Dad’s Alaska

February 28, 2020

Left Fritz Creek headed up to Kenai. The roads were very good all the way north to Kenai. There were only a couple of places where there was snow or ice on the road. Those places were heavily shaded so that the sun didn’t hit them at full strength. Previous traffic had cut dry/no ice ruts through so they weren’t really a problem. I took ‘The Beast’ (Dodge Ram 3500 Double Cab Dually) out of 4 wheel drive for the first time in a couple of months. When I arrived in Kenai I had to go back in to 4WD to navigate the parking lots (3-6 inches of ice) of the various stores I visited.

The Beast at rest

The primary goal of the Kenai trip was to buy a snowblower. All of the snow we’ve gotten recently has caused a run on snow blowers. There isn’t a new snow blower between Homer and Anchorage. I know that to be the case, because I was in virtually every large store that might sell snow blowers south of Anchorage. The secondary goal was Walmart for dog food and a few staples. That goal was achieved. Also made a quick stop at Home Depot for lights for Summer’s plant starts and some batteries for my RYOBI tools.

As I was driving to and from Kenai and all around Kenai and Soldotna and all the time listening to the radio. All I heard all day was “Virus! Virus! Virus!” What aggravates me about all of this hoopla is that this thing is little more than the common cold. Why the media is pumping this story is beyond my comprehension. Anyway, this seems to be much ado about nothing. Like the common cold or flu it kills people that are already one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. It is likely the a few hundred times more people have the flu right now than are likely to ever have the Corona Virus 19. We have no cases in Alaska. ‘Nuff said.

Finally, got home at about 6:30 PM after having left at about 9:30 AM. Carried in all of the supplies. I was so tired from all of the days driving and walking through stores that I really wanted to leave them in the truck. The problem, however, was that the stuff would freeze and likely burst some containers and be unfit for either human or canine consumption. I was correct in my assumption that the stuff would freeze as the temp went down to 11.2F later in the evening. Decided that I needed to check on the ducks and geese. Found they were out of water but had plenty of food, Hauled two 5 gallon buckets of snow melt water out to the greenhouse where they are currently residing. By the time I finished these small chores it was dusk, the sun had set. I returned to the house after filling the two empty buckets with snow to find that the temp had dropped from 27 to 17F. I went out again. This time to the woodshed for additional firewood as there wasn’t enough to get through the evening. With a fire roaring in the stove, I cleaned up the few things from last evening that needed to be in the dishwasher. I looked at the clock and it was nearly 8:PM. and that answered the question of why I was so damned hungry.

Good night, Kiddies. Go to bed it’s later than you think. AND quit worrying about this silly virus thing. It will either kill you or it won’t. Just be careful and don’t panic like a bunch of rats leaving a sinking ship. This ship, the U.S. of A, ain’t sinking. Anyway. it’s all in the hands of the Almighty in whatever form you believe in Him/Her.

Tomorrow, I will get back to, after many interruptions, leveling the house.

Dad’s Alaska

February 27, 2020

Winter day at about noon

Today was kind of a lazy day. Spent about an hour talking with an old friend, Melvin, from my high school daze. Looking back I seem to have been in a daze. Stripped my bed and laundered all of the bedding this afternoon. Moved Summer’s starter plants from southeast window to the southwest window. Cleaned up the kitchen. Drank my usual 48 ounces of coffee and ate my everything bagel. I’m really not good at having nothing pressing to do. I almost decided to go back to bed. I probably would have tucked myself back in, if I hadn’t just thrown my bedding into the washer and pulled the trigger. Too late to get them out as they were already wet and rolling over in the tub. I wandered around the house looking at the disaster in which we are currently residing.

Back into bathroom, I realize how really filthy I had let the place get. Also, I have been deferring the replacement of the wax ring under the commode for a couple of weeks. Nasty job. Swept and mopped the floor, vacuumed the the large bath rug, cleaned the sink, cleaned the commode and cleaned the bathtub. Having delayed as long as I possibly could I removed the commode. Scraped two old wax rings off the floor flange. I used my SOG Survival knife to scrape the wax. I’m pretty sure that this wasn’t a purpose that SOG had in mind for their lovely knife. BTW that wax ring under your toilet is made of beeswax. That probably explains why it is so sticky and difficult to get off yourself and your tools.

