Monday, August 22, 2011

14-20 August, 2011 Vehicle Repairs, River Rafting, Cabin Construction

Boredom hasn't been an issue this summer and last week was no exception.  ...

The mornings have been in the low forties with one in the mid thirties.  We've been pretty fortunate that we haven't had any frost yet.  Many years we get an early frost the first half of August.  The cool mornings have saved propane since I often fire up the wood stove to take the chill out in the mornings.  If it's going we just cook breakfast on it instead of the propane range.

Sunday was vehicle repair day. Tristan's pick-up has been needing ball joints for awhile.  He's had the parts but we haven't had time to put them on.  The rear tires were also worn out so we dis-mounted and mounted tires on the rear axle first.  I found a rear axle seal leaking when I checked the brake shoes.  We had problems getting the rims loose from the axle so we loosened the lug nuts and I drove it back and forth, slamming on the brakes to get them broken loose from the axle.  It was just the first of many problems we had with his truck that day. 

Victor needed some exhaust work done on his truck.  He hit a stump and pulled the exhaust pipes apart.  We got the front one back in and I welded it on then we had to cut a short pieces of tubing to fit inside his muffler inlet to fix that break.  ...

The wire welder kept burning through the pipe so I switched to the Oxy/Acet torch for welding.  I was almost out of acet. when I started and ran out before I was done but I got the pipe stuck good enough to hold until we can get another tank of acetylene.  He also split the seam on the muffler inlet so I'll have to weld a patch onto it.  At least it's quiet now and the exhaust isn't in any danger of falling off.  After that I patched up the exhaust on their Land Cruiser.  It will need some parts in order to fix it right.

We finished mounting the rear tires on Tristan's truck then began on the ball joints.  Every part on it was rusted on.  We had to drill out two of the small screws holding the hubs on.  We finally got it apart without breaking anything and changed the ball joints on the passenger side.  We'll have to change them on the drivers side later since we ran out of time on Sunday.  We didn't know if the driver's side would be easier but he didn't want to take a chance on not finishing it in the time we had left before dark.

Emily and Stephen were there for car repairs also.  Vandals broke the rear window on their car awhile back and it took awhile to find a replacement window for it.  They finally found one then it took over a week to get it from the salvage yard.  The first order of business on their vehicle was to replace the window.  It went fairly well.  Tristan and Stephen took the door panel off while I worked on Barbara's car so all I had to do was install the window  and put the panel back on.  After that I needed to repair the exhaust on their car.  They backed into a short post and broke the pipe loose in front of the catalytic converter.  I repositioned it and welded it back together using the wire welder.  It was getting dark by then and the mosquitoes were swarming us (Stephen and I) both so we used about a fourth of a bottle of mosquito repellent to keep them at bay while we finished the job.

You can tell whose vehicle was being worked on by who isn't in the photo.

Scott was as adorable as ever!

The cat sizes up Scott while Scott sizes up the cat.  At least they both like the same kinds of toys.

One of our hens finally hatched out a couple of chicks.  She's been sitting on about a dozen eggs but these two are the only ones who made it.  One of them got out of the chicken run and was killed by a cat or the dog the next day.

We took the other one under our care.  Here, Susan put it in a cage to enjoy the sunshine.  The cat would have loved to join him and the chick has no fear of the cat.  Somehow the chick got through the wire mesh and escaped.  Fortunately for it, Susan saw it before the cat or dog and the chick now resides in a
plastic crate in the house.

Susan has had the canner going almost every day this week.  She took time to make a couple of loaves of bread.

We've been peeling and canning carrots left in the root cellar to make room for this summer's harvest.  These are the peelings from the carrots.  Susan dries them to use as livestock feed in the winter.  No special steps needed.  She just lays them out on a sheet of tin and lets the sun dry them out.  They'll be stored in plastic buckets until we need them for feed.

She's been keeping a written journal like she did in our BC (Before Computers) days.  It's usually done after our morning cocoa.

Laundry day.

Susan's flip-flops wore through so she put a steel washer on it to keep it from pulling through again.  When they finally die for good she'll put the washer back in the bolt bin for use later.  She has more flip-flops but it's kind of a game with us to see how long we can make things last.

We're mowing the lawn as we have time.  This late in the summer it doesn't grow much but we try to keep it cut as we have time.

One of Barbara and Victor's cats enjoying the sun on the trail.

Victor got his finger a little too close to the circular saw while it was running.  We were happy it just took a little skin off his knuckle.

We decided to do the loft floor by bolting the joists to the walls to give them a little more room in the loft.  We'll never do that again.  It's too much work for too little gain.  We'd have come out ahead in time and it wouldn't have cost much more to just cut a foot off the wall studs, build the floor on top of the shorter walls then build a one-foot wall on top of the loft floor with the roof on it.

We added some bracing to the floor joists to stiffen things up a bit.  We're ready to put the flooring down now.

Flooring is down and we're setting the ridge-beam.

