30 May 2020 Saturday It was a day of hard labor without the prison sentence. Summer and I worked on the new garden plot. I finished bringing in the dirt needed to level the area. Summer raked the dirt out after I used the tractor to level it. After that I brought in the last of the top soil. This only took about an hour and a half.
The end of the dirt moving became the beginning of the rototilling. This was the hardest part of the day. I would run the tiller for a few minutes and then hit something that would stop the tiller. There were rocks, sticks, bits of metal and all of them would hang in the tines and stop the tiller dead in its’ tracks. When the rocks didn’t stop the tiller it would simply run over the top and not turn the dirt.
The tilling took almost 4 hours because of all of the debris and dozens of stops to dig hidden rocks from under the dirt or remove them from the tines of the tiller. The task was so tiring that we quit early.
Summer piled up the raised bed for the potatoes and I started attaching boards across the bottom of the posts. It is starting to look as if we may have another vicious animal to deal with. Snowshoes hares are starting to appear after having been in decline for a number of years. They are voracious eaters of garden vegetables. Like the ducks, chickens and geese they have plenty of green stuff to eat but they still prefer to eat your garden. The boards at the bottom of the fence will, hopefully, keep these critters out. They aren’t much bigger that your average Cottontail rabbit but they have cycles where the population explodes. I’ve been told by long time residents that there are times when there can be dozens of them all over your property. Dan told me that he walked his 5 acres and shot 5 of them in less than 30 minutes. He eats them so he was just stocking up his freezer. He said he could have killed 20 or more on the same walk. They ate his garden so he ate some of them.
Vodka:30 came relatively early. It happened right after I showered off the dirt. Y’all take care and be happy. Me, I’m going to bed.
Summers here are extremely busy. There is a feeling of rush to get starts planted so it will make it to harvest time. Too early your plants could die and too late your plants will not fruit and will die. There is sort of a Goldie Locks situation here.
I have been harvesting broccoli raab for w few weeks now and it just keeps on giving. My Chinese cabbage is almost ready to harvest. I am so excited!
Everything in the outside planters are starting to take and grow. I am in my happy place when I am gardening. If I could make a living at it, I would!
We are now finishing a new project which will contain my corn and potatoes! It’s a lot of work to get a new plot fenced in and tilled. That’s what we have been working this week. Today, I will be able to plant my potatoes and corn. This is it! The last day you can plants starts in the ground for it to produce.
Today we will fence the new garden plot and get things planted. From there it’s all about maintenance. Water and weed the garden. I am sure glad this garden is almost done. I am so sore!
29 May 2020 America as we knew it is likely over. Between the Covid-19 idiocy and the criminals burning and looting there isn’t much of America left. Again I’d like to point out that virtually all of the looting and rioting is in cities that have been run by Democrats for decades. The next thing, if this continues, will be martial law. After that we have no freedom and the American Experiment will be over. Personally, I think that all of this is started by people like George Soros and paid agitators. No proof but it fits their anti-American globalist ambitions.
On a lighter side, we needed a place to plant potatoes and corn. That place would have to be fenced because of the vicious critters ie. chickens, ducks and geese. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of other greenery that they can eat. I think they eat the garden plants out of pure spite. You can’t put a flower or a vegetable out where they have access because they will be eating as you walk away from planting it into the ground. We used up all of the metal fence posts that were available for free around the planter boxes we did last week. New ones are about ten to twelve dollars each and we needed twelve of them. I decided that we would make wooden posts out of some scrap spruce lumber. I tried digging post holes and it just wasn’t possible because of all of the rocks in the ground. Again let me say, “If rocks were dollars we’d be amongst the richest people in the world”. I thought that we might be able to drive the wooden posts like we did the metal posts. Logically, hammering then into the ground would cause small rocks to be pushed aside. The only drawback might be that we might run into a big rock. If that happened we’d just move the post over a bit. I cut twelve 6′ posts and then put a point on them. I then tried sledge hammering one of them into place and found that it wasn’t going to work. The post was too tall to get a good swing on and it was difficult to hold it and hammer it at the same time. This is when I decided to cut the top of a post to see if the steel post driver would drive these wooden posts. I figured it was worth a shot since the alternative was post hole digger and a whole lot of sweaty manual labor. I trimmed one of the posts so that the driver would fit over it. I expected the wood to split or shatter when I started hammering, It didn’t. It drove the post with the only problem being the 75 year old arms lifting the driver and slamming it down 15-20 times to drive the post down a foot or so. Summer and I worked out a deal. She’d drive the as far as she could and I’d drive them in the rest of the way. Both of us got a pretty good arm workout and a serious cardio work out driving eleven of the twelve posts. We left one post out so that I could bring in enough dirt to level the garden area. The upper half was about 8″ higher than the lower half. This meant moving a lot of dirt to make it reasonably level. We didn’t need perfect. All we needed was somewher close to level.
