Friday, January 13, 2012

8-13 January, 2012 Cold weather and a trip to Kalispell

Seems like a short week this week and I guess it was in a way.  We had company (three of the seven kids with their spouses) most of Sunday and spent the day talking, eating and watched a movie our youngest daughter brought with her.  Susan had a meeting on Tuesday night (she's on the board for the volunteer fire department) then we spent most of Wednesday and all of Thursday in Kalispell.  In the meantime we had our regular chores and got in one walk in the woods with Scott.  So we only really had two days since the last post that could be considered "normal" for us.

Monday we did some hiking through the woods.  This is an old skidder trail through the woods near our house.  It's my normal trapping route but since they logged it a little farther up the trail and when house sitting it was too far away to keep up with the traps this is the first time we've been up it in awhile.  I brought the machete along and used it to cut through some small stuff blocking the trail.  The machete is a Cold Steel Kukri model.  I don't really like it.  A regular machete does a much better job IMO.  The kukri style puts too much weight too far back on the blade and you lose some of the momentum from your swing and the end also hangs up in any brush behind the object you're cutting.  So, if any one wants to do some trading for a regular type machete or a CS Trail Hawk let me know.

This is the downhill view from where I'm clearing the trail.  The snow is old and crunchy.  It's cold enough to keep it frozen.

We saw both old and new wolf tracks.  These are old, frozen tracks and probably from a single, large, wolf.  I took photos of the other tracks but they didn't come out well.  It was a bright, sunny day and there weren't enough shadows, (even using the flash to create some) to see the tracks clearly.  They were a set of one large and one that was smaller.  I've seen tracks from this pair before and don't know if it's a male, female combo or mother and pup.  In any case, comparing the tracks to those left by my dog the small one is probably around 70 to 80 lbs.  The large one is probably over 100 lbs.

Monday, when we took our hike, was a beautiful day.  It clouded up and began snowing on Tuesday so we didn't venture out into the woods.  Susan had the fire department meeting in the evening so I took the tire chains off the Cherokee.  She didn't want to mess with taking them off at the pavement and after the snow the road was driveable without chains so it was best to just remove them.

On Wednesday we headed for Kalispell in the afternoon.  We stopped at the library in Whitefish and checked out some books there.  They also had some for sale and we bought a few to add to our collection.  When we got to Kal. we checked prices in a couple of places then spent the night at our oldest son's place. We then spent most of the day with Scott's mom.  We headed home in the evening. 

The problem with leaving the cabin unattended in the winter is that it gets cold inside and takes awhile to heat back up.  We'd been gone about 36 hours and the temperature outside when we got home again was 13 degrees (F).  The temperature inside the cabin was 35 degrees.  Wood heat is not like forced air heat.  It takes about 15 minutes just to get the stove warm then the heat radiates outward from there.  We closed off all downstairs rooms and the upstairs in order to heat the downstairs.  We watched a movie while the living/dining/kitchen heated up and by the time the movie was over it was bearable inside.  Susan and Scott still slept near the wood stove.  We're getting the rest of the cabin warmed up today. 

Sourdough/huckleberry pancakes with huckleberry syrup.  I used home canned huckleberries and there was about a cup of juice left over in the jar so Susan used the leftover juice to make syrup.  She dumped the juice in a pan then added corn starch and sugar to it, heated it and stirred it until it got thick.  You can do the same thing with leftover pineapple juice, or any other fruit juice.  It was very good!  (So were the pancakes!)

Scott discovered the weights in my room and had to give it a shot.  He could roll them but that was about it.  Considering the dumbbell weighs twenty pounds and he weighs about 25 lbs. he's doing all right just to move it.

This is the newest addition to the homestead.  His name is "stud"  (or maybe that's his job!) and we got him from a neighbor.  They said take which one we wanted of the two they had.  I waited until they roosted early in the evening then grabbed him off the roost.  You carry them by the legs upside down.  They struggle briefly then just relax.  He was fairly tame to begin with so getting him in the cage for transport home was easy.  He quickly asserted his authority over the hen who used to be the boss.  That was a good deal since she was kind of vicious toward the other chickens.  He was her last chance to mellow out.  If she had stayed mean she'd have been transformed into the main ingredient for Chicken and Dumplings.

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