We're getting ready to start putting up the rafters.  Susan was asked to help with this detail.  She likes climbing on ladders and has done this before when we built our addition.  I needed someone reliable to help on this part.  Victor is allergic to bee stings and we have a lot of yellow jackets out this time of year.  He kind of left me leaning over the ridge pole while standing on the ladder holding the rafter board when a bee started harassing him down below me.  Note the long-sleeved, heavy flannel shirt.  It's a little cool that early in the morning.

We're making progress.  Barbara is back from a week of working in Kalispell so she's helping me with the roof.

We're almost finished with the rafters.

We got an invite to float the river with Randy and his family so we took them up on it.  This is our little flotilla of water craft heading down stream from the park in Eureka.

Tristan remarked about how many photos Susan took had her feet in this position.  Shes quite at home on the water in her kayak.

I swiped her camera long enough to get this shot of her.

Tristan and his bride floating on inner tubes.   The sun was getting low and the water was sparkling.

Me in the same area.

We had enough rough water to make it fun but not enough to make it scary.

We made it to our pick-up point about 7:00 PM.  It was a nice relaxing day on the river with some good company.  Susan has more photos on her blog at  .

Sunday, August 14, 2011

10-13 August, 2011 Raspberries, Huckleberries and Paintball

Been keeping busy as usual for the summer.  The phone company was out and installed the phone line to Barbara and Victor's cabin so they now have phone and Internet service of their own.  We've done a little more to the cabin but not as much as I'd like.  We've had too many other projects going this week.

The raspberries are in full production mode now so we've been getting lots of tasty treats.  Susan picks them early in the morning when it's too cold for mosquitoes or yellow Jackets to be active.  Who'd have thought she'd be picking raspberries in mid-August in her winter coat in forty-degree temperatures!

Obviously it's early morning in the cabin while she's shelling peas.  I helped with this batch then a couple of days later all four of us shelled peas.  It goes much faster with more hands doing the work.  Susan has canned peas, oranges, raspberries and huckleberries this week.  Barbara canned her first batch on huckleberries this week also.

Susan making bagels.

Finally ... huckleberry picking time.  We've had a late start this year because of too many other projects going on. We should have been out two weeks ago. 

Time to head up the mountain ...

... or down the mountain!  The stream is a couple hundred yards below where we're parked.  Susan And Victor checked the area for huckleberries.  They found lots of plants but the berries were still green.

The dog went along this time and had free run of the mountain.  This is one of the clearing where the huckleberries are thicker.

Susan peeking through the brush spying on my huckleberry patch!

Others had already hit this section of the mountain but they left small pockets of berries scattered about.  The berries were good this year.  They were thick and large.  To bad we didn't get out earlier.  We still ended up with about a gallon of berries for each family.  I'm the fastest picker when our youngest daughter isn't around.  She's faster than me but more of hers get eaten instead of put in the bucket for consumption later.

The raspberry bushes are loaded this summer. These are in the garden.  The picture is in the wrong place.

Latest progress on the cabin.

Barbara working on the soap she made.

The goat got his horns stuck while butting his house.  He's kind of impatient and if he thinks I'm taking too long to feed him (about thirty seconds after he sees me) he gets mad and butts his house.  In this instance I made him wait while I took his picture before I got him free.

This is the dog's area.  She has places she spends a lot of time and this is one as evidenced by the bones, sticks and toys she's brought over here.

We were in Eureka getting the CO2 tank for recharging cylinders for the paintball games on Sunday when Susan took this picture of a Canadian woman and her dog doing his "chores.".  Notice the sign in both English and pictograph?

Ah ... paintball!  We did this to celebrate my birthday this year.  The best bruise award went to Dennis for this impressive specimen on his leg.  With the little kids we keep some distance when shooting at them but with the adults any shot is fair.  Some were pretty close and left some ugly bruises.

Me filling cylinders at the charging station.  We rent the CO2 in 50 lb. bottles then use the charging station to fill the small cylinders.  It's about the only good way to do it in the field when you're playing all day.  We went through approximately 4,000 paint balls.

We're going out for another round!

Back in from a round of capture the flag.  Most of them in this photo are family members.  We had three who couldn't get off work to come.

The younger boys couldn't keep up with us so we let them do some target shooting in the woods.  Three of us guys were the targets.  We dodged through the trees and let the kids shoot at us.  One of the boys is off to the right and outside of the picture.

Me and our oldest grandson coming in from a game.  Jonathan is nine and took part in several of the games.   He got hit but went back out for more games later.  Sometimes adults quit after the first hit. 

This is David, Jonathan's younger brother.  He played in a couple of games under the watchful eyes of mom, dad or grandpa.  When we got hit he was out too.  He was really happy when he got to shoot at someone.

Hannah and Andrew checking out the portable video game.

Jonathan showing off.

David's turn to show off.

Anna was having great fun pushing down on Dad's head.

Logan, the youngest grandchild, enjoyed all the action going on around him.

Andrew playing in the lake while dad fishes nearby.

It was a good day in the woods.