Monday, November 28, 2011

21-28 November, 2011 Venison Chili, Turkey, Car Repairs, Wind, Rain and Snow

What a week!  We've had it warm and cold, rain, snow, windy, sunny and cloudy, Thanksgiving dinner, a birthday party and filled both of our deer tags.  The original plan for Thanksgiving day was that Timmy and Stephen would come up from Kalispell and join us here.  Emily and Richard were driving to California to see his family.  However, their vehicle blew a head gasket in Idaho so they spent three days (and $1200.00) in Twin Falls. When their car was finished it was too late to go on to California so they came back home and came out here for Thanksgiving.  Tristan and Krystina also came so we ended up with a house full of kids.  The original turkey we purchased wasn't that big so Susan made extra helpings of potatoes (mashed and sweet), stuffing, rolls, and pies.  Everyone seemed to have that bloated feeling afterwards so dinner was a success.  It was a beautiful day also so we had plenty of solar power to watch movies, etc.
Susan cut up some old sweat pants to make a sleeper for Scott.  Most of the preliminaries are pictured in last week's blog but this is the finished product as modeled by Scott.  Our cabin is heated with wood which isn't always consistent.  We needed something warm for him to sleep in since he's pretty quick to kick his blankets off at night.

We got a nice snowfall so Scott got to enjoy his first time out in the snow.  He sure studied the snowflakes as they came down and of course had to taste a few.  He had a death grip on the tree so he wouldn't fall.  After Susan took this picture she took him on a short sled ride which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy.

The rut was in full swing so the bucks were moving at all hours of the day and night.  The first one to fall was a young buck with a spike antler on one side and a forked antler on the other.  We have to hunt in shifts so that one of us is at home with Scott.

 I got mine a couple of days later with the same rifle.  It was a 150 plus yard shot with a 30/30 and iron sights.  This was Susan's rifle when she was younger.  I put a rear peep sight on it and it's sighted in about five inches high at 100 yards.  The shot was good and the deer left a blood trail a blind man could follow.  I don't normally take shots this far with open sights but I had a perfect set-up.  I was behind a burned out stump on top of a knoll.  The stump had a hole burned through and I hid behind the stump, stuck the rifle through the hole for a rest and shot from a kneeling position.  No wind and everything was rock steady and unhurried.  It was a lung hit with the arteries coming out of the heart also severed.  The buck went about fifty feet and keeled over dead.  He never knew what happened.

The bucks were shot within one-hundred yards of each other on different days.  It was about a mile long drag to the cabin through the woods.

He has three points on one side and two on the other.  They'll both be very good eating.

We had a couple of days of real nasty wind.  We had tarps over the front of our "barn" and the wind tore them off.  Then it began to rain and we needed to get something up to protect what was inside.  Almost all of our stuff is in plastic crates to protect it from pack rats and mice so the damage was minimal.  We went to the scrap pile and found some used roofing tin and used it for siding on the front.  We still need to paint it and seal some old nail holes but that will have to wait for warmer weather.

And speaking of pack rats ... The dog got one cornered outside the cabin early one morning.  It wedged itself between one of the logs and the roof at the corner of the cabin high enough the dog couldn't reach it.  Susan found it and signalled me with her flashlight.  I loaded a shot shell in my 22 pistol, she kept the light on it and I put it out of our misery permanently.  It was wedged in tight enough that I had to use a ladder and stick to get it out.  The dog was pretty proud of herself.

Company was coming so we put some extra effort into cleaning the place.  The throw rugs are usually swept daily but this called for them getting a good beating.  I used one of the clothes lines out back and a set of 'chucks and beat the dust out of them!

I was going through some stuff from Susan's dad and found something interesting on one of his hand warmers.  I've never seen anything stamped made in "occupied" Japan.  The "occupied" was obviously stamped at the same time as the rest but the letters are somewhat different.   Anyone else ever see this before and want to shed some light on what's going on?

He also had an old predator call.  I thought the date he received it was interesting.  I was almost three months old at the time.  I plan on giving it a try soon!

