Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to a better year!!

31 December 2020. Friday

I have decided, that on this last day of a very lo-n-n-n-g year, that I shall do absolutely nothing beyond this blog. I will do nothing except drink coffee in the morning, sweet tea in the afternoon and vodka in the evening. I’ll do this without the slightest bit of guilt knowing that I have worked my ass off for the past 364 minus a few days of unadulterated laziness. Maybe not laziness. Both the mind and the body need respite from the ongoing aggravations that seem to, like apparitions becoming solid, rear their ugly heads just when you think all is well. “What can possibly go wrong now?” is a question I have ceased to ask aloud or even think. The very thought or utterance of those words invariably gets a very quick and inconvenient answer. When the weather started getting to below freezing I plugged in all of the heat tapes for the various plumbing pipes. One heat tape failed immediately. The drain pipe burst in the downstairs bathroom. Now the bathtub and the hand sink are unusable. I may have told you this before but I’m having to shower upstairs and brush my teeth at the kitchen sink. Fortunately, the downstairs commode still works. Well, it worked right up until it didn’t. One ot the heat tapes on the main drain line failed and it froze. That it did not burst is a blessing. I ran the jet heater under the house all day to no avail. Suddenly the temperature outside went above freeing for a couple of days and it cleared the line. I suspect that the line was not completely frozen. Likely a layer of ice collected at a low spot and the trapped debris flowing down the line. That debris then froze and so on until the line was completely clogged. The solution to this problem arrived a couple of days ago. It is an inside the pipe heat tape. I’ve been going to install it but the weather has been totally weird. Yesterday, for example, we had a blowing snow blizzard in the early part of the day. Then we had sleet, more snow, then rain and sleet, then sleet and snow, then snow and, finally, the sun came out and we had blue skies and puffy white clouds. Because of the oddly warm weather (NO man-made Global Warming comments, please) the entire yard seems to be covered in an inch or more of ice. You take your life and health into your hands, if you set foot outside without ice cleats. ICE CLEATS!! I’d never heard of such a thing before I moved here. Now I have two pairs of shoes with them semi-permanently installed. The only entities allowed outside of the house without cleats are Taco and Betsy Boo and, occasionally Suzy. Even with four feet on the ground, they often find the going, in the backyard, a little tough. Anyway, crawling under the house is possible just not recommended. The ground under the hose is now mud. Made so by the warmer weather. The snow and sleet melting off the roof and the rain is dripping out of the broken gutters. Gutters are another of the myriad of lesser projects yet to be completed.

Just finished off the pot of coffee and was planning a glass of iced tea. A minor problem arose. The tea pitcher was near empty and there was only about a half of a small cup of tea inside. That it when, like so many of my British Isles ancestors, decided I’d have the balance as hot tea. Way back in the history of the USA, before there was a USA, King George put a heavy tax on tea. This drove our ancestors to drinking coffee because there was little or no tax on coffee. This points up a valuable lesson that politicians have yet to learn or maybe they have. If you tax a product at a high enough level people will either stop using the product or find a substitute. King George whose intentions were to punish tea drinking colonists made coffee drinkers out of the majority of those colonists. His actions had an unintentional consequence. This is something our politicians haven’t learned.

My new record player.

Spent some time yesterday evening trying to look up old acquaintances lest they be forgot. I’ve, apparently, reached the age where most of my oldest friends, old friends, acquaintances are dead. I am still in contact with some of the people from my home town (Brighton, Alabama) and some people with whom I attended Hueytown High School during the Jurassic Period of my life. My closest friends of the past 50 years, including my late wife, are all dead. The move to Alaska did not improve my relationship with the few new friends that I made when living in Florida. As i’m wring this, whatever this is, I am watching the disc turn on the record player that Summer gave me for Christmas. What I was watching the record turn and a question came to me. Does the inside of the record turn faster than the outer edge. If it, in fact, does why is the music not in warp speed sounding like Donald Duck on steroids? Another mystery that I really don’t have the care to solve. Some things are just better to be left as a mystery.

Our old friend, Gandolph the Grey or as we preferred to call him, Gandie.

