Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to the Millennials who already know everything.

22 November 2020 Sunday

Your Millennials have been indoctrinated (nay programmed) to think that all of their ideas and thoughts are not only original but brilliant. Even though they were all given a trophy with no achievement, they think they have accomplished some mythical task. Praise for failure and ‘self esteem’ boosts with no effort to excel. “Very good Cindy 2+2 can equal 5, if you want it to”. These over-educated, under-knowledged robots are destroying history. They have no concept of history. They haven’t been taught history (Ancient, World or American) so they have no idea that the majority of their brilliant thoughts have already been thought. The vast majority of all ideas put forth by these Millennials have already been tried and failed miserably. Their current big idea, Socialism, has failed dozens of times. Not only has it failed, it has murdered 100,000,000 plus humans and polluted much of the earth.. The murdering and polluting continues in Socialist/Communist countries around the world. You likely can’t find a single Millennial that recognizes the fact that America is the least polluting industrialized major nation in the world. The European Union (Pop. 340 million after deducting the Great Britain’s 70 million population) is far more polluted and poverty stricken. They have a standard of living, on average, about half that of the US. WHY? Socialism is the answer. Socialism/Communism is always the answer when you ask why a particular country is poverty stricken. India is a prime example of a socialist, mass polluting, poverty stricken country. A few people are very wealthy and the balance live in abject poverty. That, also, explains why so many Indians immigrate to the US.

Spent much of the day building a goose house. We’re using an already fenced area (last summer’s garden) to round up and keep the geese in one place for the winter. The geese have been running loose and making nuisances of themselves for over a year. We had intended to fence in an area for them this past summer. The problem is that reality got in the way of progress. Same for the chickens with the same results. Chickens and the three remaining ducks will be living in the greenhouse for the balance of the winter. Winter is upon us with the concomitant problems.

The goose house construction consists of two packing crates in which Dan had windows delivered. They, by happenstance, were of the same dimensions in length and width. One was deeper than the other but stacked atop one another they created a container tall enough for a goose to stand up inside. A couple of 2x4s, two sheets of plywood, some other scraps and several pallets made up the balance of the snow blocking enclosure.

The goose house on Monday after the Sunday night snow.
The crutch of the the solution.

23 November 2020 Monday

 I spent part of the day getting electricity to the goose house.  I wanted to keep the power cord off the ground so that it would not get tangled in the snow blower or be frozen down so solidly that it could not be retrieved until April.  I scrapped around through my junk looking for something to create a mast.  I found a piece of 2×2 and a crutch.  The crutch was one of a pair that I’ve been hauling around for over 20 years.  I never needed them again, couldn’t give them away (Salvation Army has dozens of them) and never found any other use for them.  By screwing the crutch onto the 2×2, I was able to get the power cord almost 10 feet off the ground.  Problem solved.

    The next challenge was to move the water trough to a position next to the goose house.  The moving was easy but hauling 10 gallons of water to it whilst walking in the snow was a challenge.  When I, eventually, got the water into the trough I plugged in the heater to keep the water from freezing.  After that I shoveled a big pile of snow on top of the water to finish filling the trough.  You can see that in one of the pictures above.

The balance of the day was spent bringing in firewood, picking up stuff that the snow had not yet covered and, generally, taking care of things that had inside that had been neglected because of all of the work outside.

