Friday, December 16, 2011

December 7-15, 2011 Trapping, House Sitting, Christmas Decorating

I thought I'd post an animal track quiz to start this week's blog.  All three sets of tracks were taken this week but at three different locations.  Anyone want to make a guess as to what kind of animal made each one?  I didn't put the lighter (for size comparison) beside the first set of tracks but they're the same size as the second set of prints.
First set taken on 12/09/2011 in the afternoon.  These were on state land about a mile south of home.

Second set taken 12/12/2011 at 2:49 PM about a mile north of home.

Third set taken on 12/12/2011 at 3:35 PM about 1/4 mile south of second set of tracks shown above.

This is the way I carry my traps and gear when there's snow on the ground.  It's much easier than using a back pack.

We've had days of cold temperatures and overcast skies.  Highs have been around 18 with lows around 10.  Very bad conditions for solar power.

I'm writing this from a neighbor's home.  They're on a long vacation and needed someone to watch over the place.  They live off grid like we do but have a little more complicated set-up.  They have a well with a 12 volt, solar/battery powered well pump in addition to their regular pump which is run by their generator.  It pumps water into a tank under the cabin.  They have an automatic washer but due to the low flow rate of the 12 volt pump it can be used only once each day.  We've been using it though to catch up n some laundry!  They have solar power to keep the battery bank and inverter charged but it's having a difficult time in this overcast and cold weather.  Not much power going in due to short, cloudy days and extra power being used by the heating system because of the cold days and long cold nights.  I have to run the generator a couple of times a day to keep enough power in the battery banks to run the heating system.

This is the heat source for the heating system.  I feed it a wheel barrow load of wood twice a day.  I'm impressed with it's efficiency.  The wood is mostly poplar and doesn't put out a lot of heat.  Their cabin is twice the size of ours and we use one wheel barrow load a day.  We have to feed our stove every three hours or so to keep the place warm and we're using much better wood.

Part of the chores are feeding the livestock.  They have relatives caring for their larger critters but I'm feeding and watering their chickens, rabbits, cats and dogs.  If you look closely at right side you'll see the rabbits double stacked at the water bowl.  The other adult rabbits are in separate cages.

The battery in our Cherokee died this week.  Of course I didn't know it until Susan went to start it late in the evening.  We thought the key had been left on so I started the generator and ran the battery charger out and jump started it.  I made it about 100 feet down the road and it died again and wouldn't start.  I got the Dodge truck out and jump started the Cherokee again.  Susan drove it in the driveway where it promptly died once more.  We pushed it back and I drove the Dodge to where I was spending the night.  Of course it was about ten degrees when all of this happened and Susan had to get Scott all bundled up because she couldn't leave him alone in the cabin that long.  The next day when I drove home I put the battery on the fast charger then tested it after it was on long enough.  It failed miserably.  So ... I scrounged around for a battery to use since she needed to go to town that evening for a meeting at the fire department (she's on the board).  The closest fit was a little bit large so I cut some sections of inner tube out to put over the positive cable just in case it made contact with the hood of the car.  It shouldn't because there's still some clearance but I did it anyway, just in case!  We'll have to get a correctly sized battery next time we're in Kalispell.

This is one of Scott's favorite playmates.  He'll spend lots of time talking to himself in the mirror!

He wanted to play in the pressure canner pot so Susan set him on the stove (pot and all) and labeled this picture as "Scott Stew ... Let's see, carrots, onions, ... what else?"

Susan's been putting up Christmas decorations this week and Scott has been helping.  He really fell in love with this one of the Grinch.

He kind of claimed it as his.

Diaper washing time.  We use cloth diapers most of the time.  A friend at the thrift store found a bunch of diapers they had on hand and gave them to us.  (Seems there's not a lot of demand for cloth diapers anymore.)  The diapers they had are all old and are much better quality than those you buy now.  The edges on the old ones are thicker than the centers on the new cloth diapers.  Scott can now get through the entire night without soaking through his diapers and getting the bedding wet.  Disposable diapers don't work any better for night time use so the thicker diapers have saved her a bunch of extra work.  This is her diaper washing set-up in the shower.  All diapers are washed by hand.

The next few photos are of the Christmas decorations Susan has up in the cabin.

The tree is on the front porch (so Scott won't be tempted).  She also has one in the yard decorated.

Scott is wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

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