Sunday, May 20, 2012

17-20 May, 2012 Hunting, Cooking, Mower Repairs and Stove Making

The weather has cooled off a bit.  We've had a little rain the last few days but not enough to do any lasting good.  There's more coming though so maybe we can get enough to at least settle the dust.

Scott decided to try my desk out for a bit. Of course it became a game of "keep-away" because he expressed the greatest interest in the things he couldn't have.

Breakfast was fried rice and toast cooked on the wood stove.  Our "toaster" is a sheet of aluminum foil folded in half with the toast in the middle.  We tried making it several different ways but this works the best.  The fried rice was made using some fresh eggs from the chickens.  Once you get used to the deep yellow yolks and the flavor of home-grown eggs it's hard to go back to grocery store eggs.

Odie caught her own breakfast with this snowshoe hare in it's summer colors.

It's lawn mowing time for the first time this summer.  Scott likes riding in the backpack and supervising everything.

I've been out turkey hunting the last couple of days.  I used my muzzle loading shotgun this year.  It's a 12 gauge with interchangeable choke tubes from CVA.  I also have a 54 caliber rifle barrel for this firearm.  I've used the shotgun for grouse and quail but have never got a turkey with it yet.

I didn't find any turkeys the last couple of days but I did see a black bear cub yesterday (Saturday).  It was small (about 30 pounds) and I couldn't get a clear shot to take it's picture.  Momma bear was in the brush nearby and I think she saw me and called the cub because he split for the brush without ever looking my way.  I had my 44 magnum with me but the second to the last thing I wanted to do was shoot a black bear with cubs.  (The last thing I wanted to do was get mauled by a black bear so if she'd charged .....!)

The wild grapes (Oregon Grapes) and wild strawberries are both in full bloom.  That's good since we love both!

I watched a squirrel chowing down on the end of a blown down tree for awhile.  He was watching me too and eventually ran off.

I found my first Morel mushroom of the year.  I may take a walk up in the woods tomorrow to see if there are more of them ready.

We have three reel mowers and two of them needed work.  The roller on the old one (shown here) is wallowed out where the pins fit in the ends.

I took the roller off and filled the ends with epoxy then put the studs back in it.  It'll have to cure overnight then I can try it out tomorrow.

I thought I'd sharpen it while I had the chance.  I use valve lapping compound smeared on the stationary and the  moving blades.  I then spin the blade cage to lap the edges.  They cut great after a treatment like this.

I did the same to the new mower we bought.  It isn't exactly new.  We bought it used at a thrift store.  It needed sharpening as well so I did it after the first one pictured above.

It was having problems with the drive wheels slipping at times so I took it apart to see what was going on. I was a bit dismayed to see that the wheel and gear were both plastic. The ratchet mechanism was sticking so I cleaned it up and put it all back together again. It's really a cheaply made machine. Even after the "fix" it's hard to use. Often only one wheel is powering the reel. When that happens it pulls to one side so you're always fighting to keep it going straight. With no roller on the back it's more prone to scalping as well. (Especially on our uneven ground.) The lesson learned? If you want a reel type mower buy an old one at a yard sale or auction. I may give this one to one of our kids with a small yard who lives in Kalispell.

After putting Scott down for his nap Susan got some time in the camper to do some writing.  It makes a nice "office" because there are fewer distractions.

This is the charge controller for the solar panel on the U-Haul camper.  It's purpose is to shut off the power from the solar panel once the battery(ies) reach full charge. 

I'm making a wood burning heating stove (out of a couple of propane bottles) for the camper.  It'll be small enough to heat the place but still not take up too much room.  I got the idea from an article in the Jan/Feb 2007, issue of Backwoodsman magazine.  I'll post more pictures as I finish it.

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