24 November 2020 Tuesday

Snow still on the ground but the need to go to Home Depot in Kenai overrode the trepidation of getting out onto the roads.  They take very good care of the roads close to town,  The roads out of town get a lot less attention.  This hills will be sanded but the valleys in between are often neglected.  I was supposed to go to Anchorage today to get cataract surgery.  I listened to the weather forecast yesterday morning and with that information. and the possibility that Summer had been exposed to the Dreaded Covid, I decided to put off the eye surgery until next spring.  The Chugach Mountain road, while very good, is very curvy and at a fairly high altitude.  The mountains are a 140 miles or so north of Fritz Creek and has passes that are at 1000 feet or so. These roads are subject to avalanches especially after it rains.  Rain was part of the weather forecast that stopped my trip.   Also, some of the curves on this road are inverse pitched.  This means that if you slide you are likely sliding to the outside of the curve and the outside is often a drop off of several hundred feet.  I may have mentioned this previously but let me reiterate.  “I am allergic to death.”  Anyway, I toddled off to Kenai with a great deal of care.  They road indeed had some bad patches but was in overall pretty good shape.  Since I am, because of the cataracts, very night blind I was in a hurry to get to Kenai and back before dark.  I hurried every chance I got and when I got to Home Depot, Wal Mart and the Three Bears Grocery stores I rushed as much as possible.  Home Depot took nearly forever as the clerk ignored me for over over 10 minutes, while I stood at the Return Desk.  She processed three other customers before turning to me and telling me that she had to use the register that she was on.  I was just a little peeved but remembered just in time that there is no cure for stupid and no point in arguing with an idiot.  She was a polite idiot but an idiot nevertheless.  It took her near 10 minutes to sort out the receipt and return two pieces of stove pipe I’d purchased last week.   Twenty very long minutes were spent with me pacing in place with the extreme need to get to the restroom all the way across the building.  At last, with cash in hand, Suzy and I dashed across the store cursing those ambling shoppers who seemed to have no particular destination in mind.  Sometimes, store traffic reminds me of vehicle traffic in Florida.  You’ve got a bunch of people on the road with no where to go and in no hurry to get there.  Many of these impediments to progress are a bunch of old farts.  I used to tell Connie that “If all of these damned old people would get out of the damned way I could get to where I was going in the same decade”.  Of course, I was in my late 60’s when I was saying that.  I’m sure everyone has seen some of these people just meandering up and down the aisles of your favorite store with little or nothing in their basket and stopping every three feet to look at something.  These are the same people who will get side by side on the freeway, block both lanes and with me directly behind screaming “Get the hell out of the way, you stupid @#**+@#s”.  Wal Mart and Three Bears went pretty quickly.  Except that at Wal Mart I became mesmerized and found myself wandering aimlessly like the people I’d just been cursing at Home Depot.  Anyway, with my purchases made, a sandwich from the deli and a full tank of diesel, I hit the road for home.  The road home was, virtually, ice and snow free.  The temp had risen to the mid thirties and the road had absorbed enough heat to be clear but wet.  I made it home just thirty minutes before dark.  Enough time to bring in firewood and feed the critters.  With myself safely ensconced in my easy chair I sipped a well deserved bourbon and coke.  Yep.  I went for the bourbon instead of the vodka today.

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to clearing up an election disaster.

17 November 2020 Tuesday

I got a haircut today. Paid $15 instead of the $25 going rate for Homer. The woman barber complained that my hair could have been cleaner. I’d showered Sunday night and had not been sweating. I think the problem lies in the fact that every couple of days I have to change the oil in my hair. I wasn’t going to shower until I got a haircut. I don’t want to go to bed at night and be breathing in loose hair. In addition, we don’t live in town on city water so our water is delivered. Water is an expensive commodity that you can’t afford to waste. My hair may have been a little greasy but I’m pretty sure I didn’t stink as I put on clean clothes daily. I might wear a pair of jeans twice. This isn’t Florida where you sweat all year round.

It was a heat wave today. The temperature got up to just over 33F. I still had to wear gloves and a hat but it was remarkably warm for this time of the year. Summer told me that it will probably start raining tomorrow. Rain instead of 8 inches of snow will be a good thing. I still have a crap load of stuff that needs to be picked up before the snow, even though I’ve spent much of the day picking up and storing stuff. I finished picking up and stacking the last of the firewood fairly quickly. A couple of hours of avoiding distractions (that would lead to sidetracks that would lead to a point where none of the tasks would get completed) got that chore completed pretty quickly.

