Bob’s Version: Day 61

Today was pretty much a total waste.  The wood delivery guy ran over the line on the ground and cut the power to the pump.  Then the snow and wind somehow managed to unplug the light and heaters in the pump house.  We had no water when we arose this morning.    I hate this damned water situation but there are no alternatives.  Too late in the year for a well and wells are an iffy situation, at best.  There is a lot of bad water in this area.  It is filled with arsenic and cannot be used to for drinking or cooking.  Drilling can be as deep as 400 feet and is very expensive.   The only good thing is that came out of this is that we have firewood and were quite warm all night.

The water problem was a frozen pump.  Reconnecting the electricity to the heating equipment solved that problem in a couple of hours.  Little did I know that there would be other problems later in the day.

Moved onto cleaning out the bathroom floor so that the wafer board  and then sheetrock could be installed.  Summer went into town to get three more sheets to finish two jobs in the house.

An hour later, I spent an hour getting the upstairs commode repaired.  This took longer than I expected because it is my nemesis, plumbing.  Most plumbing require, at least, three trips to the hardware store.  Got the commode installed and it wouldn’t fill. To quote Joe Dirt, “DANG”.

Water investigation Part Deux:  Breaker was tripped.  Reset the breaker but pump wouldn’t run.  Found that the pump motor was out on overheat as the thermal overload was tripped.  Further inspection  located the line that operated the pressure switch was leaking all the pressure in a matter minutes which made the pump run constantly.  That caused the over heat and the breaker trip, I guess.  Made a trip to The Gear Shed to buy the wrong part.  The plastic line from the pump housing to the pressure switch is 1/8″ instead of the 1/4″ that I purchased.  Exasperated and unwilling to go out onto the snow/ice roads again, I rattled through my plumbing box once again.  There I found a 3/8 male pipe x 1/8 tube fitting.  Problem solved.  Things are usually not that easy.

Summer came home and we took the lumber off the truck and hauled in some more firewood.

Tomorrow we will get to the bathroom wall and put up the sheetrock, I hope.  Thursday is Thanksgiving.  I might not work for 15-20 minutes in the AM or until I finish my coffee.

Dinner tonight was leftover Tamale Casserole.  We had Teriyaki Salmon filets laid out to thaw but it didn’t do it soon enough.  Back in the fridge and out comes the casserole that I had intended to eat for lunch today.   Was better the second day.

Bob’s Version: Day 60 Homestead

Today we passed three milestones.  The semi-expensive gas stove is connected to gas.  We can now cook in an oven.  The kitchen sink now has both water and a drain and we have a load of firewood.  Today marks two months since we started working on this derelict house.  We have taken it from derelict house to home.  It has been an incredible trek through one stupid problem after another.  The majority of those problems were the fault of several previous owners.  The little guy at the end of the road, whose father built this monstrosity, is truly angry that we are the first people to get this dump up and running.  He was very smug when we arrived in saying that he had seen several others fail.  He wanted to buy the place and I guess he was saving his nickels and waiting.  Too bad for him.  I DON’T FAIL.  His father, apparently, was living in the cabin that the house was built around.  The construction of the house does not even come close to the building codes of the 80s much less current building codes.  It has, however, survived several earthquakes so he obviously did something right.  Now Summer and I are in charge of restoring and preserving this 35 year old house built around a cabin with a ‘who knows’ construction date.

Today Summer and I went to town (Homer) so that she could get papers notarized to sell her house on the Suwannee River in O’Brien, FL.  We, also, hit the Safeway, the hardware store and the post office.  Meanwhile back at the ranch the wood guy was wanting to get paid.  He, at last, relented and dumped the wood on our back steps.  It certainly was not the optimum place, but I’m guessing he was peeved that we weren’t available.  He’d called earlier to say that it would be early evening then he called and changed it to NOW.  He’d been told that we were going to town and his change plans was going to be an inconvenience to Summer..  Summer makes plans and she isn’t happy when someone fails to abide by the agreed plan.  He left the wood and decided he would just come back by tomorrow.  Smart man.

