Monday, October 24, 2011

15-22 October, 2011 - Hunting Season, wood cutting, preparing for winter.

We're still trying to get caught up with outside tasks before the snow arrives. Susan's been busy outside whenever she gets a chance. She's put away the mowers and a bunch of other things that needed to be done before winter. The garden is almost ready for winter and we've been adding hot water to the wash and rinse water when we do the laundry outside. She's still found time to prepare meals and take care of the other domestic duties that need done.

Rifle season for big game opened on Saturday. I've been out several times and seen lots of deer but they've all been does and fawns. I'll eventually connect with a buck though. We have a five week gun season and there are lots of deer this year.
Scott loves being outdoors, especially when he's strapped to our back in his carrier. Baby backpacks are extremely hard to find around here for some reason. We took this one back because we didn't like it. Scott didn't seem to mind it but the way it's designed he's held very tightly against our back and we worry that he'll have difficulty breathing if he falls asleep in it. Becky (another daughter) loaned us one of hers (she had two) while we try to find one we like on ebay. I took Scott for a walk around the place to mark dead trees with orange tape (so we can tell which are dead and cut them during the winter if we run short of firewood). Susan was cleaning out the garage tent and it was easy for me to find and mark the trees with Scott along.
If there's one thing this boy adores it's water. If you look close you can see water drops in the air around him as he splashes around in his "tub." He's more comfortable taking a bath in the kettle than in a tub. He seems to feel more secure.

We spent a Saturday afternoon at Becky's in-law's home for a birthday party for Becky and Hannah. If you ever got their clan and ours all together we'd have a big batch of people and kids! There were rug rats all over the place. This is Becky and her husband, Justin and Hannah (on Becky's lap).

Susan with Scott and Logan. Logan is Becky's second child. He's a couple of months younger than Scott. Becky's expecting her third one this spring.

Hannah helping me eat less. She loved all the fruit. The dip is strawberry flavored and tasted great!
Scott introducing himself to the baby chicken. We brought him in the house for the night because he got soaked by rain while we were gone to Kalispell. He's been moved to the garden until he gets big enough to defend himself. The big chickens still pick on him. Chickens are not nice animals. If they weighed 500 pounds we'd be an endangered species. Most animals are not nice. They function more like gangs, utterly ruthlessness and established, inviolate pecking orders. It would be great if more people realized that and quit trying to apply human traits like compassion and love to them.

This was a dump find (not Scott ... the toy farm!). Around here when people have something (toys, clothes, tools, furniture, etc.) that's in good shape they set it beside the dumpsters for others to take and use. The county, of course, tries to discourage it but it's been an established practice for years. When we have clothes or other items we no longer need yet they are still in good shape we do the same thing. It's kind of like a free yard sale with first come-first served! This area has a lot of poverty and it's one way the locals share with others. Someone packaged this up in a plastic bag and left it beside the dumpster. Scot has been thoroughly enthralled with it.

We ordered a new pump for our carpet shampooer awhile back. Barbara and Victor needed it to clean their carpet after they put it in the loft so Scott and I are replacing the parts. Scott likes my orange handled screwdriver and claimed it as his as soon as he spotted it. I take the steel parts out and let him play with the plastic handle portion. Susan gave me her screwdriver to use to fix the cleaner. It has a black handle.

I replaced the black part with the hoses going to it. It's a pump for the furniture attachment. This is the second time I've had to fix it. We think it doesn't drain properly after use then the water inside freezes during the winter and breaks it. I couldn't fix it with JB Weld this time so we had to get a new part. All I really needed was a valve attached to the pump. It's very easy to remove but of course the only way to get the valve is to buy the pump.

Wood cutting time again. Susan took this in the mirror of the Cherokee as our convoy headed out to the woods. We took two vehicles because we didn't know how long Scott would last and Susan needed to be home by 5:00 because one of our sons was coming to visit. The dog seemed to think she needed to sit on my lap.

We're in the process of carrying chunks of firewood down the mountainside to load them in the truck. Barbara is at the left edge of the photo. Victor is wearing the red shirt in the center, I'm walking over to Scott who is in the "walker" near my chainsaws and helmet. (Susan took the picture.) This is an old burn site, and most of the easy-to-get trees are gone.

If you look close near the bottom right side of the picture you'll see Victor (in the red shirt) standing near the tree I'm dropping. He's over six feet tall which will give you some idea of the size of the tree. I'm on the other side of the tree running the saw. We dropped two trees and got a little over two cords of wood. This is dead standing larch. The best firewood you can get around these parts. It burns hot and long and splits easy. I split and stacked about 1 1/3 cords the next morning in about four hours. I miss having Tristan around to split wood with. One time we got into a spitting contest and split about four cords in under four hours using mauls and wedges. I can split a little more than him but it's a close call. He has youth (21) on his side. I have experience (57) on mine. It's a good way to work up a sweat! (And when you get my age it's a good idea to have some aspirin on hand.)

The general rifle season for big game opened Saturday. Scott came in to wish me luck before I took off on opening morning. We (Victor and I) saw lots of does but no bucks during the day. We hunted a clear cut in the morning then did some walking in the afternoon. It was raining by then and we were soaked when we got back. We stopped to build a fire just for practice while we were out in the afternoon. Everything was soaked so it was a good test. A hand full of birch bark and small tinder and we had a roaring fire going in minutes. The paper-like pieces of birch bark will light instantly even when wet and burn with enough intensity to dry out the small tinder. Just keep adding tinder until you get it hot enough to dry out the larger wood you need to get a longer lasting fire. It try to build a fire every time I go out. The nastier the weather the better the test. Event though I have emergency supplies but I use natural materials found in the woods and save the home made "accelerants" for a real emergency. It's good practice and a hot fire is kind 'a nice on a cold snowy or rainy day.

This is some fresh bear scat we found. The knife is 4 5/8 inches long for size comparison. I've also found some large rotten logs and stumps torn apart as a bear looks for food. Last week I found some if this guy's tracks and he's a big bear for around here. Thankfully it's a black bear and not a grizzly (no little bells and the scat didn't smell like pepper spray!). Okay, seriously, it's easy to tell black bear a grizzly tracks apart if you know what to look for.

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