Saturday, September 24, 2016

July 2016 Update

My camera has been missing since my stay at the hospital in Billings in July/August.  Susan found it (in a place we'd already gone through!) yesterday so I now have access to the photos I took with it.  I thought I'd share a few of them in an update to my July Post.

My redneck car ramps.  Regular car ramps don't work well on dirt and grass so I make my own using cement blocks and 2X8's.

I kept noticing a large number of those stinging insects at the back of my shop.  This is why! It took almost a full can of wasp and hornet spray before I could knock it down and burn it.

This is what some of the waste oil is used for.  I strain it out then use it for bar oil in the chain saw.

We use these to convert 12 volts DC to 110 volt AC when in the car.  This one was made with a fan that runs continually.  The noise gets annoying after awhile, especially when the fan is worn out and the bearings make noise.  We used to throw them away when that happened then I decided to just clip the fan wire and use them until the inverter burned out. (I circled the ground wire in the photo. I just cut a section out and tuck the ends in where they won't ground on anything inside.)  

We've never had an inverter burn out after I disabled the fan so this one should last us a long time.  (And now it's quiet!)

All put back together and ready for use.

Southern Idaho

Southern Idaho




Susan and Scott - Nevada



At a friend's campsite in Utah.  The chipmunks were pretty tame and Scott was trying to get one to take food out of his hand.  They never did but he surprised me with how much patience he had for being five-years-old.

Scott and some of his cousins in New Mexico

Sunrise on the Kansas/Oklahoma border.

That's some tall corn!

The elevators were full and this was not an uncommon sight in Kansas.

Crossing over into Wyoming from /South Dakota.  In a few more hours we'd be in Billings, MT and I'd be in the hospital for a week.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

1-15 September, 2016 Kayaking, Lake McDonald, Firewood, Vehicle Repairs and more.

September is one of my favorite months.

Our anniversary is in September.  A couple of years ago we took a kayak trip down the Kootenai River above Libby, MT.  We did the same trip again this year.  This is looking downstream.

The fall colors are just beginning to make an appearance.

More of the river

One of the places we pulled off into a small pool along the river.

And got out to stretch our legs a bit.

Looking upstream.

Back on the water again.  In many stretches the water just roils due to the large rocks under the water.  In most places it's probably 15 to 20 feet deep.   Stream flow is controlled by the release of the water from the Lake Koocanusa dam.

More river ... we are getting closer to our destination.

Scott riding in Susan's kayak.

We were kind of wishing we'd brought the two-seater on this trip.

It was mid afternoon and the sun was well on it's westward trek across the sky.

The train heading toward Libby.

The train heading away from Libby?  No, they just added engines to the rear to help push it over the pass.

More river!

Scott decided to face the other direction.  When we are on bike or kayak rides he's always singing or going through some dialogue with imaginary friends.  It's really interesting to have him along.

We are within a couple of miles of our destination.  The haze is lingering smoke from forest fires to the west and north of us.

Here are some later additions from Susan's camera.

Around the bend is our take-out point.

The boat landing is just beyond the bridge.  The water here is fast and a little rough but it's deep enough you don't have to worry about getting hung up on a rock and flipped over.

At the boat landing on the downstream side of the bridge.

We pulled out at the boat launch area at Libby.  They were having a wedding at the shelter houses so we found a spot at the end of the parking lot where people come for water.  Susan is having a snack before she takes her bicycle (left there before we launched the kayaks) the ten miles back up the road to get our car.  Scott and I stayed with the kayaks.

After we changed clothes we went out to eat at a local restaurant.  The food was great but it was about 7:00 by the time we got there.  They closed at 8:00.  The town is not noted for it's night life and when we left after eating it looked nearly deserted!  The only things left open were a couple of casino/bars.

The jungle gym we bought for Scott gets lots of use.  He loves to climb and swing by his arms or legs so it was a great addition to the yard.

Grandma spends time on it too.  Here they took a cuddle break.

We have a doe with two fawns that have become frequent visitors.  Visitor might be the wrong term since they live here too.  They do seem to appreciate the water in our rainwater recovery tanks.  The nearest (other) water source is a spring about 1/4 mile away.

I cut some more firewood.  This is the stick I use to measure before cutting.  I mark off the log in 16 inch sections then cut it up.  I use sidewalk chalk to make the marks.  Tire crayons work well too as does the real log crayons used by sawmills to mark the different grades of logs. 

Scott and one of his friends came out to see me (I'm about 50 yards from the cabin).