Today was the day between snow storms.  Clear blue skies, bright sunshine and you could see the mountains and glaciers across Katchemak Bay.  Tomorrow is predicted to be another snow day, but who knows.  Some of the same people that swear by Gore-Bal Warming, and an uninhabitable planet in 2100, can’t with any certainty tell you tomorrow’s weather.

Tomorrow’s itinerary includes repairing the upstairs commode.  The commode itself is fine but there were no bolts holding the tank in place, the flapper ball is like cement and the flush valve just came apart in my hands.  Also, I hope to get some plywood on the wall of the downstairs bath and sheetrock over it.  I put the second light in this morning while waiting for the coffee to brew.  After sheetrock, I’ll install the vanity, a mirror and a light over the vanity.  This will give us two fully functioning bathrooms.  Whoopee!!!!

We have an infestation.  Voles are their name and they aren’t Tennessee football players.  What they are is tiny little mice smaller than the Palmetto bugs we had in Florida.  They are tiny and fast and the scary movement you see from the corner of your eyes.  Taco caught one but only by the tail. Somehow it escaped and scurried off to parts unknown.  Taco has been bored silly since he is unable to go outside because of the snow.  The Voles have been a welcome distraction for the bored Chihuahua.  We’ll have to drive the little boogers out somehow as they are very destructive.  Summer wants us to buy a Mane Coon, which is a type of cat.  I don’t like cats and I’m sure as hell not paying $1200 for a kitten.  There have to be less expensive ways to eradicate the Vole infestation.

I drove today on the icy roads for the second time since we’ve been here.   Summer does most of the driving because she gets to the truck first.  Getting old has made me a little slower, I guess. The heavily siped, studded tires with an abundance of caution get you around just fine.  In December, I’m driving back to Florida to get the balance of our possessions.  I’m looking forward to the 4600 mile trip.  Another adventure to be had.  Somebody told Summer that I might get killed on the road.  My reply was SO?  After all nobody is getting out of this life alive.

Dinner was tamale casserole.  Was pretty good but was made a lot better by the addition of Crystal Hot Sauce.  Dessert was three Nutter Butters.

 

Voles, Paws, Wood and Faucets: 11/20/17

Today has been one heck of a day!  Taco has cold feet.  Literally!  His tiny little Mexican paws can’t handle the snow.  I tried boots that a friend gave me only to find out that they are neoprene/absorbent  and are not water resistant and are of no use during the snowy winters here.  They just keep that little boy’s feet wet and cold.  So we’ve been going out to potty without them.

Dad and I needed to go into town today.   I finally sold my river home and needed to go to the bank to have them notarized and sent via UPS back to Florida.  We also needed a work sled to drag our crap and wood to the house so we bought a sled form Ulmer’s to do the job.  During our time in town our wood guy carrying a cord of wood was finished with his personal business and was headed our way earlier than we had been told.  Luckily the people of this area are just incredibly nice and accommodating and Scott will be back tomorrow for his payment.  I feel so blessed to have real wood!

Then, after all the supplies we got from Ulmer’s we were able to finish installing the range and the sink!!!!!

It all works!  I made Tamale casserole tonight in the oven!

It’s happened.  I no longer have to cook on the camping stove and the wood stove, well the wood stove while it is burning will take advantage of the extra cooking BTUs.  It seems everything is finally coming together.

UNTIL…….

The Vole!

I’m not gonna tell you what a vole is.  They are tiny, cute and extremely fast.  Taco has been so bored since he can’t go out.  Then Speedy Da Vole shows up and it’s war.  Taco has a new buddy, well should I say buddy or nemesis.  Nemesis for sure.  He has been tracking that little bugger all night.  He even got it once!  It either bit him or its tail tasted bad.  Who knows? All I know is that Taco is no longer bored.  He was used to running large in an acre back yard and in charge.  He would lay out in the sun all day.  Here with his poor little paws he’s very limited.  Never fear!  I am going to buy him the best winter boots this girl can afford!  Taco is my little baby boy and he will get the best!  Back to the vole.  That little bugger is brave!  It was running circles around the dogs and still does.  It just ran under me!  HAHAHA!  As long as it keeps Taco busy and active I am so greatful for the little vole.  Like I said they are cute, but it’s still a rodent and must be eradicated one way or another.

