Sunday, May 26, 2013

16-25 May, 2013 - Birthdays, Reloading, Garden, Mobile Home Levelling, Makeshift Wood Clamps and more.

We did some preliminary garden work this week.  It's still kind of early for serious planting but I got the tiller out and "we" churned up some dirt.

I don't know if you've seen the advertising for Troy Built tillers but you really can operate them with one hand (at least in the "Horse" models). In this photo I'm just driving it to the spot I'm going to work up.  When I tilled up a section Scott was riding in the same place and "helping" steer.
He quickly abandoned me and the tiller when he found out how much fun it was to run barefoot in the freshly tilled soil.
We put together a makeshift green house for the tomatoes and pepper plants waiting in the cabin.  We still need to finish the sides.

In the meantime all the people who were going to help our Son-in Law level his mobile home had excuses to not show up (funny how that happens about the time real physical labor is needed!) so we made a trip into town to help him do it.  It's been a few years since I've done one but we got it blocked and leveled in a couple of hours.

Scott loves the playground.  Susan got this photo of him climbing the inside of the slide.

He made an "airplane" out of Lego blocks. 

I was bringing more stuff in from the camper when he spotted my hydration pack.  Of course he had to give it a try.

For the old timers on this blog our way of making toast isn't new.  But just in case some new people haven't seen our "toaster" here it is.  We use a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the wood stove.  We found it works best if you fold the top over the bread.  Otherwise the bread curls and dries out.

It works pretty good.  You just turn the toaster over to do the other side.
We had a door from one of our kid's houses that needed the edges glued.  I ran out of C-clamps so I improvised using some 2x4's and twine.  It works as good as the clamp.  It's just not as convenient.

We awoke to snow on Thursday morning.  Susan's birthday was on Friday so we booked a motel in Kalispell that had a hot tub and pool and spent the night there for her birthday.  The pool and hot tub were a welcome relief from the snow and slushy rain!

Scott (as usual) was busy exploring everything.  He decided it was nap time in one of the drawers.

Now he's parading around in a pair of my socks.

Some of the kids came up Saturday to celebrate Susan's birthday so Scott spent time playing with his youngest cousin.

They actually did quite well together considering Tommy's age.

I keep hearing people say they don't have room to reload ammo.  This is the loading set-up I used while in Nevada in our converted, 14 foot U-Haul truck.  The measurements are 8 in. wide X 5 in. tall X 12 in. long.  All you need is a dry, wind free area to work in.

Everything I need to reload 200 rounds of .223 ammo is in the box.  (Except the press which I prefer keeping in it's original box.)

I purchased the electronic scale from the Bass Pro Shop in Las Vegas.  It was only needed if I switched the type of powder I was using.

The scale was not necessary as long as I used WW 748 powder so I put all of the essential items in the box to show how they fit.  The scale would have fit also if I took it out of the box.  I prefer keeping it in the box because it can be easily broken. I used a Lee dipper with that powder.  If you have a scale you can make a dipper from an old shell case.  Just weigh out the right amount of powder; poor it into a case, then file the case down to the correct height.  If you want to get fancy solder a wire handle to the brass case.  I recommend that you keep the loads a couple of grains under the maximum load when using a dipper just in case you overfill it.  In my experience ball powder works best when using dippers.
You can also purchase a Lee Loader in the caliber needed or go with the Lyman 310 Tool.  The downside of a Lee Loader is the need for hammering.  The downside for the Lyman 310 is die availability (very limited caliber selection).  Both only neck size cases.
Using my equipment shown above I can use small-base dies so the cartridges will function in semi-auto firearms like the AR-15.
There's more info on reloading in my book The Beginner's Guide to Reloading Ammunition: With Space and Money Saving Tips for Apartment Dwellers and Those on a Budget, available in both print and Kindle versions at:
And yes, this is a shameless plug for my book!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

1-15 May, 2013 - Pahranagaht Wildlife Refuge, Nevada, Utah, Idaho then Home Again.

Home again finally!
On our last trip into Vegas we noticed a new billboard.  I bet he gets lots of business.

