Some recent non-prep non-homestead activities

With the exception of putting the snowblower on the tractor a couple days ago and putting the snow tires on the car tonight, I have some other activities I’ve been working on. My son has had a toy/kids guitar for a while but has wanted to play it. We got the app Yousician (which is pretty awesome!) and I got a fairly cheap, but so far decent, guitar off Amazon (this one for $50 shipped in case you are curious). Each day the last couple weeks I’ve been doing some practicing, figuring I can help the kids and my wife learn better if I learn it as well.

More interestingly, I put up an ice skating rink this week. I was wanting to last year, but it was warm until super late last year, plus I didn’t necessarily want to put all the money into it last year. I did pick up the 2×10’s last year. This year I waited until almost too long, but ended up buying a 30×50 tarp locally and using 2″x2″x24″ stakes to hold the boards up. The rink ended up about 25’x40′, I was limited in width by a tree on one side and a shrub on the other. Length wise I was limited on one end due to a hill, a stump on the other end. Before I put the tarp down I used the tractor to dig up some half rotten, but sharp, stumps, as well as dug up some other shrub/bush type weeds in the way. Next year maybe I’ll get that other stump taken out, then I’d be able to go as long as perhaps 70-80′.

Filling the ice rink took quite some time, and I still need to fill it another 1-2″ or so. The freeze-proof spigot, two hoses, and a couple T’s that are corroded on made the filling quite slow, so I hooked in to my 3/4″ line sprinkler system which helped considerably (basically allowing the full output of the pump). Still, I think the water took 4-5 hours at least to get it a sparse 1″ over the tallest spot. At an average of 3″ deep there is nearly 2000 gallons already in the rink. We got a couple inches of snow which is cooling off the water. I don’t know that it’ll be ready to skate on this weekend, but it should be close. I figured the snow will cool the water down, then I can add another inch or two to get some smooth ice.

I guess I did a bit of preparedness activity, earlier in the week I did can a batch of the black beans I lucked out on; 18 more pints. Sams had these for $6 for a 10lb bag, so I bought the 4 bags they had. I went back over the weekend and found out they must have been discontinuing them, I found only an entire shelf of hash browns where the black beans were supposed to be. I am glad I grabbed all they had when I had the opportunity! Its unlikely I’ll can them all, they’ll keep for so long and there is a lot of time and effort in canning them. I’ll make sure I have at least a year’s worth ready, then can more next winter. What I really need is some cheap chicken to can! I am missing the meat store where we got all our cheap meats (steak for $3.50 a lb, chicken for $1.25 a lb, bacon for $2.30 a lb). These Meijer high prices are killing me!

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