Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to all of the police, fire and military personnel risking their lives daily serving us.

25 October 2020 Sunday

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday were beautiful, sunny days. I arose this morning to pizzling rain, and a cold wind out of the northwest. A raw, cold cutting wind that just cut right through three layers of shirts and sweaters like I was standing outside naked. This weather almost makes me look forward to snow. Went back into the house and got my lined rain jacket. That made things much better. We got mud, mud and more mud. Where we don’t have mud we have rocks. The temperature is a balmy 40 F. without the wind it would be tolerable and any activity would have you shedding a layer of outer clothing. We seem to never get rain in the summer when we need it for the gardens and to fill the duck ponds.

Funny, to me, I got a call from a polling operation. They were, obviously, push polling so I told them what they wanted to hear. Yep, I’m voting for Biden, Gross an all of the Democrats. At least, that’s what I told them. I usually hang up on the pollsters but I thought this might be fun. He asked the same questions about 4 different ways. His problem was that I am really good at taking tests. If you’ve ever taken a test for a job, you’ll remember that the often ask the same question several different ways. The test is designed to trip you up. Unless you can remember how you answered the last permutation of the question, you might answer the next version differently and cause you to not get the job. Anyway, he hung up fully certain that he’d just talked with a loyal Liberal Democrat. He was happy and I got to amuse myself for a few minutes.

We’ve been running a “garage sale” in the tent/greenhouse. Now that the bulb planting season is over we have no garden stuff to sell that can be planted in frozen ground. The ground has. been kind of crusty frozen for several of the past mornings. It thawed later in the day but this is the bellwether announcing that the hard as rock ground is not too far away.
The sale was pretty good Friday and Saturday but today has been a bust. Since there were no customers braving the rain, we started unloading storage containers out of the loft of the storage tent. 16×20 with an attic built in and slam full of stuff we no longer need or want. The only things in the tent that we really want and need are the new cabinets for the kitchen. The kitchen installation has been delayed and then delayed and then delayed some more. Summer and I are both sick of the half-assed kitchen we’ve been using. Not only that we’re living amongst neatly stacked boxes of hardwood flooring that cannot yet be installed. Both of these projects are held up by the need for the final leveling of the house. That grinding task is still a few days away. I’m still waiting for the new concrete footings to be fully set. I’ve been advised to allow them to set for, at least, three weeks because of the lower temperature since they were poured. In the mean time, we are just going to continue the sell off of our excess personal property for an additional week.

26 October 2020 Monday

Woke up at 6:00 AM to a deluge of water falling from the sky and the wind rip roaring around and shaking the house. Today, in spite of the rain and the wind, I’m doing a dump run this morning. After the dump run, I’m changing the truck over to my studded winter tires as it has been snowing in the passes on the way to Anchorage. Will be checking the front disc brake pads. I may need to replace the the brake pads and have the discs turned. We have put some 50,000 miles on these brakes. I’m fairly certain that I’m doing brake work today. I hate brake work but the local mechanics would charge well over $350 to do a job that will cost only about $100 for parts and paying for the discs to be turned. I understand ‘overhead’. However, for a job that would take them about an hour, I can’t bring myself to donate $250+ to their profit margin. It will end up taking me 3-4 hours because of having to wait for the discs to be turned. I guess I’m just a miserly old man.

Tomorrow I’m off to the big city of Anchorage. Anchorage is the stinky armpit, maybe crotch, of Alaska. It is a crime infested, vagrant filled Lib/Prog/Communist craphole. When in Anchorage, I only get out of my truck at the supply house and to pump fuel. I really don’t want to become an Anchorage crime statistic. The Mayor of Anchorage just had to resign for emulating Bill Clinton behavior. The reason for the trip is that Summer has merchandise, for her garden center business, that needs to be picked up. My trip will cost about $80 and the freight to have the stuff delivered would be about $200. I’ll drive the 430 mile round trip which will save $120. It takes about 4 hours to drive to Anchorage. The day will be close to 10 hours from home to home. I’ll be leaving before daylight and I have a real problem seeing at night. Cataract surgery is being scheduled. This will be a nice change and a good trip for Suzy and myself. She hasn’t been anywhere in several months and I think she gets bored at staying home. I know, for certain, that I do.

Well, I’m off to the dump. Y’all do your best to behave.

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to the Russians that invented vodka.

23 October 2020 Friday

Vodka is a deserved reward for a job done well, or just okay, and sometimes when the job goes completely sideways. Nothing of any great importance has transpired since Monday. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were just hours of dragging long unused items from inside the house and the Conex. I am selling tools. I have always told anyone that would listen “Never sell tools”. Yet here I am selling tools. I have a bonafide, excellent excuse for this heresy. Take drill motors for instance.. I have a Milwaukee 1/2″ Holeshooter that is almost as old as Summer. Still works like a champ. I have a Black&Decker 3/8″, I have 4-18 volt RYOBI Cordless units, and a 18 volt RYOBI Impact drill. I, also have a drill press. All of this drilling horsepower led me to selling the Black&Decker. Sometimes it’s just time to weed the garden and I’m probably going to really miss that B&D even though I haven’t used it in the past couple of years. Unfortunately, in these trying times, sacrifices have to be made. The bottom line is that, if I own more than two of a particular tool one has to walk the plank. The number of some tools of the same ilk in my possession was a little alarming. he number of tools still new in the box was horrifying. I had no idea that I was hoarding tools. I was always buying them with the caveat that I would, eventually, need that left handed pipe wrench or the chrome molybdenum counter rotating grommet remover. I have an Oxy-Acetylene setup on a cart with two tanks, brand new hoses and regulators that I bought 5 years a go from an estate sale. I have never used it. When I watch that TV show ‘Hoarders’, I’m thinking “Boy, these people are really stupid”. BUT are they more stupid than a guy who buys and hoards tools that he will likely never use? Probably not. Unfortunately, a lot of men suffer from the same, nearly incurable, ailment. I’m going do this the same way I quit smoking 30+ years ago. I’m going to get rid of the tools just like I got rid of the cigarettes, I’m going ‘cold turkey’. It might not be easy but rarely is anything of value achieved easily. An odd story about my quitting. When I quit, I decided to give the near two cartons of cigarettes to a guy I really didn’t like. He took them gladly and this is where the odd thing came in. He went cold turkey and quit a couple of weeks later. Magic cigarettes??

Today was the first day of the sale. For reasons that need not be discussed, we did not get the garage sale open until nearly 1:00 o’clock. Well, I guess it would be alright to discuss the reasons we didn’t get open. Summer had an important conference call and I drank coffee and listened to Rush Limbaugh until the show ended at 11:00. I wanted to hear what he had to say about the ‘debate’ on Thursday evening. I listened to some of the debate but turned it off after about 20 minutes. Honestly, I just can’t stand to hear Mr. Biden talk. I’m sure that some of you have had the experience of someone’s voice grating on your every nerve. There is no logic or sense to it but that is Mr. Biden’s voice for me.

Anyway when the sale, at last, began there were very few customers. It was after all a work day so I suspect that was the reason for the paucity of paying customers. About 5 o’clock when Summer was about to call it a day there were several customers that had, apparently, just gotten off from work. So in spite of the late start it turned into a pretty good sales day.