My friend Chris, here in Alaska, says I should use bag balm on Taco’s paws.  I suddenly remember I make a slave that does the same thing.  I find a tin full and start rubbing Taco’s poor little paws.  He hates it because they are sore but lets me do it anyway.  I’m gonna treat him again before bed tonight and in the morning.  I’ve been pulling my truck up and then down again in the “driveway” to prevent snow accumulation in that spot so Suzy and now Taco have a snow free place to potty.  Tomorrow, Taco is coming to town with me to get fitted for water proof/snow proof boots.  His little paws can’t take anymore snow.  It breaks my heart that he has to deal with this.  Momma is gonna throw a little money around to make him more comfortable.

So now at this point we have a fully working kitchen, two toilets, a shower, power, heat from the wood stove and from the Toyo.  We have real wood, not ‘destruction wood’.  Life is good!  Almost comfortable.

It’s just about bedtine for Bonzo!  So, I bid ya’ll a good night or a good morning.

Bob’s Version: Day 59 Homestead

Homestead Day 59 Sunday 11/19/2017 SNOW DAY!!!!!!

Spent the morning inside our warm home drinking coffee and reading the news from around the world. If you ever want to find out what is really going on in America, you need only read the foreign newspapers. You won’t find this info in the MSM. Had a couple slices of peanut butter toast for breakfast while enjoying life in the snow lane.

We’ve been without kitchen counters since moving here. Bought a $140 piece of counter and began, with great trepidation, cutting it to lengths to fit the cabinets. Every time I have cut counter tops, I am worried sick that I’m going to do it wrong. It is even more worrying that the replacement counter if I screw this up is almost a 200 mile round trip to the Kenai Home Depot. Measured everything, at least, three times before I even put the pencil marks on the counter. After carefully measuring and marking the saw cut line on the back of the counter, I cut the evil thing. You have to cut it from the backside with a special saw blade to avoid having chips in the top. First cut went perfect. Picked up the piece and put it into place. Exact fit!! The second piece, i screwed up just slightly. No one but me and another perfectionist would even notice. Set that piece in place and it fit as planned.

After the counter tops, I went looking for the sink we’d brought up here for the kitchen. It was used with the appearance of being new. That meant I had no template by which to lay out the cut in the counter top. This forced me to put the sink upside down on the counter top and trace the line around it. Of course, if I cut that hole the sink would fall through. More careful measuring and more trepidation ensued. Finally, I committed to making the cut and immediately the jigsaw blade broke. Spent a half hour trying to locate jigsaw blades to no avail. After I gave up, Summer took the search and recruited me back into this likely futile effort. As I was moving boxes around, I found a near new Skil Jigsaw, I’d bought at a garage sale, in it’s case with about 20 blades. Finished the cut and set the sink down into the new hole and it didn’t fit. Spent another half hour nibbling away the counter top to get the damned sink to fit. Success, at last, the sink fits. This called for a celebratory drink…of water. The air is so dry up here that I stay thirsty a lot more than I did in Florida.

Next project was to mount the new faucet on the sink. No problem. After that it was onto the drain lines for the two sinks. Had everything..almost. Searched through my plumbing supplies for awhile trying to salvage this project. No luck. Put what I did have on the bottom of the yet to be installed sink.  We could have used it EXCEPT the drain line coming out of the floor was 2 inch instead of 1 1/2. I had no reducer. The work ended with a whimper instead of a gush.

Dinner was a bit of Lettuce, Tomato, Onion salad piled high with sautéed steak strips. Dessert was a couple of Nutter Butters.

SNOW again!

