Dad’s Alaska

Killing corona viruses and enjoying it.

30 March 2020

Seems like only yesterday that the weather was brilliantly sunny, the sky was incredibly blue and it was colder than a well digger’s rear end in January. Actually, it wasn’t that cold but it’s Alaska and that is what non-Alaskans expect to hear. Actually, it was yesterday and the same again today. Standing in the sun and out of the wind it was weather to be dressed pretty much as you see me in the picture above. I don’t know if it is just that I’m becoming accustomed to the cold or it really is that warm. The temp was a few degrees above freezing during the day but is still dropping into the mid 20s at night. As described above the weather is absolutely beautiful.

I spent the entire day doing pretty much nothing. Did clean the kitchen, swept the floor and finished the laundry. Mostly, I sat and watched TV and reading the news on line. Aside from the news, there is very little on the web in which I have any interest. A quick perusal of Fakebook usually suffices to sate my appetite for gossip. I read newspapers from all over the world. I like to see what is going on in India, Australia, Mediocre Britain, France, Germany, Italy and numerous others. I, also, like to read the comic strips. I don’t get the Sunday ‘fish wrapper’ anymore so I don’t get to see the comics. Boredom is my enemy. All my life when my mind isn’t engaged it gets me into trouble. I get into all manner of things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Summer and her friends all went for a walk about today. They, of course, maintained the ‘social distance’ thing. I did not walk. I guess I’m just too damned lazy. I gave up running some 50 years ago. I once did 3-4 miles every evening. Then I weighed about 150 lbs, Now I weigh about 210. That’s a lot of big fat arse to be hauling at speed. Then only incentive that might get me going faster than my normal ambling gait is if someone were after me with a knife. However, when I can work outside, I log 4000 or more steps almost every day. I am looking forward to the ice and snow being gone so that I can get back to getting some work done.

It’s another ‘make your own dinner’ night again. Leftovers again. Finished off what was left of the roast from two days ago.

Was going to upload several pictures but I still haven’t figured out this new iPad. I’m lucky that I can type on it.

My little Mac Air is more straight forward to use.

Dad’s Alaska

A menage ‘a trois: Vodka, Ice and Lemon-Lime

I am running out of things to do inside the house. Spent much of the day picking up tools, construction debris and putting away things that have been displaced by the construction over the past several days. This took longer than I expected and at the end of the day there was still stuff where stuff shouldn’t be. Living in a construction zone is a constant mess.

Today was another cold morning followed by a cold day to be followed by a colder night. This was the first day of this winter that I’ve had to put the ice cleats on my shoes. The previous day’s heat was melting the snow and now the watery snow has become ice. As I am allergic to death and/or broken bones so the cleats became a necessity. We, meaning Summer and myself, thought that the winter was over. We were mistaken as the weather predictions now say that the temps will be in the mid 30s during the day for the next 10 days. Worse it will be in the mid 20s every night for that period of time. Ice upon ice. How wonderful. Last year this time people were planting their gardens. This year the ground is still frozen solid and will not likely thaw until the later part of April or the first week or so of May. Personally, I could use some of that Gore-bal Warming. Coincidentally, we are in Solar Minimum #25. That could explain why the cold just won’t go away. It’s fairly simple: No sunspots, no heat. Summer remarked the other day that she had seen a report that the earth was some fractions of a degree cooler than last year. ****https://interestingengineering.com/this-year-will-mark-the-lowest-solar-activity-in-over-200-years**** You can read this article for yourself. I remember making some comment to my Dad when I was a teenager about the weather seeming hotter. He told me then that the weather ran in 30 year cycles. I recalled that conversation sometime ago when in another conversation. The 30 year cycle is a real thing. When I thought about it for the first time in 50 years, I looked it up. You can look it up on Google: 30 year weather cycle.

On average Alaska is a cold place, however, the southern portion of the Kenai Peninsula is/was a rain forest. Much of that forest has been destroyed by civilization but more of it was destroyed by the Spruce Bark Beetles. Millions of trees were destroyed. The property on which Summer and I reside was once a solid mass of Spruce trees. When we bought it it was nothing but downed trees, tree stumps, grass clumps and frost humps. Clearing up this mess has cost thousands of dollars and hours and hours of heavy machinery time. It was completely unusable when we arrived but now it is mostly flat, cleared land on which we can grow food or make use of in some manner.

