Saturday, October 1, 2011

25-30 September 2011 - 2/3 Cord of Kindling, Onions,Wilderness Camper and Firewood Trailers

This is our coffee maker.  Our youngest daughter gave this to me for my birthday and we love it.  it makes three cups of coffee, doesn't need any filters and needs very little clean-up.

Susan has been putting in lots of hours the last couple of weeks on re-organizing the cabin and outbuildings.  We have things stored that we haven't seen since our move out here nine years ago.  This is one of the boxes.  These are some large tin cups for period authentic camping.  I have some of the smaller sizes out where I can use them but only one of the large ones so these will be added to my collection.  There was also some web gear in the box.  I may be selling most of mine since I have civilian counterparts that I prefer in most instances.

We've had some cold nights and winter is on it's way so I pulled the pipes and drained the water pump for our water tank.

We had one day of rain that was heavy enough to keep us inside so I took some photos for an article I got approval for.  It's how to make an endless bow string so I have my jig set up on one of the kitchen counters.  This is the first stage to get the length correct for the rest of the process.

Obviously there's a lot of background clutter when taken at ground level so I brought in a ladder and took some shots from it.  I typically use a tripod to keep the images sharp but I had to rely on bracing myself while on the ladder for these.  I have my elbow resting on a pot-rack that's anchored to the wall on the right side.  I'd have probably done it outside if it hadn't been raining.  Unfortunately, when the weather's good I have other things to do outside.

Frost was in the forecast one night so we brought the pepper plant in from the front porch.  It got down to 27 degrees that night so we're glad we brought it inside.  Susan has been nursing it along in the pot all summer long.

We made a run to a local sawmill to get some sawmill slabs for firewood (they're free).  It turned out to be more work than we'd planned on for wood that was just marginal.  Most of the pieces are thin and while they burn hot they also burn fast.  We (Tristan and I) had to dig through stacks of bark and other useless stuff to get to the better pieces and it took several hours to get a semi-decent load on the truck.  Once I got them home they were a pain to cut into stove length with the chainsaw so I set a board across a couple of sawhorses and used the circular saw.  It worked much better.  I began cutting by using the inverter and battery bank but the saw was taxing the inverter too much (its only an 800 watt inverter) and rather than overheat the inverter or burn out the saw due to low voltage I switched over to our, 4,000 watt generator.  It's pretty easy on gas so I doubt if I used any more gasoline than it would have taken to use the chainsaw.

And speaking of chainsaws ... Last time out cutting my Stihl was getting dull by the time we finished the load.  When we were at the sawmill I used the Stihl to trim the ends of the boards off even and must have hit something hard (like the bumper of the truck!) because the chain wouldn't even cut through the slabs.  I sharpened the chain enough to finish my cutting then the saw didn't want to run.  I got it going long enough to do what I needed and we headed for home.  The next day (Monday) I put a new chain on my Mini-Mac and sharpened the chain on my Stihl.  It was in pretty bad shape so I had to take a bunch off to get it sharp again.  After that I took that chain off and saved it for a spare and put a new chain on (the Stihl).  The running problem was a plugged air filter so a quick cleaning of it did the trick.  The Stihl's running great now which is good since it's my main saw.

This is the wood from the sawmill.  It's slightly more than 2/3 of a cord since the pieces are 16 inches long and each row measures 7 feet tall and 8 feet wide.  The front row is about 18 inches tall.  It's near the back of the wood shed which means we shouldn't need it until late spring.  It'll be perfect for that time of year when we just fire up the stove to take the chill out of the cabin and make breakfast. 

We decide it was time to put the wood stove in the camper. I'm cutting up a piece of cement board to use under the stove.

Susan cleaned out the corner of the camper where the stove will go.

The piece for the floor is down and the sheet leaning against the wall is ready for installation.

The side, back and floor pieces are in now so we put the stove in place to see how it fit.  I'm going to make a new base for it so that we can bolt it to the floor.  I'll also make a frame that bolts to the wall for added stability while we're travelling.  The stove is a small, wood-burning cook stove we found at the green boxes.  It was missing a piece (which I made a replacement for) so someone threw it away.  It has a small firebox with a lot of ventilation which means it burns wood fast but it would also work with coal or charcoal so it's perfect for what we want.  The space needing heating is so small and well insulated we're somewhat worried about it getting too hot in there rather than not hot enough.  We're trying to make this into our "wilderness wagon."  We want it to be like our life here where we can take advantage of modern technology (we'll have solar power and a propane cook stove) yet keep our independence by being able to heat and cook with wood as needed or desired. The stove's outer wall makes it safe for use in small places.  The actual firebox is located near the top of the stove which also makes it safer for use in the camper.  The top has burner plates that can be removed for cooking in a hurry or we can leave them on and use the top for making toast or keeping the teakettle hot.  The chimney will be going up through the roof.  We already have most of the parts on hand for the chimney.

We spend an occasional night in the camper sleeping just because it brings so many good memories from our trips to Nevada.  We've had a skunk prowling around on occasions so I brought in my shotgun and my 223 rifle and kept them by the door in case he visited again.  Skunks, besides leaving their tell-tale odor, also like chicken dinners so they aren't good to have around.  A neighbor down the road had one get in their chicken house and it killed every one of their chickens.

I got the wood hauling trailer out and ready for wood cutting.  It's an old Chevy truck box trailer that someone gave to us.  Using a trailer saves fuel and trips so we take it when we're going to an area we're familiar with.  I dont' take it to new areas because some of the roads aren't wide enough to turn one around in.  I can always unhitch it and turn it around that way but I've been in places where I had to back a half mile or so down a road (and our roads are never straight!) to find a place wide enough to turn the truck around.  Unhitching the trailer wouldn't do me much good in those places because I couldn't get around the trailer to back up the road.

Of course it had a flat tire and I couldn't get the pickup close enough to use the twelve volt tire pump on it so I walked back to the cabin and got the 350 watt inverter, 110 volt pump and an extension cord and took them back down to the shack to air up the tire.  I hooked the inverter up to the truck's battery and ran the extension cord from the inverter to the pump.  The dog had ridden down to the shack with me but didn't think it was a long enough ride so she sat in the truck while I pumped up the tire and hitched the trailer to the truck. (Lazy, spoiled mutt!)

It had a beat up tool box on it when we got it.  The previous owners mounted the box too far forward on the frame and then hit it with the truck's bumper when they turned.  It didn't do the tool box any good as you can see.

This is a small pickup tool box we got at the dump site.  I installed it in place of the old box only I put it back against the bed to give me more clearance.  It was one lock cylinder on it but no key for it so I gave the lock cylinder the hammer test and it opened right up.  It works fine without a key now (although it doesn't lock!).  I had another lock cylinder in the old box so I put it on the other door.  Now both doors now work like they should. I can't lock them but that doesn't matter since the only time they'll have anything in them is when I'm cutting wood and I'll be there then.  I'll make a spare tire rack to go in front of the tool box.

Susan harvested our yellow onions.  They're small but there're plenty to get us through for the year.  Especially since we have leftovers from previous years.

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