*Videos attached*

Thinking about Alaska this time of year you would think there would be a massive amount of snow but not here in Homer.  We had a little snow back in October and nothing since.  So, the weather report stated a snow storm was coming and will effect the Kenai Peninsula over night.  Dad and I gathered extra wood just in case.  We spend all day yesterday tar papering around the bottom of the house to keep the wind and snow from coming in and it also will keep our pipes from freezing again.  Yes.  The plumbing is working again!  It took a couple of days for them to defrost but it’s all good!

We have at this point about 8 inches of snow.  We are staying warm and trying o finish the kitchen.  There will be real counter tops and a sink very soon.  YAY!

Taco has a thing for Gandie’s nub of a tail.  He’s always running by and nipping it.  Gandhi seems not to mind too much but gets annoyed none the less.  I think he secretly likes it.  LOL!

Taco loves the snow and Gandie basically tolerates it, I think.

Bob’s Version: Day 58 Homestead

Homestead Day 58 Saturday 11/18/2017 

“They were the best of times and they were the worst of times.” Kidding. Another busy day with another milestone passed. The heat taped and insulated sewer pipes are now draining properly AGAIN. We again have there American Middle Class luxury of a flushing toilet. I used an outhouse from the age of six until I was twelve. I wasn’t aware that people had flushing toilets in their homes until until we left my grandparents home and moved to an apartment in St Joseph, Michigan. Imagine my surprise. Now I guess I have become jaded in the past 60+ years because I expect the darned thing to do it’s job after I do mine. I expect the same thing of people but like the commode they disappoint on occasion. Unlike commodes people are not, generally, fixable.

Spent a good part of the day closing in the crawl space under the house. Cutting and stapling roofing tar paper onto the lower portion of the house where the winds comes whistling through will help keep the house warmer and the pipes unfrozen. The house is fully insulated under the floor but keeping the cold wind out has to help some. I was advised to use waterproof barrier and heap gravel up against the house. Would have been good advice to use had we arrived in July instead of September. With winter snow coming at us like an express train, we just didn’t have time to do everything that should have been done.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is 8 inches of snow so completing the tar paper wrap came just in time. Spent part of the day picking up things out of the yard that I might want to find before the Spring thaw. It was such a beautiful sunny day that it was hard to believe that it would snow overnight. The temperature was about 22F, a cloudless blue sky and no wind. A picture perfect day. Standing in the sun was too warm for a coat. It must have been what God saw when he said “Let there be light.”

In Alaska you must work everyday for your own survival. Not doing the work could have you starve to death, freeze to death or the worst possible outcome, move back to the Lower 48. Getting this house habitable was a survival necessity because, as sure as God made little green apples, I’m not moving back to Florida. It is a fact that we could not have survived the winter in the camper. We could never get it warm even in the days when the temp would be in the 30s. The water tank and lines are frozen, the sewage holding tank is frozen and we would be, as well, if we’d had to stay in the camper. A warm day now is in the lower 20s and we’ve had a few nights where the temp dropped to about 13 or so. I do no have an accurate laboratory thermometer, just one of those decorative things people hang on their back porch so it could be off plus or minus a few degrees.

At any rate, the pre-snow prep continued right up until almost dark. We haul the last of the ‘destruction’ wood around to the back of the house so that it would be both handy and locatable. Buried under the snow like a pile of Pick Up Sticks would have created even more problems and more opportunities to put a rusty nail through one of my size eleven, clodhopper feet. I haven’t had a tetanus injection in over 10 years and I’m not really hip to having one now. The result of my missing the seat and falling on me arse has been pain enough. I ended up with a bruise on my hip and two scraped elbows. No great damage but I wouldn’t want to do it again any time soon.

With the last of the ‘destruction’ wood gathered and piled neatly just outside the back door. I began another daily chore. Reducing a bunch of the odd length boards to a size that would fit into the stove. The brilliant sun was setting and I was in the shade of the house, there was no warmth to be had outside. That little chore took almost an hour as I had to warm my hands a couple of times. Not wearing gloves using the circular saw is a safety thing. One slip and you lose a finger, take a chunk out of a leg or some other unfortunate, crazy things happen.