Fridays are Summer’s ‘Date night’ with Dan. She quit at around 5:00 and left me moving dirt. There really wasn’t anything she could do until I got all of the necessary dirt moved. I was steadily moving dirt for a couple of hours after she left me. I was within 3-4 bucket loads of completing the lower half of the garden when it began to rain. I ignored the rain when it was only sprinkling but when it became a hard rain I quit. That was just after 7:00. The tractor is small hence the bucket is small hence it takes a lot of loads to move 3-4 yards of dirt. Fortunately the tractor is willing to work as long as the driver has the will. It was a 7 hour work day, with no break for lunch and driving posts with a heavy slide hammer. The rain was a welcome excuse to quit.
Because I had been outside all day Miss Suzy greeted me like I had arisen from the dead. Although, in retrospect, it occurs to me that her real motivation might have been to be fed. She has suddenly become interested in food again. She hadn’t been eating well for a nearly a month. She’d eat a few bites and ignore the balance of the food. Every morning I was feeding most of her last night’s leftover dinner to Gandie. He’s sixteen years old and getting as skinny as a rail. He eats good but he’s losing weight. I figure he probably won’t make it through another winter. He’s been a good boy and I’m gonna be sad to lose him. The sad truth is that nobody gets out alive not even a beloved pet.
‘Well that’s it for Friday. We’ve been so busy and/or tired that I get a little behind in the posts. Sorry. It’s currently 12:30 AM on Sunday morning so I can’t really say ‘Goodnight’ so Good Morning it is.
28 May 2020 Thursday Spent a good portion to the day working on the travel trailer. Did find the fuse panels for the 12 volt electrical system. It was hidden in plain sight. There were very unremarkable two black boxes inside a small hatch on the side of the trailer. This little hatch was just above the hatch that contains the batteries. They were completely unmarked and to me they just looked like junction boxes. I’ve seen hundreds of boxes like that. They were very similar to my experience and they, usually, just have a a junction strip where various systems are tied together or into the power. I pretty much felt like and idiot after I had spent a good deal of time yesterday looking for the darned thing. I should have been curious enough to pop the covers off. I assumed their purpose and made an ass out myself but not you.
I spent the rest of the day hauling rocks to the planter, I am building. Mashed another finger. The previously mashed thumb still hurts. Not much I can do about it except grimace every time I have to use it. People are always telling you that you must just “Grin and bear it”. For me I may bear it but I’ll be damned if I’ll grin. The frackin’ (reference to “(Battle Star Exlaxtica) thing hurts. The TV show was for s***.
I don’t know what else to say about the killer cop in Minneapolis. I think I said pretty much everything in a face book post. I’ll likely offend a few people but if black American citizens want their lives to improve they need to stop electing Lib/Prog/Socialist Democrats. Socialism is the simplest way to make everyone equally poor except the elite at the top. That silly movie ‘Hunger Games’ where the elite have a game every year that ends up selected people killing other selected people. This movie portrays a Socialist society where the elite have virtually anything they want and the ‘citizens’ have damned near nothing. The Millennials loved this movie and, apparently, had no idea of what it represented. Millennials are of the ‘Everyone gets a trophy’ generation. The idiot Bernie Sanders sold many of them on the idea of Socialism. They’re too uneducated, ignorant or stupid to know that the ultimate aim of socialism is slavery for the masses and it always ends in a dictatorship. The only difference between Socialism and Communism is that in Socialism the people enslave themselves.
Here in Fritz Creek we are slaving away but are only slaves to our homestead. There are so many things that need to be done that it inflicts a kind of mental paralysis. You don’t know what to do first as many of them seem to be of same importance. I find myself simply doing whatever presents itself as next. This probably isn’t the most efficient way but it does get things done. It has been my experience that there is no straight line to what ever goal or task you set for yourself. It comes down to “Get ‘er done” what ever it takes. The travel trailer is a prime example. I had no idea that I would work on it much less spend days working on it. It was very simply the next thing that needed to be done.
I’m tired, hungry and need a shower, so y’all just try to stay on top of the sod for another day. Thanks.
