Thursday, October 23, 2014

23 October, 2014 - Fall work ...

We've been getting things put away for winter and finishing up some projects that needed done this week.  We took a trailer load of trash to the dumpsters and filled two of them up and we've done some tree trimming in addition to the normal daily routine.

One of the things that needed done was to cover the shack roof.  One look and you can see where the moniker came from.  This used to be home to some of the previous residents.  When we bought the land the roof was shredded, the outside covering was gone and sections of drywall and insulation hung inside like an old haunted house.  In it's day it was never much but it must have kept it's resident warm in winter and dry in summer at least (which, after all, is the purpose of a shelter).
It had seen better days when we bought the property though and some of our most memorable moments early on were the packrat shoots we had inside of it.  One of the most interesting was when a packrat was running along the top inner wall.  Susan had her 357 snubby out and took five shots.  All missed.  It was like gallery shoot.  He'd run around a rafter then on the wall then disappear around another rafter then back on top of the wall, etc. until she'd emptied all five rounds.  She tapped me once and I drew my 44 magnum (I was completely deaf at that point from her 357's muzzle blast ... it was incredibly loud inside the close quarters of the shack).  When the rat reappeared I fired once and missed then he stopped for just a second.  I squeezed the trigger and we finally had another pack rat down (at least we surmised that from the number of pieces we found).  Only about a hundred more to go!
Then there was the time we peeled off a section of drywall to uncover a whole nest of packrats ... but I'll save that story for later.

Anyway, we now use it for storing stuff.  We call the "valuables" stacked outside the shack our "parts department."  It's pretty well stocked too!
The roof is in bad shape but we hope to have it cleaned out next summer so we don't want to put any money into roofing.  (Ha, that's what we said last year too!!!)  So we are draping some tarps over it to protect the contents within.

I didn't have help last year so with Scott supervising us things took just a little longer to finish.  But it was a lot more fun!  (The wheel rim covers a hole for a stove pipe.)

Once the boss got tired of sleeping ... I mean, playing in the tarp we finished up. Then he swept some of the dirt off of it. (Which he dumped there when he upended my bag of baling twine.)

I tossed some tires from the parts department on the roof to help anchor the edges of the tarps.

I probably have enough dead trees on our twenty-acres to keep us supplied with firewood this winter.  There were two trees here that I dropped.  I used my pick-up as a skidder and with 30 feet of chain got it over the hill and out where I could cut it up and load it easier.

This tree is about 50 feet long and around 18 inches at the base.  The other one was a little shorter and thinner.  Combined they gave us about 3/4 of a cord of firewood.

The Larch are in full fall color now.  This is the view from the northeast corner of our property looking southeast over our land to the mountains beyond.  Our property goes to the point where the ground begins to rise.

This is the road on the north side of our property.  Home is just past where the road disappears in the photo (on the left side).

This is the dehydrated cottage cheese mentioned in my post on Grit magazine about our refrigerator quitting.  Life Without Refrigeration, Grit blog.

This is what it looked like when first spread out to dry.

We bought some hamburger and Susan has been canning it up for later use.  This is meatloaf ready to can.  She pokes the hole in the center to make it easier for the heat to penetrate clear through.

Hamburgers are browned before canning.

The meatloaf is in the three jars to the left.  Ground hamburger in the next two and hamburger patties in the next two.  The two jars on the far right are canned beans.  Susan often puts extra cans of something in the canner to fill up empty space.  You just have to remember to run the canner at the pressure and time needed to safely can whatever item takes the longest time and pressure.

She's been canning up other items as well.  These are Pinto beans.  We like having them on hand and ready to use for quick meals (like one of my favorites ... beans and dumplings).

The finished product!  These are much healthier because they don't have nearly the salt or other additives found in commercially canned beans.

Lots more going on but we didn't have the camera ready for some.  Yesterday afternoon we heard Scott yelling for help.  When we saw him he had managed to get himself trapped inside one of the high stools we use when washing dishes, canning, reloading or other times we work at a bench or counter.  He had it upside down and had wriggled his way to where his behind was sitting on the seat's underside with his legs splayed out through the side rungs on the stool's legs.  We could not get him free until I cut one of the rungs away.  Its' funny, normally we can't get those things to stay together and then this one wouldn't come apart!

We have to watch our language a bit as well.  Small children just learning to talk well sometimes act like little recorders that occasionally play back key phrases.  Today he was in his car seat playing with an imaginary friend.  We could hear him talking back and forth using two different voices.  Finally he said to the "other" party that "I don't want to," then a slight pause and then we very clearly heard him say, "dumb a$$!"   I think I need to watch some of my comments about the idiots we share the road with!

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