Finished the lumber and got some good news. The wood merchant is delivering us a cord of wood immediately and will return with several more cords in January. Good news on two accounts. One we have just about enough ‘destruction’ wood to last until Monday afternoon and after that we’ll have enough wood to get us through the balance of the winter. We’re planning on going back to Florida in December to finish the rehab on one of our rental houses and spend a very Merry Christmas with all of the family we have left, the Rogers Family including my beautiful Grand Daughter, in South Tampa. Most of the one cord, to be delivered Monday, will still be here in January when we return. Things are looking up.

Tomorrow will be a snow day which means all work will be done inside the house. Now that the pipes are unfrozen, I will repair the upstairs toilet. Also, I will attempt to install the kitchen counters and the kitchen sink. We will then have climbed to the peak of Middle Class existence. Flushing toilets, electricity and a kitchen sink, Oh MY!! Much of these past days have been almost too much like living in a Third World country like Mexico.

comic

Is this how you are living your life?

Dinner was leftover spaghetti with some freshly fried garlic bread. Fried because we have no oven to broil them in. We just got our propane tanks today and I still need to connect the stove.

A Trip to Town: November 17, 2017

Well, we all new I was having to go to town today.  We needed the last bit of insulation and duct tape to finish the underworld insulation project.  So, I headed to town and went straight to Spenard’s to get what was on the list.  I wondered around and got two type of sheet rock screws (2 pounds each), another outlet box, duct tape and more insulation.  Well as I looked I found everything I needed except for the insulation.  I paid for my finds and drove next door to Ulmer’s to see if they had it.  No luck, but I did find ice trays.  No more $3 on a small bag of ice!  I went back to Spenard’s and went to the desk and asked.  Low and behold they have it!  It just not in the store it’s in their yard.  So, I paid for it and drove over to the yard, gave them my receipt and they gave me my insulation.  Okay, list is almost complete.  Next stop, the Post Office!  I just love checking the mail you never know what you’re going to get!  I got a Bark Box!  Yay!  Fun toys and natural treats for my babies.  It’s so much cheeper to go this route than to buy these things separately.

Then, It’s Safeway time!  This is where I pull out my phone and look at the deals.  I can add digital coupons and scan labels for additional discounts. I even got $5 off a purchase of $25 or more.  With all the savings my bill went from $29 and change to $21 and some change.  Not too shabby.

From there I went to Sav-U-More to pick up a few things like paper bags, and some aluminum casserole vessels to make dressing and candied yams for Friendsgiving next weekend.  The funny thing about this place is that they sell small Ikea stuff and Walmart brand stuff.  It’s really funny.

Not only can you purchase this stuff, but you can get livestock food too!  It’s one of my favorite places to shop all.

On the way home Thanksgiving was in my head and I was wondering what happened to my two 40 gallon or pound tanks are.  Dad dropped them off at Suburban Propane and we never heard from them sense.  So, I dropped by on the way home and asked about my tanks.  They said they have only one guy that does the recertification inspections and he’s a month behind.  I told them that I was expecting them back before Thanksgiving.  So, they told me to call Eagle Enterprises and see if they can do it and it was a big fat YES!

I took my tanks to Eagle and said they would be ready tomorrow.  They even called me a couple hours later saying that they were ready!  I recommend Eagle for your propane needs!

Then it was back to laundry. IMG_3586

Tomorrow I got back to town and get my filled tanks and check the mail.  Good times!

Tonight for dinner is Spaghetti that I improve with sautéed onion, shallots and garlic.  Then, I add some tomato paste to it and sautéed that a little longer before adding the merlot marinara and baby bellas to the mix.  Simmer for a few while making noodles and garlic bread.  YUMMY!  Dad and I stuffed ourselves silly and had to retire to our rooms around 8:30 to have some comfortable sitting and reflecting and so I can watch tv shows Dad doesn’t like.  LOL!

Then it’s just another night of taking dogs out and relaxing.

I’m hoping tomorrow we can get the tar paper around the house and finish the kitchen counters.  Beaches it’s a mess right now.