SOG On Wax or Wax on SOG

Having finished the distasteful job of replacing the wax ring. I decided to go into Homer and check the price and availability of a snow blower. Nobody had one, which suited me just fine. I really didn’t want to spend the money even though Summer is insisting that we really need one. With no one having a snow blower, I went to Safeway and wandered through the aisles and almost bought a package of spicy guacamole mix. After a half hour of walking around, I left. When I leave empty handed. I always expect someone to come after me and accuse me of shoplifting. I think that it does look a bit suspicious for someone to wander around for a long time and leave with nothing. I am always aghast at the prices of food here. Example: A package of four ears of yellow sweet corn $5.95. Same corn, but fresh out of the fields, in Alabama or Florida are 3 or 4 ears for a dollar. I didn’t get stopped for allegedly shoplifting and for the life of me I don’t understand the anxiety that leaving empty handed gives me. There was no incident in my childhood that would cause such anxiety. Maybe I’m feeling guilty for wasting their valuable time and taking up space or I’m just weird. Maybe both. The main reason I bought nothing is that I’m going to Kenai tomorrow. My every 6-8 week pilgrimage to Wal Mart and Home Depot. Need dog food, grow lights and a bunch of other stuff that we want or will need for the next 6-8 weeks. All of it is 10-20% less expensive in Kenai. Could save a lot more by going to COSTCO in Anchorage but that is a 5 plus hour drive through avalanche country this time of year. Am considering hooking up the travel trailer next October and going to Anchorage for an extended shopping trip. We get our PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend) in October. The PFD is money from the oil pumped here. Every man, woman and child who has lived in Alaska for two years gets a PFD check and still the population shrinks every year. This year it was only $1600, whereas it had been over $3000 in the past. The Tax and Spend Legislature skimmed $1306 off the top of the PFD this past year and are angling to take it all in the next year or two. The Alaskan government is in the top 5 most expensive per capita governments in the USA. Anyway, a trip to Anchorage to purchase nothing but the years supply of dog food would save us most of the cost of going.

As you know Homer buckets have many uses. This is one that I devised. I didn’t invent it, I just improved it. We don’t waste heat regardless of the source here in Fritz Creek. The bucket is about half full of water to catch the dust and lint, if you were wondering.

Lint catcher for the dryer.

I’m gone. Got to check on the animals.

Dad’s Alaska

February 26, 2020

Somewhere there are people that live where nothing ever goes wrong and every project goes perfectly. That place ain’t here and I’m certainly not one of those lucky people. After we got the water drainage situation under control, and the weather warmed up enough that the downstairs shower was again operating, the damned fresh water is not leaving the water house. It seems that the water delivery man may have bumped the heater that was the secondary method keeping the pipes from freezing. The heater has a very sensitive tilt switch and when I looked into the problem, I found the heater had turned itself off. The heater being off would not have been a factor except we had a single night of +5F temp. If the temp stays above +15F the heater in the, heavily insulated, 500 gallon tank keeps everything flowing. The tank is kept at a constant +40F. I tried to thaw the piping out yesterday afternoon with no positive result. This morning I will attempt to defrost the piping again. I left the heater running overnight. I’m thinking that the pressure switch may have failed in the interim. When I’m sure that the supply line is thawed and the pump doesn’t work, I’ll change the pressure switch. I guess I’ll get my shoes and socks on and get after this aggravation by putting the jet heater to work. If there are frozen lines anywhere, it will thaw them. However, my most important job for the morning is taking 4 dogs to the groomer to get the toenails clipped. I know that this seems very weird under the circumstances.

Started the jet heater blowing into the water shed while the truck was warming up. Diesel engines really don’t like temps below +20F so I really wanted to make sure that it was warmed up properly before hitting the road. After the truck warmed up some, I loaded all four dogs into the truck. The water had still not thawed so I left the jet heater running with the hope that I wouldn’t return to a burnt down shed.