To be sure, the natural weather cycles have far more detrimental consequences on the Earth than any other factor. The Spruce Bark Beetle infestation is an example. They had a mild winter followed by a warm summer. The beetles ran rampant. All of our disasters: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, beetles, locusts, plagues and pandemics are just natural occurrences to be endured by all of us humans, animals and the Earth. With that said, COVID-19 is simply another endurance test for the human race. In a few months there will be a vaccine and then we can look forward to the next evil virus coming down the pike.

Well it’s vodka thirty. Also time for a supper of leftovers from last night. Got to eat all of what is cooked. Food, like everything else, is very expensive in Alaska.

Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 9

I got a lot done today. I put a second coat of Kilz on my stool and vanity. They are now ready to be painted with the final coat of white. Then, I can install the new crystal (plastic) drawer handle. I’m also going to paint the frame on my vanity mirror silver to match everything. It’s gold now and too warm. Since, I am going to paint the wall grey it needs to be a cooler color.

I also need to finish the wall. It needs to be sanded and remudded and then sanded again before I kilz that wall and paint it the beautiful color of grey I chose. I am very excited to get my bathroom finished. It’s getting close!

I checked on my honey bees, they didn’t survive the winter. We were so close. Well, better luck next time, I guess. This year I am going to try something different and hopefully keep my new bees safe. Honey is an income. I sure would like to have it.

I got to hang out with my girls as well. We all stood about 10 feet apart in a circle drinking White Claws! Tiana and I traded eggs. She has chickens and I have ducks and geese. So, we traded. I love that our little neighborhood can trade farm food like this. I still have some of last years honey. I wonder what I can trade fore that?

I had to repot some of my herbs today as well. They are getting crazy big too soon. I got to check that off my to do list, so that’s something.

Without repotting my dill it would have died.

Dad finished the wall in the kitchen and it looks pretty darn good!

Cheers everyone! Stay safe!

Dad’s Alaska

What’s up, Doc?

28 March 2020

Alaska has some 140+ cases of COVID-19 and two deaths. Death rate still about 1.5%. The Homer City Council rescinded their stupid plastic bag ban. They discovered that the ‘bring from home’ bags are seldom washed and according to one test they carry more bacteria and viruses than you might find on any given public toilet. Of course, anyone with half sense already knew that fact.

A good thing, I guess, about Homer is that there is so much dope smoked that nobody seems to really give a damn. Yesterday the local Communist Party (Democrat) leader aka Mayor of Homer closed all “non-essential” businesses and, apparently, nobody gives a damn. Were I still in business they’d have to come arrest me before I’d close the doors. To me, a Conservative and Libertarian, they have no constitutional right to tell me to open or close. They could suggest that I close. And I might do so, due to a modicum of common sense, in an attempt to avoid several days of illness. I really don’t like being sick and for whatever reason I haven’t been in over 40 years. I had heart surgery 20 years ago and I have high blood pressure but no respiratory illnesses of any kind before or after my surgery. This COVID-19 “pandemic” has made some people crazy and others afraid of their own shadow. It makes no sense. Summer went to a gathering of some of her friends. They had built a small bonfire but because of the “social distancing” no one could stand close enough to the fire to stay constantly warm. Summer came home an icicle and was only gone about 45 minutes. BTW I read that the sneeze range is something like 23 feet.

I got both sides of the new kitchen wall sheetrocked. Also, got the water for the refrigerator hooked up. Did not get to the electrical. The reason for that was catching up on the blog. Had to do Thursday and Friday as I had been too busy to write those days. Tomorrow I’ll get the wiring complete and the refrigerator can be taken off the extension cord.

Living room side of new wall
Kitchen side of the new wall and yes I mis-measured the receptacle cutout.

After that chore, it will become wash day. I will be washing Miss Suzy, a ton of laundry and my own stinky self. After living as an adult (more or less) for 60 years in the South, I had become accustomed to taking a shower daily. Being hot and sweaty even in January, sometimes, made it seem necessary. If you didn’t shower regularly there would be ‘social distancing’ because you would stink and nobody would (not even your spouse) want to stand next to you. (As an aside, have you noticed that no one smells of soap anymore. Back in the day everyone bathed in the tub and they always had the smell of whatever perfumy stuff was in their soap. Now most people shower and the perfumy stuff goes down the drain.) My experience here in Alaska has been somewhat different.`I bathe 3-4 times a week. Partly to save water but mostly because there is very little, if any, perspiration to make me smell. There are many stinky people here that you would certainly don’t want to stand close to. They have that Alaska Aroma. A case in point was a doctor I went to see in Homer. She was stinky. Not really, really stinky, but stinky enough that I never went back. I thought, that if she was not bathing regularly, that the potential for catching something that Tide wouldn’t wash off was pretty good. Miss Suzy’s last Tuesday appointment at the beauty shop was canceled by the COVID-19 scare. So now I’ll have to wash and trim her face and belly.

