Mud, Blood and Vodka

Sunday 16 Sept 2018

Hard for me to ‘get my head around’ but on the 18th at about 3 in the afternoon we will have been on the property for a year.

Yesterday we, finally, had someone that had promised to do some work, actually, show up.  Not only did he show up, he brought his wife to help him and his son for me to entertain all day.  Cute kid.  All day long he was asking me for something to do.  He wanted to work but he weighed about 40-50 pounds soaking wet.  He was smart as he could be and wiser than one would expect from a 3rd grader.  He’s a home schooled kid which explains a lot.  He and I hauled lumber to build a bridge, took some things back to his parents truck and just generally cleaned up around the property.  I let him drive the lawn tractor pulling a trailer, he handed me kindling to split and I let him run the log splitter.  He was so happy that he might as well have been in Disney World.

Meanwhile, his parents were running a Bobcat to create a ditch from the newly installed spring box up to and around the house.  The ditch had to be six feet deep and since his bucket was 24 inches wide we have a major mound of dirt.  The plan had been that we would put the piping containing the electric and the water pipe into the ground as we went.  That, however, was a plan that we couldn’t adhere to yesterday.  The pipe I bought for the containment was coming apart at every joint.  When I bought the pipe, I asked if it glued up with regular PVC cement.  The guy said it did but it didn’t.  Turns out it was ABS plastic and regular PVC glue won’t work.  Summer picked up the ABS glue during a run to town.  Still didn’t get the damned stuff glued we ran out of both time and inclination.  Of course, it decided to rain all day today so the stuff is still not glued together.

Since it began to rain today, we are in a mud up to our ankles.  No outside work will get done today.  Yesterday afternoon, I had to build a foot bridge from the top of the dirt pile, along the trench, to the back door.  The unlevelness of the house will not allow the front door to open.  I felt like a Seabee building a bridge across a marsh in some hellhole island in the Pacific.  It was muddy because the top of the pile came from below the water table.  I had to be down on hands and knees and then on my belly to get the first 14 foot board from the dirt pile to the door.  The first one was a booger but the next three were simple and easy.  Slide them out on top of the other board and flip them over in place.  I was doing the second board the hard way when the 10 year old kid asked, “Why aren’t you sliding it across on the other board?”  Face palm moment. With the bridge built everyone could, at last, get to the bathroom.  People in, dogs out.

When the pump pipe bundle and the French drain are completed we will have near unlimited water.  There is a small spring plus the French drain will channel water to the spring box.  This is a big saving because our monthly water bill is $200-$300.  Ii once thought a $100 water bill was expensive.   It may be hard to imagine in the Lower 48 but up here you find yourself thinking about things like laundry, flushing the commode, taking a shower, running the dishwasher etc.   Summer and I both were completely taken aback by the amount of water we were using when we first got here.  I installed a 500 gallon tank when we arrived, thinking that would be more water than we would use.  WRONG!. We were still on the Lower 48 regimen and we ran out of water 3 times before we learned to conserve.  I cannot tell you how tired I am of worrying about water.  Hopefully, in the next 10 days the piping will be installed, the water house constructed, the filtration system installed and water will be abundant.

I in my infinite wisdom placed a pallet of concrete blocks almost on the area that needed to be dug.   Therefore, I had to move 120 concrete blocks and, as usual, I banged the living crap out of one of my fingers.  Fingers bleed profusely for reasons I do not understand.  At my age a bump often makes me bleed like a ‘stuck hog’.  In case you aren’t familiar with that phrase it describes the pig already hung by it’s back feet gets it throat cut.  ‘Squealing like a stuck hog, is another one of those adages.  Example:  He waren’t hurt much but he wuz squealing like a stuck hog.  I didn’t squeal but I did have a few choice words jump out of my mouth.

The tractor had one broken wheel stud which left three and that was good enough for me.  Yesterday it broke another which is when I found out that that stud had been stripped and the lug nut was never put back on properly.  This dumbass move by whomever had the wheel off before has created a major problem.  The tractor is 4 wheel drive and to replace the studs I have to take the whole damned thing apart.  Then I need  to take it somewhere to have all the old studs pressed out and the new ones installed.   Probably the local NAPA.  If I’m lucky I can get the tractor back to operational in a single day, if not I’ll have rent or buy another tractor.  I have got to get this pipe in and covered up ASAP.  Winter is coming at us like a freight train on a downhill 40 miles of straight track and there are still a dozen necessary jobs to be done.

After much aggravation during the day we were able to sit down to a dinner of a dinner of BBQ chicken, baked beans and coleslaw and, of course a Vodka Seven or three.

The Bridge Over the Moat

The Moat and the Mud


Happy One Year Anniversary on traveling to Alaska, my home!

Today, One year ago we made it to Onawa, Iowa and stayed at the On-Ur-Wa RV park.       This was a pretty good RV park.  It had a laundry mat which is was great, by this time we were in desperate need clean clothes and sheets.

We have come a long way since our arrival.  I think back to that first trip north to Alaska; the adventures and long days of driving we had to endure.  The stress of an overloaded school bus carrying an overloaded 28 foot enclosed trailer going 50 mph and 10 mph up mountains and hills.  That was just Dad; I was behind him in Spike towing a 36 foot gooseneck travel trailer.  For all who have just started reading Spike is our big dually diesel 3500 Ram Bully Edition pick up.  He’s big, even comes with its own jake brake, which I had to use many times in the mountains.  Open highways and roads were a piece of cake until we had to drive through large cities with tons of traffic.  Very nerve racking and very scary.

Here are the pics I originally took on Sept. 7, 2017 in Iowa.

This year has just flown by.