At the groomer I hauled the dogs in one at a time. Taco, the Chihuahua, tried to bite the lady trimming his sharp toenails. All of the other dogs went through the process with no more drama. Back at the homestead the heater thawed out the piping. I returned to find that the water as flowing again. I surmised that the problem was that the supply pipe to the pump was freezing because the heat tape had failed. Heat tapes are my enemy. Had to rethink the insulation and how to trap the heater’s output in a way that heated the water supply line. Built a bulkhead that covered the lower 1/3 of the door and held insulation above the heater. Anyway, the heat should stay around the supply pipe for the pump. Hopefully, the water problem is solved.

Third project of the day was to get the Range Rover running. It had been sitting dead for nearly three months. The battery had died and I just didn’t have the time to bother with it. The first thing I had to do was dig my way through 15 feet or so to get to the car. The snow had accumulated to 2-3 feet deep around the car and there was 12-15 inches piled up on the hood and windshield. All of that had to be removed before I could raise the hood to install another battery. Got the hood up after about 20 minutes of shoveling. Removed the old battery and installed the new one. The darned thing started right up. I was amazed. I let it run until the ice was melted off the windshield and then backed it out into the street. I ran it back and forth several times to make sure that it could be driven out of the snow bank whenever we want.

Next project was to fill six 5 gallon Homer buckets with snow, The water from these will be used to water the ducks and geese. I just set them near the wood stove and they melt down in a few hours. It isn’t one of the difficult projects but it has to be done daily. A bucket full of snow becomes about 4-5 inches of water. Four buckets of snow fills a 5 gallon bucket to about 2 inches from the top. The need is for two 5 gallon buckets of water on a daily basis. Not heavy labor but a constant need.

The sun has been out all day. This has melted the snow off the south roof of the house, the big tent and other buildings on the homestead. Since the temperature was still well below freezing the dripping water was freezing into icicles. Falling icicles are a dangerous hazard. With that in mind, I knocked some large chunks of ice and icicles off the roof that were hanging over the back door. A couple of them weighed near five pounds. Some were big enough to send you to the hospital with a bleeding head and a concussion, if they didn’t kill you outright.

That was the last of my projects of the day. Time for vodka.

Dad’s Alaska

February 23, 2020

Today the sun peeked out amongst the puffy white clouds. We’ve had a bit of snow. The 16-18 inches of snow of which Summer and others refer to as a blizzard or “Snowmaggedon” was not a blizzard. I’ve been in a blizzard and this ain’t it. I was going from Fritz Creek to Live Oak Florida in December of 2018 with two dogs and pulling a 28′ cargo trailer. . In the Canadian Rockies, I drove into a blizzard. The snow flakes were nearly an inch across and being blown by a 20+ MPH wind. It was a ‘white out’ as visibility was, at best, only 50-60 feet. Sometimes, I couldn’t see past the hood ornament on the truck. The only way I was able to stay in the road were the delineator markers along the roadside. I took my half in the middle and drove a straight line from delineator to delineator whilst praying that the road did not curve somewhere in between. There were no house lights or other headlights. The only lights on that road were my own headlights. Apparently, no one as stupid as myself was on the road. The very first vehicle I saw in the next 40 miles and almost two hours later was parked at a motel. What is being referred to as a blizzard here and now was a gentle snow fall of small powdery stuff that lasted almost 3 days. It accumulated in powdery piles and drifts. It is really beautiful to see. There was no ‘white out’ so it was not a blizzard. I’ve heard the term ‘fresh powder’ mentioned by skiers, I guess this is what they meant.

Yesterday we arose to find that one of our tents, used to store firewood, had collapsed. This was the prompt that we needed to get suited up and clear the snow off the two other tents and the greenhouse. Preparing to get to the greenhouse required me to shovel about 40 feet of path to said greenhouse. Summer borrowed a snow rake to get the snow off the tents and the greenhouse. Doesn’t sound like much of a job until you take into account the near waist deep drifts. Summer was at or beyond waist deep in places. By the time we cleared the two tents and the greenhouse we were both exhausted from struggling through the snow. But that didn’t end our adventures in the powdery white stuff.

Summer had called Dan, her significant other, and asked who we might call to get our street (dirt road) plowed. A phone call, to a fellow named Matt, resulted in him arriving in a pick up truck with a snow plow. He made one pass up the road as he was coming in. After that he turned around and came back to our driveway to clear out the parking area. HE GOT STUCK. We spent most of the next hour getting his truck unstuck. After numerous attempts we, finally, got his truck free of the snow and ice that was holding it, After that he more carefully cleared the parking area and ran 2 more passes on the road. The road was cleared and we were, at last, able to go inside and warm up. Enough misery for one day.

