Saturday, July 25, 2015

11-24 July 2015 - Glacier National Park, The Flathead River, High Priced Lemons!

While June was more like July, July has been more like June.  We got a few small rain showers the first part of the month but they've slacked off since then.  The fire danger is very high now and the grass is so dry you fear the friction of just walking on it might set it ablaze.  Every part of the country has some sort of natural disaster waiting to happen.  Ours is wildfire.  We've done about all we can to protect our place but the thoughts of forest fires are never far from our mind during times like this.  

We did manage some more cleaning around the place. This is a load of scrap metal I moved to a new location.  Susan has our trash trailer full of things going to the dump that she cleaned up out of the "barn" and bike sheds.  She's also been working on the U-Haul camper getting it ready for a trip into Kalsipell for a new clutch.  I'm going to do some more work on it as well including a ladder, roof rack, possibly another gas tank and adding a couple of more solar panels.

We've had an old wire shelf unit on hand a few years now and I finally got around to fixing it.  The keepers that  hold the shelves to the frame are plastic and they were all broken.  I bought some half-inch wooden plugs to replace them.

I pushed the plugs into the shelf frames then anchored the plugs with a small nail (I filed the ends off once it was installed).  I then ran a screw into the plug to hold it to the main frame.

Scott in Supervisory Mode while wearing his spider costume.

The shelf unit after I was finished.

Susan painted it prior to putting it in the cabin.

Scott got a new fireman's costume. We were surprised at the quality of the materials used.  It's a nice, durable costume.

He's playing at the park with his uncle who is a real fireman.

We had a friend come to visit for a few days.  This is Adrian who we met in Nevada.  He's on a cross-country bicycle trip he began in San Diego the first part of the year.  He was  hit by a car near the Great Lakes a few weeks ago but is now back on the road again.  While he was here we did a few things including a visit to Glacier National Park.  This is Lake McDonald and you can see on the other side where the fire of Robert Fire of 2003 burned right up to the edge of the Lake.

Looking north on Lake McDonald.

More of Glacier on the Going to the Sun road.

and more ...

and more.

The Reynolds Creek fire in Glacier National Park within minutes after it began.  We were one of the last groups to get out before rangers closed the road.  We were waiting our turn to go through a section of road construction when the first ranger vehicle went through with flashing lights.  Once we were past the construction area we looked in the mirror to see the smoke rising from the fire.  This photo was taken down the road a bit from a pull-off.  At this time the fire was less than an hour old.  It's a horrible place for a fire.  There are acres of dead pine between the lake and the road and the canyon increases the wind velocity as it's channeled between the canyon walls and across the lake.  Within hours it had grown to over three thousand acres.  The cause is still under investigation but the entire state is a tinder box just waiting for a spark to get things going.  There have been dozens of fires outside the park and only the rapid response of local firefighters has kept the damage contained.

The rest of the trip was uneventful.  Here we stopped along the Flathead River along Highway 2 on the way back home.  The bank on the right side is the boundary of Glacier National Park.

Scott never tires of playing in the water.  We took  break and went wading then threw rocks in the water.  Finally as the shadow lengthened we headed for home.

Scott and his little brother Benjamin.

Benjamin making faces at grandma.

An afternoon at Dickey Lake.

Adrian took off on the final leg of his journey on Friday.  Here he is alongside Lake Koocanusa.

... and heading west!

We stopped at the park in Eureka on the way home after dropping off Adrian.  Here Scott is going on a wild ride on the steel pony!

We needed groceries and stopped in at a local grocery store.  Thy must have jacked up the prices for the weekend because everything was almost twice as high as just a few days previously.  We are particularly disappointed in the lemons we have available at stores here.  Not only are they expensive, they are small too!

We drove to Whitefish and bought our groceries there instead.  We saved enough to more than pay for the extra gasoline but we struck out again on lemons!  I guess we will be facing another week without lemonade!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

1-10 July 2015 Fire season, dental work, and another book offering from Susan.

We've had a couple of short rains lately which really helped the fire danger around our place. Unfortunately the rain was widely scattered and even though it's good on our property the rest of the forest land is tinder dry.  We are under stage two fire restrictions now which means "hoot owl" restrictions for working in the woods are in effect.  I've been wanting to get out and cut some firewood but now I have to be finished by 1:00 pm and spend another hour at the scene to watch for fires.  I'd rather get done early anyway before it warms up.  The forest service has done an exemplary job in our county so far.  We've had dozens of fires start up but all were extinguished before causing major damage.  The scary thing is that this is more like late July than late June-early July.  We still have another two months of this at least until the fall rains and snow (in the high country) end the fire danger.

We've moved some irreplaceable things to kids who live in town just in case a fire rolls through.  Our place is about as savable as we can make it but there are no guarantees.  Plus, if we aren't home when a fire rolls through the chances are great that the forest service will just let it burn.

Susan has been intending to combine her three food preservation books into one for a long time and now she's finished.  The book can be seen and ordered from Amazon in either print or Kindle formats at:
They are chock full of great information.

4th of July hamburgers on the grill with potato salad, deviled eggs, home made barbecue beans and tea waiting inside.  It doesn't get much better than that.

When we pulled the steel roofing off the cabin a couple of years ago we saved the screws holding it on.  About half still had the rubber washers on them so I sorted out those with the washers from those without.  I reuse the washerless ones on siding and the ones with washers on the roof.  It takes awhile but can be done while watching an old movie you've seen before.

