Wednesday, January 4, 2017

December 16-31, 2016 Winter life on the homestead.

Can you say, "snow, snow and more snow?" I'm not really complaining about it though.  The temperature has been cold enough that the snow is still useful for snowshoeing and sledding.  What we hate is when we get a bunch of snow then a few days later it warms up and turns to slush and/or ice.  Then it's a real mess to deal with.  The snow this year has been almost perfect.

That's my breakfast smiling up at me.

I bought wood from a neighbor who had a log truck load brought in.  It was much better than slogging through the snow to get it.  There's about a half-cord there. I've already unloaded part of it.

My two main chainsaws.  The Stihl is larger (24 in. bar vs. 20 in. bar on the Poulan) but due to the angle of the camera it looks smaller.  It's also about 16 years old now and isn't always reliable.  This will probably be it's last year.  I'm thinking seriously of getting a new one next spring.

Scott decided to give us a hand on shoveling snow.

But then he heard the trampoline calling ...

And decided to give it a whirl!

Our annual pilgrimage for a Christmas tree.  I thought the sled was pulling kind of hard.  I didn't think about Scott applying the brakes back there!

Snow has only one purpose when you're Scott's age ... It's for playing in!

Especially if you can do it while grandpa is cutting the tree.

Our icicles are in the formative stages in this photo.

Susan made us a pot pie for dinner.

We like the reflection in the window on this photo.

A deer came to look in the window while trying out our shoveled path to the outhouse.

More pie (strawberry!).

We have a bit of a cornice to knock down.  I used the snow rake to pull it off before it got any larger.

Scott playing on his tablet.

I went through my arrows to see which needed repairs.  The fletching is bad on these.

I have three sets of fletching jigs.  The lower fletching is helical, the upper is offset. Both will make the arrow rotate in flight for added stability.

I'm using a roof (snow) rake to pull the snow off the outbuilding roofs.  I bought this one at a yard sale in southern Nevada.  I paid about 1/4 the price for a new one.  I buy tire chains in yard sales down south too.  The snowbirds move south for retirement and after a couple of years decide they no longer need tire chains, snow rakes, etc. and you can pick them up cheap at yard sales.  I've bought several sets that were brand new.  They make good gifts and barter material in Montana!

Time to shovel the snow off of the shack roof.  It's about 20 to 24 inches deep.

When the snow lets up you can see the nearby mountain range from the roof.

The paved road going to our place.  We have three miles of mostly uphill road left to get home once we turn off this one.

One of the icicles hanging from the rain gutter.

It's time to make Christmas cookies.  Emily and Stephen are rolling out the dough and cutting out cookies.

Meanwhile, I'm clowning around.

Decorating time.  We use pans of colored frosting and toothpicks to decorate.  Theirs tend to be somewhat artistic.  The cookies I do have only one requirement ... the frosting must be equal to or greater than the thickness of the cookie.

Meanwhile, Scott and his little brother, Ben, are guarding the presents under the Christmas tree.

One of the cookies Emily is working on.

Finished cookies ...

and more finished cookies.  Since we are on a diet we send most of these with Stephen to share at work. (We filled about four trays.)

More snow!

Scott placed himself in charge of putting bows on the packages.  It was fun to listen to him as he evaluated each bow and it's appropriateness to the person the package was going to.

Potato soup and cornbread ... one of my favorites.

We kept some of the cookie dough to make more cookies later.  Here Scott is rolling it flat.  In the cookie sheet next to him you can see that we've already cut some out.

The view south of our cabin.

Christmas day at our cabin.

We had Christmas dinner at our youngest son's house.  He lives next to a golf course.  The Stonehenge monument is an exact (size and orientation) replica of the original in England.  They also have a museum filled with mostly WW 2 aircraft.  Some are very rare! 

The food line begins here!

Uncle Tristan entertaining his nephews.

One of our gifts was a game of Twister.  Scott in particular, loves it!

Our icicles get longer every day!

Pizza is one of our favorite foods!

My  breakfast cooking on the wood stove.

And another load of firewood.  My old Dodge, one-ton, holds about 1 1/3 cords when fully loaded.

I cut this batch in 8 foot lengths to load the truck faster then I'm cutting it up at home.

The van is going to need more work than I'm willing to do right now so I began the process of getting the U-Haul camper going so that we can take it south soon.  It hasn't been running since August (?) of 2015.  The battery had been taken out for use in another vehicle so I put the battery out of the van in the U-Haul.  I primed it with starting fluid and it fired right up.  Then soon died!  I restarted it several times with the same effect.  I had Susan come out and start it while I ran gasoline into a jar to check the flow rate.  The flow was good but when I hooked everything back up the truck wouldn't start at all.  I finally figured out that the distributor cap had drawn moisture so I dried it out with a shot of WD-40.  It then fired right up but died every time I tried to rev the motor.  Turns out that the accelerator pump actuator rod is seized up in the housing.  I've also been suspicious that the power valve in the carburetor is leaking internally so I just ordered a carburetor rebuild kit and a new float.  The parts are in so I just have to go get them.  I've been stalling a couple of days due to the cold.  I don't really like travelling when the temperature is below zero.

I put the battery charger on it to recharge the battery.  Batteries can freeze when they are drawn too low in cold temperatures.  Since we've had several days of lows in the minus 20 range I thought it prudent to top it off with a good fast charge.  The generator needed a little shot of starting fluid to persuade it to run!  

I got the tag number off the carburetor but it was still kind of a pain to get the parts.  Seems like when a vehicle is as old as this one the parts get harder to come by (it's a 1977 with a commercial 330 ci. engine).  I've rebuilt literally hundreds of these carburetors over the years and could do this one with my eyes closed! I'm kind of looking forward to working on this one.

The last sunset of 2016!
Hope you all have a great 2017!


  1. Beautiful pictures. thank You for sharing your life.

  2. I got the chills reading your post, especially about how cold it is there. It was below zero here in Denver last night, but warmed up some today. We are supposed to be in the 50s in a few days.