Friday, December 10, 2010

10 December 2010 Empty traps and rain

Been a busy week.  Most days are routine.  Around mid-morning I take off to checkmy traps.  I only have a half dozen sets since I do this line on snowshoes.  The snow (and weather) has been warmer the last few days so snowshoeing has it's problems.  When the snow is warm the snow gets stuck in the snowshoe webbing and the ends of the harness straps.  Soon every time you take a step you're getting hit by a golf to tennis ball size of ice.  Gets annoying after awhile.  Sometimes it will swing around and land under your foot when you take a step.  That gets annoying too.  If I can get it against a stick or tree trunk I hit it with the pole end of the hatchet to break it up.  Otherwise I have to take the shoes off to break it against something. 

This time of year we get most of our water by melting snow.  With dry snow that takes awhile.  We have one kettle on the wood stove most of the time and sometimes add another of equal size (5 gallons) when we're melting snow.  It works best if you leave about a gallon of water in the kettle then add snow until the kettle is full.  We let that melt and keep adding snow until we have a kettle full of water.  We bring it to a boil to purify it.  After that we pour it into the barrel that feeds the tank over the sink.  When we pour it into the barrel we filter it using a funnel and coffee filter (shown on previous posts).

This is how I put together some of the cubbies I use when setting traps for bobcats.  I start with an "A" frame, lean-to like you'd use for a debris shelter.  After making a "skeleton" I add branches over it then pile snow on it.  I usually tie the bait to the ridgepole before adding the framework.

The snow is piled on here and I'm ready to set the trap and feathers.

The trap is set slightly off-set in the entrance.  I put a trap cover made out of waxed paper over the pan and under the jaws to keep the jaws from freezing down and the snow from filing in under the pan.

After sifting snow over the trap (I use a snowshoe and let the snow sift through the webbing) I place guide sticks so the critter will place it's foot on the trap pan.  My biggest enemy is the weather.  A warm spell can turn the snow to ice and then an animal has to jump on the pan to trip the trap.  The cubbie helps keep new snow off the trap.  I tie some feathers to a string to provide a visual attractant.  I use a heavy thread so that the gentlest breeze will make the feathers move.  Ideally a cat coming by will see the movement then be drawn to the bait inside. 

This is one of my sets this morning.  I think I either had a small wolf or large coyote in it.  The tracks leading up to it were bigger than my dog's tracks but not as large as a full grown wolf.  Whatever it was it put up an epic struggle before it pulled out of the trap.  The photo only shows part of the damage.  To the left of the photo the ground was torn up like someone had used a roto-tiller on it.  The trap is a #3 double long spring which should have held a coyote but wouldn't be enough for a wolf.  I haven't seen any cat tracks there for over two weeks now so I was going to pull the traps and move to a new area tomorrow anyway.  I sure would have liked to see what was in the trap though.  What little bit of hair that was in the trap looked more like a wolf than a coyote.

This is some of the material Susan is using for the hot-pads she's selling after Christmas. 

This is a typical afternoon or evening.  Susan working on her sewing while I'm on the computer writing.

We have three rubber bowls we use to give water to the goat.  I'll stomp one full of snow and set it by the wood stove to melt.  When it melts I take it to the goat and fill the one he drank dry with snow and set it beside the stove to melt.  We use the third on for the dog and/or chickens.  The chickens seem to get enough water from the snow when they're eating the feed we scatter.  At least they never drink any of the water we set out in winter. 

Susan had a flashlight in her mouth to illuminate the music as she played.  The camera's flash overpowered the light from the flashlight.

We bought the ham but the eggs are some tat Susan dehydrated during the summer and the spuds are from the garden.

The biscuits are for supper and breakfast.  The pie is from peaches Susan canned.  In the center are peanut butter cookies fresh out of the oven and in the skillet on the right is our supper (stir fry).

Some of the icecycles hanging from the roof.

Susan spoiling our youngest grandchild this afternoon.

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