Wednesday, September 5, 2012

28 August - 4 September, 2012 - Camper Painting, Wood Cutting, Truck Repairs, and more...

It's been one of our more productive weeks.

The U-Haul got a new coat of paint this week. We decided to repaint the camper to a lighter color to make it a little cooler in the sun. Susan masked off the windows and lights and covered the cab with old blankets.

Then she began shooting the paint. 

We're using an airless paint gun which doesn't throw the best spray pattern but does okay considering the primitive conditions we're under.  The bad thing is that it takes a lot of cleaning to keep it functioning properly.

Susan finished the light color then we decided we didn't like it and bought some new paint to go over this coat.  It's nearly the same color but more glossy. More on that in the next blog!

We have a son-in-law who works at a grocery store and the store threw out a box of bananas because they were getting too ripe to sell.  He gave most of them to us and Susan peeled and froze them.  We bought some chocolate coating and after they're frozen they'll make great treats.  Take them out, dip them in chocolate and they'll taste great on these hot, 80 degree days, we've been having.  (Okay, 80 degrees is hot for around these parts!)

We bought another hundred pounds of grain for the chickens but decided to save it for later.  Regular chicken feed has tripled in price in the last two years so we're getting more creative.  We bought a 50 lb. sack of cracked corn and another of mixed grain of corn and barley.  We'll mix them together when the time comes to feed them to the chickens but in the meantime we ground up another fifty or so pounds of outdated or rancid food stores.  (We've been rotating our stored supplies and feeding the old stuff to the chickens.)

Scott couldn't wait to help and is dumping old rice and beans into the hopper of the grinder.  You can't see them but the chickens are crowded under the table eating the rice that he spills.  It took about two hours of grinding to fill the 50 lb. sack.  We used rice, beans and old pasta for the most part.

The long, sunny days have given us an abundance of electricity so I've been running the case tumbler in the afternoons.  I've got about a thousand brass cases to run through the cleaner.  These are 30/06 and 270 brass.

Our youngest son "retired" his pickup.  He was given a newer car that gets much better gas mileage and he's giving this one to a sibling (we don't know which one yet).  He told us to take the tires (nearly new) which I'll put on the Cherokee later.

I dismounted his old tires and put some others back on that still had some life left in them.  Here I'm breaking the bead lose using my Harbor Freight tire machine.

Now I'm removing the tire from the rim using the same machine.  We got this one on sale a few years ago but they're still under $100.00 at Harbor Freight Tools.  We paid for this one the first time we used it.  I have an article coming out soon in Backwoods Home Magazine showing how to use it.
There are three, current issue, magazines on the news stands now with my articles in them.  They are Fur-Fish-Game, Back Home Magazine and Traditional Bowhunter Magazine.

The truck had a dead miss in it so I located which cylinder was cutting out then checked the compression.  It was about 125 pounds but the gauge leaked down before I could take the photo.  Anyway, that's plenty of compression for the cylinder to fire.

I checked the resistance in the plug wire and it checked out okay so ...

I checked the plug.  It's in serious need of replacement but the parts store is a ways off and I'll let whoever gets the truck buy new plugs for it so I opted for a temporary fix for now.

In case you aren't familiar with how spark plugs "wear," in the first photo you can see how the center electrode is rounded and burned down more on one side.  The rounded edges make it more difficult for the spark to jump the gap.  When the air in the cylinder is compressed as in the compression stroke it's even harder for the spark to jump the gap.  In the old days of point type ignition the spark plug would quite firing long before this.  The newer, electronic ignitions have a lot more juice (over 80,000 volts) though so it isn't uncommon to see plugs worn to this extent.  The problem is though, that when they get this bad it's sometime easier for the spark to go through the spark plug wire which burns the plug wire out.  Then you have to replace the wires and the plugs. So far the wires are okay.

Anyway, to "fix" the plug you can file the electrode flat again (as in the photo above).  You'll want a spark plug - AKA "ignition" or "point" - file (which you don't see many of today).   You can use an emery board (like those used in a manicure) in a pinch.  I put the plug in a vice and filed the electrode flat again then re-gapped the plug and the engine is running smooth again.  I'm sure the other plugs are worn as well so whoever gets it will need to replace them all.

We also siphoned the gasoline from the forward tank to use in the Dodge.  The tank switch valve hasn't worked on this truck since he got it two or three years ago so this fuel is getting some age on it.  We thought we'd better get it used up if it's still good.  (It was ... barely!)  The best siphon hose I've found is a hose and bulb for outboard boat motors.  The cheap ones don't work well and don't last long. I've used this one for several years.

I'd cut up a couple of small, dead trees back where the truck had been parked and loaded them into the back to bring to the wood shed.  It's the first wood cut for the season.

I knew where there were some recently blown down trees so I cut a couple of loads of them for firewood.  They're green yet so I'll stack them in the back of the wood shed to cure until we need them.

Because the wood was still green I didn't fill the truck quite as full due to the weight of the wood.  When the springs are flattened out I stop loading the truck.  I don't like replacing broken springs.  The first load is on the ground and the second load is still in the truck.  Only eight more loads to go!

I set my game camera up on a nearby trail to start taking inventory of the local deer passing through.  (You can see it on the tree in the center of the photo.)

When we (Scott and I) went to check it yesterday the cat came along.  There was a dead rabbit (snowshoe hare) in the trail.  It's unusual to see one like this.  Most of the time you just find some fur scattered about.

Scott wanted to check out the stump a bear ripped apart.  We put a bell on him to help keep track of him. 

When I got to my camera I saw that the lens to the flash was broken.  I had two pictures of the possible culprit.  The first was mostly fur as was the second.  I can't tell what kind of critter it was.  We have deer, elk, moose, bears (black and grizzly), wolves, coyotes, bobcats, lynx, mountain lions in addition to dogs and small game in the area.  Any ideas about what's in the picture?  I couldn't tell by the tracks in the area either.  It's a well-used trail.

Of course, the only clear photo I got of a deer is one where his head is behind a stump!

Noticing the angle of the sun it's entirely possible that the sun broke the lens out.  The flash's reflector may have focused the sunlight directly on the lens.  Anyone have any ideas or experiences with this?

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