I guess that gets you up to date on our trials and tribulations here in Fritz Creek.

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to remaining vertical

October 20, 2020 Tuesday

Yesterday, Monday, involved a trip to the big city of Soldotna. This was necessary to get the estimates to repair the bubble fenders on my truck, Spike. One I damaged when the truck slid sideways and bumped the big tank.. DENT!!!! The tank was fine the truck was injured to the tune of $4300. The other side was damaged (Crumpled and dented) by a hit and run in the Home Depot parking lot. This bit of fun had an estimated repair cost of almost $6000. I’m not sure that USAA is going to repair it or decide to scrap it. I guess I’ll get that answer in a few days.

Sneak attack by unknown vehicle
‘Slid into the tank’ dent

Also, went shopping. Went first to Fred Meyers, a division of Kroger, and could find almost nothing on my list. The place is so jumbled up and disorganized that I, finally, gave up and went to Wal Mart. At Wal Mart they wanted me to wear a mask but I showed them my list with ‘masks’ at the top. That satisfied the young lady and I was allowed to continue on my quest. I picked up a package of masks as I entered the store and then continued my shopping. Up at the Wal Mart you find stuff arranged in some logical order and this makes the shopping go very quickly. It logical arrangement does not preclude being lulled into some sort of trance where you find yourself inspecting stuff that you either can’t afford or for which you have the same need as an extra hole in you head. That which should have taken a quick, crisp 45 minutes, including the time to check out and pay, I was there for for substantially more than an hour. I dropped off the package of masks on a convenient shelf on the way to the check out. I’m not wearing the ‘Coward Sheeple Flag’ that is the mask. On the way home, I noticed that it had snowed a bit. Nothing serious but the real winter snow is fast approaching.

There was an earthquake yesterday. The quake was centered at Sand Point in the Aleutian Islands some 600 miles from Homer. People felt it here in Fritz Creek. I felt nothing 80 miles further north in Soldotna. The quake was a 7.4 or thereabouts. A pretty big quake but centered well beyond the populated areas. There was a tsunami alert and the result was a 4 foot wave after there was an evacuation alert down in the Aleutians.

I have been watching the political scene pretty closely. Here in Alaska we have two Democrats running as Independents one for Senate and one for Congress. Democrat is an increasingly dirty word in Alaska and I suspect In all of America. Both of these Democrats are on tape saying that they will caucus with the Democrats in Washington. The senate candidate is even on tape admitting that ‘most’ of his beliefs are to the Left. Of course, they are promising “free everything”. How we are to pay for all of this “free stuff” is beyond my comprehension. I’ll be voting against “free stuff”.

Been revising my ‘To Do’ list. We are planning to house the bees in the newly constructed green house for the winter. This is going to require making sure that all avenues of escape are closed. That is my major project for Tuesday. In addition, I am still dragging out stuff to sell in this weekend’s ‘garage sale’. I am still finding stuff that I have forgotten that I owned. If I haven’t needed or used it in the last 3 years, it is going to a new home. If someone doesn’t buy that particular, unused widget, the Salvation Army will become the new owner. The next thing on the ‘To Do’ list is installing the siding on the outside of the downstairs bathroom. This should have been done two years ago but everything seems to get in the way of this 3-4 hour project. After that project is complete, I’ll be installing gas lines for two small propane heaters. One is for my bedroom where I have no heat and last winter Suzy’s water bowl skimmed over with ice on on particularly cold night. It didn’t freeze solid but it was an indication that I should, maybe, install some sort of heater. In December, three winters back, I was driving back to Florida to get the balance of our valued possessions (Many of which we’ll be selling this weekend). I spent the night behind a convenience store in Tok (pronounced toke like a draw on a wacky weed bundle). I was sleeping on a mattress in the 28′ cargo trailer. During the night the propane Mr. Heater went off. During that night the dog water bowl, sitting on the floor next to the mattress, froze solid. I bought a new Mr. Heater in Canada the next day. That Mr. Heater quit during the night which led me to discover that that the problem wasn’t the heater but the propane tank. The tank was getting so cold that the propane would not evaporate so that it could be burned. Solved the problem by placing the tank where it got some of the heat from the heater. The dogs and I were toasty warm for the balance of the trip through Canada and on through the Great White Northern States of America. Anyway, a heater in the bathroom will make it comfortable to bathe and one in my bedroom will knock kill the chill first thing in the morning.

Guess I better get to work. These projects aren’t going to complete themselves and the garage sale is starting on Thursday.

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s looking to winter to get some rest.

October 18, 2020 Sunday

Today was spent removing stuff that we thought we wanted when we moved to Alaska in September of 2017. Clothes purchased and worn once and some not at all. Summer’s dive gear that she is not likely to ever use again. Several thousand dollars in dive gear that she has been unable to sell for $500. Summer’s excess collection of film cameras, lenses and paraphernalia that no one wants any more. Most phones now take pictures that are almost as good as a dedicated film camera. Old technology superseded by new technology. I’ll be 76 in just 14 days. I’ve seen a crap load of superseding in those preceding years. I removed a half dozen coats and thick hoodies from a storage closet. Most of them I had forgotten that I owned. We removed a twin bunk bed set from the upstairs bedroom along with several boxes that should have been in my Conex ( 40′ shipping container) workshop. How they got upstairs in that bedroom is a mystery. All of these last minutes of activity in what is now Fall up here is a spasm of claustrophobic remembrance of the lack of interior space during the last tough winter. All of this excess will be on sale to people who may or may not need all of this junk, but, thank the Lord, will buy it. We’ll do two weekends unless it begins to snow and whatever is left goes directly to the Salvation Army. We’ve already donated a couple of truck loads of stuff. Since we moved here we are finding that much of the stuff we thought we needed is either useless or superfluous. Also, as I have achieved well past my “three score and ten”, I’m finding that I just really don’t want or need very much. The sale goes on rain or shine in the new tent/greenhouse that I built for Summer to house her new gardening business. She closed for the season yesterday, stored her inventory and will be going back full time to her other job. The store will be open to sell all of our excess. How convenient.

We’ve had several projects going on at the same time. When one was stalled we moved on to the next. This rock walled flower bed was one of my side projects. If rocks were dollars we would be billionaires.

Piling rocks for a flower bed
Another view of this Fred Flintstone flower bed
There were some beautiful and unusual rocks. These were still caked with dirt. Rain later cleaned them.
Thought I had a picture of this in full summer bloom. Guess not.
Another view

Had really great intentions to get a heavy duty support wall under the front of the house and thereby level the entire house. However, other seemingly more urgent and important problems kept cropping up until the rainy season began. The rain made mudslides under the house that completely filled and covered the forms for the concrete footing under 3-4 feet of water infused mud. The area out past the mudslides was filled with water that covered 4-6 inches of mud. I very nearly lost one or the other of my rubber boots every time I stood still for more than a few seconds. Why the house hasn’t slide into the void is a mystery and nothing short of a miracle. Three of the posts supporting the house were completely undermined and were simply hanging from the beam that they were supposed to be supporting. All in all it was a big fricking mess. I spent most of two days moving this water ladened mud with my little tractor. (I got my little Pasquale tractor repaired in the Spring. I had to buy another tractor ($2000) for parts so that I could make the repairs). Once I got the mud removed, I poured 3 concrete piers so as to replaced the posts that were no longer supporting anything.

