Friday, November 7, 2014

7 November, 2014 - Making a cart for propane bottles, more canning, and hunting blinds.

Short post this time.  It's not that there isn't anything happening.  It's just that most of what we are doing this week is the same stuff we did last week!  One of the projects I've had on my list was to make a cart for moving our 100 pound propane bottles.  We've thought about getting a bulk tank but we only use about 40 gallons of propane a year.  Even a small, 200 gallon tank would last us four to five years between fills.  Since I only have to change ours out every five to six months of use it just hasn't seemed practical to get a bulk tank.  We now have three empty tanks so after we fill them we'll still have enough propane on hand for at least 18 months.  (I just switched out a new bottle this week.)

In order to make a cart I cannibalized two other items.  The first was a hand truck that we'd picked up for free (because it had a bent handle).  We have a similar one that's in good shape so we still have one on hand for "flat" goods.  The other item scheduled for modification is the frame from a jogging stroller. 

I took the wheels and axles from the jogging stroller for the new bottle cart.  The axles fit perfectly through the guides used for the hand truck's axles.  At the left of the orange cart frame you can see another piece of thin-walled tubing.  I cut sections from it to lengthen the frame on the new cart.  I also cut the axle adjustment sleeve off of the stroller to use it on the new cart.

I then used the circular saw with a  metal cutting blade to cut the curved brace from the stroller, the straight brace on the back of the new cart frame and to grind off the tops of the bolts holding the bottom plate on the new cart.

The larger wheels made it necessary to extend the frame on the new cart so I cut sections off the thin walled tubing to extend the lower frame.  I then welded the base plate to the extensions and welded the extensions to the frame.  I could have drilled holes and bolted everything together but the welder was faster and cheaper.  I have no intention of taking it apart again anyway.

A side view of the finished cart.  I immediately put it to work.  I had to repair a tube in one of the tires but the other held air okay.  The large wheels roll easily over rough ground and the wider axles make it much more stable than my old method of using the other hand truck.  The handle is from my other hand truck.  I may make a handle for the cart or may just swap them as needed.  Painting will have to wait for warmer weather.

Rear view.  The curved bar from the stroller had just the right radius for the 100 pound propane bottles.  The axle adjustment sleeve is not welded to the frame of the cart.  It works well like it is.

Susan had two of her canners going yesterday while she canned 42 more jars of food.  Most of it was meat like crumbled sausage and ground beef, meatloaf, and hamburger and sausage patties so the canning times were long (90 minutes each).  She canned one load of pudding for later use.

And there they are!  All ready for storage in the pantry, root cellar, under the beds, in the spare rooms, in outbuildings, and wherever else we can find space!

I spent a few hours putting together a deer blind on the corner of our property.   We've had weeks of rain and cloudy skies and I wanted someplace I could go without having to get soaked walking through the woods or have my rifle drenched every time I go out. So I put up a blind complete with a metal roof.

This photo was taken from the most likely avenue of approach.  I wanted to see what a deer would see when coming up this trail. I used the camera's telephoto so the distance is somewhat compressed.  The range is about 50 yards.

The view from the front.  Odie was out with us that day.  (I wasn't hunting at the time.)

Scott is checking out the view from grandpa's "office."

The tarps are old "foxhole covers" I ordered years ago.  They were great for small jobs I wanted to cover for the night but they're so thin now that they won't stop water.  They still make fine "walls" for an impromptu blind.  Everything is literally put together with sticks and baling twine!  But it's dry inside and I have a padded swivel seat on a five-gallon bucket with a padded "hot seat" on top of it all.  It's comfy enough!

I always pack a firearm when out (with Scott or Susan especially!).  This is grizzly and wolf country but my biggest concern is mountain lions.  It seems that every year at least one is killed while stalking a child or woman.  We have a lot of lions in our "neighborhood."

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