We are putting some used/salvaged siding on a storage barn.  I needed some horizontal supports for the siding to screw to so I ripped a bunch of discarded sawmill slabs.  That way I got twice as many boards from the same stack.

We do that with 2x4's when we want 2x2's.  The 2x2's cost more than 2x4's so we buy the larger dimension lumber and rip them into 2x2's.  It's a lot cheaper that way.  

This is Benjamin, Scott's little brother. He was in a cheerful mood (and is most of the time).

Scott with his stuffed alligator and his alligator hat.

Scott found some old downhill skis while we were working on the storage shed.  He was having a lot of fun with them even though there was no snow.  In fact, he might have been having more fun without the snow.

Hmmm ... maybe I'll shoot out the skylight!

This is Aqua-Scott ready for some swimming fun.

And now we have Adventure-Scott with his color coordinated coat and gun.

Now it's Hunter-Scott, ready to slay some beasties.

This fellow was in our yard the other morning.  His friend was there too.  Both were spike bucks.

Then down the road a half-mile was a doe and her fawn.

Made a trip to the dentist this week. He fixed some of my teeth and I made a $500.00 "donation" to his bank account.

While I was there Scott and Susan went to the park across the road where Scott played on the cannon.

First you look down the barrel to see if it's loaded ... 

then you line it up with the target ...

and await the order to "fire" ...

Boom!   A direct hit and we sank the pirate ship!

Have a good one!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

21-30 June, 2015 Time to get some things done at home.

Despite some setbacks we are once more trying to get our "spring things" done at home.  My allergies were bad in Kansas and they didn't get any better once we got home.  I finally went to the VA health clinic.  I had to wait a week for a doctor so they set me up for July 1st.  In the meantime my asthma was getting worse and I was so short of breath that I accomplished very little in the last part of June.  On top of that I was having some problems with a broken tooth.  It broke while we were in Nevada but right after I broke it there we went to my mother's to see my stepfather and the dental clinic I used was closed for vacation.  Then when we got back to Nevada I had to go to my sisters for my niece's funeral.  Got back from there and they couldn't see me until two days after our scheduled departure.  So we started home and right after getting home I worked on my daughter's pickup replacing the clutch.  While I was doing that my mother called with news that my stepfather had died.  When we got back here I finally got in to see the dentist and he scheduled me for the tenth of July!  So, by the 11th of July it should be taken care of (and our bank account will be $500.00 plus lighter.)  Oh well, it will be nice to have it done.  In the meantime ...

We are still trying to get in some bike rides.  This is a fork where two little streams meet.  We've gone down the right one in kayaks before but it's pretty shallow and we spent a lot of time portaging kayaks.  There's a pull-off by the bridge where fire engines can refill their water tanks from the stream.

This is the view looking ahead on the road.  Highway 93 is just past the tall trees at the left front of the photo.

We plan on doing some work to the U-Haul and taking it back south with us this fall.  We're taking a "non-direct" path this fall and wanted to travel in comfort.  It hasn't been started in 1 1/2 years so it took some coaxing!

I replaced the alternator's voltage regulator on my wood-cutting truck by swiping a regulator from one of the motor homes we have parked on the place.  It was the one we took back East last spring.  We're setting it up as a small guest cabin for people to stay in when they visit.

We were overrun with rabbits and ground squirrels while we were gone.  One of the rabbits is now in the barbecue grill alongside some potatoes (in the foil).  I've been trapping and shooting the ground squirrels ever since we got home.  I think the record is 23 in two days.  We now have the dog back and she has accounted for several as well (including a couple of rabbits and a grouse).

Scott is holding the water jug in place as it empties into the barrel.  From the barrel it will be pumped into an overhead tank above the sink.  It gravity feeds from the overhead tank to the sink.

Our son-in-law went fishing and as always came back with some nice pike and perch.

One of the problems with my asthma is that it leaves Susan to mow the lawn.  It was quite a job too!  We just bought the lawn mower last summer because I was tired of spending as much time trying to keep the mower running as it took to mow the lawn.  This one gave me fits as well and every time Susan shut it off I had to spend the next 15 minutes getting it to start again.  At one point I took the carburetor off and went through it.  Aargh!  Sometimes it seems like you can't win.  Maybe we should just get some sheep or horses and let them mow the lawn.

While she was mowing I was digging up rocks in the yard.  I swear those things must reproduce.  We never seem to run low on them.

Scott having some quality time with his little brother.

Scott being silly.  Those are robot antennas.

Scott with another "costume" on.  I think he's a robot here.

We were taking a break in the back yard when we noticed this doe stalking in.  Evidently some of the springs back in the woods have dried up and she didn't want to walk the half-mile to the nearest pond.  She was really nervous but she did come in for a drink from the water tank.

She's about 20 yards from where we are sitting.  The dog wasn't home yet so she didn't have much to worry about.

Scott at our oldest son's house.  The chair he's using is one that is commonly seen at primitive camps.  It's made from a couple of wide  boards.  

We finally got the ceiling fan installed on the front porch.  It's nice for stirring up the air on the days when the wind isn't blowing.

More grandkids playing with the Lego blocks.  It kept them occupied much better than if they'd watched TV.  Scott and Anna (the two youngest - not in this photo) spent hours playing on the trampoline in 95 degree temperatures.