The 20 year old Range Rover is making some kind of weird noise at the rear wheels. I removed one of the rear wheels for an inspection. The was no obvious problem to account for the scraping noise it makes when the wheels are turning. Also, there isn’t any consistency in the noise. Sometimes it makes a lot of noise and sometimes it makes none. It is a mystery. I’m thinking that the non-factory lug nuts may be allowing the wheel to move on the lug studs. This could account for the problem as they are somewhat smaller that the factory version. Tomorrow, I’ll swap out the lug nuts. We bought a junk Rover of the same make and model. It has a bad engine but is full of good parts we may need to keep our Rover on the road. It has five good tires, a new battery amongst those good parts. Only paid $500 for it and the tires and rims are worth more than that. Had to put the ‘new battery’ into our Rover a couple of weeks ago as the tractor battery died and I had more use for the tractor more than the Rover. Oddly enough, the Rover with new battery installed had to be jump started almost every time we wanted to use it. I, presumably, solved that problem by disconnecting the battery after every use. Connecting and disconnecting the battery was a pain in the ass. It seemed that the Rover had a short in the electrical system that kept draining the battery and it was the most simple of all possible solutions. That was until the damned car wouldn’t start when the battery was reattached. Summer took the battery back to the parts store where it was purchased and it tested to have an internal short. I suspected that the Rover had a short somewhere I just didn’t expect it to be in the battery. The nationally known auto parts chain store did not want to warranty the battery because we weren’t the original purchaser of said battery. Talked with my friend, Bill Enright, in Clearwater, Fl and happens to work for the same chain. He told me that that was company policy, no exceptions. I was disappointed and resigned to buying another $150 battery He, also, told me to have that store manager call him that he’d get me a new battery at cost. Now I was down to a $100 battery and was still not happy about it. I guess I’m one of those people my Dad often described as “You couldn’t make them happy if you hung them with a new rope”. I never understood what that meant until I got to thinking about it just now. A new hemp rope is oily and the rope will slide easily through the 13 coils of the noose. The ease and quickness gives a sharp snap of the neck and a quick death. An old rope might slide more slowly and the poor soul would just hang and slowly choking to death for several minutes. So chronic complainers don’t appreciate whatever you do for them and would complain if you hung them with a new rope. I guess I’ll just rethink my complaint and resign myself to buying the new battery.

Later Summer came home from work we discussed the damnable battery again. I asked if her friend, who originally bought the battery, would return the battery and have it warranted. I was still trying to avoid the noose. A quick text received no answer. The $100 noose was tightening.

Unshaven and needing a haircut

18 November 2020, Wednesday

Well, it’s a day later and the rain did not come as was predicted, by Summer and The Weather Channel, a couple of days ago. Today, I have a laundry list of chores that need to be done. Take the factory lug nuts off the ‘parts’ Rover and put them on the ‘good’ Rover. This entailed removing two lug nuts from each Rover and swapping their location. I did it that way in order to avoid the need to jack up one and then the other. All that jacking cars up and down would have taken a half day. Even the swapping them two at the time took over an hour. Take off two lug nuts, walk 40 yards to the other car take off two lug nuts and replace them with the ones from the other car. It took 7 roundtrips as the 24 volt impact gum wouldn’t remove them from the good Rover. This led to needing a 24″ breaker bar to loosen the nuts and a trip to the Conex. Got two off and went to the ‘parts’ car only to find out that the lug nuts were a different size and had to make another trip to get a larger socket and the breaker bar. After that it was pretty simple and only entailed a bunch of walking back and forth. I still had no battery for the ‘good’ Rover so I was unable to test for the noise. Summer was still hauling the battery around hoping to hear from her friend. Much of the balance of the day was spent moving stuff and getting small stuff off the ground so that it wouldn’t end up choking the snowblower. We were given a new snowblower during the summer. The owner never used it and was selling his house and wasn’t going to need it. Also, he couldn’t get it started because he hadn’t treated the gasoline that he’s put in when he brought it home the previous winter. I guess, he figured that no one would buy it. I ordered a carburetor for it ($18) and it runs like a champ. I shoveled paths to everything last winter. Good physical exercise but an exercise in futility when the paths fill up after every snow event. I shoveled the necessary paths, at least, 10 times last winter. 2F and sweating profusely, even after shedding much of the heavier winter clothing, was not fun. When you stop working you are instantly very cold. The low humidity makes the sweat evaporate and evaporative cooling sets in. Frostbite in minutes, if you don’t get somewhere warm.