It’s supper time. Summer heated up the slow cooked roast from yesterday, boiled and buttered some potatoes and stir fried asparagus in butter and garlic. We be eating good in the neighborhood.

To quote Red Green, “Keep you stick on the ice”.

Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 8

Today was a good day! I finally started on the bathroom! YAY! I put the first coat of Kilz on my vanity and stool. I need to add a second coat and then they will be ready to paint with the shade of white I chose.

From there, I will continue to finish the wall and get that painted as well. Then, the bathroom will be ready for the shower panels and vanity top install. I’m thinking it will take me another 3 days to finish the wall and such.

I still need to check on my bees! I am going to try to do it Sunday before anything else.

This evening, I was trying to text Dan, but I kept getting someone else. It was like our wires got crossed. Every time I tried to text him, I’d get another guy instead. It was funny, because at the time I thought I was talking to Dan. It all started because I decided to text on my IPad instead of my phone. I was streaming off my phone to the tv. So instead of Dad seeing my texts blasted all over the tv, I tried my IPad. When I got a text back “Who is this?”, I thought Dan was being funny so I texted back,” It’s Summer. Your girlfriend. You have more than one? LOL”. Still, I am thinking Dan was being funny and said, “ I can’t keep track”. Then, he said his name was Jared and I thought this was still a joke, so I said, “Jared from State Farm? What are you wearing?’ At this point, I suddenly realized that this was not a joke and this was definitely not Dan. It’s my new friend Jared. I apologized and tried again. I still got him. Once I found out who he was, we have mutual friends including Dan. LOL!! I am so embarrassed. Stupid IPad!

My vegetable starts are growing extremely fast! They are going to have to be replanted in new pots. We still have a crap load of snow on the ground. I might have tomatoes and Brussels sprouts growing out of pots before they even get in the ground.

Stay tuned for Day 9. Stay safe my friends!

Dad’s Alaska

Livin’ La Vida Loca

27 March 2020

Slept late again. Might be that old age is creeping up on me. I have always heard old people complaining about not sleeping. That does not seem to be this old man’s problem. I go to bed at about midnight and get up around 8 AM. Have been in this same sleep pattern for a couple of decades, at least. Lately, I seem to be sleeping to 9 or even 10. Could be that I have sleep apnea along with high blood pressure. Whether I do or don’t, there is no time available to screw around going to some sleep clinic to find out. I guess sleeping an extra hour or two isn’t the worst thing in the world that could happen to me.

Yesterday I got the new kitchen wall installed. Today I ran the plumbing for the refrigerator ice maker and installed the electrical outlets that will be needed for the kitchen. Also, put a receptacle on the Living Room side so that I can plug in a night light until I become accustomed to the new wall. Summer wanted it for the vacuum cleaner but I wanted it so that I don’t walk into a wall where there was once an opening.

I’m planning to move the main breaker panel out of the bathroom and into the hallway. That will make more centrally located and easier to find in the dark. With that in mind I am making all of the ‘home runs’ terminate at the new location for the main panel. By terminating them at the new location, I am insuring that I will move the panel. If I didn’t I’m likely to procrastinate until it never happens.

The new wall with the wiring and plumbing.

Still watching the fiasco that is the COVID-19 “pandemic”. Here in Alaska one person has died. He died in Seattle but Alaska got the credit since he’d recently arrived from and was a resident of Alaska. Anchorage has instituted the ‘shelter in place’ policy. They’ve, also, commandeered an auditorium to shelter several hundred homeless people. It seems that, by some convoluted logic, cramming all of them in one place is going to protect them from the Corona Virus. I’m not quite sure how that is supposed to work. They are placing their cots 6 feet apart. I guess this is “social distancing” for the hapless and ne’er-do-wells that live outside the confines of normal society. They are being socially distanced by being rounded up and forced into a containment facility. Sounds a lot like a concentration camp to me.

Summer spent some of her day tending to her garden starts. Repotting those that were or nearly root bound and planting a few new things. Yesterday she located the small incubator and began incubating goose eggs. Goose eggs sell for 75 cents each but goslings sell for $7. The electricity to hatch 6 eggs is likely not more the 3-4 dollars so hatching them makes a lot more sense than selling the eggs. Currently there is no one selling goslings in the area so there should be a good market for the little critters.

