Tuesday, August 28, 2012

21-27 August, 2012 - Laundry, Chainsaws, Camper mods., Vehicle Maintenance

Another week gone by.  Fall is on the way.  We had our first hard frost last week and we've fired up the stove a few mornings to take the chill out of the cabin.  Right now we're burning bark, pine cones, and other "junk fuel" to clean up around the wood shed and yard.  We only want the fire for a short time and this stuff works great.  It got down to 26 degrees and finished off the potatoes.  We still need to dig/store them but that can wait a while.  Most of what we have planted is potatoes, carrots, onions and peas, and the carrots, peas, and onions are frost hardy so they're still okay.  Susan is still harvesting raspberries although they are almost finished.  We haven't had the yellow jacket problem this summer which is nice.  Normally we have to fight with them over the raspberries.  We may get a few blackberries this year and maybe some apples too.

It's getting dry now and there are some forest fires burning south of us (far south of us which is good) so the air is a little hazy and you can smell smoke at times.  We should be getting some snow in the mountains in the next couple of weeks which will end the fire season.  They're short on wild land fire fighters this year.  We haven't had a bad fire season for several years so a lot of people who normally get certified in the spring didn't bother this year.  You make good money at it when you have fires to fight but for most of the people it's a temporary type thing and they get tired of paying for certification then not getting called out.  So they don't get certified.  Then we have a bad year and we're short on firefighters ...but life goes on...

Laundry is a fact of life even (especially?!) on the homestead.  Scott doesn't do well taking pictures and Susan was busy so I took this picture of Scott doing my laundry (some of his was in there too!)  We have lots of rainwater which makes laundry day a lot simpler and cheaper (since we don't have to drive out for water).  We have water in the swamp but we use it for the garden, not laundry.

I got Susan's shotgun out a couple of weeks ago to give it a workout shooting clay pigeons and found out it needed repairs.  I ordered the parts from Numrich arms and installed them when they arrived.

The screw and nut went in this hole and held the part in place that keeps the shells in the magazine.  I used lots of locktite to ensure that I don't need to do this again.  The shipping/handling was more than the parts.

We found a wig in one of our boxes (probably part of an old Halloween costume).  I put it on the floor by Scott and he freaked out.  It did look like some kind of animal so I don't blame him.  Once he got used to it we put it on him but he didn't like it and took it back off.  So I put it on and he thought that was hilarious!

It's time to get vehicles ready for winter.  I changed the oil and filter on the Cherokee and the big generator.  The U-Haul will be next.  The Dodge we use for hauling firewood only gets changed every three or four years since we put very few miles on it.

I got out all the chain saws and checked them over.  That means new fuel, sharpen and adjust chains, clean the air filters, etc.  We have five chain saws.  Susan's isn't used much since I do most of the cutting now.  There have been a couple of times when I've needed all five in order to get the winter's supply of wood cut.

The Stihl was giving me the same problems last year when I put it away.  I asked some neighbors what to check and they gave me some more ideas so I took the carb. off again and went through it. ... again!

This is the carburetor in pieces.  I gave it a good cleaning, checked everything over and put it back together.  I put new fuel in the saw and gave it a workout on some dead trees we have on the property waiting to be cut.  It worked flawlessly. I hope it continues to work flawlessly!

Susan dried some bell peppers.  We don't often need an entire pepper for many recipes so she dries the leftover pieces rather than store them in the fridge.  We do the same thing with mushrooms, onions and other vegetables.

These are Juniper berries.  They're actually bluish but the sun was bright and the colors got washed out.  You can burn the branches for insect repellent.  The needles are oily and burn hot and fast.  I've used them for starting fires when things are a little wet.  The berries can be used to aid digestion and stimulate appetite, sweating, urination and mucus secretion. 

The red berries and waxy looking plants on the bottom are Kinnikinnik (aka common bear berries).  The berries are edible but tasteless. Native Americans mixed them with grease or fish and/or added syrup or sugar to them. Extended use can lead to stomach or liver problems.  The leaves are high in tannin and were used to tan leather.  The leaves can be dried and used as a tobacco substitute.

The purple berries at the top are Oregon (wild) Grapes.  They make great tasting jelly or juice but you need to add sugar.  They're very "tart" without it.  Scott liked them the best because they're juicy and made his fingers purple when he squished them.
While I had the chainsaws out I decided to do some thinning.  This is the before picture.

This is the "after" picture.  I still need to trim the branches on the trees that are left.  Next spring we hope to burn this off to get rid of the brush and get more grass growing.  I also took some trees out on the south side of the cabin before they got big enough to shade the solar panels.  Susan got the ladder out and trimmed branches from trees around the cabin.  We like to keep them trimmed about ten feet high to get more air circulation in summer.

Susan has been painting the U-Haul.  She finished the back and has been taping off windows on the rest of it.  We're doing the box the color you see here and the cab a darker shade of brown. 

She painted the propane tank rack black and will do the bumpers after the rest of the truck has been painted.

Part of the annual wood cutting preps include going over the Dodge.  It needed a tie rod end replaced so I got my tools out to take care of it.  Scott, of course, noticed the hammer first off (a natural born mechanic!) when he came over to see what I was up to. 

Anyway, I got the tie rod end replaced.  I still need to check the toe-in but I got the tires checked and inflated to 80 psi, oil and coolant checked, and all my wood cutting tools, chains, etc. loaded up.

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