of fungi on this dead Birch limb.

Ran across some tracks in the now that I believe are fox tracks.  I haven't got my books out to check though.  They are much smaller than coyote tracks but the claws are clearly visible so that rules out anything in the cat family.  There were two of them travelling together.

A closer view.

Bobcat track.  The trapping season for bobcats opens Dec. first.

I ordered more stretchers and traps last week and here they are.  That's $100.00 in that box.

We've been dehydrating tomatoes as they ripen.  The first pan was in the last blog a few days ago.  I took the bottom photo just before posting today.

The spaghetti squash by the blue plate is left over from last year's harvest.  Susan found three more of them recently.  It's still good even though it's been stored for over a year now.  The squash chunks will be boiled.  When they're done Susan will cut the skin away and can or dry the squash for later use.

Seeds from the squash.  We saved some for planting next year and will roast the rest of them for snacks.

Susan is threshing wheat by hand in front of the wood stove.

We bought some cooking oil on sale so we'll preserve it for long term storage.  Susan vacuum packed the bottle after we wapped it with old newspaper to keep light out.

We're doing the same thing here only the bottles are smaller.

The oil was put in the bucket with some other things for storage.  We've never stored cooking oil this way before so we'll open one of the bottles in a year to see if it has gone rancid.

When the weather is bad outside we often wash clothes in a five gallon bucket in teh shower.

I'm sewing a tear in my internal frame back pack

I get my exercise outside trapping and hunting in inclement weather.  Susan uses her stair stepper to keep in shape over the winter.

Friday, November 12, 2010

9-12 November, 2010 Clear, Overcast, Wet, Dry, Snow and Rain ...

Went to Kalispell for the day on Wednesday.  Picked up a few things for the Uhaul.  We found a used countertop at the habitat for humanity store.  We'll use part for a counter top and part for a table top in the Uhaul.  I pulled my traps from the lake on Thursday.  It's beginning to ice over and I didn't want a repeat of last year of chopping through the ice to get to the traps.  We checked out another lake on the way to Kalsipell and may camp there for a week or so and trap on it.  It's larger with bigger waves so it should stay open longer.   It had several muskrat houses visible and a decent but deserted campground.  The fishing is good there too and there's a couple of good hunting spots there as well.

I saw a deer swimming in the lake Thursday when I pulled my traps and was paddling back to the landing.  It was on the cattail marsh between the lagoon and the main lake.  It jumped into the water and swam across the lagoon and got out at the boat landing.  On the way home from the lake I saw a nice buck whitetail at the crossroads.  All I had with me was my 22 pistol.  Not my idea of a good deer getter.

We went to Eureka to get some car parts and other things today.  I need U-joints for both front axles.  They had the more expensive ones in stock but we had then order the cheaper brand and we'll pick them up Monday.  We had a little snow on the ground this morning but it all melted off by noon.  When we got home we had a message from the UPS guy.  My traps are in.  They'll drop them off at the Post Office tomorrow.  UPS won't drive up our road.  They have an arrangement with the post office to drop packages off there for local delivery otherwise they call us to arrange for a time to meet them down at the pavement.  Only FedEx delivers up our road!

Susan is making gravy for biscuits and gravy.  The jar on the microwave has sausage patties she canned when we butchered our hogs a couple of years ago.

We pour our bas of rice into plastic buckets for long term, rodent proof storage.

As the tomatoes ripen we slice and dehydrate them.

Our onions have never kept well so we dehydrate them for long term storage.

These two pictures were taken on the way to look over the lake I mentioned in the first paragraph.

This is the river that feeds the lake.

The campground has poles with ropes and pulleys so that people camping in tents who don't have a vehicle to store food in can raise their food up to where the bears can't reach it.  This is grizzly country.

A scrape below my tree stand.  This is an annual occurrance here.  There have been scrapes here every year for the seven years we've lived here.  Several trails intersect about 10 feet to the left of the photo.

One of the open areas to the north of my tree stand.

Monday, November 8, 2010

6-8 November 2010 Beaver skinning

Susan's been transplanting raspberries from the garden to various locations on the property.  We did a bunch of plants last pring and are doing more this fall.  They keep spreading into areas we don't want them to be in the garden.  Hopefully they'll do well outside the garden.  Other than that it's been business as usual.  The routine stuff is to take the goat and tether him out every day for a few hours to eat.  I have to keep finding new places to tie him out.  The chickens are fed in the morning and in the afternoon the eggs are gathered and we let them out to roam and find insects and seeds to eat.  We take the Cherokee and canoe down to the lake every day to check traps.  The catch is taken to the shack where I wipe the water off them with paper towels and hang them to dry overnight.  In the mornings I fire up the barrel stove in the shack and warm it up and skin and place the previous day's catch on fur stretchers.  I leave the stove burning all day to dry the pelts.  The dog and cat are fed twice a day.  We go for  a three mile walk almost every day usually feeding the buffalo at that time.

When you prepare meals from scratch every day there are always dishes, pots and pans getting used.  We save them up until we have a load then wash them. (About every third day.)  It conserves water that way.  We keep a kettle of water on the wood stove to have hot water when we need it and also to add humidity to the air.  We've had plenty of rain so we use rain water in the kettle for bathing and washing dishes.  It's always brought to a boil while on the wood stove so we don't worry about any critters growing in it that might cause problems for us.

That's our daily routine.  Other projects are in addition to that.

Some of the raspberry plants Susan transplanted.

The goatling doing his best to eat everything he can reach.

Susan drained the puddles on the road coming in to our cabin.  This is just one of them along the mile she walked.

Some of the muskrat pelts drying on the stretchers.  I drive nails into the ceiling joists and hang the pelts high to dry.  I ordered more stretchers and traps today.  Total came to just under $100.00.

The beaver and muskrat hanging to dry overnight.  When I bring them in from the lake they're soaking wet so I dry them the best I can using paper towels then let them hang overnight to dry the rest of the way.  I hang the paper towels to dry them and re-use them again (and again and again and again ...).

The beaver pelt fleshed and stretched.  The measurement is 48 inches ... about medium size according to the books I have.  This is the first one I've ever done and it took me three hours.  I need to do a little touch-up in places but it's mostly done.  I can't imagine trapping them on purpose unless they were bringing a bunch of money.

Tristan and I taking the doors off the Uhaul.  The center pin on this hinge is siezed up so we unbolted the door from the hinge instead of just removing the pins.

Me putting screws into the cieling panels.  We decided t use masonite sheeting instead of panelling sonce we are going to paint it white anyway.

Breaksfast in the skillet and supper in the cast iron pot.  I had to take off the kettle of water to make room.

Susan painting the ceiling of the Uhaul.  Tomorrow we can do the panelling on the walls.

I went out for an hour loking for deer after checking traps this afternoon.  Didn't find any.