The mudhole with unremoved mud slides on the left
Another shot from different angle
Before the mud slides.

I have been having a great deal of pain in my left shoulder. Humping those 80 lb. sacks of concrete around did not lessen the pain. It took me two days to finish digging and pour the piers. There was so much water seeping into the holes I dug that I ended up using a couple of plastic tubs for forms. The first wooden form kept floating and the water seeping in made it almost impossible to get the concrete to the correct consistency. As a last resort, I poured two full bags into the form without adding water. I was then able to mix them and shove the rebar down into the mixture. This was to be the most important pier as I am intending to use it as the point to jack the house back up to level. What was left to do is wait 10-14 days to allow the concrete to properly harden before I start using a 40 ton jack to lift the house. More fun is yet to come and I’m hoping that the ground will freeze before I have to start jacking up the house. I am well and truly tired of the mud.

Mud up to the line muddy water above that.

I finished the piers on Wednesday and went to the doctor on Friday. I said “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” He replied “Well, don’t do that.” Anyway that was the result of the visit. He injected some crap into the left shoulder joint and told me to quit lifting anything heavier than a glass of iced vodka. I told him that those were doctors orders that I could follow. I’m hoping that 10-12 days of respite will suffice as I have to put the new posts under the house. They aren’t that heavy but they are heavy enough to hurt when I lift them.

It is nearing the season of snow. The sun is setting earlier and earlier leaving even less time to do the work that must be done. Summer has been operating her new business from Thursday through Sunday. It is bulb planting season in this part of Alaska. Time to get you garlic and bulb flowers into the ground before the freeze makes the ground so hard that you couldn’t drive a shovel into it with a sledge hammer.. Between customers she has been splitting firewood. I chainsawed up just over 8 cords and piled it up. Summer has been splitting and then stacking it in our woodshed tents. She is a long way from finished and I guess that I’ll have to jump in this week and try to get it done.

What is left of the 8 cords of firewood.
Another firewood picture.

I mentioned earlier that I had built Summer a place for her garden center business. Here are some pictures of the construction.

Posts sitting ready to be tamped in.

Every post had to have 6 inches of dirt removed for2 feet in all directions to accommodate 2 inches of foam insulation. The insulation is there along with the plastic wrapped and stapled to the post to keep the frost from lifting the post out of the ground. Anything buried less than 4 feet and without the plastic and insulation is likely to be lifted right out of the ground. It is a serious problem that must be addressed regardless of the time or monetary cost.

Platform with 2×4 floor joists still showing along the edge.
Completed tent and attached greenhouse

It took me just over 4 weeks working alone to get the platform finished. This included rain delays, material delays and a few days of “I just don’t feel like it” or more precisely “I just don’t give a damn”. I wasn’t sick so much as I was sick of the project. I had a guy and a machine dig the post holes. The only problem was is that almost all of the 24 post holes were several inches from where they needed to be. In addition, every one of them was drilled at an angle. That meant you couldn’t stand the posts up straight. I redug every post hole with a manual post hole digger to get them straight and in the correct position. After that I removed all of the dirt (up to a foot deep and 4 feet across) to install the insulation. The only easy part of this operation was using the tractor to cover the insulation with about a foot of dirt. Covering the insulation took an entire day.

Me not giving a damn about working.

When the actual construction started, I thought that It was going to be a ‘piece of cake’. Wrong again, Murgatroid. While I had been so careful to line the posts up along the length, I had failed to line them as precisely across the width. Meaning that two of the posts might line up but the third would not. The third one could be either end or the one in the middle. The only solution was to attach a 2×6 on either side of the three rows of posts. This would allow me to place 8′ floor joists across the width. Not what I had intended. This stupid mistake left me with not enough 2x6s to put in as floor joists because I had to use 360 feet of 2x6s to tie the posts together down the length of the platform. Buying enough 2x6s from Home Depot was almost $1200. I was stumped. I decided to consult with Dan, Summer’s signifiant other. Dan is a Master Carpenter with years of experience and, actually, went to school for carpentry. He suggested that I use 2x4s instead of 2x6s and put them on 12″ centers instead of 16″ centers. Just as strong for half the money. One hundred 2x4x8 cost $580 and the problem was solved.

Store open
60’ of aircraft carrier deck

Well, it isn’t entirely finished. There are still some minor tweaks to be made so that we can put the bee hives in the greenhouse portion for the winter.

This has been a season of numerous bear sightings. We’ve only seen one on our property so far this year. Thankfully they will be hibernating soon. Mostly the only bears we and others have seen are black bears. The brown bears (Grizzly bears) are usually not seen very often in our little corner of Alaska. This year, however, we’ve heard a number of reports of brown bears and some of them with cubs. Any bear with cubs is especially dangerous and not to be taken lightly. Every time we go out the back door we pause on the steps with the door still open and take a careful look around. I have no ambitions of becoming bear poop or being trampled to death by a mama moose. Summer has attributed our lack of bear sightings (even though people near us have seen bears) to the noisy geese. It seems that these honking bastards scare the hell out of almost everything except eagles and other birds. I really, really don’t mind not seeing a bear.

Well, that’s about it for me tonight. My shoulder is hurting from the position I’m sitting. Time to quit writing and drink vodka.

Dad’s Alaska

14-21 May 2020 It is still summer which means that I’m still busier than a one legged pirate in an ass kicking contest. This is Sunday the 21st and like last Sunday I’m slacking off for a couple of hours to write this blog. I finished up last Sunday by moving dirt for a couple of hours and trying to get some irrigation onto the garden and into the greenhouse. Did not accomplish the irrigation project. Mostly didn’t move the pump. etc. due to the fact that the spring box had recovered somewhat and we needed to water all that we could with whatever water was there. If you weren’t living in Alaska you would not suspect that there was a potable water shortage. I’ve been told, recently, that one of our neighbors had 700 feet of well drilled only to come up empty. I’m guessing that the ‘dry hole’ cost them close to $30,000 or so. Well drilling up here is an expensive and risky proposition. And that, sports fans. is why Summer and I haven’t had a well drilled.

Monday. Spent part of the day attempting to repair a pump whose housing had burst last winter. A breaker tripped and left the heat off for several hours and the plastic housing cracked. Got some JB Weld epoxy and some wire mesh (Screen off an old screen door) and used the epoxy to fill the crack and attach the screen over the crack. All that was left to do then was wait 24 hours for it to cure. After that I loaded the trash and some other debris into The Beast’ and left for the dump. I am constantly amazed how two people and four dogs can generate so much trash. If I didn’t make the dump trip, at least once a week, we’d be buried in it. When you add to that the trash generated by our outside activities, it becomes near a pickup bed load every week. After stopping at the dump. I stopped in at Safeway for some ‘make your own dinner’ stuff. Summer has been equally busy and is now working a few hours a week on her regular job with Homer Hounds. Some evenings she just doesn’t feel like cooking dinner for herself much less for me. Can’t fault her for that. Some nights, it almost seems too much trouble to microwave something to eat. On the way home I stopped at Fritz Creek Welding only to find that Mr. Charlie had not had time to do the welding on the rear lift for the travel trailer. Promised to have it by Tuesday afternoon. Arriving back at the homestead, I checked on the pump repair only to find that the epoxy was still not set. After that I loaded the dishwasher and swept the floors. Another semi-productive day in Alaska.

