Got another load of firewood spruce branches and started bucking them up with an electric chain saw I’d garage saled but never used and it was just the ticket. Then got the studded tires off the truck. Can’t believe I lived 50 years without an electric impact wrench. Now the 8 fine-threaded lugs per tire aren’t such a chore anymore. Glad I got a few chores done, too. Just got word from my hooter hunting friend Leon that the hooters are ahooting’. That means all other chores like wood cutting are officially postponed till May 15 or the freezer is full, which ever comes first.
Went garage saling today. Got a pair of Carharts overhauls that I wore the rest of the day for $1. The neighbor down the road who I got the 2+ loads last on Friday emailed and said to come for another, which I did at mid-day. I’ve been wanting to pickle some fiddle heads, so I got out all the fiddle heads and devils club buds to pickle, and a bag of blue huckleberries to make a pie for a brunch tomorrow. I put the frozen berries in a pot on the woodstove to simmer and the fiddleheads in some water to thaw. I added flour and sugar to the berries after they simmered, and poured into a shortbread crust, then put it outside in on the grill under the hood to cool. After reading the recipe for the pickling, I ran to the store to get salt, mustard seed, and dill seed. I filled the jars with fiddleheads, made the pickling liquid, added the mustard and dill seeds, a clove of garlic and a hot pepper to the fiddleheads, poured in the pickling liquid of vinegar, water, salt and pickling spices, and put on the lids and rings. I thought the jars might be too full, but put it all in anyway. About 2/3 of the jars sealed, but a third looked overfull and did not, so I took a little out of each of the jars and put into a fresh jar, and redid those in the boiling bath.
So, there was a 40ish year old big bruiser of a sears 20 gallon air compressor here on Craigslist for $100. The last 2 I got on CL didn’t last all that long, so I didn’t want to pay $100. After it was still there a month later, I offered $50 and the seller was happy to get rid of it. It came with his house and he already had others. It looked in good shape and I was excited to try it out. That was on Friday. So I get home and want to try my new used compressor. When I tried to plug it in, I noticed it had a plug with one of the flat blades at 90 degrees to the other. Oh well, I’ll have to change the plug end. On Saturday, Jeff and Teri picked me up to garage sale. At the first one was exactly the same big Sears air compressor, only with a plug with the flat blades parallel to each other. That would plug right into any modern 110 V outlet. And it was only $30 and in a little better shape than the one I had bought for $50. There was a second smaller compressor there, too, for $40. Next garage sale – of course, another air compressor! But I figured I already had mine. I think we saw an air compressor at a third garage sale, too. I just thought mine had an old style plug, so I cut it off and put a standard 110 V plug I bought for $5.00 at the hardware store – with the flat blades parallel to each other. I plugged it in, and the motor labored for a short time and slowly quit as if running out of gas. I read some of the text on the motor cover, and it said one reason the motor wouldn’t run right was if the 220 V motor was only getting 110 V. It was a 220 V motor! I read through the manual, and sure enough, there were several models made. Some 110 and some 220. So, I pull out my instant repair manual – You Tube – and look up how to put in a 220 circuit. When I wired the garage, my good friend Leon advised me to run 2, 110 wires up to the garage so I could run 110 as normal but have the option to run 220 if I needed to. That advice was about to pay off. Turns out, adding a 220V circuit is a piece of cake. I bought a double 20 a breaker, a replacement end to change the compressor motor cord back to the one I’d cut, off, and an outlet box and outlet. I had a chunk of 2-12 conduit wiring from some flourescent lights in the garage, so that completed the parts list. $35 dollars later, I’m back in business with a new 220 volt outlet and the air compressor charged right up. But then I heard a hiss after it reached pressure and shut off. It was the drain valve. Back to the internet,where I found they are easy to replace. I ended up just putting on a 1/4 inch quick connect valve that I had laying around so no futher expense. So, paid about three times as much as I could have got it had I waited a day. But now I know how to wire a 220 V outlet from the fuse box, know what a 220 V cord end looks like, and how to change out the drain valve on a compressor. I say money well spent.
It’s like May here these days. Beautiful mostly dry weather with a breeze to dry things even more. The huckleberries are budding or even have that little hollow bell hanging off them now. Samuel Conteh and I went to the cabin to check the crab pots. We’d been getting a few tanner crab so I took 2 other pots to set, and of course this time all we got were little king crab which Samuel was sad to see tossed back into the sea. People are now putting up little “street” signs on our island, and one has a “private” sign. Very sad to see all this, but so it goes. The canvas cover on the boat had been leaking so I put some of the flexsteel paint I got at recycle on it. Seems to be bonding will and I think it’s gonna seal it up nice. A friend had some old firewood logs that needed to go so I helped another friend fill his available space and got a load and a half to start refilling mine, too. I got to try out my new used Stihl 034 saw. Never used a 28 inch bar, and as soon as I was an inch or two down, it started to bind. I had to put a wedge in to keep it from pinching. We figured out part of it was a dull chain, and Matt’s sharpening helped alot. I called my brother – a former logger- and asked him about the pinching and he said it’s gonna happen like that if the diameter you are cutting is about as wide as your saw. So, learned something new. And a beautiful day to cut. The kids of the man we are cutting for always seem to be outside playing and that’s so good to see.
Fished at the cabin yesterday and today. Three other boats today there, too. No fish, but got my downriggers set up and working. Got half a dozen crab in the crab pot so that’s for dinner. Blue huckleberry bushes are budding. Hope we don’t get another hard freeze. I don’t even remember this winter since we didn’t have one.
Spent a Sunday making more blueberry syrup after finishing filling the firewood bins on Saturday. The berries seem like they are breeding in the freezer. A guy can pick alot of berries with a berry rake, especially when they are plentiful. I put 49 cups of frozen berries in the big pot on the stove and it took hours for it all to thaw and nearly boil. At that point, I put the berries little by little through the blender, then put everything back into the pot. I added 11 cups of sugar and brought it back to a boil for another 15 minutes. It tasted a tad sweet to me, so I thawed out 4 more cups of berries, ran them through the blender, and added them and it was just right. Some recipes call for filtering the syrup, but I like the skins (and random hemlock needles) in the syrup. I took the syrup off the stove, and added 3 packets of liquid pectin, and brought it to a boil for 1 minute, and took it off again. I only used liquid pectin because that’s what I used for the first batch earlier in the winter and it came out good so didn’t want to switch anything. Then poured the syrup into the 2 cases of pint jars we garage saled this weekend and canned them in a hot water bath. That should do us for a year or two, depending on how much gets given away