Today in the brilliant sunshine we are going to dig out a 4″x 12″x 15’+ beam out of the lumber pile. Of course it is covered in near 2 feet of snow. Fun stuff. I need this beam to span an area where the dirt has fallen away from the pilings holding up the southeast corner of the house. This is the last area that must be supported before I can lower the house. It would have been a lot easier and less trouble had the dirt not collapsed, Somewhere in the collapsed area are two 40 ton hydraulic jacks. Certainly won’t be getting those back until ‘Break Up’ in late March or early April, if things go as normal. Did find a third jack partially exposed in the frozen mud. I think I can use a propane torch to get it out. That would allow me to have 3 jacks to finish the lowering process. Only 3 jacks will make the process slower but after all of the interruptions I’ve had over the past 6 months it will amount to hardly a ripple in time spent on this project.

We have a sick dog in the house. Betsy Boo, a Jack Russel terrier, has some sort of ear problem and a rash on her neck. Summer was told that the rash was a result of the dog having and wearing a wet collar. The wetness came from melting snow from her being outside to take care of urgent business. As the Great Swami of Fritz Creek, I see a Vet visit in Betsy Boo’s future and a lightening of our bank account by $200 or so. I had planned to get Suzy, my Yorkshire terrier, groomed this week. She’ll just have to wait a couple of weeks for her $75 ‘beauty’ appointment. Que sera, sera or something like that.

Well, I have finished my “Everything” bagel stuffed with a sausage patty and a little mustard. Have, also, finished my third and last 16 oz. cup of coffee for the day. That means that I must suit up and dig my Ram 3500 out of the snow or be trapped here for the duration of the winter. Need to get Summer to help me move the 15’+ wood beam from the lumber pile and onto the ledge under the house, shovel a path to the beam pile, shovel a path to the water shed and thence on to the road. After that, shovel a path to the chickens new abode and then take care of some project, that I can’t remember, that Summer needs done.

Gonna be a great day. The Sun is shining and the skies are blue.

Yesterday evening at dusk
This morning at dawn.

Snowmagedon 2020

The snow started on Thursday afternoon and continued through Saturday night. It’s now Sunday and the snow storm is over.

Friday the snow came down heavy. Dan and I named it “A Fluffy Gully Filler”, instead of a regular gully washer. We went to town for dinner at Alibi’s where we proceeded to enjoy shrimp tacos and chicken wings! There was blowing snow and limited visibility, but that doesn’t stop the full time residents here from enjoying life and eating out. Dinner was wonderful and we headed back to Fritz Creek.

The next morning, we woke up to deep snow drifts and buried vehicles. I decided that after coffee that it was time to go home only to find that my road was iffy and I can’t get into my driveway. The snow was almost above the hood of Zippy. Now, I talked about Zippy in my last post and how well she gets through snow. She wasn’t going to make it through the deep snow that was left from the storm.

I ended up backing out of my road, due to the fact that there was nowhere to turn around, and got back onto pavement. I drove to my nearest neighbor and asked if I can park at the end of their driveway so I could hike into my property and get to my house. Further investigation to the snow around me, I realized that there was damaged from the snow and potential damage as well. We needed to act fast. Unfortunately, that had to wait. Betsy my little Jack Russell had an ear infection and it was getting worse. It seems that dogs don’t show their symptoms until it’s too late. And so, I had to drive to town in the blizzard to get some medicine for Betsy. After treating her I found she had more issues. She has sores around her neck from her collar getting wet I suppose. She’s a mess. I’ve scrubbed her neck with betadine and I am trying to keep it dry. Worst case I will call my vet again and set up a visit. I know it will always look worse before it gets better, but dang!

Meanwhile, while I was in town we had a friend come by and plow our road and a place for me to park. It was very interesting. The plow truck got stuck and we spent more time trying to get the truck out than it took for the area to be plowed.

As you can see, we’ve created a goat trail for us to travel through.

A few pictures showing what I saw hiking into my property.

