Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shed trap!

Well, last weekend I made a quick trip down to the land to fill the feeders and check the cameras and try something new, I put up a shed trap.

I'm sure a lot of folks are probably thinking, "What's a shed trap?". So I'll explain that part first. Every year deer shed their antlers in the late winter. These are called shed antlers. I've spent way to much time over the last few years scouring my property for shed antlers and found some, but not as many as I would have hoped and spent a lot of time on it that I could spend on other things so this year I'm trying a shed trap. The idea is to get something to knock the antlers off the deers head when they are ready to fall off instead of letting them fall off where ever they happen to be. The other key is to set things up so that there isn't a risk of trapping the deer along with the antler or injuring the deer by using too much force so the antler is knocked off even if it isn't ready to come off. There are actually a couple commercial versions of shed traps out there, but I wasn't really wanting to spend several hundred bucks for something that may or may not work so I decided to make one on my own.

This time of year is probably the most popular time for my protein feeder so I thought the best thing would be work something up that involved it. I read a few posts on different discussion forums and came up with my idea. Placing t-posts on each side of the spout that the deer feed out of and then streching bungee cords slightly higher than the spout and back 6 inches or so from the spout. The deer could still feed, but they would have to push against the bungee cords with their antlers a little to get to the spout. If the antlers were still firmly attached it shouldn't bother them too much, but if the antlers were starting to get loose, it might just knock them off. For $30 or so in materials I figured it would be worth a shot.

Here's an example picture of the deer feeding.

Here's a trail camera picture when I was just about finished with the shed catcher.
Here's a picture of the finished project.
Here's a farther off view where you can see the hog panels around the entire setup to keep the pigs out.
A few of the bucks have already shed this year so I'm for sure not too early in getting it setup. Looking over the pictures I think I may have gotten the bungees a little too high and I'm not sure if I put them far enough away from the spouts or not. I may move a few of the bungees down a little bit next time I'm out there. For $30 or so and about 15 minutes to set it up it isn't going to hurt to try it out though. I don't think there is any way that a deer could get tangled up and injured in this setup.

We'll see if it worked or not in a few weeks.

I did get to spend a little over an hour in my hunting blind Saturday evening after I got everything setup, and I saw 7 different deer, but didn't see any pigs or coyotes so nothing hit the dirt.

That's it for now. Nathan

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making miracles happen with a hair dryer!

Well maybe that's stretching it a little bit, but my wife's hair dryer sure earned it's keep this morning!

Last night a cold front blew in with north winds up in the 20 to 30 mph range and temperatures dropped down to 5 degrees. We had just gone through a cold spell with no issues, so I really didn't think much about it. This morning we woke up and went through our morning routine with no issues, toilets flushed, water ran, etc. Everything was working perfect until I went to take a shower and discovered that there was no hot water! The water wasn't cold, there just wasn't any water when you turned the hot water faucet on.

The cold water was working and that's why we hadn't noticed it earlier so I had the idea that I would just run the water for a while and maybe the hot water pipe that was frozen would be close enough to the cold water pipe that was unfrozen that maybe it might warm it up a little. Well water is supposed to be 60 degrees year round so I figured it was worth a shot. After running the water for about 5 minutes it slowed to a trickle and then stopped. My bright idea didn't turn out too bright as now we didn't have cold water either!

Time for the hair dryer to come to the rescue!

We have an outlet at our well house and the fact that water was running for a while told me that the pipes were okay from the well pressure tank to the house, but the pressure tank must not be refilling. I have a bunch of insulation wrapped around the pipes at the well, but evidently not enough and actually it appeared that some of the insulation may have blown loose a little and allowed a gap to open up that cold air could get in. I concentrated on that area and spent about 15 minutes running the hair dryer on the pipes. I manually switched the pump on and off at the pressure switch and it sounded like it was running so I called Cathy on the cell phone and had her check the water. It was working! I had her run it for a while and made sure the pressure switch activated by itself when the pressure dropped back down in the tank and called it good. I wrapped everything back up in the insulation and headed back to the house.

At the house the hot water was still not running. The water heater is in our garage and normally would stay well above freezing, but it is on the north side of the house and the wind was blowing hard enough that might have had something to do with it. I setup the trusty hair dryer again blowing on the cold water line coming to the water heater and left it running on full blast. I started running the cold water in the house again and sure enough after about 5 minutes or so the hot water started running! The water heater had plenty of hot water in the tank so when it was all said and done it took about 30 minutes from finding out we didn't have running hot water to have everything back up and running. I'm sure luck had quite a bit to do with getting everything going so easily, but miracles do happen with a hair dryer sometimes!

Just thought I would share in case anyone else wakes up with no hot water, and has a hair dryer available it might be worth a shot!