Thursday, October 2, 2014

2 October, 2014 Canning, Firewood Cutting, Tires and Trailers, and Hunting

It's a busy time of year and time is running out! We still have things to can and firewood to cut and split and winter is fast approaching.  Bow season for big game ends in less than two weeks but we still have a few weeks of gun season coming.  The weather definitely has that "brisk" feeling of winter coming soon that makes the urge for a full wood shed and a pantry full of canned meat very strong!

This is the root cellar we dug by hand when we first moved here years ago.  It was put together with scrap lumber we had laying around the place.  It's still just as good as the day we made it.  We'll be filling it up this fall with canned goods.  We may have to dig another this fall to hold the excess.  (The old mattress is placed over the door in summer for better insulation from summer heat.)

Freshly baked French Bread!  Susan has been extra diligent about cooking our meals from raw ingredients lately.  This includes breads that she's tweaked the recipes on to use less sugar and salt than they originally called for.  The food has been very good with her modifications and is much healthier than the processed foods bought at the store.

Apples, apples and more apples.  Susan has been peeling apples for a couple of days.  This is the most recent batch.  We'll have over 40 pints of canned apples before she's finished.  That doesn't count what we've used already in pies, and cobblers.  She canned this last batch without adding water.  We may have to store them in the cabin this winter while we go south for a bit so she wanted the jars to be more freeze resistant.
You can get more details on her blog at:

The most recent offering of canned apple slices.

We made a trip to Missoula on Tuesday.  We wanted to purchase another small trailer because our last one died (bad wheel and axle) a couple of years ago.  You never know how much you use something until you no longer have it and that little trailer was used a lot!  We called ahead of time to be sure they had some in stock.  When we got there the computer showed that they had three but when they went looking for them they could only find all the parts for one trailer.  We bought it.

This is the second box of parts for the trailer.
The reason we drove all the way to Missoula (380 miles round trip) was because we needed tires for the Expedition too. Our new "Super Wal-Mart" does not have an auto center like our old (regular?) Wal-Mart had so we couldn't have the tires shipped site to store in Kalispell (58 miles one way).  We planned on having the trailer from Harbor Freight Tools shipped here since the cost was about the same as the cost of gasoline to go get it in Missoula and we wouldn't lose a day of work here.  But now that we couldn't order the tires to be shipped to Kalispell we just decided to have them shipped to Missoula and pick up the tires and the trailer there.  The Harbor Freight store in on the opposite corner from the Wal-Mart in Missoula which made the logistics simple.
Anyway, we got a good price on the tires and the trailer doing it this way.  I'll just mount the tires here and save another $50.00 (using a tire "machine" purchased at Harbor Freight Tools several years ago).

Scott emptied out one of the cabinets under the sink last night.  A neighbor was over when he did it and the neighbor asked him if he was going to put it all back when he was done.  Scott replied matter-of-factly saying "no."  It was okay with us since Susan had planned on going through that cabinet anyway.

We had a bunch of plastic containers we used for left-overs in it but over time it had gotten to where the containers and lids didn't match up anymore.  Susan sacked them up to be dumped.  One more project completed and crossed of the list!

I've been cutting firewood like a beaver with an overactive thyroid.

We're going to clean up the dead trees on our property but we'll still need to cut some on National Forest land.

A friend and I cut 1 1/2 cords yesterday in about three hours.  We're both getting up in years now so it took a little longer than it used to!  It seems as if the trees keep getting heavier, the mountains steeper, the chainsaws heavier, and the bed of the truck higher each passing year.  One neighbor recently went to using an electric chainsaw to cut his firewood.  They are much lighter and quieter.  His son cuts the trees down and skids them to the cabin then he (his dad) cuts them up to firewood length and stacks them.  He also lives on the grid now so he has unlimited electricity.  I wouldn't want an electric saw as my only saw but they make a nice addition to a larger saw.  The new electric chainsaws are a lot better than the early models were.

One of the trees scheduled to be cut.  The lichen hanging (out of reach) from the limbs is a favorite deer food.  They'll move in for a couple of nights after the tree is cut for a special treat.

As I've been thinning trees I've been adding to our slash piles.  Open burning season will soon be here and I can burn these piles or I may be able to get a burn permit since it's rained several days now.

I replaced the ropes on a couple of Scott's swings so he's been giving them a good workout.  (These swings are over twenty-five-years-old!)  One is outside while we put the other in the cabin.  We have a large, central beam that we screwed some hooks into so we can bring a swing inside. It gives a very active three-year-old another way to burn off energy on long, cold evenings.

Of course you don't just swing on swings, you also twist them so you can mount up and get a fast "merry-go-round" ride.
We may have a bad battery in our battery bank.  The batteries are going into the "caution" zone at nights now but we should have enough reserve to keep that from happening.  I'll need to get the load tester out and do some checking.  I check the batteries every six months to top off water levels and clean terminals but I didn't run any load tests last time.
I also need to find some steering parts for my truck.  It's an old  (1983) Dodge one-ton pickup that we seldom put five-hundred miles on in a year.  We use it for wood cutting and hauling heavy loads of sand or gravel as needed.  It's ugly and gets horrible gas mileage but with it's massive springs and 12 ply tires it will carry 1 1/2 cords of wood or 1 1/2 tons of gravel or sand with ease. 
One thing about life on a homestead is that you're never caught up ... ever!  There's always another project waiting for your attention.

1 comment:

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