Tuesday. Spent all day diddling with trying to get some irrigation going. Went to town to buy a foot valve for the piping I was going to put into the pond. Of course, no one in town had one. They all stock them but they were all out of stock. That happens a lot up here. The freight is so expensive that they only order at regular intervals. If the regular intervals don’t conform to your needs it’s just ‘tough toenails, Dude’. When I arrived back home, I started going through my plumbing supplies to see if there was anything that could be used instead of a foot valve. In amongst the PVC fittings I found a brass check valve. The reason for owning this valve escapes me. I’m sure that it must have cost $25 or more and it looked brand new. A foot valve is just a check valve that goes on the end of the piping in a well. I decided that this might suffice for the water emergency we were experiencing and would work until I was able to buy the correct foot valve. I found and assembled some 1″ hose that would be attached to the pump and would be placed into the water. I attached the check valve to the end of the line feeding the pump. Started the pump and no water flowed. Then I decided that the pump has lost its’ prime. This required a vodka bottle full of water and a small funnel. I got the water but could not find the funnel that we had been using to prime the pump. The problem is that the opening to prime the pump is so small that it requires a smaller that normal funnel. The funnel search took up a half hour, before I remembered that there had been one in the kitchen. Got the pump primed and turned it on again. Still no water. After some cussing and a closer examination of the valve, I decided that the spring on it was just too strong for the pump to suck it open. This led to the removal of the spring which meant a trip to the Conex tool shed. Back at the pond with the spring removed, I turned on the pump. Success at last, water was flowing and the sprinkler in the garden was sprinkling. It ran for almost three minutes before the repaired housing on the pump burst open and covered me in dirty pond water. There were a number of permutations and time consuming searches for piping, hose and tools during the day that I haven’t recounted. This project was about as aggravating as something might get. If you haven’t grasped the fact that all of this was going on for hours, you just don’t understand. The day ended with me frustrated and still no water for the garden or the greenhouse. Also, I did not get the rear jack from Fritz Creek Welding because I was so focused on the water problem.

The messy repair of the pump that failed
Dirty pond water being pumped to garden

Wednesday. Another trip to town. Frankly, I can’t even remember what I went to get. It must have been something important at the time. On the return trip, I was able to pick up the rear lift assembly for the travel trailer. It was my intention to take it home and install it on the trailer. Unfortunately, I could not lift it into place and get the bolts into it at the same time. Taking it off was pretty easy. Gravity was a great assistant in the removal process. Reinstalling had gravity fighting me as hard as it could. Gravity is a blessing and a curse or so it seems. The final solution will likely be Summer at one end and me at the other installing, at least, one bolt each. Another project delayed as Summer was off doing her part-time job for the afternoon. After that it was a return to the water project or my correctly the lack of water project. With the repaired pump broken again, it was time to take out the spring box pump. That was an adventure. I had forgotten and had not noticed that the system was holding pressure. I disconnected the pump and got my second bath in less than 24 hours. At 60 psi and about 20 gallons of very cold water sprayed onto me and the entire inside of the spring box shed. I was thrilled. Here in Fritz Creek the humidity is often so low that water evaporates in minutes. The result was that I was bone dry in about and hour. Got tired of screwing with this pump and watering system. Took a lunch break before getting into this mess even further. Took the pump out of the spring box and moved all. of the garden hoses down to the pond. Got it all hooked up and turned it on. WATER!!! The garden was, finally, being watered. I was ecstatic right up until the power cord running to the pump began to burn at an old repair. It burned so severely that it looked like lightning on the ground. Luckily, I was standing 50 feet away adjusting the sprinkler. It probably wouldn’t have hurt me had I been standing closer but it would likely have scared the crap out of me. Summer was still at work so I watered all of the outdoor gardens, the Tomato Palace and then the greenhouse. All of the above took much of the day to accomplish. After those tasks, I went on to a bunch of menial tasks before it became Vodka:30.

A glacier deposited rock that I removed on Thursday
_Our derelict house before the big dig
After the big dig

Thursday The day was spent on the tractor. We have been waiting for a dirt guy to get back to Alaska. He comes here every summer and lives up the hill from us and is very reasonably priced. However, we just can’t wait any longer. The dirt must move. There was/were many tons of dirt that had to be removed in order to put the supporting wall under the front of the house. This wall will be 8+ feet tall. It is the first stage of adding onto the house. This wall will be constructed with 8×8 treated lumber. The side against the gravel fill behind the wall will be one inch treated plywood covered in a waterproof material trade named Bituthene. It is a tar based product that is absolutely waterproof. Behind the wall under the gravel will be 4″ black plastic drain line. Water is almost pouring out of the raw dirt bank therefore, water drainage is an imperative to keep the wall dry. Though the wall will be waterproof, there is no reason for having the wall wet. Anyway, back to the tractor. I spent most of the day moving dirt. I think it was nearly 6:00 PM when I got tired and bored.

Friday More dirt moving. Same as Thursday except that in the late afternoon the shovel work began. Some of the dirt removal is of necessity having to be done one shovel full at the time. I spent 2 hours with a shovel in hand. The biggest problem was very large rocks that the tractor could not dig out. I dug them out to the point that the tractor could get to them.

Saturday. Another day of digging with a shovel and with the tractor bucket. Big rocks, little rocks, hard gray clay and mix of dirt and rock we used to call ‘churt’ down in Alabama. I have removed 90%+ of the dirt that needed to be removed. This is gets me down to mostly shovel work. Found that one of the newer pilings I installed last fall was not dug in deep enough. This left the concrete footing for this piling 10-12 inches too high. This would make it 10-12 inches taller than the new footing I will be pouring next week. I will have to figure out how to rectify this situation. The day ended with me still on the shovel brigade. Since this isn’t a government job so there aren’t six guys leaning on shovels while one does all of the digging. I had a few other small projects that needed to be done during the day. It was a very tiring day. It was the longest day of the year in so many ways.

Concrete footing underwater next to the monster rock
Rock to the right of me dirt to the left covering the foundation drain line.

Sunday. Got up late. Spent most of the morning writing this blog. After my typing fingers got tired. I got back to the dirt moving project. Have a big rock still hanging in the wall. It is located here I intend to install a new piling to replace the piling with the footing too high to pour our new footing for the wall. Dug around and under this rock for a couple of hours with no success. It simply would not budge. got the tractor started and used that in an attempt to dislodge this monster rock. No luck. After much effort, I decided to just move the new footing for the new piling over a foot or so. I dug the footing hole for the new piling which was in hard clay and the aforementioned ‘churt’. This took over a half hour. Summer who had been galavanting around the neighborhood came home and we had a late lunch. She was taking care of Dan’s dog, Stu, and some guinea pigs for a different neighbor. The guinea pig neighbor had gone on a camping trip and didn’t want to leave her babies unintended. Summer is just too easy to burden with your difficulties. Back to the piling. I, at last, finished digging the hole for the new footing. Spent about a half hour finding everything needed to mix up the new concrete and about 10 minutes mixing and pouring it into the hole. After the concrete I used the tractor to clean up the loose dirt that I had tossed aside from the shoveling project and then picked up rocks that had been uncovered by the shovel work. I was going to use the tractor to pick up and haul away all of the rocks from the garden area and from my digging. But with the concrete project finished and the loose rocks picked up, I went inside. Inside I loaded the dishwasher and swept the floors. ENOUGH! It is Vodka:30.