We left Lake Mead because it was getting too hot for my thick Montana blood and spent a couple of days at the Pahranagaht Wildlife Refuge.  It was a little cooler due to the higher altitude and the camping was free.  We found out that the campground host was also from Montana.

There was an abundance of wildlife in the lake varying from ducks and geese to muskrats.

We took a bike ride to check out the petroglyphs on one of the bike trails.
This was the best example we found.

We picked up a hammock at a yard sale for ten bucks.  It worked well.  I spent one night sleeping on it outside.  Scott loved it whether by himself or sharing it with someone else.

We took a drive in the desert and happened upon this native specimen.  He was kind of grumpy!

This is a rest area on the way home.  We're still in Nevada at this point.
Flathead Lake in the afternoon.  We're about seventy miles from home here.
Scott found a new place to eat his breakfast.  The base rotates so he can nibble at the food from all sides of his plate.

We took out some bushes to open up the area around the driveway.  I hooked onto this  one with my pickup and pulled it up by the roots.

This stump took a little more work.  I dug around it then cut the top roots before attempting to pull it out.
All I did was break off the top so I dug deeper then used a trowel to dig around the tap root(s).  I rant he chain through the center and pulled again.  This time the chain just pulled through the wood.  We gave up pulling it and burned it out.  Burning season is closed so you need a permit except for "recreational fires."  We didn't have a permit so I piled some wood in the hole, ignited it and we pulled the lawn chairs up to enjoy our evening campfire.

Scott commandeered the trampoline as his new play area complete with toy box.

The first project for the summer is to finish the porch and get it screened in.  Here Susan has caulked all the seams in the front.

I have both end walls framed in now.  We'll have screen doors on both ends.  The wood burning cook stove will go on this end so I'll have to route the stovepipe between the studs.  It's going to make a nice summer kitchen.
We sere sitting around with Scott's parents Saturday night so I used the time to put new webbing on one of the old lawn recliners we had.  I pick up the webbing at yard sales so I get it pretty cheap.

I had a seventy-five foot roll and though it would be enough but ended up running out with one strap left open.  I finished it with another package I had but it was a different color.

Our daughter and SIL who built the cabin on our property bought a 12X60 mobile home and moved it to a lot in Eureka.  He got a job in town and tired of driving over our excuse for a road to get to work.  The people he hired to move it left it slightly crooked on the lot so we used my pickup to straighten it out.  Scott is examining the truck before we move the mobile home.
We used the truck a couple of days previously to haul a load of trash to the dump then filled it up again before coming in for this trip.  I normally keep the tires at about 45 psi for a softer ride unless I'm hauling heavy loads.  We put some weight on the hitch and when I noticed how the tires were being compressed we unhitched the truck from the MH and I took it to a gas station to pump the tires up to the maximum of 80 psi.

When we hooked up the second time I also put some 2X6's between the frame and axle stop.  That kept the truck springs from sagging so much and gave us a little more height with the weight on the hitch.  The tires were still compressed a bunch but we got the trailer moved over without incident.

We'd also brought in three, 100 lb. propane tanks and one 20 lb. tank to fill.  It cost us $201.00 for 310 lbs. of propane.  That should last us about two years.  One tank is an oldie but goodie.  It's made with heavy steel and weighs 97 lbs. empty.  Full weight is 197 lbs.
Scott was afraid of the generator when it was running but loved watching the saw work. (Susan would hold him up outside the shop so that he could watch.)  I got him acclimated to the generator and now he likes to stand on the big generator while I use the radial arm saw to cut wood. (I was using the small one to run the saw.)   I found some earmuffs that fit correctly but he decided that these were the safety glasses he wanted (they look like mine).  Now he can get close enough to really see the saw work.
Susan is finishing up another book to publish on Amazon.  Its the next one after her book Food Storage: Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs, only this one covers fruits and vegetables.  She's been busy catching up on laundry, cleaning (inside and outside), watching Scott when I'm working and all the other tasks that need doing after three months away from home.