Bob’s Version: Day 51 Homestead 

A history lesson for those of you who may have just found us. 68 days ago (17 of them driving) Summer and I left our home on the Suwannee River to change our lives in ways that were unknown to us at the time. Some have been good others not so much. We packed our lives into a 28′ cargo trailer and a 40′ school bus and set out on this adventure. We spent 17 days getting from O’Brien, FL to Fritz Creek, AK. It was an arduous trip made mostly at 50 mph. As we had only one familial connection in Florida and she was quickly becoming an independent young woman. So there was little to keep us from pursuing our lifelong dream. The grand daughter and her loving family are only an airline ticket away. So here we are trying to out this derelict house back in proper order. The entire history is on
Day 51 Friday 10/102017 Arose at dawn or about 9:30 to blinding sun and brilliant blue skies. As I got dressed, I looked out from my second story window to see that it had been sleeting during the night. There was just enough to cover Spike’s cab (Spike is a Dodge Ram 3500 diesel, 4 wheel drive ‘Bully Boy’). Spike is one wonderful bit of machinery. Anyway, I went downstairs to where I could smell coffee brewing, stepped out the backdoor for some fire wood and to let Miss Suzy do her morning business. The thermometer was reading about 15 degrees. Not too bad for daybreak. While I sipped my usual 8 cup kick start, I read some news and planned today’s activities. We are still without adequate firewood as the providers of said wood have not yet been able to get into the forest and cut said wood as the ground has not yet frozen. The result is that we’re still burning destruction wood from the previous owners ripping one of the rooms off the house.  
Gathering wood begins with not dressing to warmly even though the outside temp is hovering around 18. Dress too warmly while you are working hard leads to perspiration and that leads to getting very cold very quickly because the sweat evaporates and cools the skin while doing so.. The cold here in Alaska is very dry so any skin exposed to that cold is dry and cracking before you can say BOO! Anyway, I treaded very carefully out onto the wood pile avoiding upright nails as I went. The wood pile, which due to some poor planning (I forgot the 7Ps) on my part is partially covered in dirt and gravel, there I began knocking the frozen boards loose. Knock a board loose and toss it on to the gravel driveway near Summer, my daughter, then rinse and repeat. Spent about an hour gathering up the lumber pieces before I was breaking a sweat and my toes were cold. The fool, that deconstructed this room with a chainsaw, cut up several thousand dollars worth of lumber. There is rough cut lumber pieces from 6″x12″ down to 2″x6″ and many of the had to be 12 feet or longer. Like the song says, “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy”. With several days of wood procured we went inside to reap the benefits of the effort by warming our hands and feet by the wood stove. We aren’t without heat even if there is no wood. We have an oil fired stove that will keep us from freezing to death, even if it won’t heat the entire house.
Next on the agenda was getting the plumbing and electrical run for the washer and dryer. These were once in the missing room but now must reside in the downstairs bathroom until other arrangements can be made. To do that I had to remove some of the old boards from the original cabin. I probably need to remind you that this two story house was attached to an old homestead cabin. Half of that cabin was the water storage room and laundry. That is the half that the crazy person removed. I was a little sad to saw away what was just about the last untouched pieces of someone’s history. But progress must be made and Summer wants the washer and dryer installed ASAP. I do, as well, for a different reason. The cost of doing two peoples weekly laundry is a staggering $25 plus. When I was in college and wore my cleanest dirty clothes to the laundromat the cost was about $3 for a months worth of laundry. Running the drain proved to be a problem as the wall had a 3″ standpipe/drain from upstairs running through it. No choice but run the drain on the outside of the wall. Kinda ugly but a necessary solution. I already had hot and cold water run in PEX piping in wall so that did not pose much of a problem for connections. The electrical wiring was run in an existing chase and through the wall. And as that brilliant philosopher, Bobby Cecil, used to say, “All we lack is finishing”.
Next open the day’s program was the assembly of the dining room table. It is a very nice table left by the previous owners. They had taken the legs off and stacked it against the wall. Summer wanted it so I dragged it to the middle of the kitchen and she assembled it while I was closing the torn out wall with some plywood. After a bit she called me to help her stand it up. We started to lift it an one of the legs broke off. Apparently, the disassemblers of the table had unscrewed the wood screw part most of the way out of the leg. Inspection found that another leg had the same problem. I sent Summer to find some Gorilla Glue while I found the tools we would need to repair the leg. When she returned I showed her how to jam two nuts together and screw the bolts back into the wood. Also, showed her how to clamp the leg with a couple of small screws to tighten the joint so that the glue could set properly. I am a big fan of Gorilla Glue as the joint it makes it stronger that the wood it connects.
The day ended with us sitting at the newly assembled table eating potato soup and watching TV. No complaints about having soup again, it was very good.


3 thoughts on “Bob’s Version: Day 51 Homestead 

  1. Love keeping up with yours and Summers adventures. My question is how did you two find this jewel of a house that you are turning into a home?


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