 

It would be nice to have a sink.  We shall see!

The Underworld: November 16, 2017

Nov 16, 2017

Got the new washer installed and running only to find out that we are just about out for water.  GASP! Laundry stopped for the day and so was any chance of a shower.

We insulated and heat taped the sewage pipe under the house.  It was a dirty cold job but someone had to do it.  I crawled under the house first wrapping the heat tape around the pipe and Dad followed behind insulating it.  As I was crawling though the sketchy dark underworld of our house I found another plastic sled, this time in good shape.  Now all I need is to wait for enough snow on the ground to use it.  That and there was an old propane tank and what looks like some sort of box heater that attaches to the tank.  It was frozen in the ground and won’t budge.  So, it will have to wait until break up to be rescued.  The ground was frozen into shards of icy mud spiking upward into my knees.  It was very painful due to having spurs in both knees.  So crawling in the underworld sounded like this,”Ow! Ow! Ow! S#@%! Ouch!” Once focused I used all that pain and frustration to quickly do my job.

Dad ran out of insulation and duct tape.  Looks like there will be a town trip in the future.  Dad wanted me to go now but it was getting dark and there was no reason to jump into the truck and go.  Homer here I come ready or not!

Dinner was cubed steak and gravy, black eyed peas, and potatoes.

 

Bob’s Version: Day 57 Homestead

Homestead Day 57 Friday 11/17/2017 

On this day nothing exciting happened. Well that isn’t entirely true. I have a 16″ piece of log positioned so that it is convenient to sit on while feeding wood into the stove. I leaned forward to put wood into the stove and when I learned back the bit of timber slipped from under me. I fell on my ass and banged my left elbow which led to some very minor bleeding. Summer came running downstairs and said that I had shaken the entire house. At 200 lbs, I kind doubt that but it was an epic fail in proper seating procedures. This happened in the evening so it had no effect on the days work or anything else for that matter. The only injury of consequence was my pride.

After coffee, Summer went into town (Homer) to pick up necessary supplies to continue the rehab of this old house. I know, I know. While she was gone I finished up Homestead Day 56, did some laundry and hauled some ‘destruction’ wood to the back door to be processed as fire wood. When she returned I asked her to find someone who would bring us a cord of wood as we are running out of ‘destruction’ wood.

Upon her return, I took the insulation and duct tape that she had purchased and crawled back under the house. Insulating the septic drain lines is of paramount importance to insure that the sinks drain and the commodes flush. Tomorrow we will be closing up the openings to the underside of the house in a further effort to insure proper drainage. The house was a derelict when we arrived. It is now habitable, barely, but habitable. There were better abandoned houses in Detroit but we couldn’t stand the cold. In the next few days we will have a fully functioning kitchen just like regular middle class Americans.

After insulating the pipes, it was time to reduce big pieces of wood to small stove size pieces of wood. This was greatly facilitated by the new saw blade I bought for my 20 year old Makita saw. I managed to reduced most of the large pile to burnable pieces before it became too painful to hold the saw. It is difficult, and dangerous, to use a saw while wearing insulated gloves. Barehanded gives you a far better grip. The temp had fallen to 18F when I began this task. I quit before I lost all feeling in my fingers.

After my finger chilling experience with the saw, I was through. Enough self flagellation for one day. I had intended to mount the counter tops in the kitchen today. However, dinner time and dark were approaching and I had eaten nothing except coffee since the last evening’s meal. Time to quit and make room for cooking.

The water truck came this morning. I was able to take a shower. It is amazing how much a hot shower can lift your spirits. Also, the laundry situation has vastly improved. After my shower I started another load and we are now down to having 8-10 towels left to wash and all is right with the world.

Dinner was spaghetti with a tomato based beef, mushroom, merlot sauce topped with fresh grated Parmesan and garlic bread. Vienna fingers and vodka-seven for dessert. Summer and I both ate way too much. When you only eat one meal a day, you are ravenous. Not easy to get fat when just staying warm burns hundreds of calories each day.

