Monday, March 26, 2012

11-25 March, 2012 More Snow, New Baby, Birthdays ...

I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post.  I'll have to stretch my memory a bit to remember what's been happening.  A lot of it is routine stuff.  Preparing meals, feed the chickens, cat and dog, get firewood, etc.  We have to work around Scott's schedule of course.  We've also had four birthdays during this time period:  One son, one son-in-law, a grandson and a friend.  Susan has more short (50 to 100 pages in length) PAW fiction stories up on Amazon Kindle and has sold over one-hundred of them so far. She writes the stories and I make the covers for them.  These are the five she has up now.  We took all of the photos used on the covers.

The Rally Point and The Long Ride Home are part of a series she's working on.

My book is ready for the publisher (Paladin Press) as soon as I get instructions from them on how they want it sent (CD, printed, or???)  We spent most of one day going through old photos to use with my book.  I scanned most of them to the computer which took awhile.  We found the photos of when we built the root cellar so I'll probably post them on the blog in a few days.  I sent in another magazine article and have one to finish up yet.  I sent it in to another magazine and the editor sent it back with some suggestions so I'm making the changes.  He said they'd probably use it for a cover story so the pay should justify the extra work involved.  Otherwise I'd just send it to a different magazine.

In addition we've been trying to get an identity theft issue taken care of.  It concerns a close relative who hasn't gotten anywhere in several years (you cannot believe the run-around you get when dealing with the IRS, Border Patrol, ICE, FBI, local law enforcement and some other government agencies when it comes to identity theft).  Anyway, Susan is on the case now and she's not the type to quit ... ever!  We found a national Television News station in the city where it's happening and they're on the trail now.  They seem to be accomplishing things and we hope the guy is arrested soon ... and on national television when it happens.  We'll keep you updated as events unfold.  This has been an unbelievable headache for everyone involved.  Our respect for the FBI, Homeland Security, ICE, and especially the IRS has diminished greatly during this ordeal.  The IRS in particular seems to be filled with incompetent idiots.  We may write a book about this after we're done!

Now that my blood pressure is up a couple of notches I'll go on to different subjects ....

Scott gets a bit cranky around nap time.  He makes so much noise that it's hard for whoever is writing (or on the phone to the IRS, etc.) to concentrate.  One of the ways we keep him happy until he's ready to take his nap is to take him outside.  He absolutely loves being outside no matter what the temperature is.  The only thing he doesn't like is lots of wind.  One of his favorite play areas is in the car ... especially the driver's seat.  He's rolled the window down and is watching Odie bounce around under the window.  Of course when he's finished "driving" I have to turn off the lights, windshield wipers, radio, emergency  flashers, turn signal and find the cigarette lighter and plug it back in the socket.  But it keeps him happy for another half-hour anyway.

Here he's watching Sesame Street on Susan's computer.  No matter what's on television he gets bored with it after about 15 minutes.

Barbara and Victor were over one evening and we played Yahtzee.  Susan got up to get something and Scott immediately slid off my lap and took her chair.  We had to move quick to get the paper and pencil out of the way! 

When we get his snowsuit, coat or boots/shoes down he gets excited because he knows he's going outside.  Instead of the squirming little boy he usually is he sits patiently while we get him dressed to go outside.  We hope he never loses his love of being outside.

We just returned from one of our excursions.  Scott is "helping" unload the wood we got out of the woodshed.

We had several new snowstorms last week.  The weather was warm so the snow was wet and melted quickly.  We got almost a foot of the stuff over a two day period.  This was after the first night.  I love it when the snow hangs on the trees and bushes.

It's probably the last time out with the snowmobile this year.  I took advantage of the fresh snow to do some riding.  I had the woods to myself for the most part and got back on some timber company land.  The snow was firm and untracked and it was great riding.  It still had the "floating" sensation but the snow wasn't so soft and deep you had to keep the throttle wide open to keep moving.  I got near the end of the road and saw someone else coming my direction.  I waved and he cut around and took off down an old skidder trail.  I think he believed he was doing something wrong.  The roads are gated but the company that owns the land doesn't care if you ride vehicles weighing under 400 pounds behind the gates.  He may not have known that or may have thought he was on USFS land (they DO mind if you're on gated roads).  Or maybe he just didn't want to talk!  He's the only person I saw while riding.

Stephen (Scott's dad) was converting some VHS tapes we have to DVDs so Scott decided it was something he'd like to learn too!