In the last sentence of the previous paragraph, I had to go back and put a comma after the word ‘minutes’. I cannot tell you the punctuation rule that says there must be a comma preceding the word “if” in a sentence like that. My Hueytown High School English teacher was at her wits end trying to teach me the Rules of Grammar. She was a rotund, red faced woman whose face became even redder when dealing with my ignorance. I’d take the grammar tests and get the correct answers but had no clue why they were the correct answers. We alternated with six weeks of Grammar and then six weeks of Literature. I made C’s in Grammar because I could not explain the reason for the punctuation or identify any part of any sentence. Diagraming a sentence was about the same as Egyptian hieroglyphics. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. I made A’s in Literature because I would, unlike many of my fellow students, would read the books. That’s way more than enough information excavated from the Jurassic period of my life.

Summer arrived from her work early enough for me to put the defective battery back in and to jump start the Rover. It and the trailer were in Summer’s parking spot. I moved them to a place near the wood splitting debris. I intend to scoop it up and use it as kindling. Having already shredded wood chips and bark for kindling saves a lot of hatchet work and, potentially, fingers. After moving the Rover we moved the three bee hives into the new plant store/greenhouse. I don’t think that they have survived the cold spell we had last week. If they didn’t that would be another $900 poured down a ‘rathole’. Two years of bees, $1800 in bees and bee supplies and we’ve managed to sell maybe $150 worth of honey. Bee keeping is beginning to look like a losing proposition. Summer likes the idea of bee keeping but the realities of bee keeping in Alaska are beginning to set in.

Miss Suzy wanting to be on the floor.

19 November 2020 Thursday

Spent the entire day doing one small chore after another. The downstairs bathroom drain pipe for the bathtub and the hand sink was frozen during the past weekend. I spent a couple of days, off and on, looking for a heat tape that I had just taken off a pipe in the water house last week. I hunted in vain and never found it. I had Summer purchase a new one on her way home yesterday. Today I managed to get it installed today.

Summer’s part time job has recently been including Fridays. Her current off day is Thursday. It seems every Thursday she has errands to run in town. This keeps us from having any continuity in effort. She had a 28-30 hour a week job until this COVID idiocy set in. She has been getting only 14-15 hours a week until someone went on vacation Short hours are not good for the old pocketbook. Pocketbook is such an odd word. I just looked it up. Apparently, in the 1700s people carried a small book in their pocket. In that book the kept notes as well as folding in bills and other materials pertinent to their daily life. It was a small book that you carried in your pocket hence “pocketbook”. My late stepmother always referred to her purse as her “pocketbook”. Never ever wondered about it until now. I guess it must be a ‘Southern Thing’. Anyway, getting back to Summer’s inconvenient employment situation. She seldom worked Fridays before the COVID stupidity set in. That meant we had a 3 day weekend every weekend to get work done here (even if she did have to run into town for something) on the “homestead”. Homestead is a word I don’t really like. It implies a rough life with few amenities like ‘Gilligan’s Island”. It starts with “No Phones, no ??? etc. We are living nothing like that. There is a lot of work to be done but we do have phones and motorcars and quite a lot of ‘luxuries” like running water and flushing commodes.. The problem is that I can’t really think of a word aside from ‘homestead”. “Here at the house” just doesn’t seem to convey enough information and “homestead” seems to me to be an overstatement. And here I am off on another sidetrack. Sorry. The upshot, of the truncated employment plus the inconvenient Friday employment along with the Thursday full of errands, is that I’m working alone most of the time trying to get us ready for winter.

The lower end of the stainless steel pipe
The miscreant wood stove.