The little tractor that could beside rocks removed this week
Even more rocks
The little rock of horror next to the new footing

Well, back to the salt mine. Hope you had a nice weekend.

POSTSCRIPT: Thought I had posted this late Sunday but somehow i screwed up. Happy Tuesday

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to knowing why you are where you are.

8 thru 13 June 2020

I haven’t written in a while because we’ve been too busy and I’ve just been too tired. To do this blog on a daily basis requires about two hours of time only interrupted by trips to the coffee pot. Even trips to the coffee pot have been interrupted by the unrelenting work needing to be done. However, this Sunday morning, I am on strike.

I got up at my usual 8:00 AM, made coffee, took Miss Suzy to do her morning business, opened a can of biscuits and made milk gravy for the first time in years. We almost never have milk. Last week I asked Summer to get me some Half & Half for my coffee. She came home with a half gallon of the stuff. This is a months supply of Half & Half, if I’m only using it in my coffee. I like a little milk in my coffee. Some people like a little coffee in their milk and I think Summer was confused as to which I am. As a way to avoid tossing out the milk (when it spoils before I can use it all), I used some in the Sunday gravy. This has to be the first time in many years, if not decades, since I made milk gravy instead of Depression gravy for breakfast. I have reconstituted powdered milk and used it in beef dripping to make gravy for mashed potatoes but never any kind of milk for breakfast gravy. Probable reason for this is that it seems too much trouble when I’ve just crawled out of bed. Whilst stirring the gravy to make sure the lumps dissolved my mind drifted off on another tangent.

Southerners and Alaskans have much in common. I suspect that this is the reason that I meet so many people from the South who have been living up here for decades. The post-Civil War South was an area of America where you learned to do with what you had. From the post-Civil War era (I call it the War of Northern Aggression as Lincoln had no constitutional right to send troops to the South to enforce the Cotton Tax..never mind. This is a discussion for another time.) through the Great Depression and WWII were time of great poverty in the South. Most white people had next to nothing and most black people had less than that. After the Civil War and as the Union troops went back north they stripped the South of anything of value. That included farm equipment, animals and anything else that they took a fancy to as they were on their way out the door. After that anything else of value was taken by the” Northern carpetbaggers’ that flooded into the destitute South. This led to Southerners, black and white, having to use whatever broken, bent or discarded tool, wagon etc. and, somehow, repairing it in an attempt to feed and clothe themselves. This led directly to what has been called “Southern Ingenuity”. Alaskans while they haven’t suffered the ravages of a Civil War have been forced to use whatever they have handy to make a tool, an abode or feed themselves since the beginning of humanity. The newcomers from the Lower 48 have, of necessity, had to do the same thing. Don’t have a knife you make one, You don’t have food you trap it. If you don’t have a warm coat, you make it. After the oil boom started there has been a lot less of this behavior but it still exists today the same as it does in the South. Here in Alaska the cost of getting any item isn’t just the price. The price might only be a dollar but the freight to get it here might be five dollars. Hence you, one way or another, make whatever you have do the work. I’m calling this “Alaskan Ingenuity”. They, like Southerners of my generation and earlier, are forced to do with what they have and they do it so very well. I am proud of being a man of the South and equally as proud to be becoming a man of Alaska.

Summer spent most of 5 hours cleaning the trailer. It was a job for Superwoman and she was up to the task. I am left with cleaning the refrigerator as it has mold in it and she is very allergic to almost every mold known to man. Tomorrow, Sunday, she will clean the carpet, mop the floors, take pictures and we’ll call the interior done. I have to reinstall the rear lift on Monday and that will conclude all necessary repairs to the travel trailer. I’m hoping it will find a new home soon.