27 May 2020 Wednesday Another beautiful day in paradise. I spent most of the day trying to get the travel trailer ready to sell. The biggest problem after the water leak is that the heaters needed to be serviced. One did run but made a terrible screeching noise and the other did not run at all. I pulled the screeching unit out. I suspected that there were bad bearings in the blower motor. Once it was out, I spun the blower wheel and it was smooth as silk. I couldn’t ascertain why it was previously making such a noise. I wired it back into the trailer and tried to turn it on. It did not run. Further checking found that there was no power to the unit. The blower motor moves the warm air. It must, also, be operating before the unit will light as it supplies the draft air for the combustion of the propane. With no power applied nothing happens. At this point I was mystified. The heater is a 12 volt unit so it should have run. There was power available as I had installed a new battery. It wasn’t running and there was no power. I decided that maybe it needed to have the main power system needed to be activated. This led to dragging out the diesel generator that would supply the 240 volts to the trailer. It took me over an hour to get it out of the Conex and drag it about 30 feet to a point where I could get to it with the tractor. The thing is a major hunk of iron. It must weigh over 150 pounds. I loaded into the tractor bucket and then realized that I could not hook it up to the trailer. The plug on the trailer power cord did not match the receptacle on the generator. The generator hadn’t been started in nearly three years. Of course, the battery was dead and it was out of fuel. I poured a couple of gallons of diesel into it and pulled a power cord to hook up the battery charger. While I waited, I moved more rocks for the planter I’d started yesterday. Mashed my thumb while rolling rocks into the tractor bucket. Another time when it hurts so good you want to do it again.
Got through with the efforts to complete the planter. I’d had enough of the rock moving business. I decided to go back to the trailer. The propane furnaces. Neither of them run and I have no idea why. I spent about 20 minutes looking for a fuse panel or a breaker panel. I figured there must be a blown fuse or tripped breaker. It is a 12 volt system so there had to be a panel somewhere. I didn’t find it and it was after 5:30 PM and Summer came home with the receptacle I had asked her to get on her way home. I got the the generator hooked up to the trailer and still the furnaces did not run. Tomorrow I will open every panel, pull out all of the drawers and I will find this hidden panel.
Summer went to Dan’s for dinner. She had cooked the Steakums sandwich meat before she left. I sliced some onions and bell pepper and sauteed them in some avocado oil. A toasted bun w/mayonaise, some sliced tomato, meat and the sauteed onion/bell pepper made a wonderful sandwich.
Anyway I finished my dinner sandwich whilst watching Hoarders-Buried Alive. those are some scary people. Goodnight.
26 May 2020 Tuesday I started the day by climbing atop the travel trailer. I needed to install the roofing barrier to stop the leaking roof. I tried to install it but Alaska weather isn’t hot enough to activate the adhesive on the roofing sealer. This fact led to a search for my propane torch. It is in the Conex somewhere. In fact, there are two in there somewhere. After about 45 minutes of pawing through boxes I called Summer, who had gone into Homer, and had her buy another torch. Now I own three. I know the location of one of them. The others are a mystery. Maybe I’ll dial 911 and have the search and rescue guys try to find the damned things. After Summer came home with the new torch, I was able to heat the adhesive and make the roof seal stick like it was designed to do. The job wasn’t too bad except that I stuck my finger into the hot tar adhesive by accident. It hurt so good that I considered doing it again.
Dan called me. He told me that he had the repair panel for the interior ceiling damage ready. That was good news. The problem is that I needed another person to help me install it and Summer had not been feeling well all day. She went to town because she had to do so. But now she was feeling so bad that I sent her to bed. Of course, that ended the travel trailer project for the day. There were three jobs that required two people and I was one short. I figured that I might as well break for lunch. Had the potato soup leftover from the previous evening. I used the last half sleeve of crackers.
After lunch I decided to make a flower bed around a lone spruce tree by the road. It is only about 20 yards from our house and Summer’s new greenhouse and plant business would likely benefit from a pretty flower garden. Of course, it will be next year before the business gets fully operational but putting some perennials in now will make it beautiful next Spring.
I put down the weed block cloth and then started outlining the area with rocks. Like I have said previously, “If rocks were dollars we’d be Bill Gates”. This endeavor took up most of my afternoon. Late in the day Summer came outside and found the newly hatched goslings wandering the yard. They should have been in the pen with their mother but she was still sitting on unhatched eggs and not attentive to them. Their escape led Summer to round them up and bring them inside the house. She put them in a plastic bin box with a heat lamp keeping them warm. In the box they had food, water and protection from hungry predators outside. Summer said, that if nothing happens to them by Friday, she’ll sell them. Eight bucks apiece and almost no overhead costs is a wonderful thing.
