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Showing posts from January, 2010

I've got a Problem

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I can quit anytime I want to. I just don't want to.

O.K. I admit it. Ive got a problem. My daughter got us hooked on this sugar free sweetner from Starbucks. Cheesh - how very Yuppie. But I can't help myself, I am powerless. We've taken to limiting our drinks. Hiding bottles when company comes over.. Stretching the bottle out. I knew I should have bought a case.

And not a Starbucks for Two hundred kilometers..I see a road trip coming on..

Got the Skid-steer up and running. Finished the new "instrument" panel. Now it's just a switch to start it. And it starts when I want it to - without requiring prayer or pleading and promises of a nice warm garage afterwards.

I stuck on a bunch of reflective non-skid material where ever I was likely to step. Bare metal is a sure fired recipe for a slip. Glued on ensolite insulating foam to the engine cover that the back of my legs rest on - coupled with an insulated floor mat makes the plowing process a lot more comfor…

Wood (Lots)

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I spent yesterday at a friends small scale logging operation, getting some dry pine for Sweat Lodge fires.

Here is a link to some representative pictures of Sweat Lodges.

The sweat wood is fairly long, about three feet, fairly heavy when a foot around. The wood needs to be the right size. Too short and the fire doesn't hold the heat, too long and the logs don't form the required tee-pee. After a couple of trailer loads cut up, loaded, and packed three to a wheel barrow, a hundred feet to the sweat lodge pile, my muscles felt like they had a work out.

I am going back today to get another load. I only go to the site on the weekends to avoid the logging trucks. This load will be firewood for our place. The weather has been really nice and I want to take the opportunity to re-stock the woodpile. We won't need it this year, hopefully, but it stores well under cover. Make firewood while the sun shines. And the wood is available.

Inevitably logging operations make for a l…

An Inside Job

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Got the skid-steer running. Replaced the Coil, Distributer Cap, Rotor, Spark Plug wire and the beast sprang into new found vigor. After I got it running I plowed the snow banks back on the driveway and moved the skid-steer into the shop.
That's brother, Tiny, Explaining T.D.C. timing to the wall, as I wasn't getting it.

Here's some of my learning so far:
Number Four Spark plug wire was missing an end. ( explains the feeling it was only running on three cylinders..)
Number Three and One spark plugs were only hand tight ( Can't help the compression)
Pickup Coil had a mashed thread ( hard to maintain proper spacing)
Working in a heated shop, with Vivaldi playing, is way better than struggling with frozen or wet parts and tools, outside in the weather.Panic and frustration rarely lead to the desired results.Yelling at broken machinery might temporarily help me feel better but it doesn't get the machine working.
I am proceeding with removing the old wiring harness. I cut it…

West Wind

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We are going through an amazing warming spell. Like lows of 0℃ highs of +6℃. I was talking to some long term residents and they told me they had never seen weather like this in their life time. Over sixty years and no has seen rain storms in January. Interesting weather.

But look at the bright side. Our wood pile is not shrinking at the same levels that were happening when it was -30c. And I got to witness that the crushed gravel I spread over the visitor parking and our front driveway had solved the gumbo problem at our doorstep.

Nice. Hoping for that and the fact that we have a berm around the whole North side of the house ( the House is downhill from 5o acres of snow slope) will keep the joint a whole lot drier come spring melt. Which is exactly what we are having right now.

Still no progress ( as defined by the thing working) with my skidsteer. I replaced the rotor, distributor cap, and coil but it still doesn't fire up. Mind you when I went to replace the cap I noticed…

Look What the Cat dragged in.

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Got a mysterious parcel in the mail yesterday. It was from a Buddy of mine who lives in tropical Prince Rupert. Apparently he grew tired of me whining about my glasses fogging up and sent me this:

No Crap! It really works. I tried it out yesterday and wasn't able to get my glasses to fog up. It was only -5c so haven't been able to see how it works in the far below zero range when the fog freezes over. It has been weird weather. It is 0c outside and forecast for rain for the next five days. Just unheard of January weather for these parts. And this following a month of -20c temps that was causing the wood pile to melt. The wind has picked up and all the roof snow is sliding off.

We will try for a new trail today if we can get it in without putting on rain gear.

The parts for the Skid Steer came in yesterday so I can put that together and see what was causing the no start situation. At the end of this rain the snows will come.

Hope your staying dry today.

Just Parachuted in

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I am still waiting for the parts to arrive to get the skidsteer up and running. Tomorrow the parts guy tells me. In the mean time a friend lent me a parachute. It drapes over the equipment and helps hold the heat in. Heat that gets generated by an electric heater or my propane one depending on where the break down is — and how cold it is.

It's been in the -25's for a week or so but last night it warmed up to-15 and there was a freezing rain. Just nasty. Of course on the way to town the wind sheild wipers on the Toyota decide to quit. Drive 5 K, scrape off the wind sheild. Repeat. Fortunatly I got them working on the return trip. And I was extremely grateful having four studded snow tires.

We went snowshoeing again today. Great exercise and more fun than running on a treadmill. We cut a new track over to the East fence line. To bad I can't get those out riders to go in a straight line..

Looking back along the track.

Couldn't get the snow on the over hang to fall…

The Compo-Matic

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One of problems we have with composting everything that we can is that its hard to get the action happening in subzero temperatures. Basically we were storing blocks of ice until it warms up. We decided to move the composting process downstairs to the relative warmth of the basement. Jo-Ann has been using a kitchen food processor to slice and dice the compost material. The idea is that it will compost faster. I got that tidbit from my Uncle Rick - a master gardener, who used a mulcher to reduce his garden waste of easily compostable bits. However the food processor is loud, doesn't handle the volume of compost material we produce, and it's a pain to clean it up after every use.

And having guacamole from the same machine as the compost is kind of, well, unappealing.

So on one of our walks the idea of the Compo-Matic was born. Basically it's a household garburator that empties into twenty liter plastic buckets. Quiet, fast, and it grinds everything into an easily compostab…

Walking Through A Field Of Diamonds.

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Today was a perfect day for snow shoeing. A clear blue sky, -15 c, and a bright sun, low along the ridge line of the mountains to the South. Because it to rides just behind the ridge trees , the folds and valleys are painted with sun light, yellowing as the day got older. The shadows painted in blues and cold grays. An exquisite backdrop to the ice crystal lace covering the the branches that droop along side the trail. The path is covered with sparkles of light. Small branches sticking out of the snow look like they have ice roses on their tips.

Daughter Sara and Son in Law Kevin helped break the four kilometer trail which runs along our Western Southern and Eastern Fence lines.

Friends Barb and Mike had helped us clear it this summer. It’s a great route. Leaving from the house to the West fence line the trail crosses an undulating side hill. It is a relatively flat section, just right for warming up. The West section is mainly down hill. Some parts are very steep requiring bala…