Monday, November 7, 2011

2-7 November 2011 - Winter is here ...

Winter has finally arrived.  The highs are just above freezing and the lows in the 20's at night.  The ground is frozen and the leaves have fallen from the trees.  The meager amount of snow we have is sticking now.  We've been through the time change and the shorter daylight hours are making it difficult for the solar panels to keep the battery bank fully charged so we're in energy conservation mode.  All of that together means winter is here to stay ... I think!
I believe it was the last post in which we caught one pack rat and suspected another one was still around.  Well, we caught the other one the next day.  He got in the trap early in the morning.  I was up around 3:30 am and the trap was empty. Susan was up at 4:30 and saw the pack rat in it.  (We both went back to bed!)  Susan set the trap off the porch because the pack rat was messing all over the porch.  I didn't know she'd moved the trap when I let the dog out.  The dog found the trap with the pack rat in it and proceeded to dismantle the trap.  Fortunately we stopped her before she finished but I'll still have to get some retainer clips to put things back together.  I dispatched the pack rat with a 22 rim fire shot shell and gave it to the dog.  We think this is the last one hanging around. 

While hunting I found where a couple of green trees had blown over during the fall so I took the truck back up and cut them up for firewood.  They still have a high moisture content so I'll have to stack them in the pile for next year.  The truck holds six rows of wood and I have three-and-a-half rows.  Even at half a load the truck is still sitting pretty low because of the weight of the wood. 

This is my stack of wood to burn next year.  It was all green wood from trees that had blown down and it will need a few months to dry out.  If I need it next spring it'll be ready by then but I shouldn't need it.  The wood shed is almost full and we're already into the second week of November.  November, December and January are the real cold months then it usually begins to warm up again so our wood use goes down. 

Scott loves it outside but he's bad about kicking off his shoes and socks so Susan pinned his shoes to the bottom of his snow suit.

Susan and Scott raking leaves in the yard.  Some of them are frozen to the ground already.  She hit the thickest places and I loaded the piles of leaves into the wheel barrow and dumped them in a pile in the garden.

Sometimes if Susan wants to get things done she'll put Scott in the carrier and he'll ride around like a little emperor.  He loves it and is always anxious to see what she's doing.

We drove into Fortine on Sunday to meet with Tristan and his wife at the pool hall.  Scott had a lot of fun at his table while we took turns playing pool at the other table.  While we were in town we checked the mail and filled water jugs.

Bath time for Scott.  We bring the deep sink in and set it in front of the stove and let him have his fun. He throws so many toys in that there's hardly room for him.

Susan dumped all the rain water collection barrels this week.  She'd dumped all but one last week then set this one up again when we got rain early in the week.  Now the rain is finished and everything is frozen so she dumped the last two barrels and routed the drain spout away from the cabin.  I emptied out the water pumps a few weeks ago so we're ready for winter. 

Not being able to collect rain water puts us in a bit of a bind for water.  With Scott here and using/washing cloth diapers we're going through more water than we normally do.  Susan moved a 55 gallon barrel in the house to store water there but at the moment we're filling it slowly with water from our jugs.  Any time we go into town we dump whatever is left in the small jugs into the big barrel then refill the small ones in town.  We'll slowly fill the barrel this way.  It's just difficult to make the adjustment from having lots of rain water for washing people, clothes and dishes, etc. to having to be more conservative again.  It shouldn't be long before we have enough snow to melt then the water situation should ease up a bit.

In case you're wondering we have two seven gallon jugs and two five gallon jugs. 
We also have three or four one gallon bottles.  We try to get into Fortine once a week to get our mail and fill water jugs.  That's about 30 gallons of water per week for washing dishes, clothes, people and drinking/cooking.   We can get by on less than that if we have to.

We killed the goat today.  We'd originally planned on using him for a pack goat but when he was banded they missed the family jewels so we ended up with a foul smelling, bad tempered billy goat.  I finally got my revenge for all the times he's head butted me and the other troubles he caused.  Victor did the shooting.  I gave the lesson on field dressing him.

Victor has never killed an animal this size so I showed him how to field dress the goat and skin it.  I like skinning them as soon after killing as possible because the skin comes off easier.  The temperatures are ideal to let it hang for a day or so before cutting up the meat.  The meat shouldn't be frozen but if it's cold it's much easier to cut up than when it's warm and flabby.

Susan canned some salmon along with the mixed vegetables we'd bought at the last case lot sale awhile back.  The veggies and salmon have been in the freezer but we're about to shut it off for the winter so she needed to get them canned.  If you can veggies and meat in the same load you have to use the time and pressure required for meat to be sure everything is safe to store and eat.

Susan made homemade bread and buns yesterday so I had Texas Toast for breakfast using home-made bread and home-made apricot jam, and we had buffalo burgers with home-made buns for dinner today.  The buffalo meat is frozen so we're using it us as well.

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