Dad and I got busy trying to save the other buildings. We needed to uncover the greenhouse and what’s left of our storage tents. The snow is deep, my friends! Talk about getting your cardio.

This video gives you a really good idea of what its like here. I am going to have to teach Dad how to make decent videos. He’s all over the place. lol

Well I guess I need to go back to work, the snow isn’t going to move itself.

I leave you with a pitiful picture of Betsy. Until next time! See ya!

The Hazy Shade of Winter

A lot has gone on since the last time I updated this blog. News on the new bathroom, it’s almost finished! I’ve painted the ceiling and tried my skills on taping and mudding sheet rock. I did okay for my first time, but I will have to say, how could anyone love finishing sheet rock!? There will be some sanding to do. It’s gonna take another week or so to level the house, hopefully and then we can install the solid surface. I have some pics of the new bathroom under construction and my shoddy sheet rock finishing work.

This past weekend and this week it warmed up substantially. It hit 40 degrees twice and mid-30s for the most part. Everything turned to slush. Talk about a big frigging mess! Driving conditions turned dangerous. My opinion, it’s more dangerous than driving in the snow. It also sucks severely to walk in. Trying to hike with dogs in slush is not the happiest thing.

Today, it’s 19 degrees and snowing. February has had some interesting weather changes. The other night it was warm and then it turned into strong wind and snow. The wind was so strong that it created scary icicles at my window. It’s like they are trying to keep me in otherwise they look like they would impale me.

It’s been snowing since last night and has yet to stop. At least it isn’t slush. My subaru has no problems getting through the deep snow in the driveway. This morning she plowed through two feet of snow like it was nothing. Gotta love all wheel drive. I trust “Zippy” to take me anywhere rain, sleet, and deep ass snow. Out of all the vehicles I’ve ever owned this by far has to be the best. No, I did not buy her new. I bought her from a retired local couple no longer in need of two vehicles. I’ve enjoyed Zippy ever since.

Two days of snowfall and it keeps coming.

Last Sunday, I started my first round of seeds for spring planting. These are the ones that will take the longest to start. These are the onions, brussel sprouts, peppers (that will stay inside to grow and fruit), some herbs, and leeks. For the first time I am trying to be organized with my planting. I alway seed things out and forget to label them. Then, they go in the garden and then it’s a big surprise what I end up growing. This year it’s not going to happen. I’m gonna know exactly what I’ve seeded out and will be able to plant the starts in the correct areas. I hope I can keep it up.

This time instead of a food up table, Dad and I made windowsill tables for my seeding out. This is much more sufficient on space. I am so excited. I enjoy growing plants and food and can’t wait for spring. Just by saying that I have jinxed us! We will probably have an extra two weeks of winter because of me. LOL I am starting to long for spring! I’m looking out the window and the snow is blowing all around. It’s quite a contrast looking past my green plants out the window to see blowing snow.

Well, I guess I’m going to clean out the refrigerator and some cleaning around the house. Then, date night with Dan. No matter what the weather or day brings, Dan makes it so much more enjoyable. He keeps me laughing.

Well, I guess that’s it. I will leave you with Gandie sleeping on my bed. He’s 15 years old and still kicking. He’s such a sweet boy. Talk to you soon!!

Dad’s Alaska

Went to the doctor yesterday to get the diagnosis for my extremely high blood pressure. While I do have some restriction in the artery feeding one of my kidneys the other is fully open for business. The restriction in my right kidney is minimal and something to be watched but requires no intervention at this point. As with all things unknown, I was expecting the absolute worst possible outcome. Human nature is to expect the worst. As you might expect, I am greatly relieved to learn that the problem was caused by the new gout medicine I’ve just started taking.

Now that I know I’m not on the imminent handicapped or death list, I’ve got to get back to the leveling (lowering) the house. The problem I’m facing at this point is that the soil has fallen away from the pilings. This has left me with no place to set the jack and the jack posts. With that problem having reared its’ ugly head, I am being forced to engineer another way to set up the jack and jack posts. What I’m thinking is that I may be able to put some heavy lumber in place of the soil. Place it on the uneven ground and tie it into the pilings further back. The problem is that I need to support something like 10-15 tons long enough to cut the pilings to the proper level. Also, after the pilings are cut, there needs to be enough heavy structure to support the jack posts I am going to use to lower the house to its’ final position. On top of the engineering problems, there has been a foot of more of new snow. This means plowing through 2 feet or more of snow carrying heavy stuff.