Days have been spent getting the travel trailer ready to sell. It had some problems that had to be addressed. The first was that neither of the propane heaters were working. The forward heater never ran. I dug around until I found that there was no power to it. This, as previously reported, led to an all out search for a fuse panel yet unknown. The aft heater, which we stopped using because of the screeching noise that I thought was motor bearing, had absolutely nothing wrong with it. What was causing the screeching is still a mystery. It does not do it now so HURRAY! On the last leg of the trip to Fritz creek, the commode was near overflowing and the holding tank would not drain. I tried everything when it first happened nearly 3 years ago and was unable to get it to drain. I cut the drain pipe that I thought was the sewage drain (later discovered that it was the gray water drain) and ended up making 5 trips to the hardware store to rectify my error. After this fiasco I ran near twenty gallons of water down the commode and much to my surprise clear water came rushing out when the dump valve was opened. I can’t imagine how it repaired itself but, somehow, it did. Then came the clunking noise when the bedroom slide out was extended. This I expected to require extensive surgery on the slide out but, in fact. it was as simple as removing the mattress. The ‘under the bed’ is a storage area. The lift up lid is the foundation for the mattress. A sheet of thin plywood is the bottom of the storage. By removing the piece of plywood we gained access to the slide out drive assembly. The problem was discovered very quickly. Summer ran the drive and I found that the drive motor had slipped enough to allow the chain to jump a tooth on the drive gear. This was the loud clunking noise. A half inch wrench and a pry bar got the chain tight again. Another problem solved. The rear leveling lift had never worked. I had on numerous occasions threatened to repair it. As per usual, there was always something more pressing that required my attention. All four of the struts that hold the two legs were bent. How that happened, I have no clue. They didn’t seem to be nearly robust enough for the job they were meant to do. I had Charlie at Fritz Creek Welding straighten and weld on some reinforcing material. He did an excellent job. I put these back onto the lift lying on my back under the trailer with dirt falling into my eyes. Wearing my ‘close up’ glasses did not seem to block much of the dirt. With this potentially blinding task completed, I gave the lift a try. The motor ran but the lift did not move and it made a clunking noise. That was when I discovered that the slot in the drive shaft of the lift (that connects the motor to the shaft) had split open. The clunking noise was the drive pin in the motor shaft slipping though the split open drive shaft. Another piece of equipment not built heavily enough to do the job for which is it was destined. The only way to repair it was to remove the entire lift from the trailer. This turned out to be pretty easy. The whole damned thing was held onto the trailer frame by four 1/2 inch bolts. More stuff that didn’t seem properly robust enough for the job. It seems that the manufacturer or some engineer had seriously underestimated the forces that would be applied to this piece of equipment. After it was removed I carried up to my work bench and used a propane torch and a hammer to get the split shaft back to close to factory specs. It could be welded back together but it still wouldn’t be strong enough. It would split again the next time someone tried to use it. I wasn’t going to have the new owner cuss me for doing some half assed repair. I would repair it like I was going to be using it. The repair entailed cutting a one inch piece of pipe and the splitting it in half. I cut a slot in each half so that the motor drive pin could engage it properly. I was going to weld the pieces into place myself. Then I remembered ‘Dirty Harry’-“A man has to know his limitations.” I loaded the lift and the two handmade pieces into ‘The Beast’ and took off to Fritz Creek Welding. Charlie is infinitely more qualified to attach the new shaft pieces than I am ever likely to be. He told me that he would have them done by Monday. That would now be tomorrow. Just when I thought that the only thing left was to clean the interior of the trailer, I moved the kitchen faucet, to get some trash out of the sink, and the spout came off in my hand. There was no reattaching it. The plastic threads had broken off and it was now junk. This led to a series of screw ups. I was going to go to town and buy a new faucet. The I remembered that Dan was a remodeler of kitchens. It stood to reason that he would have saved an old faucet or two. That would save me $50-$60, if he did and he would give me one of them. It turned out that he had several. I decided that since we were about to remodel the kitchen, and we’re getting a new faucet, I’d take our kitchen faucet and use it in the trailer. All of the faucets Dan had were single hole and the trailer needed a 3 hole faucet. Problem solved. NOT! The first faucet Dan gave me didn’t work. I couldn’t figure out why and didn’t want to spend any time or money trying to repair it. Money was the primary consideration. Spending nearly $40 on a Moen repair kit didn’t seem like the smart thing to do with a free faucet. Summer went to Dan’s house and got another. While she was gone I installed the three hole house faucet into the trailer sink. There were some piping modifications needed and, fortunately the piping was PEX. I’ve owned PEX crimpers and fittings for 20 years. I repiped this house using PEX pipe. PEX pipe is forever pipe. If it freezes it simply expands and when it thaws it contracts back to its’ original size. If you use the brass fittings and copper crimp rings your children’s children’s children might have to replace it, maybe. Anyway, I got the repiping done and the faucet installed just about the time Summer returned from Dan’s house. Only one problem. The house faucet had a sprayer and there was no hole for it in the trailer sink. I was going to drill a hole in the sink until I found that the sink was porcelain over steel. In other words, the sink was of a better quality that most of the rest of the trailer. I don’t understand how that could have happened. Had they been consistent it would have been a fiberglass sink. I could have drilled a hole in the porcelain sink. I have the tools. BUT I was afraid that the porcelain would shatter or crack in ways that could not have been hidden by the sprayer escutcheon. The solution was to plug the sprayer outlet on the faucet. I cut off the sprayer hose to about 4 inches, found a bolt that I could force into the hose and hose clamped the bolt into place. Attached the modified hose to the faucet. The trailer kitchen faucet is now working properly. Back at the homestead, I attempted to remove the non-working faucet. I had done the job too well and couldn’t get the faucet off the sink. After a bit of cussing and stomping around, I realized that, when I had installed the sink into this temporary countertop it was temporarily installed. It was only caulked into place. I removed the sink, got the bad faucet off, put the next faucet on, caulked the sink onto the countertop and connected the water lines. Job done. WRONG! This faucet didn’t work. This unfortunate fact led to me investigating the entire water system only to find nothing wrong, The faucet I put into the trailer was working when I took it out of the house sink. There should have been no problem with the water supply. When I had turned this new faucet on it sort of dribbled out some dirty water before I turned it off and went looking for nonexistent problems elsewhere. After deciding that there was no supply problem, I took the bubbler out and cleaned it. No real improvement. It was still just a dribble. At that point, I decided to just leave it on and see if it might improve as the little bit of water passed though. It took about 10 minutes for the flow to become adequate. It only flows about half the water the original faucet flowed but we can live with it until we install the new kitchen.

The kitchen sink in the travel trailer
The nice clean refrigerator

We haven’t had any significant amount of rain since ‘Break Up’. The snow melt filled the ponds and the spring box. Now the ponds are low and the spring box only fills to about 3 feet. We, usually, have fifteen or more feet of water in the spring box. Yesterday I was watering the garden and the spring box was pumped out completely. We still have several thousands gallons of water in the pond next to the greenhouse/garden area that we can pump. Pumping that water will entail moving the spring box pumping equipment to a point near the pond. In the event that it ever rains again, it will have to be put in some sort of rainproof box that I will have to build. All of this is likely to take another precious day of summer that we can ill afford to waste. I have been trying for a month or more to have two days in a row to finish leveling the house. It has just been one damned thing after another. We seem to be sliding down a slippery slope from disaster to catastrophe without a moment to draw a deep breath. It is most certainly discouraging. Chief Dan George’s character told Clint Eastwood in ‘The Outlaw Josie Wales’ that Secretary of the Interior told the Indian Chiefs, (as they were leaving Washington, DC) to “Endeavor to persevere”. We are endeavoring to persevere in the face of many setbacks and aggravations. Much of this has been a job for ‘Stupidman’ and I am he. It’s too late to run away or back out now as it’s kinda like ‘Going All In’ while holding two deuces and with none in the ‘River’. I have my moments of discouragement but then I look out the window across Kachemak Bay and at the snow capped mountains and remember why I’m here.

All of these picture are self explanatory

There have been a dozen or more little time consuming jobs aside from the travel trailer. Each and every one eating up part or all of valuable summer days. Minor repairs to the tractor, the garden, the Land Rover, attempts to organize the Conex, floors swept, dishes washed, dogs fed, laundry done, necessary trips to the store, ad infinitum.

We have been greenhouse shopping. We bought this ClimaPod greenhouse that is a total POS. We have contacted them in an attempt to get replacement parts to repair some damage with no success. I called the corporate number and some guy, with what I took to be a Chinese accent, told me to email them a list of needed parts. We have yet to hear a word from them since. If you were considering buying one of their products DON”T. The damned things are a ten thousand piece jigsaw puzzle with half assed assembly instructions that aren’t even in the correct order. Follow the instructions and you’ll end up taking apart things you’ve already assembled. And as I previously stated. they don’t give a damn about helping you, if the structure is somehow damaged. Enough of that rant. We found a greenhouse supplier we know well but the $4900 20×60 greenhouse is saddled with $2800 in freight. to get it here. This makes it way too expensive for the square footage that it provides. I guess we’re on our way to PLAN B, whatever that is.

Well, I have to go meet Summer at Dan’s house and pickup the scrap wood from his house addition project. It is mostly kindling but some could be firewood. After that I have to clean the refrigerator in the travel trailer. I have avoided that project about as long as I can. I’ll likely be mopping the kitchen floor again. After that, I guess, I’ll start moving the pumping system to the pond.

The fire wood & kindling from Dan’s house.

Y’all come back now. Ya hear?

Dad’s Alaska

7 June 2020 Sunday I had one of those slow days. I had a leisurely breakfast of eggs, sausage and grits washed down with a flood of coffee. Summer is still on her glamping trip to the glacier. The name of the glacier is a mystery to me. I can see it across Kachemak Bay but it’s name is unknown to me. I didn’t ask anyone the name as my personal hard drive is full and any more information is likely to cause the deletion of older information that I might need or want. In every life there comes a time when not knowing everything is a good thing. I think I may have reached that tipping point.

