Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Sunny Day at Seaside, OR

Another church assignment took us out to Seaside, OR again. We were out here back in December, and excited to go back to the coast.

It was beautiful! Very rainy all day inland, but out at the beach it was WARM and sunny!

The team was excited.

The waves were big, and the tide was in.

Very pretty light out, with bright blue sky mottled by haze, fog, and cloud.

We had to get alittle wet...

Next stop after the beach in Seaside was the Astoria Column.

There were alot of big ships parked off to the side of the Columbia...

Both of the kids had been to the top before, and this time only the girl made it up to the top. The boy knew how freaky it was and waited below...

Not too many people out again this day - it was nice and quiet.

Finally, on the way home we decided to stop at a hatchery. Usually it is the Gnat Creek hatchery, but this time we went up to the Big Creek Hatchery.

It was very nice out, and beautiful tucked up in the hills.

Alot of little fish, too!

No big fish to see at this hatchery - that was a bummer.

No other action at the barrier dam, either.

It was pretty and nice to see a new place, though.

There was a small herd of elk along Hwy-30. We'd seen them on the way out and they were still there later in the afternoon.
They seem pretty resident here near Bear Creek.
There were 2 spikes, and this branched bull. It is always a good day when we see elk!

The kids were worn out and much quieter for the drive home.

It is fun having the kids along for the ride, and making small adventures to see and do things in this beautiful part of the world.

A Polar Dip in the Pond

The only thing we can figure is that this boy overdosed on V-day candy. After cutting trees, stacking firewood, chopping another tree, and other chores, he was up for more action.

The rains have swollen this pond in the neighbor's ravine, and he wanted to take a dip!

It is cold!

But he did it - the video is great.

Swam across and touched the big, upright snag.

Mom wasn't too pleased, but she can't say much - she was the first to swim it last year!

At least the kids are foolish with an "adult" around - when we were kids we didn't have anyone 'responsible' around...

Work Makes the Day Feel Good

We like to save wood-cutting for this time of year. The cold and wet are perfect for getting out and sweating.

Good physical work is good for the spirit, too - really makes you feel like the day was productive and useful.

Much better than sitting indoors and watching movies...

We took out 4 more trees in the front of the house. These pines are tough - heavy wood, alot of branches, and big root-wads.

The kids were really grumbly about whomever planted all these trees...

With the trees down, limbed, and piled, we started pulling stumps.

The front is too muddy and nice for backhoe work - it makes too much of a mess!

A good chain and come-along with two willing axe-men was all we needed!

This guy couldn't get enough. He really put in a full day stacking limbs, taking in firewood for Mom, and pulling one nasty stump.

He was right back out there to take down his OWN tree with an axe.

He spent at least an hour on this one - we all were tired just watching.

...and he got it!

This is one stubborn kid - and sometimes it pays off.

Now he has some limbing to do. He is all lumber-jack!

A great day with alot of work done. Thanks to the crew!

Making a Rainy Day Fun

Sometimes the weather gets to be too much in the Pacific NorthWest. The rain isn't bad, but after some nice, sunny, BRIGHT days, the dark gloom is discouraging.

Those are the days to GET OUT!

We took the little ones to the waterfront in St Helens - they have a nice area and quaint old-town square. You can see some hopefuls out trolling the mouth of the Multnomah Channel for Spring Salmon...

The public docks were empty. This summer they will be packed with yachts.
It is a beautiful area - even in the drab.

Kids don't need no stinkin' umbrella!
Just an open stretch to run in. And an adult close-by!

The feed store downtown had some "feeder" goldfish so we picked up a bunch of them.
We had to get involved with fish somehow!

We let the goldfish aclimate to their new trough, and released them to grow BIG!
Years back we had a few get up to 3 inches long. The kids always have fun 'fishing' for them in the 'barrel'.

Rain wasn't enough to keep this die-hard indoors, either.
He had his own 'welcome' party for the new goldfish.
"welcome to MY world!"

When he couldn't get any wetter or colder, we ran inside for a hot tub and COCOA!
Hooray for Mom!
Rainy days can be fun days - if you don't mind getting wet.

Another Fix for the Fridge

Last May we patched the water dispenser's tubing in our old fridge.

Another leak revealed a new split in the tubing - time for another patch!

The fix went much faster and less expensive this time - popped out the solenoid, disconnected the tubing, and added $1.25 of new tubing in.


Not all of our NW lifestyle is outdoors...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Corrosion Protection for the Outboard Motor

In between lead batches, we popped out the old thermostats and put in new ones.

A few months ago you'll recall we tested these, and confirmed they pop open at about 143*, but with the motor still running too hot, it is time to make SURE the 'stats are good.