Tomorrow I’m going tear into the propane heaters on the travel trailer. I need to get them working before the unit can be sold. Shouldn’t be much of a problem as I have worked on gas appliances for years. I was once a licensed Master Gas Fitter in the State of Alabama. I know that one needs a new blower motor but know absolutely nothing about the other. I’ll, also, take a look at the bedroom slide out. There may be a simple fix for the popping noise as it goes out or comes in.
That’s it for me. I’m going to toddle off to bed. Miss Suzy has already called it a day and is sleeping in my lap. Good night.
25 May 2020 Monday I cleaned house, did the dishes and did laundry. I decided to take a shower and change the sheets on my bed. These activities took up my morning.
Today I began the travel trailer inspection. I know all of the obvious problems but I’m looking for the hidden problems that might stop the sale. I found no other problems so I began to work on the roof water leak problem. I figured out that there was a roofing product that I could permanently stop the leak. As it happened Dan, Summer’s significant other, had just finished roofing the addition of his house and had the roofing sealer I needed. He, also, had the wood panel I needed two repair the ceiling inside the trailer. I got the material for the roof. The material couldn’t be installed as there was a lot of old caulk that needed to be removed before the roof sealer could be put installed. I spent about two hours cleaning up the messy, dried caulk. There were a some screws pulled out so I replaced those and this tightened up the joint. Then it started to look like it might rain so I caulked the joint with some water proof caulk and delayed the weather proofing until tomorrow. I decided to break for some lunch at about 2:00 PM.
After a bit of lunch, I took a vacuum cleaner and a broom to the trailer. The interior cleaning was pretty easy. Pick up the bits of trash and vacuum. Swept the tiled areas in the bathroom and kitchen and that completed all I could do today. BTW It didn’t rain. About the time I finished this little project Summer came home from her work.
24 May 2020 Sunday A take it easy day. Summer and I got the travel trailer hooked up to The Beast.
When we tried to pull it out one set of wheels had to go over a hump. It wouldn’t go over the hump. The Beast dug some pretty deep holes trying to pull the trailer. I spent ten minutes or so digging the truck out. Several ‘running starts’ were done by backing the trailer up as far as possible and the flooring it in The Beast. No luck. I retrieved the Land Rover and chained that up to The Beast. Together we were able, after a couple of attempts, to drag the trailer over the hump and out onto the gravel next to the road. When I got out of the Rover, I saw trenches that the trailer tires had made coming forward. It was at this time that we realized that we weren’t smart because we had dragged the trailer with the brakes locked. We had forgotten to put the plastic pin into the emergency break away switch on the trailer. If the plastic pin isn’t in place the trailer brakes are automatically locked. It is, apparently, true that you can’t fix stupid. In our defense, it is approaching three years ago when we parked the trailer. Neither of us has been back into it more than, maybe, twice. We haven’t hooked it up or moved it since we arrived in September 2017. Maybe we aren’t that stupid, we simply forgot. Anyway, the travel trailer has been moved to a place where its’ new owner will be able to hitch it up and go. We have some repairs to make. The roof and the back shell had separated when we purchase it three years ago. I patched it up as best I could at the time but over time the caulk had failed. Water has leaked in at the two rear corners and damaged the ceiling. This will have to be repaired before we can sell the unit. There are several other repairs that need to be made. One of the propane gas heaters doesn’t run at all and the other has bad bearings in the blower motor. The sliding privacy door between the lower and upper section has come off the rollers. All of the blades on the ceiling fan are broken. And lastly the slide out for the bedroom is making a funny popping noise and really doesn’t want to slide out. Summer told our neighbor that we were considering selling it AS IS for $5000 and he about had a heart attack he was so excited. He told Summer that we would be foolish to sell it so cheap. We could easily get $10,000, if everything was working properly and that he would help. So-o-o-o-o tomorrow, I’ll be working on the travel trailer instead of the house.
That’s it for me. Vodka:30 came early. What I really need is an early Christmas.