I read several news sites and can only conclude that insanity has become the norm all over the world. People for whom I have had a modicum of respect for are saying some of the dumbest, most ignorant things I have ever heard. For example, Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” prattled on attacking President Trump and I wondered why he didn’t simply call President Trump with his questions. His call would be answered and he could very easily jump into his private jet and go the White House and talk with President Trump. None of us could do that. Is it just ‘virtue signaling’ to keep his career on the move or is he just another Hollywood idiot? Either way is bad but I’m beginning to think it is the latter rather than the former. Yep. He’s just another Hollywood idiot. Given the circumstances what else can you conclude?

Today I was working on the water damaged ceiling in the travel trailer. I installed a piece of birch plywood over the water damaged area. It was either that or tear out the entire ceiling and install new sheetrock. While it looked a simple job it rapidly became complicated. Part of the complication was putting the plywood on the ceiling when there was little or no room to maneuver the 8 feet of it into place. The ceiling had some damage when Summer and I bought the trailer. I stopped the leak immediately but the interior repair was not high on the list of things that needed to be done. It leaked again sitting unused, unentered for nearly 3 years. I think I told you that I had only been inside maybe twice in those years. Summer and I had talked of a vacation using it in late summer or early fall. We wanted to go to Mt. Rushmore and all of the world’s largest whatever that was down the road. For once we just wanted to be tourists while passing through America on our way to Florida to see family. Of course, that was before C-19 made her unemployed for many weeks and now she is only working 12-15 hours a week. The lack of cash flow doesn’t help. Then there are all of different quarantine rules in different cities and states would make the trip less than peaceful.

The Birch plywood ceiling addition in the travel trailer
A different view of the ceiling repair

On top of all of the other travel considerations, Summer has decided that her life career is to run a nursery business. Therefore I’ll be building a greenhouse this fall after I finish building a heated water room onto the house, a retaining wall against the current piling foundation under the house, rewiring the house and a deck on the front of the house. The deck is being built so that it can serve as the subfloor for the new addition to the house that may not happen for a couple of years. In addition, I’ve got to convert the shed in front of the house to a heated, shelved plant starter facility. No pressure.

The future plant starter building
Our neighbors outhouse. Dry cabin-no running water. Common in Alaska

Our old man, Gandie, is deteriorating pretty quickly now. He’s sixteen years old and that is very old for a Miniature Schnauzer. He’s sleeping 12-14 hours a day and is unsteady on his feet. He is losing weight while eating like there’s no tomorrow. I think he’ll probably make it for a few more weeks or months. I doubt that he can or will survive the coming winter. He gets a pain pill twice a day and because of his incessant pacing in the evenings I’ve been giving him a Benadryl. The Benadryl hasn’t seemed to have any effect his behavior at all. He won’t go to his bed until everyone else has gone to bed. He’s, usually, awake until I go to bed at around midnight. If you go to the kitchen he’ll be right under your feet. We’re not sure that he has any idea who Summer and I are, but he certainly knows when it’s dinner time. It is very sad to watch an old friend start to slip away.

Gandolph the Grey aka Gandie
Gandie-My favorite old man

It rained for a couple of hours this afternoon which brought outside work to a screeching halt. It started around 2:00 and ended just after 5:00. The three hour hiatus made me feel lazier than I was already feeling. I did not accomplish anything else beyond feeding the dogs and myself. I did finish Saturday’s blog and I’ve done this one. I guess I did accomplish something after all.

The mower below is brand new. It has cut not one single blade of grass since it was purchased last fall just before the tractor broke down. I’m kind of anxious to give it a try but now it’s Spring and Summer won’t allow me to mow. The reason I can’t mow is Fireweed. Fireweed blooms in mid-Summer and the bees harvest the pollen. That pollen becomes Fireweed honey. It is one of the most expensive honeys in the world. A four ounce jar often sells for as much as $25. Summer sold 6 four ounce jars last Fall for $100 to a local business. That business in turn sold the for $25 each. She got about a gallon of Fireweed honey last year with only one hive, this year she has three hives. Fireweed honey is almost crystal clear and tastes like no honey you’ve ever tasted. The ancients would likely have called it “The nectar of the gods”. It is really that good. Sceptic that I am, I did not believe that there could be much difference. I could not have been more wrong. I’m hoping we get enough this year so that we get to keep some for ourselves

The little mower that couldn’t

Buh Bye.

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to THE GREATEST GENERATION and to the hope that we can emulate their bravery

6 June 2020 Saturday. Today is the anniversary of the 1944 invasion of France by tens of thousands of Allied troops. Thousands died. 3000+ Americans died in the landing. Thousands more died in conquering Hitler’s Third Reich. YET here we are with the equivalent of Hitler’s Brown Shirts in the streets inciting and aiding people in breaking windows and looting like it is Kristallnacht in Germany. Neither the Governors nor the Mayors in these states and cities seem to be able or willing to stop this lawless activity. It might be that they don’t want it to stop. This idiocy is not about George Floyd. It is about destroying America as founded. The Antifa Black Shirts have threatened to come into the suburbs to kill, burn and take whatever they want. It is too bad much of the populace of the suburbs have been whipped into submission by the gun control NAZIs. They’ll lose their possessions and likely their lives, if they are invaded by the Antifa Black Shirts. I had hoped that President Trump would squelch this madness and mayhem, but I guess not. This evil cannot be allowed to continue. They are destroying the very fabric of our civil society. They need anarchy to be able to implement their Socialist agenda. We are in a Civil War and the enemy is destroying us.

Midnight over Kachemak Bay

Today I spent much of my day running back and forth to town for plumbing supplies. The sewage and the waste water tanks will now drain as designed. There were so many 90 degree turns in the piping that I cut it off near the valves and cleared the lines. After crawling under the trailer for a couple of hours and spending a of hours driving back and forth to the hardware store, I was pooped. There was a good deal of ‘engineering‘ that needed to be done to get all of the lines reconnected. This is not a job that I would want to undertake again.

10:00 PM over Kachemak Bay

Just for fun I started up the tractor and moved some dirt to low places in the yard. This was two hours of not having to do any heavy duty thinking. I quit at about 7:00 PM and went inside to feed the dogs and myself. Later, I turned on the TV and went channel surfing. We’ve got a bunch of channels but damned little to watch. I, accidentally, found Tom Selleck and NYPD Blue. At last, a show worth watching. I’ve had my fill of Hoarders and Oak Island. There are some decent shows on network TV. They are few and far between but they are there if you are looking.

Duck next to a goose egg.

I picked these up this afternoon. The goose eggs are gigantic next to duck and are enormous next to a chicken egg.

Goose egg next to a chicken egg

It wasn’t a very exciting or productive day. I still don’t have the Covid 19 and I am still on the green side of the sod so it wasn’t a bad day. I hope you day went as well as mine or, perhaps, a lot better than mine. Goodnight.

Dad’s Alaska

A toast to the nearly 3 million people who’ve gone back to work.

5 June 2020 Friday. Woke up at 7:30 to the dripping noise from real rain for the first time in several weeks. While it halted outside activity for a while it did not stop the work. There were dishes to do, rugs to wash, other laundry to do until the rain stopped. Summer spent the morning prepping for her weekend camping trip. The housework always gets neglected when there is so much to do outside. The rain is the reason the any deep cleaning of the house gets done. Most of the time it is like my Grandmother used to say that “She hit it with a lick and a promise”, The promise, of course, was to do it better next time. Today was the ‘next time’ for the housework.