20 November 2020 Friday

We were going to have the geese fenced in by now. But one thing leads to another and we spent much of last weekend replacing the stove pipe on the wood heater. The double wall metal pipe had rusted at the joints and when we took them down, Thursday was a week ago, the inner pipes fell out. They were an unseen fire hazard. Our reason for taking them down was to replace the single wall pipe inside the house and to thoroughly clean them. The stove was not drafting properly and we thought that cleaning the pipes might improve that situation. The new pipe is stainless steel and, for some reason, cost less than the ordinary steel pipe we’d been using. The replacement of the piping has not solved the draft problem on the stove. Until moving here, I had never used a wood stove for heat. My inexperience seems to be a big part of the problem. Today I used a big vacuum cleaner to blow through the intake air tube thinking that it might have been blocked. After blowing it out for several minutes, I built a fire. The drafting problem still exists. Fire burns fine as long as the door is open but diminishes greatly as soon as the door is closed. It is not getting enough air to sustain proper combustion. It’s a mystery and I have no clue. Fortunately, it has been relatively warm mid to high 30s for the past few days. Heat is not a pressing problem at this point.

I am going to need to solve this problem before it gets really cold. Don’t know how or when, but it must be done. It’s either that or buy a new stove for $1000+. This stove is only three years old. It shouldn’t be having this kind of problem. One of the things I did accomplish today was to scoop all of the splitting debris up and put it into the trailer. There was still more stacking, covering and storing of loose gear and lumber today.

The Rover is still making the scraping noise. I jacked it up and took off the left rear tire. I, at first, thought that it might be the axle bearing. But it is doing the same thing on both sides. Both rear wheels are making the same noise. That both axle bearing would be defective, with no apparent leakage of the axle lubricant, seems pretty slim. There was no visible shiny metal to indicate where the rim might have been scraping on something. With the tire removed it does does not make the noise but as soon as the tire is replaced the noise returns. It’s another damned mystery. Fortunately, unlike wood stoves, I know a lot about cars. I will sort out this problem sooner or later. Today I just didn’t have time to pursue the problem.

I was walking between the Conex and the house when I noticed a water leak just under the edge of the house. A closer look found that the temporary repair of a burst pipe from last year had burst again. The only reason that I was aware of this re-bursting of the pipe is because the newly installed heat tape had defrosted the pipe. Because of last years’ ‘temporary’ repair no further repair can be made. I unplugged the heat tape and bid the pipe farewell and good luck. It is my good intention to remodel that bathroom this winter. I remodeled the upstairs bath this past summer.

It started raining at about 3PM. Mostly just a drizzle. I took this as a warning to get my outdoor efforts wound up ASAP. The temp was in the high 30s and while there was an occasional snow flake they were melting immediately. About 4:30 it began to rain in earnest and the wind began to blow. The wind and the rain were continuing when I went to bed at about midnight. I’m guessing, but I suspect that the wind speed exceeded 40 MPH in some of the gusts. The howling wind did not disturb my sleep.

21 November 2020 Saturday

Spent much of the day writing and rewriting this blog. Whilst pecking away at the keyboard, I’ve been cogitating about this wood stove mystery. I decided that blowing through the fresh air intake may have been wrong. Perhaps, sucking back through the vent might dislodge whatever was keeping the air flow stifled. I tried that and then blew back through it again. After that I built a fire and it seemed to be working properly. I don’t know that anything I did was responsible but the damned thing seems to be working now. Summer suggested that it might be that the wood is wet from lying outside in the rain where it has been frozen and thawed several times. That could be a portion of the problem. I’m beginning to suspect that another problem might be that we split it into pieces that are too large and that we don’t have enough smaller pieces to make the fire hot. The large pieces were meant to burn slower and sustain the fire over longer periods of time. I’m thinking that between the damp and the size that the problem is that we are simply not getting them hot enough to sustain a fire. They tend to be smouldering rather than burning. Mystery solved, I hope.