Besides, it is quick, easy, and not too expensive.

We also gave all the motor a touch-up with spray-on "Liquid Tape". It is basically thick, plastic, spray-paint and works great to give alittle more corrosion protection.

Looks nice, huh!

Oops - lead is hot, back to the lead molds...

Molten Lead - Casting More Fishing Weights

Smelt dipping was a bust, and with all the sturgeon fishing lately it was time to stock-up on fishing weights.

Fortunately, a good friend had all the casting equipment for the job.

We picked up some brass loops, and heated up alot of lead.

The nice weather was great for doing the castings outside.

Pretty simple setup - same as for cooking crab or scalding chickens.

We've never done this before, so it was a new adventure.

The molds were nice, and simple to use. Alittle tricky to get the loops in place when the molds were REALLY hot... but we did it all without a mishap.

Its important to keep the molds HOT, so the lead fills the entire cavity before hardening too much.

While the lead was melting, we tore out the old thermostats on the outboard motor.

The motor is running well, but still getting too hot at slower RPMs - the poppet valve cleaning did NOT fix the issue.

We also put a new layer of 'liquid' tape on the bolts, to keep corrosion down. More on that, later.

Casting the lead into the molds was alot of fun.

Pretty straightforward, too. Just keep the lead good 'n hot, and pour slowly and smoothly.

And don't get burned.

Here's a few of the weights cooling.

The only other step was to trim the weights and put the excess lead back into the pot.

Out walking the streets alot like we do, we often find wheel weights around and pick them up. They have alot of other alloy metals in them, and make good lead for bullets. The alloy gives them strength and more durability in a bullet.

So... we threw them in the pot, too.

Here's the molds, waiting to be unloaded, with other weights ready for triming.

We also had fun pouring hot lead into a bucket of water, and other fun stuff... but safety first, of course.

Especially when putting wet items back into the hot lead - pop!

We had so much fun we got alittle carried away - and made ALOT of weights!

They sure like nice 'n shiny...

Another fun project here in the great Pacific NorthWest.

First Smelt-Dip of the Year

All reports said there were no Smelt in the Cowlitz river today, but we had to try anyway.

Besides, we had errands to run in Longview, anyway, so we took the dipnet along.

The weather was beautiful, and we had the river to ourselves. That is a sure sign of no fish.

We took a couple dozen dips, which confirmed the obvious - no fish.

It was funny, though, how many people stopped when they saw our rig along the roadside by Carnival Market!

Maybe next weekend. WA DFW is only allowing 4 days of fishing on the 4 Saturdays in Feb.

What is better than 'Fish in a Barrel'?

Fishing in a hatchery is better than in a barrel - there is more room for a fight!

No smelt in the river, and only one keeper sturgeon - we headed off for a birthday-party on the pond!

The pond we went to was on Sauvies Island, just north of Portland.

It was a beautiful place, with numerous ponds with various size trout.

The pond we were after held some 10 lb fish...

What a blast!

Even the adults were giggling like little kids.

Here is a fatty that one of the boys pulled in.

The spinner was homemade by the kid - he has big plans to market his new "super spinner" now!

Every cast had a good fish on - a couple REALLY big ones got away, too. They were huge.

About the only job the Dad's had was to help get hooks out - the boys took care of all the netting.

Oh yeah - Dads were busy taking pictures, too.
Here are the boys with their biggest ones.
You can see the strain and effort in their eyes...

Besides using his own home-made spinner, look at the tiny, flimsy fishing pole he pulled this big dude in with!
He fought the fish really well - with such a light rod and 6lb test, you have to finess a 12 lb fish into the net.

The boys were pretty tired after all this work and effort.
They did really well netting them, too.

We should have brought a bigger cooler!
The only downside to fishing at the hatchery was that it was over too soon - every cast brought in a fish, and we didn't want to take too many of them...

Oh well, what a fun time! I know alot of adults that would love to have a birthday party at a fish hatchery, too!

They had a very cool setup there - it was fun seeing all the small fry and equipment they used.

They said these little fish put on about 1.5 inches per month in the summer months.

Here is the haul when we got home.
The trout make the sturgeon look kinda small!

The smallest one was 8 lbs, and several of the big ones were over 14 lbs.

Beautiful meat on the fish - it was just like filleting spring salmon!
The bright meat and heavy oil - and we've NEVER seen so much fat inside a fish before. It was kinda gross...

A good chance for the older brother to practice filleting a fish, too.
He did a great job. Alot easier working on these shorter, fat fish than a big, long salmon when you are learning how to do it.
It was a great end of a great day. Lots of fish for the freezer and a beautiful day, too.

Can't wait for spring to get here!