He also had this sight in a box and the periscope.  I'm not sure what the periscope was meant to be used for.  The base fits neatly in a rifle's chamber but it's very difficult to actually see anything in the small mirror.  It is nice however for shining a light into the mirror to illuminate the bore.  Again, anyone know the "rest of the story?"

Susan promised to make and can a bunch of chili with the first deer we got.  The first seven quarts are in the canner pictured here.  She'll have 28 quarts canned in all.

This is the pot she uses to make the chili.  It holds about five gallons.

She likes to brown the meat before canning it even though it will cook thoroughly in the canning process.  Browning helps it hold together better and taste better too.

Someone gave me a package of hot-dogs so I had a few lunches cooking them in the wood stove.  It almost felt like spring!

Scott was one-year-old on Sunday.  He's in Kalispell for his party.  He wasn't interested in the cake as much as he was in the decorations!

I started putting ball joints and u-joints in the car today.  I got the wheel off and realized that I didn't have the lower ball joints on hand.  I called the parts store in Eureka and they had ball joints but either I specified upper ball joints or they goofed up I was all the way back home before I realized that I now had four upper ball joints on hand and no lower ball joints.  I decided to check the u-joints before I called the parts store and it was a good thing I did because they were the wrong ones too.  The right parts will be in tomorrow morning so It looks like I'll be making another trip into town then.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

14-20 November 2011 - Waxing Traps, Hunting, Baby Sleepers...

Land trapping season opens December first and I had some things to do to get the traps ready.

Last year at the end of the season I boiled and dyed the traps but didn't get them waxed.  They're stored out of the weather so I wasn't too worried about them.  Now the season is almost upon us so I spent a day down at the shack waxing traps.  It's not difficult but it is time consuming.  My pot is big enough for two to four traps depending upon what size they are.  Each time I put the traps in they have to stay for abut 15 minutes to get up to temperature before I take them out.  The wax is on top of the water and coats the traps as I bring them up.  I then hang the waxed traps to cool off and put more in the water.  The wax protects the traps and make them function  better in the water or when it's cold and wet.

I've been out hunting several times this week but haven't seen anything except does and fawns.  It's bucks only this year so I'm still looking. This is looking over one of the clear-cuts from last year.  I'm also scouting out new trapping areas on this trip.

I needed to find the corner of the property and did.  There were about four bearing trees in one small area.  They surround the peg showing the corner marker.  The plate shows the township and section numbers along with the corner of the section the marker is in.

This was taken at the NE corner of our property looking to the SW.  The lumber company logged the section last year and is now burning the slash piles.  It was a bit smoky around here for a couple of days.  Sometimes the piles will smolder for weeks.

We buy oatmeal in 50 lb. sacks.  This one is almost empty so Susan will put what's left into a two-gallon bucket and we'll finish it off from the bucket.

The reason the bag is out is because she's making my favorite cookies ... no-bake chocolate/oatmeal cookies!

She made a double batch this time.  This is the first tray ...

She also made cinnamon rolls (no icing on them yet), hot-dog buns, hamburger buns and dinner rolls this week.

Somewhere during the week she found time to do some word puzzles beside the wood stove.

We finally got enough snow to begin melting it for water.  It takes a lot of snow to make a kettle full of water.

That's about fifteen gallons of snow you see there.  The kettle holds about four gallons of water.

We had some sweat pants I didn't like so Susan is cutting them up to make sleepers for Scott.

She used some of his clothes to mark the pattern in the sweat pants.

Then cuts them out and sews them up.  The seat pants were bought on clearance a couple of years ago for a dollar.  She's using a zipper and elastic that she salvaged from clothes going to the dump. When she's finished she'll have about fifty cents worth of materials in the sleeper.

The temperature has been kinda' low this week so the snow has been light and fluffy.  It comes off the solar panels easy enough but it's sure a cold job.  I have to use a ladder this year since I added the two panels to the top.

Scott weighs in at over 20 lbs and he's pretty easy to care for compared to a lot of one-year-olds but there are times he just needs to be held.  It's hard to do that and still get the work done so Susan uses a couple of scarves to make a cradle to support him while she works.  That way she can use both hands at times. 