I finished the day by cleaning up the construction debris and cleaning the kitchen. Summer was off to Dan’s for dinner and it was another ‘make your own dinner’ night. We had a roast that had been slow cooked but I just didn’t feel like making any sides to go with it. I microwaved a TV dinner and had a glass of tea. From freezer to chewing in less than ten minutes. When I was about 13, I ate my very first TV dinner. It was a Swanson’s something or other. Having never eaten one, I thought that this was what rich people ate. When all you’ve ever known the food that was cooked in your own kitchen, it was like some kind of unprecedented luxury. Of course, back then you heated them in the stove oven as we didn’t have microwave ovens. They weren’t invented just yet. I will say that they taste better now than then.

Okay. Enough chatter. On to more important things like putting up sheetrock on the new wall.

Dad’sAlaska

26 March 2020 Thursday

Another day of COVID-19 hysteria. U.S. death rate still hovering around 1.6% of the known cases and the government is still destroying The Constitution at every turn. I don’t think that we are going to recover our freedoms after this fiasco. America will be a more highly regulated, government controlled country. The financial tsunami that will be caused by this Two Trillion dollar crap pile bill added to the Twenty-two Trillion in current debt is likely to result in massive inflation and a drastic devaluation of the U.S. dollar. We are about to become Venezuela without the drug income.

Ended up at the lumber yard again. Somehow I managed to be one 2×6 short of a complete wall. Stopped off at the local grocer to get a couple of items and now there are plastic bags again. This has caused a vast improvement in my attitude. I can only tolerate a certain amount of stupid before I become depressed and angry. I got the lumber, ordered a sliding glass door and high tailed it home before one of them thar coronie virus things found me.

Arrived back at the house and began the process of demo in the preparation to install the new wall. The builders of this house did some screwy things and ripping them out took longer than expected. The backside of the stairwell had some odd additions that broke the flow from the living room into the front hallway. Demo is a pain because you never quite know where to stop. Do you just keep tearing out sheetrock or do you stop at a corner? Decided to stop at the corner. No point in making unnecessary work.

Got all of the 2x6s cut to length and screwed on the header and the floor plate. I measured the opening, at least, twice before cutting everything. However, when Summer and I tried to install the new framing it wouldn’t fit. I tried to force it in with gentle tapping with an 8 pound sledge hammer. No luck. We then took the damned thing back into the kitchen and I cut a quarter inch off all of the 2×6 studs and reassembled the wall. This time gentle tapping with the sledge hammer popped it right into place.

The temperature got up over 42F today. It’s a heat wave. Water was pouring off the roof like it was raining. Every now and then there would be a crashing sound of the snow and ice falling off the dormers and hitting the roof below. The snow is melting pretty quickly. In downtown Homer the snow is pretty much gone. There are the big piles from the previous snowplowing still around but the streets and parking lots are snow and ice free. I couldn’t be happier about the absence of snow and the quickly melting snow in our yard. I know that this means mucho mud but mud means warm weather and not having to dress in 17 layers of clothing. Shorts and tee shirts will be the uniform of the day.

Well, I’ve got dishes to wash and a shower to take. See ya later.

Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 7

I feel like I haven’t accomplished much. I’m gonna have to think about this for a moment. Let me think……

Oh! I went to the store for needed provisions. Vodka, wine, gluten free foods as well. I also checked the mail looking for my last pay paycheck. No luck. Maybe tomorrow.

Dad and I rearranged the living room before we finish the new wall in the kitchen. That way we can freely walk through the kitchen and living room with no issues. We also moved all the freshly painted bee hives into the tent for safe keeping until we have full on break up. We can’t put them in their new homes until then, too much snow. That, and I don’t have my bees yet.

There was a lot of sweeping and straightening up that needed to be done as well and still needs to be done. I’m still trying to get to the point that I can work on the bathroom, but things just keep coming up. The bees need to be checked on as well. It’s time to feed them pollen patties. This time I’m going to were my bee suit. Last time I didn’t and I got stung. That became a waste of a day. I was all whacked out on Benadryl and slept most of the day. Not gonna make that mistake again!

I’m going over to Dan’s tonight for some social distancing practice and dinner. I made Dad a crock pot roast that’s been cooking for two days, it smells so good! Tonight at Chef Boy’R Dan’s will be grilled red salmon, broccoli and rice. Tonight I dine like an Alaskan and tomorrow I will eat the roast like a southerner.