Our newest grandchild is named Lincoln.  He was a little over nine-pounds at birth.   We went to see him the first Saturday after he was born.  Their car needed some brake work so I took my tools along and changed the brake caliper on the right, front brake.  It was good reminder of why I didn't like fixing cars in the winter.  I was soaked from the knees down from working in the slush that fell off the car.

Scott is helping Susan do the wash.  He's gotten bad about climbing when he isn't supposed to.  Susan moved the chair out that he used to stand on so ...

He found another way to make himself taller!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

5-10 March, 2012 - Crossbows and Bare Ground

We decided to take a break from the back woods and go somewhere the snow was gone.  After counting our money we determined that Southern Nevada wasn't an option so we drove into Eureka.  We had a great brunch at our favorite cafe then met up with our daughter-in-law and went walking ... in the mud.  Oh well, at least it felt like spring!

We made made a short walk along the river.  There's no ice and not much snow melting in the high-country so the water was clear and low.  In another month or two it'll be swollen and cloudy with run-off from the mountains.

We made a side trip to see our son at work.  He's working at a wood pellet mill during the winter.  He mainly drives the Bobcat to bring pallets of wood pellets to the crane so that they can be loaded onto the train cars.  The crane picks up the large bags of pellets and dangles them over the opening in the train car.  The guy on top of the car opens the chute in the bottom and the pellets fall into the car for transport.

This is our youngest son, his wife and Susan.  It was interesting to watch them at work.  We headed home soon afterwards, stopping at Fortine to fill water jugs on the way.  We had to chain up the Cherokee to make it up the hill a mile from our house.  We've had some warm weather and sunshine lately and it's beginning to melt the ice on the road.  The hill is a different story.  It has a lot of shade so the ice there is still thick and hard.  It also had water running down it which made it even slicker than normal.  We made it up about 20 feet in four-wheel-drive with studded tires then backed down and put the chains on.  No problem getting up after that!

Susan dug around in the toys stored in the shed and found this car for Scott to play on.  Of course the first thing he did was roll it on the side and play with the wheels.  He likes to watch them spin freely.  It's making us a little nervous.  We hope he gets over it by the time he can drive real cars.

The next thing he showed us was how he figured out how to get the suspenders loose on his overalls.  Great!  We already went through this once when he figured out how to take his diaper off by himself!

Scott's also learned a new way to help grandma wash diapers.  He likes pulling them through the wringer when she's finished washing them.  He's also big enough now to get into the wash tub from the chair.  Life just keeps getting more and more interesting around here.

One of our deep cycle batteries got dropped awhile back.  I've tested it and it still tests okay so I fixed the crack in the top and we're going to use it for the solar powered, electric fence charger.  We have one that needs a six volt battery.  Once this one is charged it should last all year.

I bought a knife at the thrift store for a dollar and thought I'd try cutting it down some for a camp knife.  I've heard so many people say a short knife blade is "best" so I thought I'd give it a try.  It's about 3 1/4 inches long now.    We'll see how I like it.

I'd already shortened this Old Hickory knife but I didn't like the curve at the tip.  While I was in the shop I went ahead and refiled the curve.  It looks about right now.  It's going to be my hunting knife for field dressing and skinning big game.  All I need now is a dead deer to try it out on.

Some of the kids were up on Friday.  It was a beautiful day so we went outside and shot the crossbows a while.  They traded off crossbows over the afternoon.  This is Stephen (Scott's dad) with the cheap one.  We paid about a hundred dollars for it new.  It has a lousy ... REALLY HARD ... trigger pull but shoots very accurately and is light weight.  The scope is an old scope made for an SKS.  It's a poor scope for a rifle but works great on the crossbow.

Victor has the newer, compound crossbow.  It's got a great trigger pull and is fast shooting.  It's accurate but on Saturday it had some problems.  After about ten shots the scope's cross hairs fell down inside the scope so it was kind of "point and shoot" after that.  The safety also has some issues.  If you have the safety on and try firing it the safety holds.  But when you push the safety to "fire" the crossbow shoots the bolt. The way to keep it from happening is to pull back on the string after you try firing it with the safety on.  Then it functions correctly.  I should probably contact the manufacturer about that.  The crossbow itself is fast but heavy.  I plan on doing some gopher hunting with them this summer.  I've found out that I can cut my broken or bent arrows and shoot them out of the crossbows.  It's a lot cheaper than buying new ones all the time.  Crossbows are kind of hard on bolts (arrows).

