Friday, April 29, 2011

27-29 April, 2011 Spring Cleaning

We're in the middle of spring clean-up.

The weather is temperamental to say the least.  The last three days have had intermittent "ice-ball" snowstorms during the day and night.  In the picture above you can see another one coming in from the west...

This is what the little buggers look like when they reach us.  They're just small balls of snow.

I'm going through my scrap wood piles and sorting through what's good and what's not worth saving.  Here I'm taking apart some wooden frames to salvage lumber we can use for other projects.

We salvaged an old rabbit hutch we're no longer using.  Susan is removing sheet metal roofing panels from the top.  I'm getting ready to clean out the old rabbit droppings for use on the garden.  The doors are at the left side of the photo.

The leftovers were added to the burn pile.

We're getting ready to move the chicken house to this location so I'm pulling out some small stumps using a chain and come-along.  I dig down around the stump and cut any roots I can reach.  These are about four inches in diameter.

Susan is pulling a rotten stump to a burn pile in the garden.

I added it to the flames.

Another pile taking shape.

We have strawberries coming up ...

and rhubarb ...

and garlic ...

and bunching onions.

Clearing out rocks to do some roto-tilling.

The piano hinge came loose on my Troy Built Tiller so I pop-riveted it back into place.

I also had to pump up the tires and fill the tank with gasoline before starting it.  It started easily after it's winter of rest.

I thought the ground would be too wet to work but that wasn't the case.  I've owned this tiller for many eyars and it does a great job.  If I ever wear it out I'll buy another one just like it.  Of course their guarantee is that you can take the motor and wheels off and send in the frame and gearbox and they'll rebuild it or replace it for half the cost of a new unit at any time the owner wants to do so.

Susan planted the Jerusalem Artichokes.

And planted the first 49 hills of potatoes.  We'll plant more potatoes and peas next.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

19-26 April, 2011 Coyote Calling and Home Again

 We headed home on Wednesday.  It took awhile to get loaded up because we had to repack the camper with our daughter's stuff and leave room for getting around in the camper when travelling.  We were in a bad spot to get out of as well.  We ended up taking the camper and trailer out to solid ground with the kayaks loaded on the trailer then we rode the bicycles and motorcycle out to load them on the trailer.  Since we were going so far I had to make sure the trailer was packed tightly for the trip.  We stopped briefly in Overton then headed for Mesquite to spend the night.  From there we made our way home.  It got colder as we went north.  We stopped in Montana late Thursday night and slept in a rest area.  It was about 20 degrees but at least there was no snow to contend with.  We made our way on to Kalispell and home from there.

Tuesday was supposed to be a calm day so Susan and I paddled kayaks across the lake to call in some coyotes.  I took the bow along in case I got a chance at a jack rabbit or two.

We had three coyotes come in at the one stand.  These first two came in after we'd settled in but before calling.  I usually sit still for about ten minutes after arriving at a stand location just to let things calm back down before calling.  These two came during that "quiet time."

You can't see it in this picture but way off at the top of the photo there's a wild burro.

After the first call sequence this one showed up.

This is the center of the above photo so you can see the coyote easier.  They would have all been easy shots with a rifle but I had only the bow with me today.  At no time were they over forty yards away.

Susan on our way back to the beach.  There were lots of wildflowers in bloom along with dozens of lizards out soaking up the sun.

We're on the way back to camp.

This is the little inlet below camp.  Susan spotted Big Bird on the shore.

This is "Big Bird."

Leaving was problematic in the loose sand and gravel.  It took some digging and a couple of rugs and the dog's blanket to get us out.

Waterfalls outside of a casino/hotel in Mesquite.  It's all man-made, of course.

Ah, home at last ... well, almost.  We had to chain up to get up the hill on our road.  There was a big sink-hle ahead and we had to take an alternate route.  We also had to hook a tow strap the back of the Cherokee to help us through one place.

After spending a day at home to rest up we drove back to Kalispell and spent some time seeng children and grandchildren.

The top four are all brothers/sister.

This is Scott ...

Now that we're home we have plenty to do.  We've been spring cleaning, burning brush piles and getting everything in order.  This canoe belonged to Susan's dad.  After he died she got it but it needed some work.  I finally got it ready to go again.

Susan is cleaning one of the rugs from the house.  The ground is still wet so she used the top of the picnic table for working.

The ground is mostly clear but still wet and frozen.  We've got a few things coming up in the garden (rhubarb, garlic, onions, strawberries, etc.) and lots of other projects when the ground finally thaws.  It's going to be a busy summer.

Monday, April 18, 2011

12-18 April, 2011, Grandkids and good times...

It's been great having one of our daughters here with her two children.  Like the old saying goes, "If we'd have known grandchildren were so much fun we'd have started with them."  The last week has been spent close to the camper due to transportation challenges.  The only passenger vehicle we have with us is the motorcycle.  We've spent quite a bit of time in the kayaks and playing in the lake.

