Sunday, February 26, 2012

15-25 February, 2012 - Fire Department Meeting, Snowmobiles, Routines

The winter doldrums are here.  Lots of routine but not much excitement.  We've been getting anywhere from a skiff to a few inches of snow most nights so the first thing in the morning (after adding wood to the stove!) we sweep the snow off the solar panels and line them up for the sunrise.  The sun is coming up much earlier now which is nice.  We don't run the light as long in the mornings.  After sunrise I'll feed the chickens.  Later in the afternoon I'll fill the wood box on the porch and check for eggs.   I usually make breakfast and Susan does supper.  For lunch we're on our own.  Scott usually eats whatever we're having.  I've been spending a lot of time writing.  I have the rough draft finished on my book so now we're into editing and getting the photos sorted.  There's a lot more work than I anticipated to writing a book.
last time we were in Kalispell we found a three wheel stroller so we've been using it when going on walks.  It works good anywhere the surface is solid.  In winter we still like the backpack for Scott because it keep him warmer.

When we're on the road I usually go ahead in places where visibility is short.  That way we get some advanced warning if anyone is driving in/out.  One of the problems with low traffic is that it's easy to drive too fast between houses because you don't expect to meet anyone on the road.  Where visibility is good we walk together.

Scott decided he wanted to try feeding himself.  I think he even got some in his mouth.

He loves to climb.  This is his favorite window.  He can climb up on the swing seat and survey his domain.  Right now there isn't much except snow to be seen.

He's still trying to get the gun safe to open.  He's seen us open it so he pushes the buttons, sees the little light flashing and very confidently grabs the handle to open the safe.  So far he hasn't gotten frustrated that it hasn't worked so he just tries again.

He's gotten into books.  He has about four or five that are his favorites.  He brings them over then it's time for us to sit down so he can climb up and have us "read" them to him.  If we're reading he'll often sit or lay beside us with his book.

Susan shoveled the snow off the covers over the sand box so Scott could play in it.  Unfortunately the cat found a way in and has been using it for a litter box so we'll have to do some disinfecting and make a better cover before he can play in the sand.

We met our youngest son and his wife at the bar in Fortine to play a little pool.  Scott likes it there because the room where the pool tables are is open and he can walk/run to his hearts content.

Scott was particularly impressed with something so he began clapping.

The fire department has regular meetings where all the area fire chiefs get together for planning joint operations.  They asked Susan to make the meal for this one so she spent some time putting together a meal for 30 people.  She made chili, stir fry, and chicken casserole plus rolls, four pies, pumpkin bars and brownies.  Someone else made the cornbread and the fire department furnished the drinks.  They paid for the food she used and she assembled the meals. 

This is our youngest son's wife herding Scott around.  It was nice to have someone else help watch him for awhile.

I took him out in the shop while the meeting was going on and we entertained ourselves out there a bit.  He likes the shiny chrome on the trucks.  Eventually Susan and I loaded him in the backpack and took him out for a walk then watched him in the Cherokee while the meeting went on.  If you let him stand behind the steering wheel he can play for quite awhile.  You just have to watch out when you start the car because everything he could reach will be turned on.

After the meeting we helped with clean-up and brought the leftovers home.  The leftovers were nice because a couple of the kids came over Saturday so we had enough to feed them all without having to do any cooking.

Scott's breakfast Saturday morning was warmed up rice and chicken from the stir fry. (Same thing I had!)

Susan and I took the snowmobiles out for a run yesterday.  We went probably 15 miles or so through the woods to the east of us.  On the way in we met a kid on a wheeler coming out.  A couple miles up the road we met the rest of his group.  They'd run out of gas on the snowmobile and had sent the kid we met back home for more gasoline.  They were in good spirits and had everything they needed to wait so we went on.  They'd built a warming fire in the road.  Ages ranged from maybe 10 through 14.  A few miles farther up the road we ran into a logging operation.  The red machine in the background is kind of like an excavator only the "arm" has a chain saw type cutter and clamps on the front.  They run it up to the tree, begin cutting and clamp the tree.  Then when the tree is cut through they lift it up and set it on the stack.  It takes the place of a timber faller and the skidder and is much safer for the operator. 

Susan was behind me waiting while I took pictures.  We had problems with the snowmobiles overheating.  The snow was pretty thin and hers (the new one) cools off by snow being thrown on the coolant lines that run along the lower sides.  If the snow is deep and you keep your speed up it works great.  Our snow was thin and we had to watch our speed because there were old wheel ruts in the road.  If you hit them it can throw the snocat off the track.  Then you'll probably hit a tree.  When we were about five miles from home mine started acting up.  It would just die.  I'd coast to a stop and it would restart easily then I'd go about 100 yards and repeat the process.  I sent Susan on back to the cabin and called the kids on the ham radio to tell them what was going on.  The last time it died the starter rope broke.  Fortunately the loose end hung up outside the frame so I retied it to the handle.  I went slow on the ride back home and it didn't die again.  I tried fixing pull cord with a rope I had at home but it wasn't strong enough so I'll have to get some new rope this week.  I need to get it running again and find out what's causing the problem with it.  It's possible it was overheating too but I suspect a fuel problem to be the cause.  Of course the real reason it acted up was because the tank was full of gas.  Nothing wrong ever happens on any of our vehicles unless the gas tank is full.

After dinner we played a couple of games of Scrabble and Clue before they headed back to Kalispell.

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