Tuesday, May 10, 2011

5-9 May, 2011 Grouse, Grouches and Salamanders

We're still doing a lot of spring cleaning.  I cleared off my workbench and radial arm saw.  The biggest problem was finding places to put the stuff.  Lots of odd-n-ends that need to be stored properly or I'll never find them again.  Besides her regular duties, Susan's been putting in long days doing yard work, primarily tree trimming and raking leaves and pine cones.  The pine cones, especially are a nuisance because they get in the reels on the mower and stop it.  We've taken some things out and moved other things to new areas.  The yard looks much better this year but mostly we just need to get rid of some junk, er ... I mean stuff. 

The grouse are drumming up a storm this year.  The dog caught one and carried it around for three days before eating it.  (Must like her meat "seasoned.")  Susan was moving some stuff and disturbed a bunch of salamanders.  We've had turkeys near the house doing their mating rituals (no license for me this year).  Ducks have been doing low fly-overs and we can hear the loons on the lake 1 1/2 miles away.  It's gotta be spring! 

I've been shooting ground squirrels as fast as I can find them (which is getting more difficult because the survivors are getting smarter).  We walked through the western section of our property and there are dozens of gopher burrows leftover from last year.  I need to get the numbers whittled down before they cause some real damage to the things we want to keep growing. 

I've also averaged about five hours a day writing which makes getting things done outside more difficult.     

It's still cold in the mornings so we're using the woodstove to make breakfast.  The coffee pot is on the back left corner on a trivet.  The tea-kettle is on a trivet in the back right corner.  When I get up in the mornings I get the fire going in the stove and begin heating water in the tea kettle.  When Susan gets up the water is usually hot so we have our morning brew of cocoa and French Vanilla coffee mix.  On days we have coffee I make a pot using the rest of the hot water from the tea kettle.  Our coffee pot can be used like a drip coffee maker by pouring water in the top or used as a percolator type.  We usually do the drip method.  After it's made I set the pot on the back corner of the stove to keep it hot.  Any we don't drink in the first hour is saved in a thermos bottle for later use.  On the right front corner is the skillet.  For breakfast the last week we've been making a "modified" omelette.  I mix peppers and onions with a couple of eggs then pour it in the skillet to cook. That's how Susan likes them.  Mine are made the same except  I add bread crumbs and a tablespoon of milk.  Sometimes I'll add cheese and/or sausage.  It is also cooked flat in the skillet.  It tastes like a breakfast casserole without the hassle of using the oven or making large batches.  I'm the breakfast cook.  On the left front is the water kettle.  We keep it there to have hot water available during the day.  We usually keep a lid over it.

The goatling survived the winter.  He's a little larger than last year but not much else has changed.  He likes to butt his head into the corner of his shed.  All day long we hear this "thump, thump, thump" from the goat literally beating his head against the wall.  I tether him out during the day to eat grass and whatever else is available.  He does like to eat ... and eat and eat and eat and eat.

The chickens are doing well.  Two died during the winter so we're down to five.  We get four eggs a day so I don't know if they're taking turns not laying or we've got a shirker in their midst.  We let them free range during the day so they're showing little interest in their food.

I'm in the process of putting up the chicken fencing.  I'm using poles cut on a neighbor's property (the one where we fed the buffalo) to nail the chicken wire to.  He's got some dense stands of lodgepole pine that need thinning so it benefits us and him.

Speaking of the buffalo ... The owner butchered his old cow (two years in a row of not having a calf will cause things like that to happen) so he's down to three now.   They're shedding and look really ragged.

The potato plant Susan started in Nevada is doing well.  It survived the trip home and has led a sheltered existence in the cabin since then.  Probably a good things since it's still going down to the 20's at night.

Susan's been startings some seeds this week.  Hopefully they'll grow into large, productive parents bearing much fruit.

Last year one of the grandkids found the old, cracked, rifle stock from my 338 and started playing with it.  I took it to the shop while I was cleaning and screwed on a "barrel" from and old broom and an "action" from a piece of scrap wood.  We'll see if they like the improvements next time they come to visit. 

Our first domestic flowers of the spring ... well, it might be a few days yet!

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