Sunday, July 7, 2013

June 15 through July 6, 2013 - Trip to Kansas

We took a quick trip to Kansas to spend some time with my mother and sister.  We've been planning it for awhile and thought we'd head out at the end of the week but some things happened and we moved it up a few days.  Still ...

There was laundry to be done before we left along with some other chores such as having the yard mowed and trimmed and ...

Changing the oil and filter on the Cherokee.  Here I'm using my "poor boy" automobile ramps.  I stacked some 2X6's then drove the front tires up on them.   That gave me enough room to change the oil and filter and grease the front end.

The trip there was long (1625 miles) and boring.  Here we've crossed into Kansas.  The wheat is ready to harvest and the wind seldom let up. 

The city had an open house for the city zoo. One station was set up by the fire department.  They had a hose rigged up and a house-fire to extinguish.  The "flames" were shutters that the kids aimed the water at to put out the "fire."  The smallest kids (like Scott) had an assist from a real fireman.

Then it was time to ride the kid's train.  In the seats in front of and behind Scott and Susan are my grand-nephews and niece. My mother is in the seat two rows behind Scott.

We went to three baseball games the kids were playing in.  Scott slept through the first two.

We went on a "Rails-to-Trails" ride one day.  This is in a little town that was hit hard by a tornado many years ago.  There are a few houses left along with the old school and a building that used to be the bank.  It still had the outside walls and the old bricked in safe with a steel door.  Naturally it was one of the hottest days so far and we were constantly watching for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Plus, the trail veered off from our intended destination so it ended up being a lot farther than anticipated.  We stopped at a farmhouse to get more water before we reached our destination.

Two views of the bank.  The safe/vault is the brick structure in the back corner.

The wind blew some limbs down in my mother's back yard so we cut them up and stacked them for pick-up by the alley.  My mother set up the wading pool and slide for Scott to play in while we worked.  I used my stepfather's electric chainsaw to cut the limbs up.  I've never used one before.  It cut well but you really have to watch out for the cord.

One evening we went to Wal Mart.  Scott got into the shampoo bottle and smeared shampoo all over his head.  I took him to the bathroom where we washed it all out.  That took awhile since he had it smeared about a quarter-inch thick!  That same evening before bedtime he found a bottle of baby powder and tried to powder one of the cats in the basement.  He got more in himself than the cat and looked like a mime when we caught up with him!

Eventually we hit the road again to go to my sister's house in Colorado.  Scott is suited up for a long ride!  We spent a day there then headed home.  We made a side trip to see a friend who was camping at a lake in Wyoming.  We never did find him so we ended up spending the night in Casper at a motel.

We were weary of travel by now.  Scott had had about all the long-distance driving he wanted so we cut the day short and camped in a state park in Montana the last night on the road.  This is the first time we used this tent.  We bought it for a kayak trip we plan on going on at Lake Mead later this year.  We wanted something that could stand up to the wind there that kept shredding our other tents.  This one is undoubtedly the best tent we've ever owned.

We finally made it home on July 4th.  The grass was tall and the weeds had about overtaken the garden.  We'll have plenty to keep us busy for awhile.

There was a half-grown snowshoe rabbit along the road near our cabin.  He stopped long enough for me to take his picture.

We bought a set of kayak racks for the Cherokee.  They make life much simpler when transporting kayaks!  It would have been nice if the instructions for putting together the racks had been more detailed.  All they included was a very poor quality photo of the parts and assembled racks.

Susan picked up a barbecue grill cover to put over the wash tubs and wringer.  It's much easier than using a tarp and hopefully will last longer too!

The chickens had been busy while we were gone.  I had enough eggs in the laying boxes to fill a two-gallon bucket.  Unfortunately I have no way of telling which are good by looking at them.  The quick method is to put them in water to see if they float.  Those that do are discarded (none have failed the test so far).  Scott was helping wash them.  We still break each one into a cup just in case one is bad.

I needed to clean the chicken house and the easiest way to keep the chickens outside of the "house" is to scatter some feed in the enclosed run.

 That kept them busy outside while I (with Scott's help) cleaned out the inside.

I dumped the old straw on the garden in a section we're leaving fallow this year.  I'll till them in sometime later in the week.

The weeds did well while we were gone.  Susan is cleaning them out of this section while I hoed them in another section of the garden.

Scott was playing in the sand pile while we worked in the garden.  When I hooked up the pump to pump water from the main tank to the garden tanks he helped hold the hose.  He did well, (putting most of the water in the tanks), then when Susan went to pick him up he looked at her innocently and said, "I'm wet."  (A fact that was obvious!)  He also had a huge smile on his face.  There isn't much that he likes better than playing in the water.

I bought a CVA .50 Magnum, in-line muzzleloader at a yard sale in Kansas.  I couldn't get the breech plug out there but there was no sign of rust anywhere so I took a chance and purchased the gun.  He wanted $150.00 for the rifle and accessories (about $70.00 worth of bullets, primers, etc.).  I got him down to $100.00 before buying it.  I had to put the barrel in a vice and use a wrench on my screwdriver to get the breech plug out.  Mostly they had just over tightened the plug.  The barrel still had an obstruction though so I pushed it on out using the ramrod.

The obstruction looked like a couple of Pyrodex pellets that didn't fire.  It was early evening by then so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to shoot it.  The barrel is in pristine condition so I'm happy with my purchase. 

It's going to take us a few days to get caught up with the mowing and other projects neglected while we were gone.  At least we had plenty of rain and the grass is still green and the woods around the cabin are still wet.  The fire danger can get pretty high by this time of year.