Friday, December 30, 2016

December 1-15, 2016 Fishing, going home and cold weather...

We began the month in Nevada and then made our way to Montana.  The question is, "where will we be at the end of December?"

I bought a Nevada non-resident fishing and small game hunting license this year and added another ten dollars to use a second fishing rod.  On this day the wind was howling out of the north so  it seemed like I could cast almost to Echo Bay!

Unfortunately it didn't do much good that day because after several hours I had caught nothing!  It was a beautiful day though as long as you were out of the wind.

Looks like Sunday!  Scott's dressed up for church.

Scott down for his morning snuggle time.  Normally it's Susan that he goes to but this morning it must have been my turn.  We all cherish these times because we know that all-to-soon he will grow up and not want to do things like this.

One of the problems of late November and December down south is that it gets kind of cold in the desert.  Not like sub-zero Montana but 30 degrees can feel pretty cold in a poorly insulated motor home!  We can fire up our little wood stove (and we do!) but the heat never travels far due to poor insulation and the long, narrow design of the motor home.  Scott's bed is in the very back of the Motor home so in the evenings and mornings (before sunrise) when it's cold he tends to bundle up.  Once the sun comes up in the morning we open the curtains and let the sun warm things up.  In the evenings, though, that's not an option!

We took a quick two day trip to Quartzsite.  We were a little early so many of the vendors weren't there yet.  There were still quite a few though and we found lots of things to buy.  I stocked up on small parts for my home inventory along with some tools.  We also bought a few Christmas gifts.

We picked up some inventory for a friend while we were there.  They have the credentials to get a really good wholesale price on these.

The wholesaler knew them and brought out a great selection for us to take back to them.

Some of our Christmas decorations in the motor home.  We also stocked up on case lot goods from the local grocery store. When you run out of regular storage room you just stuff it anywhere that's out of the way!

I caught a few fish but this was the best afternoon I had so far.  Not much happened until the last half-hour before sunset then I finally just reeled in one rod and fished with the other.  I lost several fish because they hit both rods at the same time.  Towards the end they were hitting the bait as it hit the water.  I used worms and anchovies.  Didn't seem to matter which since the fish hit them both equally fast.  I tossed the little ones back in.

One of the great things about Stewart's Point is riding our bicycles.  We try to ride to the highway and back every day.  It's three miles each way.  Mostly uphill going out but a really nice coast coming back down.

The sunsets there are almost always great.

We parked the motor home in storage on the 13th and left for home.  It's a lot cheaper to store it there than to drive it back and forth at roughly $750.00 each way!  It's getting some age on it so we'll probably replace it in a couple of more years.  So far our plans are to buy a school bus and convert it.  The factory manufactured rigs are great for camp grounds with water, sewer and electricity but we like to boondock camp where none of these are available. We want a rig that's tougher, better insulated, and can be self-sufficient for weeks at a time. Our U-Haul conversion is great but too small with Scott now.  

That project will have to wait because we have a lot lined up to do at the cabin this year.

Ah, yes ... home again ... well, within 400 miles anyway!

People ask how Scott does travelling.  He does pretty good but then he has a tablet, leap frog, small computer, and his DVD player with a bunch of movies to chose from (and Red Box rentals practically everywhere).  If those fail there's always something to do like make faces at grandpa.

Flathead Lake viewed from Polson.  Now we're getting somewhere but it's still about 100 miles to home.  The lake looks cold (and is!).

Our first stop was to see our youngest son.  He's been gathering up our mail for us.  We caught him in the act of working!

Home in the driveway.  A neighbor plowed the road and our driveway to welcome us home.

Temperatures had been dipping way below zero for a couple of weeks with highs barely in the teens or below most days.  We neglected to drain everything before leaving so we had a lot of frozen water jugs when we got home.  The son pictured above put some RV antifreeze in the drains and drained the overhead tank but the barrels and water jugs were frozen solid both inside and outside the cabin.  The kettle we keep on the stove was frozen solid!  

Scott adapted by covering up in sleeping bags, blankets and whatever else he could find and played his tablet while the cabin warmed up.  When everything inside is cold like this we must heat walls, furniture and everything else back up before it's comfortable inside again.  Scott and Susan slept in the living room so that she could keep the stove going all night long.  We burned through about two weeks worth of wood in the first three days getting the cabin warmed up.

We had plenty of wonderful cold snow outside though.  It was absolutely beautiful outside (but still pretty cold!).

The first thing was to sweep the snow off the solar panels.

Our son had shoveled paths to the wood shed and outhouse and my shop but we had to clear the fresh snow out of them when we got home.  We knew we'd have plenty to do so we spent the night before in a motel in Kalispell so we could get an early start and get home while we still had plenty of daylight left.  They also had a heated pool and hot tub there which made the decision to stay even easier!  It was around 5 below zero (f) when we got home.  That was our daytime high!

It was 26 degrees inside the cabin.  By sundown we had brought that up to about 35 degrees!

I ordered a new splitting maul before we left Nevada.  So far it's a good one although I wish they had designed the head a little differently.  This one has a concave cutting edge.  It has some advantages but if I was designing it I'd put a couple of  "diamond shaped" wedges on either side of the head.  The concave edge will bite deep and cut through knots in the wood but they can bind up if you don't make it all the way through on the first whack.  Put some wedges on the sides and it will spread the wood better making it easier to get the maul free for another swing. Overall though it's still good maul.

Scott's great-grandparents left a birthday package for him while we were gone.  It's a figure-eight race track with high, banked turns.  He played with it quite awhile once the cabin warmed up.

The frost build-up on the windows.  It only does this when the outside temperature is well below zero.