Scott is really good at helping us take inventory of what's in the cabinets.  He takes everything out and when we put it back we find out what's stored there.

Now he's checking out the food stored under the couch.  We're making an effort to use up the store bought canned goods we have on hand.  Some of it is getting quite old.

Monday, November 14, 2011

8-13 November 2011 - Duck Lake, Solar Panels, Eggs, Bacon and Toast!

The weather has remained cloudy with snow flurries almost daily with temperatures between 25 and 35 for most of the week. Hopefully the snow will begin piling up soon.  Winter isn't much fun without snow to play in. 
Susan's wringing diapers outside.  She washes them in a bucket in the house then uses the wringer to get the water out.  The gloves protect her hands from the bleach and detergent, and, to lesser extent, from the cold.  It's about 30 degrees (F) outside.

I set the solar panels to their winter position this week.  I had to drill out the lower adjustment holes because when I added the bracing during the summer I covered them up.  We set the angle different to compensate for the lower angle of the sun.  We're far enough north that the sun just skims the horizon during most of the winter. 

The panels in the winter position.  They also shed snow better when they're more upright.

I'm mostly finished with the wood cutting so I moved the trailer back to it's winter home near the shack.  Of course the tire was flat so I had to pump it back up.  The rim is rusted and pitted and won't seal around the bead.  I used gasket sealer last time hoping it would seal the bead but it didn't work.  I may have to get a tube for it if I can't find another rim.  I used the manual pump instead of the  12 volt pump or firing up the generator and running the hoses to use the big compressor.  It just needed enough air to move the trailer.

We drove to Duck Lake to look around and check out the State Forest campground.  The lake is already beginning to freeze over. 

The open water is the main channel which has enough current to keep the ice off ... at least for now!

Breakfast time!  We do most of our cooking on the wood stove in the winter.  We seldom have a big breakfast like this but we had lots of work planned for that day so we splurged with bacon, eggs and toast.  The bacon splashes grease all over which gives the stove a mottled appearance.  The eggs don't need as much heat for cooking so we placed that skillet on a trivet.  The toast is inside the foil. Folding the foil over the top keeps the toast flat.   

The next day's breakfast was pancakes.  The stove needs to be very hot for pancakes.  We turn the kettle's lid upside down and put our plates on top of it.  It's full of boiling water and keeps the plates hot.  As the pancakes come off the skillet we store then on the plates and put the lid over the top to keep them hot and moist.  It's a good, low-tech solution.  If we have company I put two griddles on the top and then I can really make pancakes.

The hot water kettle also provides a good way to heat leftovers without a microwave.  We put the leftovers in a deep bowl and let it float on top of the boiling water (put the lid back on the kettle).  It takes longer than a microwave but the food is hot after awhile and it isn't dried out like a microwave tends to do.

Susan made up a large batch of chicken soup.  We had some for dinner and she canned the rest.  We like having canned food that's ready to eat in case we have unexpected company.

This is probably the last official wood cutting trip for the year.  I've got some small stuff to cut down on the place yet but nothing of significance.

We cut this last load on a neighbor's land.  They requested that we pile and burn the slash which we did.  Since it was a cold day it was nice having a roaring fire nearby to warm cold hands.  The base of this pile is about eight feet in diameter.

There were three trees down here.  One small, one medium and one large.  I pulled and burned the small stump so the two shown here are for the medium and large trees.  The large one was a fir tree that was still green.  It was a good thing we had a hot fire going or the slash wouldn't have burned so well.  The fire is off to the right outside the photo.

This is most of the seasoned wood ...

We stacked the green wood with the rest of the pile for next year's firewood.  There's almost three cords in this stack.

Susan is finishing up raking leaves.  She had several piles scattered about.  I wasn't thinking and let the chickens out then it was a race to get the piles loaded into a wheel barrow and dumped in the garden before the chickens re-scattered the leaves.

Scott having his first piano lesson?  Nah, he just likes to make noise and sit on grandma's lap.