Friday, September 5, 2014

5 September, 2014 Getting ready for winter.

Fall is here! And along with fall comes a whole slug of things needing our attention.  The garden is coming in strong now along with the attendant canning and drying.  Bow hunting season for big game - Deer, Elk and Bear - begins tomorrow morning (6 Sept.).  If successful it means more canning and butchering.  There's still wood to cut as well.  Overall though, fall is a great time of year.

We've been firing up the wood stove mornings and evenings for about a week now just to compensate for the dropping temperatures outside.  That also means we do more cooking on the wood stove.  As long as we're using it anyway we may as well save propane and cook on it too.

Susan had her violin out practicing.  When she put it down Scott decided to try his hand at it. He has a ways to go before he's ready for Carnegie Hall!

We showed our son and DIL the trail going into Martin Lake.  Scott, of course, takes his place on Uncle Tristan's shoulders.

Tristan is young and strong and Scott took advantage of it on the trail in.  The trail is short and easy by Montana standards.  It's only a half mile with only two small hills in between.

It is a gorgeous little lake though and not greatly used.

Krystina and Scott.  The mountains in the background rise about two-thousand feet above the lake level.  They are steep and heavily forested!

Scott gets a lot of clothes dirty and with the unusually rainy weather we've had lately, we were making too many trips to the laundry mat in Eureka.  Our oldest son had an extra automatic washer to give away so we took it home and hooked it up ... redneck style!

The pump drains the wash/rinse water into the black tub.  This thing uses 20 gallons of water each time it fills the washing chamber when on the "large load" setting.  We haul water and use captured rainwater for washing clothes and needed a way to conserve on the water supply.

I drilled a 3/4 inch hole at the base of the tub and screwed in a male hose fitting.  You don't need to thread the hole in the plastic.  Simply screwing in the brass fitting will make a seal that's leak free.

The drain hose from the washer runs into the top of the large plastic pipe going into the black tub.  The plastic pipe can pivot so we can take the tub out from under it as needed.

We have the drain hose to make it easier to drain the water away from the cabin and get it where it's needed (watering trees).  We use the wash water for watering trees then save the rinse water in the tub and use it for the next "wash" cycle.  That way we save and recycle at least some of the water

The water comes from our rain water tank.  We pump it out of the tank using the well pump we were given (it had a cracked housing so I had to fix it before putting it into service).  I personally like the old way we did wash better but the automatic washer has some good points too.  It's a lot easier on zippers in coats and jeans and gets the clothes dryer than the wringer does.  They don't have to spend as much time hanging on the line.  Of course we'll have to put some RV antifreeze in it soon or the water left in the pump will freeze.

Scott is helping Susan strip Thyme leaves off the stems after drying them. (She grows an assortment of spices in the garden.)  We've bought Thyme from the store where they just ground up the leaves and the stems.  It takes us longer to do it our way but we really don't like having the stems in our food.

Well, Scott was helping for awhile anyway!  He did pretty well for a three-year-old!

Some of the things Susan has been doing ... Cans of huckleberries, cherries and raspberries on front.  You can see the muffin pan to the right.  The corn muffins were made using home grown and ground sweet corn.  You can't get better corn flour or corn meal than that!  If you want to have some fun grow some different colored corn for different colored corn meal.  Our electric grain mill is on the towel above the canned food.  Susan had just finished grinding some wheat into flour.  The pan at the top right has scraps waiting for a trip to the compost pile.

Under the towel are cans of home made salsa in front of canned chicken and canned chicken broth.  We grew and butchered the chickens.

The fire danger is finally down low enough to burn some slash piles.  This one has so much green stuff in it that's it's being difficult to get it burning.  We've been clearing off more of the land.  If you don't keep at it the trees will keep coming up until everything is choked out.

We've been covering the less frost hardy plants in the garden at night this week.  The night time lows are about thirty-degrees.  If we can make it through a week or so we often get another month of warmer weather.  The blankets were salvaged from the dump.  We also purchased rolls of cloth on clearance.  Sometimes material that doesn't sell well is available for pennies per yard.  We bought several bolts of cloth a couple of years ago and use them to protect the crops from frost.

Onions were pulled and brought into the cabin to cure.  The tops will go in the compost pile.  We cut up our onions and dehydrate them.  We've never had any luck storing them long term unless we dry them.

Zucchini squash tucked in to bed for the night.

We stack boards of Styrofoam insulation around the bottom of the greenhouse and add cloth covering to help protect the plants.  One more month will make a lot of difference in the amount of food we harvest.
Now to get ready for hunting tomorrow!

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