As I sit here, writing this blurb and sipping coffee, it has begun to snow again. The temp outside is up to 22F. Not too bad. It is cold enough to need to layer up on my clothing . Once I start moving the 4″x10″x12′ timbers I will start to sweat and need to shed some of the clothing. Sweating in the cold can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia is not a good thing. After I have dodged the kidney failure bullet, I don’t want to maim or kill myself by getting frozen appendages or freezing to death in my own front yard.

Moving to Alaska and Homer, in particular, was a kind of spur of the moment decision. My wife of 43 years had died. Summer and I were sitting, in her Florida house, sweating and talking about having to replaced the faltering A/C unit. I had an acquaintance that makes a trip to the Homer area several times a year. His description of the area made it seem very attractive. This led us to looking on Zillow for a place to live. That’s where we found this dilapidated house. After much talk and hand wringing we made an offer on the house. Unfortunately, they accepted our offer and here we are.

Just looked down out of the bathroom window to the area I’ll be working in. The snow has drifted to about 4-5 feet deep. This is just another in the long string of impediments in getting this house level. Well-l-l-l, I guess I better go layer up and get on with it. See ya later.

Dad’s Alaska

February 18, 2020

Went to the South Peninsula Hospital Emergency Room last night….er-r-r this morning at about 12:30 AM. Been having very high blood pressure readings for over a week. Last evenings’ readings were especially high (220/117) so I drove into Homer and checked myself in. I figured that they would likely put me in a room and keep me until later in the day. I got blood drawn, IV installed, three small pills, a blood pressure cuff that mashed the crap out of my arm and a crossword puzzle I found in the local paper whilst passing through the reception area.. Two hours later my blood pressure was way down (147/91) and they gave me my ‘walking papers and sent me home. That was the boring part of the adventure. The really exciting part was getting there. It was raining pretty steadily and even in the rain there was still some ice on the road at various odd places. I don’t see well at night due in part to the fact that my eyes are old and that I have some small cataracts that blur the vision and make oncoming dimmed headlights look like high powered searchlights. The two cars I met going into town were both of them on curves and I had to come to a near stop to let them go by. I couldn’t see the damned road after I dimmed my lights. I had to have my bright lights on just to see the road and then some of those highly luminescent signs were reflecting so much light back at me as to produce a nearly blinding parallax. On a road that, in the daylight, I would normally travel at 45-50 mph, I was going 25-35 mph. Whilst I’m creeping into town I’m thinking about what the nurse said, “Your very high blood pressure could cause you to have a stroke or to throw a blood clot.” As I’m creeping along, I am more than a little apprehensive that I’ll do one of those things and end up in the ditch where I will take my last few breathes. I really didn’t want to wreck the truck. Another concern was that the police would see me creeping along and stop me to check to see if I were driving drunk and delay my arrival at the relative safety of the hospital even longer. I wheeled into the parking lot at a blistering 10 mph and drove myself right into a Handicapped parking space. I had to back out and find a legal parking space. In my heightened state, the parking seemed to take ten minutes but it was likely less than two. I was a happy camper going through the door and into the reception area. There, if I threw a clot I would still die but if I just had a stroke they could administer the meds I needed in a matter of minutes. A sigh of relief.

Going home wasn’t too bad. Thankfully, I met no cars. My eyesight was no better and the signs still glared at me but being less freaked out I could remember where I was on the road. I’ve driven that road so many times that I know every curve, bump and dip, when I’m not overly excited by the prospect of dying. I got home at about 3am made a glass of sweet tea and peanut/jelly sandwich and hit the sack for six hours.

Today was a lazy day. I mostly just sat around playing Spider Solitaire and watching the snow cover up everything yesterdays’ rain exposed. All is white and pretty again. In 60 days this is going to be the mud hole from hell. Something for which to look forward with trepidation and disgust. Wish it could always be white and pretty.

