Saturday, December 18, 2010

18 December, 2010 Three below zero (F) this morning.

It feels cold after our balmy weather in the 30's and 40's. The snow that got rained on and turned to slush so that when you drove on it the tires dug trenches is now frozen solid and become like upside down railroad tracks. When you fall into the ruts you can let go of your steering wheel for the next mile or so.

Been a busy week but not outside busy.  I've been doing a lot of writing this week.  I need to get one article in particular finished and submitted.  One thing about writing magazine articles is the lag time.  For print publications you need to be working six months to a year ahead on seasonal articles.  This one is about gardening which means I need to work from pictures taken last summer.  It makes it harder to get in the "spirit" writing about warm weather subjects when the temperature outside is below zero and everything is buried in snow!  I try to plan things out well ahead so I at least have the photos on hand.

Susan spent a couple of days in town with our youngest grandchild and his parents and also spent time with the other grandchildren and kids. I kept the fort at home here. In winter we have things that need to be done every day. We feed the buffalo (one mile round trip walking), feed our own critters (dog, cat, goat and chickens) and give them fresh water, bring in firewood and of course, meal preparation which we share. We also melt snow for water (as needed) in the two kettle on the wood stove. We leave a couple inches of water in the bottom of the kettle, get the water boiling hot then add snow. Depending ujpon how wet the snow is it might take anywhere from three to eight buckets of snow to fill each kettle. We then bring them to a boil again before using a half-gallon pitcher to dip the water out of the kettle and into the funnel and strainer on the water barrel. It can be time consuming. The other morning I had to wash dishes, melt enough snow to fill the barrel (about 15 gallons of water), and feed and water the critters. It took about four hours total. Fortunately it was a balmy 25 degrees outside.

Susan is pulverizing our home dehydrated eggs.  We'll add hot water and make French Toast with them.

It tastes as good as fresh eggs.  The bread is home made also.

Susan's making cloth Christmas ornaments for grandkids.  She cuts them out using the favorite colors of each kid for their ornament.  Then sews and stuffs them and sews loops to hang them on the tree.

This is what they look like when finished.

This is my home-made snow rake in action.  It's a ten foot section of 1 1/4 PVC pipe screwed into an adapter that's bolted to the 1/2 in. X 4 in. X 4 ft. board.  It costs a bunch less than a commercial rake and works just as well.  I can add more 1 1/4 pipe if I need to reach farther.  We don't usually have to rake this section but we had about a foot of snow then rain for a couple of days so I thought I'd get some of the snow load off in case it turned cold again.

This is our coffee maker.  It can be used as a percolator on the stove or you can dump hot water through it to make it like a "drip" type coffee maker.  We use it the second way.  We use coffee filters in the bttom chamber but it will work okay without them.  You put in the filter and add the correct amount of coffee.

Then put the bottom part on the canister (it has a groove to lock it in place).

You then set the works inside the coffee pot and dump the correct amount of hot water into the top chamber.  When the water has all drained through it's ready.  We got this froma couple who were "downsizing" and have never seen one like it anywhere else.

We went into town to help get the food bank set up to give away their Christmas "baskets."  The food is portioned out according to how many they have in the family.  Numbers varied from one up to seven in the families.  We've also helped cut, split and stack firewood on several occassions and helped pack and distribute Christmas and Thanksgiving food baskets and helped a few times on regular distribution days.  You meet some interesting people helping there. 

We stopped to fill a few water jugs on the way home.  Only three since we've been melting snow and didn't use much out of the jugs.

Susan had some requests for camo. hotpads so she's putting together an order for them.

She also had an order for pan handle covers.  This is one of the prototypes we're testing.

And back by popular demand ......... the cat!

"My toes are freezing! Hello, anyone there? I'm ready to come back in now!"

"Oh sure, they think this is cute and they're taking pictures,
but who's going to help put my hips back in their sockets?

"If I just had opposable thumbs I could hold a book and a latte!"

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