It rained intermittently for most of the day. I really didn’t want to crawl on the wet ground under the travel trailer to do the plumbing. Any plumbing project that I do requires a minimum of three trips to the hardware store. I did two of them yesterday and am expecting to do, at least, one more before the problem is solved. The rain will clear by tomorrow and I’ll get the opportunity to go to the hardware store again.

A bit of Alaskan news. The University of Alaska is starting a new writing course in the prison system. They named it ‘Prose and Cons’. Because pens and pencils can be weapons the writing will be done in crayon. Because of the crayons write so large they have anticipated that they’ll need 100 thousand sheets of paper in the first year. The local environmentalist wackos are protesting the death of so many trees to make the paper. The Warden of the facility was asked if he thought that any of the inmates could write anything significant? He told answered the reporter by saying, “There is the theory that if you supplied a monkey with a typewriter, enough time and enough paper it would, eventually, write ‘War and Peace’ or it’s equivalent.” The reporter said, ” But most of these people didn’t finish high school. How do you expect them to be able to write? The Warden’s interview ending answer was “With crayons”. And that is about all of the news worth knowing except that there have been protests in Anchorage and in some of the smaller towns. There has been no violence or looting because just about everyone has a gun on them or very handily close by. Alaska is a very polite state. Anchorage, however, has been Californicated. The mayor and assembly never met a tax they they didn’t like. The have created proportionally more homeless people than San Francisco. I will give the mayor and assembly some kudos for attempting to save taxpayer money. During the beginning of the COVID-19 fiasco they crammed all of the homeless they could round up into two big convention halls. The cots were six feet apart but there were no screens or any type of separation other than distance. I think this may have been an attempt at murdering as many of the homeless as possible thereby saving the taxpayer millions of dollars a year. Murder by C-19 and no proof of wrong doing. If hundreds had died they could say “We had good intentions and we tried to save them”. As you likely know, all a Lib/Prog/Socialist Democrat needs is good intentions to justify any apparent unintended consequence.

Summer left for her camping trip at 2:00. I goofed around most of the day doing laundry, folding laundry, sweeping and mopping floors, loading and unloading the dishwasher, taking a much needed shower and changing the sheets on my bed. In other words, I did damned near nothing all day. About 5:00, the sun came out and the ground started drying. I thought about going outside and working on one project or another but by that time I was out of the mood. Boredom and lethargy had set in and I just couldn’t work up enough ‘Give a damn’ to do anything but sit and eat. If I don’t get started in the morning, then by 2-3 o’clock my get up and go has got up and went without me. As I’m typing this missive it is almost 8:00 PM. There is so much sunlight that it appears to be about 3:00 PM on Mobile Bay. We’re getting about 18 hours of daylight which can make you think that it is earlier than it really is.

I’m out. Sorry no pictures today.

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to the tens of thousands of police officers doing a tough job

4 June 2020 Thursday Another long day. Got started at about 9:30 AM. Finished up about 7:30 PM. I loaded up the new rims and the summer tires and took ‘The Beast’ to Tire town. It is time to put the summer tires on ‘The Beast’. The studs on the snow tires will wear out running on non-icy, snowy roads. Getting new studs installed or buying new stud tires is an expensive proposition. Summer had to go into town so she followed me to the tire store. Since she was going into town I had her drop me off at the hardware store. I needed to get a few parts to attempt to repair the sliding door in the travel trailer. After Summer finished her business she picked me up and we went home.

Six new rims installed

Back at the ‘homestead’ Summer went about putting the plants into the new stacked stone planter. We had put the dirt in it yesterday and ran out of time to plant. Too much stuff to do. Too little time to do it. I went about my business of trying to get the sliding door repaired. After about an hour of trying to make the new parts work, I gave up. Sometimes the smaller problems seem the most intractable. After looking around through my ‘possibles’ I realized that I had no type of rollers that could be used. While I was looking around I saw a piece of teak. Knowing that teak is oily and has an affinity for any kind of oil, I decided to see if I could make a teak slide to replace the missing three wheeled roller. It took quite a while to fabricate the slide and fit it to the track. It was a trial and error process and took about an hour to get it right. Once I had the slide fabricated, put a bit of grease on it and yelled to Summer to come help me slip the door into place. The door slipped into place and worked perfectly. Another aggravating little problem solved. The next problem is plumbing. I tried to clear the sewage drain line by forcing a running water hose up through the line. This didn’t work. I had tried it in the past and it didn’t work then and didn’t work now. This meant that I was going to have to cut the drain line closer to holding tank. This, also, meant that I needed a way to reconnect the drain line. I had no parts to reconnect the line. This lead to a phone call.

The planter planted

I called Tire Town and found that they had finished replacing the tires on ‘The Beast’. Summer had slipped and put a small cut in her hand. This meant that she had come to a stopping point in planting her perennials. I commandeered her to drive me to pick up my truck. After paying the garage, I went on to the hardware store for the plumbing parts I needed. Back under the trailer, I cut the drain line. While cutting the drain line, I realized that I had bought the wrong size of pipe repair parts. Again I shoved the water hose into the pipe. Again the running water did not clear the clog. The clog is, apparently, in or very near in the holding tank. At that point I gave up for the day.

Another shot of the planter.

Summer had finished her planting and had moved on to watering her gardens. I purchased sprinklers on my trip to the hardware store. She was placing them to get them in just the right place. We haven’t had a lot of rain. The rainy days the that we have had were more like misty drizzles with not much accumulation. Just enough to disrupt any needed outside work but not enough to water the plants properly. I took the Rover (The Range Rover is what they call a a “Beater with a heater” up here. This means it runs but is ugly.) and went back to town to return the wrong plumbing parts and get the proper size parts. That was my last official act of the day.

Beater with a heater

When I got back home Summer was prepping for her weekend camping trip. She and others are going across Kachemak Bay to the foot of a glacier. The are going to hike up the trail to the near the top of the glacier. I’m not going for three reasons: One is that someone has to stay home and tend to the animals and the garden; Two is that I don’t like sleeping on the ground and fighting mosquitoes, bears and the potential of being run over by a moose; Three is that I like having my luxuries that are only available at home. Used to camp out a lot, when I lived behind the old Lake Lane restaurant and in Brighton, as a teenager. Some of us Brighton boys, ages ranging from 12-16, would ride our bicycles or walk the old railroad tracks that ran from the Woodward blast furnaces to Red Mountain. We’d cross the mountain and down the other side and on to Shades Creek. We would stay two or three days and nights with absolutely no parental supervision. In fact, our parents had no idea of exactly where we were. Those were halcyon days of freedom. No nagging parents, no stern teachers, no Brighton police, no neighbors calling our parents reporting our cigarette smoking, no restraints to having fun and not a single care in the world. We swam, fished, told scary stories in the evenings, rode our bicycles through the woods and fire roads and just, generally, acted like the fools we were. I, distinctly, remember one time that we all thought it was a good idea to pan for gold in Shades Creek. Boy, were we dumb.

A new look inside the greenhouse
Inside the Tomato Palace
The new garden plot being watered

Anyway, I’m through for today. Hasta la vista, Sayonara and Ciao.