I handed him the camera and told him to take some photos (which he did).  He's pretty good at composing pictures that don't need to be cropped.

He wanted a picture of his friend.

The ATV and trailer is a lot easier to haul firewood with than the wheel barrow.  I still use the wheel barrow up close to the cabin but hauling it this far gets to be a lot of work.  Even when lightly loaded like this, the trailer will carry four wheel barrow loads.

My wood cutting didn't disturb the doe and her two young-uns.

Scott and Susan doing a "puppet" show.  Scott had me in on the act when I came in from cutting firewood.

We had some business to do in Kalispell so on the way home we decided to drive up to Glacier National Park so that I could get my park pass.  When you turn 62 you  can get a lifetime pass for $10.00.  That's a lot better than the annual pass we normally get for $80.00.  It's good for any national park or national recreation area in the US.  This is along Hwy. 2 between Columbia Heights and Hungry Horse.  The Flathead River is on the left.

Hungry Horse, MT.  They now have a stop light!

Lake McDonald in the park.

Same mountains from a different angle.

Another angle that's popular because of the beach area.  The tourists like it because there're good places to use a tripod.

This is the side where the forest fire burned through about 15 years ago.  The "bare" looking slopes are actually covered with burned trees.  There is a lot of new growth coming up but it is small trees and you can't really see them from this far away.

Dickey Lake (near home).

We went to Kalispell first with the little car then our daughter called to say that some tires we ordered had arrived so we went home and traded the Accent for the Subaru station wagon.  The tires were for the van and are big tires (235/85 X 16) and heavy!  We barely fit them into the Subaru.  With two trips to Kalispell and a side trip to Glacier Park we ended up driving over 300 miles that day.

Kalispell, MT as seen from the west end of the valley.  Way off in the distance you can see the peaks of the Bob Marshal Wilderness area.

Kalispell has grown a lot since I first moved here in 1979 (or 1978?).  This used to be a two lane road with no buildings except a few old farm houses and a huge gravel pit. Now the Community College is out there along with a shopping complex.

It's cooling off now so the packrats are looking for winter homes.  This one took up residence in one of our storage areas.  He shouldn't have done that.  I finish them off with a .22 cal. shot shell.  That kills the rat quickly but doesn't damage the trap.

I had a black bear come visit while I was on my deer stand.  He stayed just out of range (I was bow hunting).  This was the day before the gun season for black bears.  If it had been just 24 hours later we'd be eating bear roasts!

The same bear after cropping the photo.

We like going to the hot springs (at Hot Springs, MT) as often as we can.  This time Scott's mom, dad and little brother came with us.  The "hamster wheel" is ours. It was fun to play on although it isn't big enough to actually get inside and walk/run.  Scott is talking to a little girl and her mother.

This is one of the things Scott and I do for indoor fun.  We need to get some more blocks though.  When we build something Scott likes he sets it aside.  After awhile all of the best blocks are used up.

I had to take the instrument panel out of the van so that I could lube the speedometer cable.  If you've never seen the back of your instrument panel, this is what it looks like.  Keep in mind though that this is on a 1988 Ford van.  The newer ones are a lot more impressive!

The speedometer cable is inside the small (round), white gizmo. (It's the end of the speedometer cable housing.)  Most mechanics do not miss the cables (everything is digital now).  They were a constant source of noise and customer complaints (especially in cold weather).

More Lego blocks.  Scott has the instructions out deciding what he's going to make from this package.  He decided on the cargo ship.

When we drive near water in the fall we like seeing the fog lifting off the surface.  Later in the fall the water temperature will drop enough it won't make fog anymore.

Any time you are near the water on a crisp fall morning you'll have fog drifting over and across the road.

I set up an old compound bow I had in the shack.  This one had a frayed string so I got the jig and materials out to make a new string.

The old string.

The bow with the new string (the old one is on the table in front of the bow). I made the string about 1/2 inch longer to give it a little more draw length.  I'll use this one with a release.  It's short which is what I need on my deer stand to clear the roof. It's set at 60 lbs. peak draw weight with a 26 inch draw length.  If I thought I'd see an elk I'd crank the poundage up more but an elk would be very unlikely where I have my deer stand and I don't take long shots with it (30 yards absolute maximum).  It's decent bow for being so old.  It will group arrows in a three-inch group at 20 yards.  I haven't shot it through the chronograph yet and probably won't.  Accuracy and tuning is much more important than speed.  The arrows fly straight and true which is all I want from it.