Creating the Low-Budget Homestead
We're 1500 miles from home today. We left on Saturday (a week ago) to see people in Colorado, Kansas, Texas and then back to Colorado. You'll note that this is being posted a few days after the last day of the blog coverage. The only excuse is that we've been a little busy!
The 15th we went to Silverwood with some of the kids. This is Scott on his first horse ride at Silverwood with his grandma beside him and his mother and aunt behind. He was making motor sounds as he rode.
Now he's on the children's roller coaster. We spent the entire day there and he was one tired little boy when we left for home. The parents, aunt and uncle left for Kalispell in one car and Susan and I and Scott drove home in our Cherokee. It was a long day but fun. Of course us big kids did some riding too.
We had to do some work on the trailer before we left on our trip. I needed to make a better tailgate for it so I got the welder and bed rails out and went to work. The last time we had it on the highway the bar across the back fell off with our license plate attached. We never did find it so we had to buy a replacement. That cost us $20.00. This time I bolted it to the left fender on the trailer and made a stronger tailgate for the trailer. Susan painted it black after I finished.
The temperature gauge on the U-Haul keeps showing hotter and hotter the longer we drive it. I've pulled over and tested the temperature with a thermometer and never found a problem so we finally just bought an aftermarket, mechanical gauge and I installed it. I installed it in the thermostat housing just under the thermostats (it has two). So far it looks like there is no overheating problem. Most likely the sender for the factory gauge is malfunctioning.
When it was time to refill the radiator I couldn't find my funnel so I made one out of the top of a two liter pop bottle. It worked okay.
I also changed the oil and filter and greased it. I added 3 pints of gear oil to the transmission to top it off but the rear differential was okay. Getting the lights all working was a bit of a chore. We had three clearance lights out and the right front turn signal/park light wasn't working right. I had to replace the entire light assemblies on the clearance lights (I keep spares on hand). I thought I had a bad ground on the park/turn signal light because when you turned on the headlights the right turn indicator light glowed dimly (a classic indicator of a bad ground wire). I ended up being a bad ground on the light socket. Those I don't keep on hand so I scrounged around on one of our "retired" vehicles and found a socket I could wire in. That got the truck lights fixed.
Now the trailer lights needed attention. None of them worked! To make a long story shorter, the connectors in the trailer harness plug were loose and I had one bad bulb. Susan already had the U-Haul packed and the trailer loaded so we were finally ready to hit the road the next morning.
I bought some blades for a disk at an estate sale awhile back. I'd planned on using them for targets (gongs) and finally got the first one ready. I hung it between a couple of trees and proceeded to give it a beating. It's at 25 yards from the firing line and we use only 22's and handguns on it. We wear safety glasses at all times (everyone on the line including spectators) in case of ricochets. It's a lot more fun shooting when you don't have to stop and replace targets.
The garden is ready for harvest. We've already dug some of the potatoes but hadn't gotten to the peas yet. We let most of them dry on the vine. Susan calls it the lazy man's way to get seed for next year and she's right! The pods and seeds are dried so all you have to do is put the pods in a bucket and shell them when you have time (probably during the winter while we're watching a movie on television). We were a little late this year. Some of the pods had burst open already. We'll be seeing some volunteer peas in that area next year! We should have several pounds of dried peas when we get them shelled. That's plenty for planting next year even after eating our share.
It's nice that Scott is getting old enough to entertain himself for short times while we work in the garden. He played on the tiller for quite awhile, making motor sounds as his imagination took him on trips across the garden. He helps when we dig potatoes too. We put them in a bucket then dump the bucket in the wheel barrow then he takes them out of the wheel barrow and puts them in our buckets. We still have some training to do when it comes to potato harvesting.
Susan did her laundry just before we left (I did mine the day before) and Scott helped take the clean clothes off the line. Getting in the basket and covering himself up was his idea.
On the way south we stopped at Paladin Press in Boulder, Colorado to meet the people who published my book. They gave us a tour of their facilities. It was cool to meet the people who actually put my book together.
I have more pictures taken on the road but we're working with a jet pack and are limited to four gigs per month. Since this is the first month using it we're being cautious about how fast we use up or allotment. When we get home I may do one post of just travel pictures.