Monday, October 10, 2011

1-9 October, 2011 Wood Cutting, Grandkids, Canning and (sigh!) Saw Repairs

We've had lots of rain this week making it difficult to get much done outside.  I've seen this kind of weather settle in and it just kept up this drizzly type rain until it got cold enough to turn to snow then kept on with that!  We've got almost enough wood cut for the winter since I already had a couple of cords left over from last year but I'd like to have some extra if we can get to it.  You can't really have too much on hand.

Susan rode her bicycle in to the post office a couple of times.  She loves riding and it saves gas money.  We usually walk in a couple of times a year but haven't done it yet this year.  It's fifteen miles round trip.  We always get a chuckle out of the sign on the door stating it's the "Main Post Office" in Fortine.  Fortine consists of a tavern, an elementary school, one church, an antique store and a volunteer fire department.  Plus there's about a dozen homes in the town.  How many post offices do they think we might have?

Time to harvest rose hips.  We have lots of those around this year.

Susan picks them, dries them and saves them for making tea.

We had two days of good wood cutting weather this week and used them both.  We took the trailer and pickup with us one day.  We started early and worked until almost dark. 

My stihl quit due to a plugged fuel line so I had to finish up with my little mini-mac. I take it along in case I get the stihl stuck and have to cut it out.  I've cut a lot of wood with this little saw but it kind of chews through the wood while the stihl just falls through it.  It was too far to drive back for our other saws though so I used this one. We filled the trailer but didn't get the pickup full.  The mini-mac quit after we got about two-thirds of a cord in the truck.  I expected it to because it does that when it gets hot.  That's why I take it along for "just-in-case."   Since the Stihl was out of commission too we decided to head home with what we had. (Which was still almost two cords.)

Susan has accompanied me on every trip this year.  She stacks brush and carries the wood to the truck.  Needless to say, it makes the job go much faster.  The other great thing about having her along is that she actually prepares real meals during the day.  She brings her propane stove and cooks so we have a hot meal for lunch.  Today it's chicken and dumplings left over from the night before.  The dog is, of course, looking for a handout.

We spent some time in Kalispell and got to visit with some of the kids and grandkids.  This is Jonathan and his little sister Anna.  Jonathan made a steering wheel  for the bike trailer and is "driving" his sister around the yard.

Anna decided to use her own car but didn't get far because Scott wouldn't move.  He thinks he's a full service gas station attendant and should check the oil ... if he could just find the engine.

Hannah and grandma.  Hannah has discovered the digital camera and loved having her picture taken so she could look at herself in the camera window.

From Grandma she went to mom for another photo op.

After the Stihl quit I decided to get the other saws going.  The Craftsman 18 inch had a pretty severe gas leak last year.  I finally found that it was the gas cap leaking so I did some investigating.  It had come loose from the retainer last year and Tristan put it back on but we didn't know that a valve had fallen out of it.  We were using it at the time so it was covered in sawdust.  We just finished up with the other saw and came home.  I had a good chance to look it over this week and that's when I found the problem.  I emptied the tank in hope that the valve was in it and it was.  Now I just had to put it back together.

The little rubber valve goes over the hole in the center of the cap.  It's supposed to let air in from outside yet keep the gasoline inside.  I put it together and it still leaked so I took it apart again and flattened the metal retaining fingers and re-installed it.  I had to tap it in with a hammer and small socket this time but it stayed tight and doesn't leak now.  The larger end goes over the valve and is retained the same way.

Our fire-fighter son had to dispose of some old coats and pants (they rotate them out after so many years of service) so he gave us each an outfit.  We're slowly putting together our own "fire department" in case we have a fire out here.  Hopefully we can contain things until the real fire-fighters get here which in all likelihood would take 45 minutes to an hour.  We're primarily concerned with wildland fires in the summer.  We keep fire extinguishers in the house and the shack in case we need them.

The cat is doing it's "kata." ... Or should I say "cata."

We introduced the cat to the grandkids' stick horse.  The cats reaction ... "Man, only a mother could love something as ugly as you!!"

B&V ordered a case of mixed vegetables from the case lot sale at the Fortine Merc.  The only thing was it didn't specify that they were frozen instead of canned.  Wouldn't be a problem for most people but living off grid they don't have a freezer or refrigerator!  No real problem though.  Susan just ran them through the canners (two) so now they're canned mixed veggies.  The price was so good that we ordered a case for ourselves.

We had one jar break in the canning process.  When this happens we have to be careful of disposing of it.  There'll be glass in the food so we usually put them in a bucket and take it to the dump instead of putting it in the compost pile or feeding it to the chickens, dog or goat.

We found some moldy food in a dumpster and saved it for the chickens.  They love that kind of stuff.  We have to tie the dog up because she'll run them off and eat it herself.

I thought I'd make some falling wedges out of some scrap 2X4's I had laying around.  I set up a guide board on the radial arm saw ...

and started cutting.  These work okay but don't last as long as the plastic wedges you buy.  On the other hand they were free other than a few minutes labor and a little gasoline for the generator.

We like getting out in the woods early to cut firewood.  It's beautiful out there.  The sun was just cresting the mountain top and was shning through the fog.  The trees broke up the light enough to make it interesting.

One of the places we cut wood on Saturday.  The little red dot at the base of the tree is my hard-hat.  I'm cutting the leaning tree down.  Since it's already leaning on the tree beside it I'll cut my notch and then cut almost all the way through to the notch.  I hooked the chains up to the base and backed the truck up to the chains.  I was able to pull the base up on the road which let the top fall between two healthy trees. ...  This is our third tree for the day.

I pulled the second tree it out on the road, unhooked the chains, moved them to the base and pulled it back to the chainsaws.  Susan paced this one off and it's about 70 to 75 feet long.  It doesn't get much easier than this.  This is the second we dropped that morning.  The first one we dropped across the road. (I got this picture out of order!)

Number three for the day down and on the road.  It's faster to take the branches off with an axe than to use the saw and I get to use a different set of muscles which make it easier also.  My stihl worked long enough to cut down the first tree then the fuel line plugged up again.  I had taken the carburetor apart and blew everything out so something must be stuck in a fuel line.  I'll have to take it apart agan when I get home.  Today though, I have my 18 inch Homelite saw with me. It's only slightly faster than the mini-mac but at least it's running.  It takes a lot of fuel though.  I went through almost a gallon of gasoline to cut one load.

Four tree down, cut up and loaded.  Time to close up shop.  This is the way a load of firewood should look like.  I'm putting the back gates on the rack in preparation of heading home.  It's nice to see the springs sagging a little on my one-ton Dodge.

Susan's tying the Homelite saw on top of the laod along side the spare tire and stihl.  The axe handle is sticking out the back below the hi-lift jack. The picnic basket and tool box are on the floor of the truck.  We still have to load the dog so it's a little crowded in the cab.  This is Saturday afternoon.

I went hunting yesterday (Sunday) and saw this spring bubbling up water.  We've had a wet summer overall and it's nice to see the spring flowing so freely.  It's often dry this time of year.

Scott is visiting us for a little while and finally gets to meet the dog on his own level.  Odie adores Scott and was very gentle with him.  She was usually crawling when she got near him.

I took about two dozen pictures but these two were my favorites.

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