23 May 2020 Saturday Got up late becauseffm I stayed up late watching Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. I really like all of those English mystery and police shows. I am a real fan of the English TV shows. Plus the light fools me. It stays daylight up to near 11:00 PM and dusky dark to near midnight. After I got up, I made coffee, toasted an English muffin, stuffed it with a sausage patty with a bit of mustard. After the breakfast of champions, I loaded Miss Suzy and the tractor axle into the Range Rover for the perilous trip into town. First stop NAPA. no luck in getting the bearing pressed on. Carquest, same answer. Alyeska Tire, nope. Tire Town, closed. Otto Machine shop, closed. The fact is that everyone was either closed or did not do that kind of work. This left me with a broken tractor. I’m not one to take ‘No’ for an answer. When I got home I wandered around trying to figure out how to press the bearing onto the axle. I figured out that, if I lowered the drill platform on the drill press and put a half concrete block with some steel bars atop it and put a small hydraulic jack pushing up against the drill press platform. This made a crude bearing press that sort of worked.
I forgot to take the picture the hydraulic jack in place. Anyway, I was able to press the bearing partially onto the axle. Once it started to go onto the axle, I was able to take it off the cobbled together press and very carefully, using a piece of stainless steel bar, tapped the bearing on down to its’ proper place. Getting the snap ring on was a lot more trouble than the bearing. It took some fifteen aggravating minutes but I got the damned snap ring in place. The axle had to be driven into place. It wasn’t hard to drive in because it was only a tight fit for the bearing shell. With the axle back in, I started moving things out of the way of the way so we could move the travel trailer. We have decided that we no longer need the travel trailer and it is in the way of progress. After I moved everything Summer called me in for supper. She had cooked a dry rubber rack of ribs. They were delicious.
The idiots down the hill were having a ‘magic mushroom’ party. The owner of the property grows the mushrooms for food and, apparently, recreation. They were playing some kind of weird music loud enough that you could likely could have heard 10 miles away in Homer. I could hear them even with my TV loud enough for my half deaf ears could hear. There seem to be more pot heads and drug addicts in Alaska per capita than anywhere in the USA.
22 May 2020 Friday Not a bad day. The sun was in and out all day long. Yesterday Summer picked up an account for most all of the vegetables that she can grow this season. Which means that we will recoup most, if not all, of her expenses for the seeds, dirt and plant starts that she purchased. Maybe she will make some money next year after getting past all of the startup expenses this year. I spent the day moving dirt and rocks. The tractor is leaking gear oil like running it through a sieve. I quit about 3 PM and used the bucket to lift front end of the tractor. I needed to take the axle oil seal out and attempt to find a replacement in town. Not much chance of that but I had to try. I couldn’t keep putting $40 a gallon oil in it just to see it drip out on the ground. I was so frustrated with the damned thing that I just parked it, put the jack stands under it and went inside.
About an hour later, I felt ready to tackle the removal of the wheel, the axle extender and, finally, the six bolts that retain the axle. Again I had to use my homemade slid hammer to get it out. When it came out, I realized that the bearing had stayed in the axle housing. It had done the same thing when I pulled the axle earlier in the week. This led me to inspecting the axle and I found that there was supposed to be a retainer snap ring on the tractor side of the axle bearing. That snap ring was was supposed to hold the bearing in place but it was missing. The missing snap ring allowed the bearing to move just enough that it was not in contact with the seal ring. Net result oil pouring out onto the ground. Apparently, the previous owner of the parts tractor had disassembled the axle and had failed to reassemble itproperly. This discovery meant that I had to pull the bearing all the way out of the axle housing. This led to a further discovery that I had nothing with which to pull the bearing. I fumbled around through the tools I have for awhile. After some thought I decided that a smaller piece of metal put on the end of the slid hammer might get the bearing out. I cut a piece of metal just small enough to go through the bearing, drilled a hole in the center and bolted it to the slid hammer. I was able to put it through the bearing. Then by leaning it right or left I was able to use the slid hammer. The leaning made it contact the bearing properly without doing any damage. It only took 4 whacks to pull the bearing. Once the bearing was out I was able to see how the whole thing was supposed to be assembled. The job was simple: find the missing snap ring in all of the extra parts I got with the parts tractor; put the bearing on the axle and install the snap ring put the entire thing back into the tractor. Wrong!!! It turns out that the bearing is a pressed fit. It doesn’t just slip onto the axle. It was about 7 PM when I gave up. Saturday I will get the bearing pressed onto the axle and finish this oily project. Yep. I was splashed with oil again just like the last time. By the time cleaned my hands it was 7PM and quitting time at Tara. I had plenty of daylight left but with no ambition to continue.