Sunday, September 11, 2016

August 2016 - Around the Cabin

I've divided August into three topical posts.  The first (and longest!) covers some of the things we did around the homestead during the month of August, 2016.

Battery maintenance is one of those things that has to be done.  Maybe a little more often than I'm doing it though!  (The battery on the left has a broken top and is not in use.)

A look from farther away.  We have more batteries in the cooler below.

The smaller ATV is going to our youngest son (on loan) to play on awhile.

Loaded up and ready to go.

Delivery time!

Our youngest son's car had some engine problems he wanted me to take a look at.

Unfortunately, the prognosis is not good.  The center plug (from the middle cylinder) has some severe damage.  I could hear a sound like puffs of exhaust coming from both the tailpipe and from the oil filler hole on the rocker arm cover.  That usually means there's a hole in a piston.  A compression check showed "zero psi" for that cylinder.  We could pull the head off and check but I don't see the point.  After seeing the spark plug I'd be willing to bet that there's a hole burned through the piston.

There's a playground we like to stop at in Libby when we are in town there. Scott normally finds someone to play with in just a few minutes.  One thing about him is that he is not shy.

The spider web.  Scott likes anything that allows climbing!

Or swinging on a bar.

Or playing in the water.  We didn't know they had the water park or else we'd have thrown in his swimsuit.  We just stripped him down before going home and put him in one of our jackets with a blanket over him.

We bought him a kayak earlier in the summer but had never taken it out until this day on Murphy Lake.

Susan took him under this leaning tree.  He seemed a bit suspicious of it.

Here we are all lined up in a row (Susan took this from in front with her phone).  His balance is perfect and he says he loves having his own kayak.

Susan and Scott on the open lake.  We did have Scott tethered to Susan with about an eight-foot long line.  Note the brown sections of the mountains behind them.  That's part of the dead/burned trees from the Marston fire last summer. If I remember correctly the total area burned was around 7,000 acres.  There is more burned area on the other side of the mountains and also to the right.

Active beaver house on Murphy Lake.

Scott's little brother, Ben, checking out grandpa's sun glasses.

Scott was playing with my crossbow rope cocking device (plastic handles and steel pulleys on about four feet of cordage) like nun-chucks and hit himself in the forehead.  It bled pretty good and hurt for a couple of days.  They were in a "restricted" area of my room so he must have done a little "shopping" when I was outside.

Another of his favorite playgrounds only this one is in Whitefish.

We keep his Lego blocks on a large tray which makes it easier to get out and put away.  He and I can play with them for hours.

We bought him a jungle gym.

Of course the advertising said it was easy to put together!

And it was ... if you used both the instructions and the photo on the front of the package ... and had a couple of people to help hold things upright ... and, and, and ...

But it does the job very well.  Susan and Scott have both spent quite a bit of time on it.

I got another air rifle.  This one is a PCP (pre-charged pneumatic).  I love this rifle.  You pump it up to two-thousand psi with a hand pump.  I takes awhile the first time but after that if you pump it up when it drops to one-thousand psi it isn't too bad. You get about 20 shots each time you do the cycle.  The  last shot is as good as the first.  The three shots on the left were sighting in shots while I set the open sights.  The five that are circled were shot in one group at about 40 yards.  Three of those are touching each other.  Not bad for my tired old eyes even if I did use a rest.  I plan on putting a scope on it later.  
I really love this rifle.  After numerous tests on spring piston, gas piston and pump up rifles it's nice to have one that shoots well without needing any special way of holding it nor working to find which brand of pellet the rifle likes best.  This one likes them all!  The stock can take a sling and it's short and light weight and accurate.  The downside is the pump which is bulky to carry.  They make a kit you can get to use CO2 in it.  You recharge it from the tanks used by paintball markers.  You get more shots per fill with CO2 plus the tanks are portable for leisurely afternoons shooting ground squirrels.  It is louder than expected, sounding like a 22 short cartridge being fired so it won't work for ridding your yard of pests if you live in the city but I plan on using it for rabbits, squirrels and grouse.
The pump and gun will run you almost $400.00 which isn't bad for a lifetime investment.  The nice thing is that it uses pellets which are widely available and cheap.  I got the last tin of 500 for $6.97 at Walmart just last week.  Mine is a 22 cal.  I haven't used the chronograph on it but ti's rated at 900 fps with standard lead pellets.  Accuracy is far more important than speed so I'm quite happy with it no matter what the chrono. says.

Our headlight on the left side quite working.  When I checked the fuses I noticed that the body shop did not replace the lower part of the fuse box when they "fixed" our car.  I called them up and since the accident was in Kansas it will have to wait until the next time we go back to have it replaced. There was no reason given for not replacing it while they had the vehicle but he said he'd order the part and put it on next time we were in Emporia.

We ordered a rear seat for Susan's ATV so that Scot would have a safe and comfortable place to ride. It was a royal PIA to put it on.  I had to take the rack off to find and drill the mounting holes then install the seat assembly after the rack was put back on the ATV.  It's a nice unit although the seat is too large for Scott.  We'll have to do some modifying but when we finish it will be a perfect fit.

I had a small pine tree that needed to come out along our driveway. I cut it down leaving about three feet of stump showing.  That left enough for me to get a grip with the chain near the top and give me some leverage to pull it out with the pickup.  It took two "yanks" but on the second one it grudgingly let go and followed the truck.

The battery was dead on my ATV so I hooked up the batter maintenance solar charging kit from Harbor Freight Tools.  It was only modestly successful.  Two full days only brought the battery up about half-way.  I finally finished charging it by using the generator on days we had the generator running for other purposes.



I bought a used 14 foot canoe.  It has wood trim so I sprayed it down with a urethane varnish to weather proof it some.  I haven't had a chance to try it out yet.  It seems like on the decent, non-rainy days we have appointments to be somewhere else.

Susan's front shift cable was frayed to the point of breaking.  None of the bicycle shops wanted to repair it (they all wanted to sell her a new bike since hers has a lot of miles on it) so I bought the cables at Walmart and did it myself.  It isn't rocket science although getting the adjustment just right takes some finesse.

We had a bike shop replace the rear sprocket.  He said the front sprocket was okay so he just put a chain and gear set on the back.  It came back with an eight gear sprocket instead of the seven gear one it used to have.  The derailer could handle the extra gear but the screw for the rear rack was pushing through the hole far enough that it wouldn't let the chain come all the way on the smallest gear.  I took the screw out and filed it down until it was flush with the inside of the frame then adjusted the rear derailer to give her all eight gears.  Anyway, that bike shop is now out of business which is probably good.  I had to redo almost everything he did.

A rest stop on an ATV ride.  We've been on several.  This photo was taken before we put the rear seat on Susan's machine.  Hers is 500 cc's and mine is 700 cc's.  They are both Polaris.

Scott and I watching a movie on my tablet.  I purposely avoided putting any games on my tablet or my phone so that it wouldn't be desirable to anyone else.  Then he found out how long the battery lasts on mine and wants to use it for movies.  (I have a 13 hour battery.)  Unfortunately I had to use the "N" word (no)so this is the only time he's used it.  I needed to get some work done outside soon after Susan took this picture and he was sternly warned about downloading games.  He was a good boy and didn't download any.  He may get to use it occasionally in the future.

Scott in his fort using his periscope.

Scott exposed!

Anyway, thanks for looking.  The next two entries will cover some of the other things we've been doing.

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