I had one interesting experience one windy day when the kayak capsized while we were out playing in the waves then Susan and I got a case of food poisoning from some hamburgers from town.  I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy.  (Well, maybe on my worst enemy!)

Susan is in her favorite kayaking position soaking up the sun.

We took several short (2 to 3 hour) forays on the water.  Usually Susan and I would go out in the mornings and Becky and Susan would take the kayaks out in the afternoon while I watched the kids. 

This is Logan and Susan.  He likes being able to see people around when he's awake.

We've been putting the solar cooker to use whenever possible.  In this case it's cooking up a batch of chicken and dumplings.  We stiil have most of the food we brought with us.  We've eaten out a few times but overall the food has lasted much longer than we estimated originally.

We've had quite a bit of wind at times.  Here the dog is catching some of the wind out of the northwest.  Odie has been shedding a lot this week.  Hopefully she'll be okay when we get home to cooler temperatures.

Hannah decided she liked my hat.

I usually use a spray skirt when kayaking.  In high waves it keeps the water out and in bright sun it keeps me from getting sunburned.

The dog and cat standing guard at the back of the camper.

Hannah giving drinking instructions to the cat.

Monday, April 11, 2011

5-11 April Vegas X 2

We had some friends to meet in Las Vegas on the 6th. The weather forecast was for more strong wind so we almost cancelled the trip but then decided to go anyway.  The wind wasn't supposed to get bad until later in the afternoon so we decided to just make sure we headed home early.  It was a nice trip on the motorcycle going to Vegas.  The wind was to our back most of the way.  One the way home it had changed directions and was mostly to our back so the highway travel went well.  We got lost though and it took longer to find them than we had planned.

On I-15 heading into Las Vegas.

The next seveal pictures are of businesses on the "Strip" in Vegas.  We were on the motorcycle so visibility was good.  Susan did some overtime with her camera!

Bumper to bumper ... Seems like nrmal traffic whenever we've been to Vegas.  I liked being on the motorcycle better than driving the car.

Once we'd gone the entire length of the strip and didn't find the hotel we were looking for we stopped and asked directions.  From then it was a quick drive to the hotel/casino and avisit with our friends.  On the way out we were later than usual and hit the rush hour traffic.  It's a bit unnerving at times to have semi-trailers driving by with wheels as tall as we were on the bike and have then close enough to touch with nothing between us.  It was harder on Susan because I could see them coming in the mirrors but every one was sudden appearance for her.  The nice thing about the motorcycle is that it's quick and agile in the traffic.

Once out of vegas the traffic thinned out and the rest of the way was great except for some gusting winds at times.

The forecast was for high winds on Thursday and Friday and rain on Saturday.  They were right on the money!  We planned n playing on the waves with the kayaks but the temperature dropped and the wind was cold so we stayed indoors.  It was a good day to write so I did (that day and the next day and the day after that!)

The cat was bored ...

So he started picking on the dog ...

Who was also bored and more than willing to take the cat up on his challenge.  At least our boredom was relieved watching them!

The wind wasn't too bad Saturday so we thought we'd head into town to the library but a look at the sky cured us of that thought. Overton was getting hammered by rain.

With some heading our way as well.  The storm didn't last long and was mostly show with little rain but by the time it was gone we didn't feel like going onto town.

Sunday we went into Vegas again to pick up one of our kids and her two children.  We needed to take the U-Haul so we moved some things outside into the tent in preparation to go.  The cat decided he wanted to check out under the tent so Susan took his picture.

We had a bit of a time getting out.  The sand was soft and deep under the truck so we had to do some shovelling and filling in to get out of our parking spot.  We finally did though and hit the road.  We drove through the Valley of Fire because it cut so many miles off the trip it was worth it to pay the ten-dollar fee to use their road.  Here, we're  on the final stretch of I - 15 heading into Vegas.

We left early so we could spend some time at the Bass Pro Shop in Vegas.  While there I did very well in not spending a lot of money.  A lot of what they had was higher in price than I would pay for the same stuff at home anyway so not spending money wasn't too hard.  I took a picture of some of the books they had for sale while there. 

As the time drew near for our daughter's flight to arrive we headed for the airport.  I'm not impressed with the Vegas airport.  It would help immensely if they'd tell you which flight was unloading so you didn't have to check every batch of people coming in every couple of minutes.  We watched the limo drivers rush over to different escalators every time a planeload of people came through.  That was about the only entertainment available until our guests arrived.

We took them through downtown Vegas to see the lights and casinos then headed for home.  On the way to The Strip there was an accident on the interstate so it took about an hour to go one mile to the exit.

Grandkids after a short night of sleep and breakfast!

Mom and daughter (or daughter and granddaughter?) playing in the water.  They're from Montana and the water there is still in it's solid state.