What was left of the day was spent in housework. The rain I wanted turned into a monsoon during last night. The entire place is a muddy mess except where we’ve spread tons of gravel. We had hoped to move the Boathouse and pen in the geese today. However, the rain continued until about noon at which time it became rain and snow and later just snow. The temp was still above freezing so the snow was melting almost as fast as it hit the ground adding to the muddy mess. It was funny to watch the geese prancing around with snow on their backs. I recently placed four 50 lb. bags of feed in the greenhouse where we’ve been feeding the critters. Summer went out late this afternoon to feed them and found that the top bag had been opened. After some discussion we decided that the geese had just helped themselves to the feed. Geese are very smart.

Summer’s friend, Toni texted back. They had been out of town and they would be more than happy to take the battery back for a warranty replacement. Summer took the battery to their house. Haven’t heard back from her but I’m hoping that they got the battery replaced. $100 here, a $100 there and pretty soon you are talking about real money.

Tomorrow I start the eyeball meds that precede my Wednesday lens replacement. The cataracts have become worse. The little ones that the eye doctor saw 5-6 years ago have grown to be teenagers. Like teenagers they have become a damned nuisance. Driving at night is pretty scary when the parallax makes it so that you can’t see the road. I have stopped driving at night for fear of killing myself or worse killing someone else. My left eye is the worst and the first to be repaired. I’m driving to Anchorage during the day on Tuesday and driving home during the day on Thursday. I know it’s Thanksgiving but no one is having any kind of group dinner. Summer, Dan and myself are having dinner when I get home. I’ve never really liked turkey. No turkey here. We’re having pulled pork BBQ and shredded beef BBQ, potato salad, baked beans, homemade yeast bread, sweet tea, two kinds of pies (Pumpkin and Lemon Meringue) and coconut chocolate chip cookies. That should be enough food for three people for most of a week. I feel sorry for them fools eatin’ overcooked dried out turkey. Anyway,

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to an all important American responsibility: Your vote.

2 November 2020 Monday

Tomorrow you get to vote. You have not only the right to vote but the responsibility to get out and vote. If enough of you don’t bother to vote, we will, eventually, lose that right to vote and we’ll be in a society where you are forced to vote. It has happened all through the last century. 200 MILLION people died. They were murdered and starved to death in these countries where you are required to vote or else. The leader must receive 98% of the vote and you are forced to vote for whatever Fearless Leader (dictator) is on the ballot. The Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Venezuela and almost all of the Middle Eastern countries. Even today there is continuing murder of the citizens of many of these countries. So-o-o, Fellow Campers, use your right to vote for whomever you want before you are required to vote for the Fearless Leader.

Yesterday, I achieved another milestone. I reached the ripe old age of 76. One unusual thing that happened was that the night when I was born there was a Blue Moon. The night when I turned 76 was a Blue Moon. I’m hoping this doesn’t portend my imminent demise. This was the first time there was a Blue Moon on Halloween night in 76 years. I was born at 1:00 AM on November 1st under that same Blue Moon. In the event, you don’t know what a Blue Moon is , here is the definition. A Blue Moon is a 2nd full moon in a same month. It is a rarity that caused the old saying “Once in a Blue Moon”. Meaning that a particular event happens very rarely.

The continued effort to prepare for winter is in full swing. We spent part of yesterday afternoon splitting and stacking firewood. We had a little dusting of snow early Thursday morning. Normally, this light dusting of snow would have melted almost immediately. However, the event of the snow, also, brought lower temperatures. Recent nights have been down as low as 12F at night. Fortunately, during the day it warms to 21-22F. This temperature range isn’t a real problem, if you dress for it. Up until yesterday, I would find myself starting to sweat which meant I had to change to a less heavy coat. Yesterday the wind began to blow with gusts up a near gale force. The high wind and the 21F temperature made for a slightly uncomfortable afternoon. We kept on splitting and stacking wood until 5:30 by then the temperature had dropped to about 18F. At this time of the year it is completely dark by 6:30. I spent most of the morning installing the last two support posts under the front of the house. All three new posts are sitting on 16-18 inch thick concrete footings. Moving all of those 80 lb bags of concrete was a chore. Slogging through the ankle deep mud to mix and pour the concrete was just about all a 76 year old man could manage. Moving and cutting the posts was a lot easier. The installation of the posts was a breeze compared to the concrete. The front of the house is now level again. I can now lower the middle and back wall of the house to match the front. The effort to do this little project was almost beyond my ability. I have begun to feel that I might be losing a step. I have, jokingly, remarked that I’m like a 3 day old package of chicken, in the meat case at your favorite grocery store, I am getting very close to my “Sell by date”. I been thinking of it as preparing Summer for the day that I won’t be able to ‘answer the bell’ or maybe, even, get out of bed.