We've both been working on books this week.  We spent half a day going through old photos for my book.  I took the print photos and scanned them into the computer to use later. That took awhile.  There were over a hundred of them.  Susan has three of her short PAW books up on Kindle now.  She sold over twenty the first three days.  We're still learning how to post them and have had to make a couple of changes on the formats since she first put them up.  We think we've got it figured out now though. ... We hope!

Monday, March 5, 2012

26 February - 4 March, 2012 Shots, Tires, and Stoves

I'll be glad when winter is over!  It's seeming to drag on forever.  It would be better if the snow was conducive to having fun but it's been a rotten year weather wise.  We get snow but then it warms up and the snow's too sticky for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.  We've had some good times sledding and on the snowmobiles but that's about it.  Snowmobiles are fun but I don't like the noise or the exhaust fumes after awhile.  Whine, whine, whine!
Made a trip into Eureka and saw this load of firewood for sale.   I like the way they set it up.  When someone buys some they just load the pallet onto a truck and take it for delivery.  You measure the stack and the customer knows exactly how much they bought.  No more arguing about whether it's a full cord or not!
One of our snowy days.  There's a mountain range in the back ground but the snow and clouds are obscuring it.  Unfortunately, it's warm snow.  Not good for snowshoes or skis.

We took Scott in to Kalispell for his 15 month check-up.  We stopped at McDonalds for a sausage biscuit.  He's finishing off the biscuit (no sausage for him yet) and playing with his (empty!) cup.  I made the remark that he was sure a happy little boy that morning.  The next stop took care of that!!

Shot time!  He's a healthy little boy (which is something to be thankful for) and was cooperative all through the poking and prodding.  The doctor left for awhile and Scott found an empty, unlocked cabinet to store some of the children's books in then when the doctor came back it was time for shots.  That, of course, didn't go so well!  I put the books back on the shelf before we left.

After getting a clean bill of health it was off to Burger King so we could start clogging his arteries with french fries and other good stuff that was bad for you!

His Dad's car needed tires.  They went to the tire store and got a good price on tires but they wanted $24.50 each to mount/balance them.  Our daughter said they'd just take the tires, her dad could swap them out on the rims.  It kind of surprised the salesman.  He tried to talk them out of it but couldn't argue against the logic of them saving almost $100 bucks by doing it themselves.  They took the tires off and brought them up when they came to visit on Saturday.

Stephen saving $100 bucks in an hour using my $59.99, Harbor Freight tire machine.  That would put a smile on any one's face! 

I went to the snowmobile dealer to get a new rope for the recoil starter on my Yamaha snowmobile.  They wanted $10.00 for the ten foot long OE cord or .75 per foot for the bulk rope.  I thought for a minute then went next door to Murdocks (farm supply store) and bought fifty feet for $9.95.

It works great!  I'll probably replace the rope on the other one before next season.

My oldest son said to check the kill switch for the problem of the motor dying while riding it.  I went through all the electrical and couldn't find a problem.  When the kids took them out Saturday they didn't have any problems so it may have been a bad connection or it may be waiting for me to fill the tank and get 15 miles from home to act up again.

Susan dug around in one of the storage buildings and got out some toys we'd stored from when our kids were little.  The cook stove was a big hit with Scott.  He decided to make us lunch with his skillet and a plastic hamburger. 

But the real fun came when he opened the oven door ... more things to scatter around the living room!

Scott's telling jokes again!   He never can keep a straight face!

Scott shares a "hold me" moment with grandma.

I bought the stove gasket last time we were in Eureka then found out that all of my glue had solidified.  We called Emily up and they picked up a new tube on their way in Saturday so Scott and I replaced the stove gasket on Sunday.  Here I'm scraping off the old gasket and glue.   I used a knife I recently purchased for a scraper.  I plan on shortening it by two inches and making a sheath for it so I didn't care if the end got dulled a bit.

Scrape off the old gasket and glue, sand and wire brush the surface then glue on a new gasket.  It's nice to have the stove door sealed up again.  It makes the wood last a lot longer!

It's clean-up time which is why we were pretty careful letting Scott play in the ashes.  We didn't want them all over the floor or his clothes.  He was having a lot of fun helping though.  I took the rugs out and shook them clean then swept around the stove.  The glue had to dry for an hour before we fired up the stove.  That's why we waited for a warm day to do this job.  The ashes will be scattered on the road for more traction on the ice.