Scott found the selfie stick and shot up about three rolls of "film."  One of the technological marvels I really like are digital cameras (in this case a phone). It was expensive to use roll film and when writing magazine articles I took the photos, mailed in the film then waited to see if I needed to retake more photos if the first batch didn't come out right.  Digital cameras made it all so much easier, cheaper and faster!

He got grandma in the picture too!

Our Amazon order came in a huge box.  I often wonder if the packaging department is just angry at their bosses.  I've seen this happen lots of times and you'd suspect that this makes postage rates a lot higher ... or maybe not!  

The cabin finally warmed up nice after about three days and everything was back to normal.  Shoveling snow is kind of a daily routine because this time of year it just kind of snows lightly 24 hours a day/night.  At least it's good exercise to keep the paths cleared ... and the roofs as you'll see in the next installment!

Friday, December 16, 2016

November 2016 Hunting, Thanksgiving, car repairs and good times.

November was a busy month so boredom was not a problem.

We still use the wood stove to cook meals since we have it going most of the time during the winter months anyway.

Susan freeing some sticking keys on the piano.  She also tunes them up on occasions.

Wash day outside. In warm weather (60 and above) she just takes the washer out to the tank where we store the rain water and does the wash there.  It's also close to the clothesline which saves time and work.

I've had this ax handle around for a couple of years now and finally got around to hanging it.  This is a "boy's ax" with a 24 inch handle.  I'm on the short side and just like the shorter handle better when using an ax.  About the only time I need one is when trimming limbs off of trees I've cut down for firewood.  I paint the heads bright orange to make it harder to overlook them in the woods.  One can of orange paint saves replacing a lot of tools.

Susan is shelling dried peas from our garden.  This is a good job on a rainy day when you must work indoors.

This is our "neighborhood."

Sunrise on November 9, 2016.

Scott helping Grandma make cookies.

Susan raked the leaves from most of the yard and deposited them in the garden to compost over the winter.

I'm switching out tires on a Subaru that we'll give to one of our kids and their family.

The water pump began leaking on our way back from Nevada so I'm putting in a new one.  I hit a snag when I went to change the thermostat (the gasket was leaking).  The leak had corroded the thermostat housing bolts and they broke off when I tried to remove them.  That'll mean drilling out the broken bolts from the aluminum intake manifold.  I'm not looking forward to that.

I also got some time in cutting firewood and Susan spent some time canning venison before we headed south.  One afternoon cutting up some trees on the east end of the property I had a spike buck and a doe come over and begin eating the lichen off the tree I'd cut down (while I was cutting it up on the other end of the trunk). I walked over tot he pickup and got my rifle from the window and shot the buck.  The doe looked up at the shot then resumed eating.  The buck ran about 50 feet and piled up dead.  We had a lot of deer this year with quite a few "B" tags given out.

Right after that the neighbor stopped by to tell us there was a sow grizzly with cubs in the neighborhood.  Susan stood guard with the 12 gauge while I field dressed and loaded up the deer. 

Scott painting golf balls just for the fun of it.

Scott wanted to go hunting with me so I unloaded his BB gun and he joined me in the deer stand.  A doe and her fawn came in to browse while we were there and he kept aiming and "shooting" at her.  I didn't tell him the gun was empty so when the deer didn't fall over dead he finally said he needed a new gun because his was broken.  He likes to go out with me but quickly gets bored and/or cold.  I go a little early then just take him the 50 yards back the cabin then I finish the day in the deer stand by myself.

We had to go to Eureka so on the way we drove a short way up into the mountains to a deer camp one of our daughters was in.  Their family (in-laws) make it an annual event setting up tents and campers for a week long hunt.  They normally do pretty well up there.

I've been searching for bucks and one morning I get up to find a new rub about fifteen feet from the back door.

This rub was out in the woods on a neighbor's property.

Scott playing in the laundry basket.

We decided to drive our little car down south for a couple of weeks but it needed new tires.  We opted to put new studded snow tires on it for this trip because it would be winter up here when we came back.  Scott is playing in the tire display in the tire store.  I worked here many years ago as a mechanic.  I think the wheels were made with wooden spokes back then.

Scott and I playing the Jurassic park machine at Walmart. Susan took a video of it and posted it on Facebook.  Scott is all excited and bouncing around and yelling as he plays.  I'm sitting stationary with a focused look while we shoot the attacking dinos with machine guns that never run out of ammo and never get too hot.  We both survived with nary a scratch on either of us.  It was fun!

Next Scott went to the machine where he is Batman driving whatever vehicle that skill level has.

As when shooting dinosaurs he always gets into the game with his whole being!

We ordered him a new snow suit.  We bought the boots locally from the logging/saw shop.

A grouse made the mistake of landing within sight of the cabin while we were having our morning cocoa.  I grabbed the pellet rifle and we had him for supper that evening.

Susan isn't surprised anymore when I suddenly jump up from my recliner, throw on an orange vest, grab the rifle from the rack above the back door and head outside in my pj's and house slippers.  However the buck got away this time.  I think some tree thinning is in order for next summer!

Thanksgiving dinner!  Emily (our youngest daughter) is due to gives us another grandchild (#11) in February.

Scott and his uncle Tristan.

Tristan, Scott, and his little brother looking down from the balcony.

Scott and his uncle Tim.

After dinner it's time to check my eyelids for light leaks.

On the road south again!  We'd planned to spend more time in MT but changed our mind and decided a short jaunt south was in order so we packed up the Hyundai and drove down to NV for a couple of weeks.

Scott's 6th birthday was celebrated in the motor home at Lake Mead.

Story time at the Overton library.

Lego time at the Overton library.

I bought an out-of-state fishing and small game license this year in NV.  So far the fish are worth about $60.00 a pound!

A second striped bass from the lake.  A few days after this we were on the road back to MT for Christmas.  (I also caught a few more fish before we left.)