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.


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.

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