The next project, after the completion of the wood splitting and stacking, is to crawl under the house and remove the shims to lower the house to a point somewhere near level. The leveling will mark the beginning of the removal of sheetrock on the ceilings so that the house can be rewired. I have been scared silly that some part of the half-assed amateur wiring is going to kill us in our sleep. There are multiple wires in Summer’s room that are terminated in one 4×4 box. There are so many protruding out of the box that the idiot doing the wiring could not put a cover on the box. All of the wires were wire nutted together outside of the box. When we first moved in, I checked these wires and found several of them were just barely connected and/or connected with the wrong size of wire nut. Either of these are potential fire hazards. I repaired them as best I could by installing a box extension and a cover but that doesn’t really solve the entire problem. I have 5 smoke alarms and 3 Carbon Monoxide alarms posted through the house. I am more than just a little bit paranoid. We got a bit of a scare last night. I had the wood stove dampered down for the night. I had been in bed for less than an hour when the smoke alarm in the upstairs hallway started beeping. The beeping started Summer’s dogs to begin barking. The barking caused my dog to start barking. It was all of that barking and beeping that woke up both Summer and myself. The house was pretty smoky and I hurried around trying to find the source. I discovered that we were not, in fact, on fire. I took a look at the wood stove and discovered that the high winds were blowing down the stove pipe and forcing the smoke out through the combustion air inlet. I had, for three previous winters, meant to connect that through a wall vent to the great outdoors. This was a problem we’d never had before. Now my project for today is to put the hole in the wall and start drawing our combustion air from outside and putting the smoke outside when we get back pressure from the wind. It’s always just one more little thing that needs to be done.

We have run a ‘Garage Sale’ for the last two weekends. The first weekend brought in over $1000. The second weekend brought in less than $100. The problem was that no one wanted to come out in the snow. Now we only need another $4000 or so to pay for the inventory for Summer’s business. She started her business, Greer Rd Greenhouse, with the hope of being able to raise the $10,000 by January. We may get very close and not have to cancel some of the Spring inventory. Like Poker we are ‘all in’ here in Fritz Creek. We have money to finish the house but I’m concerned that her under capitalized business will die on the vine. I’m considering selling, Spike, my 2016 Dodge Ram 4WD 3500 is worth a minimum retail of $36k here in Alaska. I don’t really need the big truck anymore. I can buy a good used truck for $6000-$8000 that will suit our current needs. We no longer have the bi36′ travel trailer and I’m using a $36k heavy duty truck to haul trash and, occasionally, lumber and other supplies from Home Depot. This does not make sense. The proceeds, if any, will go to finance Summer’s business.

Again this year, we don’t have a proper chicken house and the ground has frozen so I won’t be putting a fence up to container these critters. I guess we’ll be putting them in the greenhouse the same as we did last winter. The construction of Summer’s business took me almost six weeks. It had to be constructed for the fall ‘Bulb Season’ and needed to be ready before the February Spring sales season begins. Summer sold all of the Garlic bulbs and about 25% of the flower bulbs. She learned this season that garlic bulbs are the money makers. Next season she will be heavily into garlic bulbs and a whole lot lighter on the flower bulbs. Every business is a crap shoot. I’ve never started a business that did not make money. I’ve closed several that were making some money but were more trouble than they were worth. This time I’m not in control. To say that I don’t like not being in control would be just a teensy bit of an understatement.