Monday, December 15, 2014

(Dec 15) Amazing Weather and a Great Cookout

Kim and I came out on Saturday with our daughters Sabrina and Stephanie and her family. Weather was about 70° with a very light breeze. Perfect for working outside. We grilled hamburgers, salmon and brats over our Chiminea. I don't know if it's because we were so hungry or not but there's something special about working and cooking outdoors. The food just seems to satisfy a lot more.  :)

We finally got the parts to replace the brakes on the go-kart so Sabrina installed those and got it up and running. She and Riley spent the next half hour "testing" them. :)

I got lunch started while the others got busy burning brush in our burn barrel (steel horse trough). It's nice to be able to throw in 5' logs. Still amazes me how intense the fire can get. I had visions at one point of making a grill that would swing out over the fire pit. No sense wasting all of that wood burning. After burning in it a couple of time though, it was apparent that we couldn't use it for cooking unless we waited until some time after burning the wood. Just too much heat. Maybe we'll rig a wind powered spit one day and see if it's usable.

Riley and I watching Sabrina replace the brakes on go-kart. David feeding the beast! 

After lunch, we broke out the rifle and pistol. Stephanie had never shot a gun before so she got some time on both. She did quite well for her first time. I'm much more conscious about shooting these days than I was in my youth. I would shoot 200-300 round per day, never considering how much lead I was leaving in the environment. Now, I have a target backer that I made with 3 layers of ¾" OSB. So far, after 200+ shots, nothing has broken through the back of it yet. It just gets a little heavier every time we shoot. I'm sure there is a site I can take it to when we're done with it and ready to make another. I would like to set up a permanent gun range at some point but am happy with a portable target for now.

Stephanie with Ruger

On Monday, I came back out and spent the day alone out here. Well, as alone as you can be with all of the wildlife. I'll feel bad if our squirrel gets caught and eaten because he's so fat from all of the feed I've put out! LOL He looks very happy though. Besides, looks like we'll have a pretty wet and cold winter. He can use all of the fat he can get right now.

I wasn't crazy after all. I thought it was strange that all of our birds would show up and leave at the same time - Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadees, Woodpeckers and Nut Hatches. I read an article this past week that it's common for them to flock together. Safety in numbers. They would all come swooping into the feeders at once and then about 20 minutes later, they would all disappear as quickly. The Cardinals seem to be independent but eat most regularly at early morning and late evening. I'm sure they miss us (er, the food we put out) when we're gone but I'm not sure I could afford to put out as much food as they could eat year round. I need to find a feed company to barter some work with. :)

Carolina Chickadee
Brown-Headed Nut Hatch
Downy Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse

I worked most of the afternoon cutting downed trees and burning brush from them. My bar gave out finally on my chain saw. I guess 3 years service was pretty good. I was too tired to go into town for another so I started trimming and pruning the trees around the cabin by hand. I want to keep all of the thicker brush and trees to the west towards our scattered neighbors. I really like the secluded feel of being back off of the road and out of site. Behind us, I'm not so opposed to cleaning up the trees and brush since the property goes back another 1000' behind the camp site to a cattle ranch. No worries about what I'll be doing after we retire. Seems like a never ending supply of wood to cut and brush to clear/burn. Keeps me off the streets at night. By the end of the day, I'm too tired to get into trouble. :)

Plenty of firewood for the next couple of months. The birds were very excited to see all of the cut wood. They got busy scouring it for freshly exposed bugs and worms. 

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