Saturday, October 15, 2011

10-14 Oct 2011 - Wood splitting and stacking, feed grinding, get'n ready for winter

As usual lately, the weather has been our biggest challenge to getting things done.  We had part of an afternoon where it looked like we'd have a couple of hours without rain so we took advantage of it ...

Feed of any kind has risen dramatically in price the last year due primarily to the government's subsidizing the alcohol added to our fuel.  It's been good for the farmers because they are finally getting some better prices for their crops but the prices of grain have skyrocketed for the rest of us.  We're grinding and mixing our own grain for the chickens this winter.  The mix will be (by volume) one part oats, one part dried beans, and two parts barley.  We wanted wheat too but the price is too high.  We mix it up as we grind it by adding a cup of barley, cup of beans, cup of oats then after grinding some of that to make more room in the hopper we add another cup of barley.  That's ground into a pan which is dumped in a feed sack and we do it over again.  We ground about fifty pounds of grain in approximately three hours using the hand mill set for a coarse grind.  It isn't the best combination but the chickens will do okay on it.  The dried beans are leftovers from Y2K.  A friend got rid of their stash of dried beans a couple of years ago ans wanted to know if we could use it.  The beans are actually still safe for consumption but as old as they are they'd need some extra cooking time.  We have plenty in storage already so we're using these for livestock feed.

Susan took a few turns grinding (pun intended!) with Scott supervising from her backpack.  He is curious about everything which is cute now but will probably cause some concern when he starts getting around more on his own.

The work doesn't stop just because Scott is here.  Susan put him in his stroller while she washes canning jars outside.  When she finished up I took him over with me to supervise the wood splitting.  After a bit he started fussing so we brought him in the house, fed him, and put him down for a nap. 

Susan has Rosemary planted in the pots and and basil drying on the rack along with ...

Rose Hips and Cilantro drying on some other racks.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm tired of working on chainsaws?  One in particular?  My Stihl is still giving me problems.  If it starts it runs great until you shut it off.  Then it won't start.  I'm assuming it has a fuel problem because I can dump a little gas in the combustion chamber and it will fire right up and it does have good spark even when it won't start.

So I took the carburetor off (again!) and went through it.  I can't see anything that should cause a problem.  I got some advice to replace the fuel line from someone else who had the same problem so I replaced the fuel line and filter.  Still having the same thing happening.  If anyone reading this has any ideas I'm very open t suggestions for fixing it.  Otherwise my next purchase is going to be a Husqvarna.

My Homelite 18 inch saw is working but was loosing lots of power the longer I ran it so I cleaned the air filter, modified the exhaust and adjusted the fuel mixture.  It's now running better than it ever did.  I've never trusted it because the chain brake broke the first week we used it and it has a penchant for fuel lines plugging up.  I haven't had any problems with it lately but it will take a lot of hours of reliable running to restore confidence in it.  I apparently got the fuel leak stopped on the Craftsman 18 inch saw and it's running well so I'm not out of saws ... yet! 

We gave Scott some Cheerios to eat then wondered if it was the first time he'd ever had them.  He seemed more curious than hungry.
Then he stuck his little hand on his hip and looked at us like Cheerios were some kind of bad joke we'd played on him.

Then he figured out what to do ... dump the cheerios and play with the wooden bowl!

It's been cool and cloudy lately which if you're a fly makes life especially difficult.  But a few of the resourceful ones found the solar panels a friendly environment.  The heat they collect probably felt pretty good ... to the flies anyway.

Humm ... no fish?  We put screens of grates over the water barrels to protect the cat from drowning.  We put a log in the large tanks so that if the cat (or other critters) falls in it'll be able to climb back out.

B&V found some cassette and video tapes at the green box site ...

We spent some enjoyable time going through them.  These are going back to the dump.

This is the wood box on the porch.  It holds enough to last us for 24 hours on average.  Obviously we'll use more on really cold days and less on warmer days.  It also depends on how much cooking we do on the wood stove.

Wednesday (I think?) I unloaded the truck and trailer.  I split about 2/3 of a cord and stacked it in the wood shed.  I stacked the rest in the pile on the left.  There's abut 1 1/2 cords in that pile.  The three rows on the left side are wood that's still a little green and has a high moisture content.  The two rows on the right are pine that doesn't put out a lot of heat.  I kept it out so that I could split and stack the cord of larch that's under the tarp on the right side of the wheel barrow.  I want to keep the hotter burning wood (Larch and Fir) in the center of the wood shed for use when the temperatures are coldest in December, January and February.  Once I have enough of it stacked in the center I'll split and stack the two rows of pine.

We covered our board pile with a tarp for winter.  It has some holes in that I covered with the dog food bag.

Susan washed a load of baby clothes in front of the wood stove this morning.  Scott found it interesting...

So he decided to help a bit stirring up the clothes.  After she was finished she put some dry clothes on him.

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