Bob’s Version: Day 56 Homestead

Homestead Day 56 Thursday 11/16/2017

 I read a post on LinkedIn that reminded me of this story…..A small bird lingered in the north lands whilst his friends flew south. Too late he headed south and flew as hard as he could but, at last, the effort wore him out. He landed in a snowy cow pasture and was just about frozen when the cow, inadvertently, rained down a great pile of steaming manure onto the freezing bird. Suddenly, he was warmed and began to sing. As he sang he attracted the attention of a fox. The fox came over and spoke to the bird, “Do you need any help”. “Yes”, replied the bird. “I was so happy to warm that I’ve stayed a little too long and the manure is hardening around me.” “So you need help to get out?” questioned the fox. “Yes, please”, tweeted the bird. “I have no hands so I’ll have to use my mouth to get you out. Is that okay?” asked the fox. “Yes! Yes! Anything you need to do to get me out of the manure.” tweeted the bird frantically. The fox then took the birds head and shoulders into his mouth pulled the bird from the manure and swallowed him. Moral of the story: Everybody that shits on you is not your enemy and everyone who volunteers to get you out of the shit is not your friend. This is a good thing to remember not only in your business life but you personal life, as well.

Today was not a red letter day. It was one of those days that no matter how hard you work you just don’t seem to get anything finished. We did get the new washer installed only to find out that we were very low on water. The water company did not refill our tank on Monday. Laundry is now out of the question as are showers until the tank is refilled. Hope they’ll refill it tomorrow.

Summer and I spent most the day crawling around, on the frozen ground, under the house insulating the waste pipes to the septic tank. We didn’t finish the job as we ran out of insulation and duct tape. There is only about 10-12 feet left to be insulated. Will get additional insulation and tape tomorrow to finish the job. We wrapped the pipes with heating tape and then insulated them. A dirty, time consuming job. Next we have to close up some of the holes that let cold air under the house. More fun to be had in the 20 degree weather. Sunny and 20 almost everyday, but we know with certainty that the snow and below zero are coming.

More sawing of the ‘destruction’ wood. Took about an hour to gather and cut up enough of it to get us through until tomorrow afternoon. Cutting wood has become a daily chore. Soon there will be precut, presplit firewood delivered, I hope. We are running out of ‘destruction’ wood.

Today, as almost everyday, we saw the pheasants. They are very colorful and not really that afraid of humans. One of our neighbors was raising them and decided to loose them from their captivity and let them roam free. There are some quirky people here in Alaska. They are, at once, very helpful and very quirky. I tried to talk to my nearest neighbor about jointly maintaining our shared road. His reply is that he didn’t like to be bothered by people. That was okay by me as I am an equal opportunity individual. I don’t dislike people for their race, religion, sexual preference or anything else you can think of quickly. I’m just not that fond of the human race as a whole. So when one of them doesn’t want to be bothered, I’m down with that. This reminds me of something my Dad said to me when I was in my 20s and running with a crowd of hoodlums, ne’er-do-wells and trash. “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” He was right. My immediate future became a disaster with one exception, I met and married my best friend, my third and final wife. Dating and married for over 43 years. Seems like yesterday.

Today I was wondering about the skeleton in the outhouse. Hadn’t heard anything else from the police so I’m guessing it wasn’t human. Some weeks ago Summer discovered a fairly large skeleton in the old outhouse. It could have been a child or a small woman. Not able to discern whether it was human or animal because there was no head, we called the police to identify it. The next morning a bemused Alaska State Trooper arrived at precisely 8 AM as he had promised in the phone call. He inspected the remains, took some pictures, He said it looked like a bear carcass but that he had sent the pictures to the Medical Examiners Office just in case. Then spent a half hour giving us some good information about the area in which we now live. It was a very pleasant exchange. He did allow that Alaska would be a great place to be a serial killer even though he laughed at my assertion.

Dinner was cube steak in gravy, black-eyed peas and boiled potatoes. Dessert was a couple of Vienna Fingers and a large vodka-seven.