Borrowed from Facebook

This morning I found this image on Facebook and was reading all the little arrows. I started to look down from my IPad and discovered that I was wearing red Christmas pajama pants, oversized cardigan well more like a zip up hoodie, and a stretched out tank top. No stains. I was just getting over a pimple that I usually don’t get and I didn’t have a headache, but the rest was true. I busted out laughing hysterically. My hair was even in a bun!! I just about died!

Well, that’s all for now! Talk to you later! Day 7 coming soon the a blog near you!

Self Distancing (quarantine): Day 6

Today I painted all the bee hive boxes in the living room where there is still no flooring. Good thing since I made a big mess on the floor. Lot’s of drippy paint since I had to really put on the coats to protect the hives from the elements. I choose black spruce green. It’s a really nice color. I wanted the hives to blend in with the rest of the area. Although bee hives are not an eye sore, I just wanted them to blend in more.

I can’t wait to get my new bees. They are still coming despite of the epidemic. There will be social distancing when I pick up my bees.

I feel better than I did yesterday. My heart has lightened up and I know I did the right thing by putting my drake out of his mystery. It’s a farm life and sometime you have to do what you have to do. In this case, I did right.

Dad and I were able to get the wall up in the kitchen. YAY! I think it makes the house look a little bigger. I can’t wait to add onto the house and get the living room I’ve always wanted. Then, I will have a larger eat in social area kitchen that is going to be awesome!

New wall being built in the kitchen

My upstairs bathroom has yet to be touched since the last time and I really need to get to it soon. I am hoping I can get to it tomorrow. Dad had to run the electrical and water to where the fridge is going to call its new home. So, I should have some time tomorrow to get it done. Oh, Crap!! I forgot I have to make a trip to town to help out a friend. I have to go to the store and get a few things. Then, I will get back and Lysol myself to death before doing anything else.

Well guys! I guess that’s all I have for tonight! Will talk to you tomorrow. Stay safe and disinfected. Good Luck!!!

Dad’s Alaska

25 March 2020 Wednesday

Here’s to ya

Way over slept. Tuesday was a day where I seemed to have completely exhausted myself. Don’t remember exactly what I did. I guess I could go back and read Tuesdays’ blog. However that seems a bit extreme. I’ll just take it for granted that I worked hard and got really tired.

With Summer being laid off due to the COVID-19 media hyped panic, I am seeing her more now than I have in over a year and a half. It has been a good thing for her and I’m enjoying the company. She’s been busy for days trying to get some of her possessions unpacked from the time of our arrival in Alaska. She’s went through all of this stuff and bagged up donations to The Salvation Army. I only donate to the Salvation Army because of a story told to me by my Dad and one of his WWII experiences. He told the story of how the Red Cross was selling coffee, donuts and cigarettes to the the GIs. While the Salvation Army was providing the GIs the same stuff for free. Also, the Red Cross spends a great portion of the donations they receive on administration. The CEO of Red Cross gets a paycheck in excess of $300,000. Why do these big charities always have big paycheck people? Where is the charity?

Wednesday was another day of hanging sheetrock. I cut the last sheet and still was two sheets short of completing the stairwell. This led to a trip to town. Since the bed of ‘The Beast’ was filled with demo debris and several bags of garbage, I had to go to the dump before buying more sheetrock. Since I was already going to Spenard’s for sheetrock, I made a list of the materials we would need to install the new wall between the kitchen and the living room. It won’t block the LR off. It will provide a wall onto which additional cabinets, counter top and to move the refrigerator out of the corner. Dan, Summer’s significant other, came by and made some suggestions as to the rearranging of the kitchen. His suggestions will greatly improve the flow in the kitchen. His suggestions created the need for the additional wall. Just another bit of work. No biggy.

Returned home and finished the stairwell sheetrock. Was extremely happy to have that part of this project done. Too much time spent measuring and cutting to suit my “lead, follow or get the hell out of the way” attitude.

With the warmer weather (over 40F) we have been saving firewood. Now we’re only building a fire first thing in the morning to knock the chill off and then again at 7-8 PM when the temp outside has dropped to near freezing. We keep the evening fire going until bed time because wood is cheaper than fuel oil. Our cue to build a fire is when the heater comes on. Summer sets the heater to come on at 65F. Six cords of wood are going to barely make it to the warmer mid-April. I’ve already contacted my wood guy and ordered ten cords for delivery this summer. Had the winter been a little longer or very much colder we would have run out of wood. I’ve heard it said “You aren’t a real Alaskan until you’ve had to burn the furniture to stay warm”. That’s an experience I’d just as soon skip.

Well, that’s it for me. Now I have to get on with Thursday’s aggravations.