Dad’s Alaska

January 3, 2020

Yesterday was an unusual day because it was the lowest temp we’ve seen since moving to Alaska. The temp had dropped down to -5F and struggled to get up to +7F before the sun disappeared again. Summer walked two gaggles of dogs in the low temps. By 8:00 last evening it was +2F degrees. I crammed the stove full before i went to bed at midnight. With the temp going so low, I have been setting my iPhone alarm to 4:30 to get up and stoke up the fire. My method is to cram as many pieces of wood as possible into the stove and throttle it way down. The idea is to produce some heat over several hours and have enough hot coals at the end to start up the next fire. Good news. Got up this morning to find the temp to be +15F and going up. Bad news it is starting to snow again. Well-l-l that really isn’t bad news. I am hoping that it isn’t going to go back up above +32 and turn the snow in the slush. Today’s agenda is to 1.Recover the rest of the parts for the, dead but useful, Paquali tractor that we purchased. 2. Bring in more firewood. 3. Dig a path around the water house because yesterday evening Gandie (miniature Schnauzer) got stuck in the deep snow and could have frozen to death. Luckily Summer realized that he should have already done his business and be waiting on the back steps. She got worried, put her boots on and found him stuck in a snowdrift. Yesterday, I dug paths to my truck, the greenhouse, where the ducks and geese are living, and the shipping container, where most of my tools live. However, I did not dig a path around the water house where Gandie got stuck. As previously stated, I will clear a path around the water house today. Yesterday afternoon, I went to Homer Oil, had a propane tank filled and ordered another 200 gallons ($600) of #2 diesel for the the TOYO oil heater. Also, made the trip to the dump to drop off the trash. While I was there I found that someone had discarded a SEGWAY. I brought it home to see if I can get it going. Anyway, I’ve started the truck to warm it up before to town and pick up the last parts of the tractor. So I guess I’ll go put on my ‘long handles”, two pairs of socks, snow pants over my jeans, insulated boots, then a hoodie and a trapper’s hat. I was wearing about the same thing yesterday in +5 degrees and was sweating. Sweating is not a good thing as it can make you very cold when the strenuous behavior ceases. I’m not planning on any strenuous behavior today but I can shed some clothes, if I get too hot. Y’all keep you powder dry.

Dad’s Alaska

January 14, 2020

I’ve learned a few things since moving to Alaska. Born, raised and living in the South all my life, I was ill-prepared for the weather, the lack of stores, the convenience of popping out to get fast food or ordering a pizza to be delivered. The disaster of a house we purchased has been, well to put it politely, trying. I’ve learned how to lower a house. I learned to shovel snow. How to turn clean snow into flushing water, drinking and cooking water. How to drive 50-55 mph on icy, snowy roads. How to dress ((so that when outside in below zero temps)) so I stay warm. That not only do the pipes bringing the water into your house freeze but the pipes taking water out can/do freeze, as well. I’ve learned to stop in the doorway when going outside and take a look around so as not to surprise a moose or a bear. I’ve learned that moose kill more people in Alaska than bears. I’ve learned that moose is both singular and plural. I’ve wondered why the plural of moose isn’t meese. And, also, that it couldn’t be mice because ‘mice’ is, obviously, already taken by Mickey and friends. I’ve learned to become moderately proficient with a chainsaw. I haven’t sawn off any appendages or cut a major artery. I learned, maybe relearned, how to load and operate a wood stove to get maximum heat and how to make the fire last almost all night. I’ve learned that being different in Alaska was once the norm and not so much anymore. I’ve learned that most old time Alaskans are friendly, anxious to help and will talk you through your newbie/tenderfoot problems. I’ve learned that $8 haircuts cost $25. I’ve learned that Alaska is being Californicated. I’ve learned that Anchorage has already been Calfornicated and that Homer is being Californicated in a rapid pace. When I arrived, I already knew that banning plastic bags is not only stupid but is just the first of many eco-wacko abuses to come. I learned that I need to plug in my truck when the temperature goes below +20F, so that the block heater would allow the diesel engine to start more easily. I’ve learned to appreciate sunrises and sunsets. I’ve learned that the snow on the boughs of spruce trees is a beautiful thing that can fall on your head and down the back of your neck. Lastly, I’ve relearned that things happen when they are supposed to happen and there is damned little that you can do about it.