Wednesday, November 2, 2011

27 Oct - 1 Nov, 2011 Trick-or-treat, Packrats, and Rug Rats

The nights and days are getting colder and there's a definite feel of winter in the air which kind of motivates us to get the outside things done ASAP!  On the cloudy days we try to get caught up on the indoor things as well.
We're trying to get a more rustic feel to our cabin so as the opportunity presents itself we make changes.  Susan used a couple of slabs to build a shelf in the living room.  This is one of the slabs left after we cut the timbers for Barbara and Victor's cabin.  Susan put it where we used to store our DVDs.  There's another one over a window where she'll put some of our books.

I gave Victor our old monster maul for splitting firewood.  What I never liked about it (besides it's weight) was the round handle which made it difficult to grip so that the head came down vertically.  We fixed that problem by welding a piece of 1/4 inch steel rod on the handle.  Now the handle has an oval shape so you can tell if the head is vertical by the feel of the handle.

We use cloth diapers most of the time at home for several reasons.  First, we don't like the smelly powders used in disposables.  Second is cost.  Third is we avoid disposable anythings.  They're a waste of resources.  They do present some challenges when you haul all of your water since they'll need laundering after use.  Susan typically uses a bucket and water and washes them in the shower or in front of the wood stove (depends on the temperature!).  We hang them inside to dry.  We still use disposables when away from home. 

These are diaper wipes.  The one on the right is new and those on the left have been used and washed for re-use.  Susan found out how well they wash out when a couple got in the laundry by accident.  They came out in such good shape that she does it on purpose now. 

It's the time of year for pack rat problems and we are not exempt.  We've had one that's avoided the live trap so I found an old rat trap and decided to put it to use.  Pack rats will carry them off if you don't anchor them down so I'm screwing this one down on a sawmill slab.  It's usually easier to drill one or two holes with the hand drill than start the generator or run extension cords from the house for the electric drill.  My cordless drill is in the cabin but I decided to not use it.  We're trying to keep our dependence on modern technology down and this is one of the ways we do so.

Almost finished.  The slab is heavy enough a pack rat can't carry it off but I put a wire on it as well.  I've seen those little buggers do some extraordinary things and I don't want one running off with a trap.  I tied the wire to an old 20 lb. propane bottle just in case!

I couldn't get the slab in where I wanted it because it was too thick so I used my hatchet to thin it down a bit.

One dead pack rat.  However I caught this one in the live trap.  The dog was trying to tear my trap apart to get to the pack rat so I tied her up.  After I dispatched the pack rat (one shot with a .22 shot shell) I gave it to her.

The rat trap on the slab didn't work.  It's been sprung several times but doesn't have enough grip and the rat frees itself.  Some people drive nails up through the wood to impale the pack rats but I can't do that with the cats around.  I just hope he has lots of bruises! 

We aren't sure this pack rat is the one that's been causing all the trouble.  Susan heard one on the roof last night and so we're thinking the one we caught was a new arrival.   I'm going to have to use some of my connibear traps I think.  We'll have to make sure the cat is inside when I do 'cause these will kill whatever they catch.

Susan harvesting mullein leaves.  She picked the plants and has them drying on the porch.  Now the leaves will be taken indoors for further processing.

In the winter we bring one of our water barrels inside.  We won't be getting any rain water so we'll melt snow and use it to fill the barrel.  We like having the extra on hand for baths and washing clothes.  ti takes awhile to fill a 55 gallon barrel with melted snow.

I decided to try modifying one of the old butcher knives I have on hand.  I marked this one off to be a skinning type blade.  It will be five inches long when I'm finished.  The original length was seven inches.

I used a dremel tool to cut the blade off then files and a stone to put the bevels on the blade.  Next I'll need to make a sheath.  I may modify the curve a bit more after using it.  We'll see.  It has good steel and takes a keen edge.

We're having difficulty finding a child carrier we like.  The new ones don't have frames on them.  Becky (our daughter) gave us this one but the bar used as a brace and foot rest was too high.  I drilled out the rivets holding it and re-installed it lower on the frame which seems to work better.  We're keeping our eyes on eBay to find one we like better but this will do for now.  Scott loves being outside and if he's going to be spending time here he'll have to get used to it!

Becky was down for a couple of days with her two (Hannah and Logan).  Those who read about our time in Nevada last spring will recognize these two!

Scott, being the typical American child has tons of toys to play with but the biggest hits are a metal waterproof matchbox/tube I put some steel BB's in for a rattle, an Altoid tin with nails in it for a rattle, and Susan's large can of canning jar rings. 

We took Scott trick-or-treating on Halloween night in Eureka.  Here he is with Uncle Tristan raking in some of the loot.  He's wearing a bee costume.  He didn't quite know what to do with the candy but his Uncle Tristan did.

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