One of the sad things in 2020 was the need to put our old friend down. Gandie was a flea bitten rescue by Summer when we lived in St.Petersburg. He was a terrible mess. Matted hair, skinny as a rail and eaten up with fleas. I don’t think anyone but Summer would have adopted him. He was leading a miserable life even fo a dog. He turned 14, we think, this year. All his get up and go was gone. He, mostly, just ate and slept for the last two years. The Vet looked at him and pronounced him “OLD” a couple of years ago. I the last couple of weeks before we had to put him down, the Vet looked at him again. There was nothing she could do for the old fellow. He was whining in his sleep, he could no longer climb the stairs to take his rightful place on Summer’s bed. At that point, he was in pain, his stool contained blood. The time had come. We just couldn’t let him suffer any longer. We took him to a Vet in Soldotna who put him to sleep while we petted him for the last time. After we left the room, he gave Gandie the fatal dose and his pain was over. A couple of weeks later Summer drove back to Soldotna and picked up his ashes. We have picked a large rock surrounded flower garden where he will come to his final resting place along with the late Cookie. Cookie was part Beagle and something else. She was a good substantial dog that Summer had adopted as a puppy when she was attending Auburn University. She, too, had lived a long and happy life of good food, excellent care and a loving owner. Sometimes, I wish I was some nice person’s dog. Nothing to worry about for all of your life and then a calm and peaceful death when you become critically infirm. Neither Gandie nor Cookie seemed to recognize anyone of us at the last weeks and months of their lives. The had, in the last stages of their lives, what in humans would be Alzheimers or what we once called Senile Psychosis. Good Bye, Old Friends.

Another friend died up here this year. He will be missed by his many friends here in Fritz Creek. He was the best friend of both Dan (Summer’s significant other) and Dave, Dan’s older brother. They had known and been friends with him for most of their lives. For me, he was more of an acquaintance but he was Summer’s friend. Steve Pelletier was a wealthy younger, mid fifties guy. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met. Had a pile of money but you’d have never known it by the way he acted and dressed. No fru fru, no flairs just an everyday guy that I liked. I have made a life of not liking anybody very much. Those that I do like can have my wallet, my car keys and the clothes off my back, if necessary. Those people have been few and far between. ANYWAY, They found Steve lying in his driveway dead. I did not hear anything about the cause of death but I surmised that her had a heart attack. He did have some heart problems with which he and his doctor were dealing. I suspect that they same thing that very nearly killed me at 58 years old, was the cause of his death. My doctor referred to it as”The Widow Maker”. It is a blockage of the artery on the heart that feeds blood to the backside of the heart. If it clogs solid you are dead with in seconds. A significant number of men in their fifties are just going along minding their own business with no apparent symptoms. Then on that fateful day they simply fall over dead. No warning. One minute you are alive and well the next your have gone to meet your maker. Probably not a bad way to die. A moment of sudden pain then nothing but a funeral.

Summer in her prize winning ugly Christmas sweater before going around the neighborhood passing out bags of beignets.

This week has been a complete bust as far as getting any work done on the house. For the last several days the temperature has been at or near 40F during the day and barely below freezing during the night. The completion of the house leveling has been postponed due to the ground not being frozen solid. I could jack it up by putting concrete or wooden blocks under the jacks. With the ground so soft the blocks would just disappear into the ground. I did that last Summer and I really don’t want to, unintentionally, bury any more wood or concrete blocks. I did get a few things done: I made a dump run; cleared off my work bench in the conex; cooked beans and rice for the critters (That’s another story): Sharpener all the axes, the chainsaws; swept the floors; rearranged the hallway we are using for a pantry; sanded the driveway; hauled in more wood’; moved wood in the tent where the hole was allowing the rain in to a dryer spot; picked up items in the snow that the rain had exposed; damn near walked into a very big cow moose and dozens of other things that I cannot remember as they were done so quickly or of such little note to even register as some task done. One thing i can say for a certainty is that I did not expect “rain delays’ at the end of December. I guess 2020 is simply not going to quit be the hellacious year that it has been.

This year has been just one unaccomplished thing after another. Like the old saying in the Robert Burns book ‘To a Mouse’ and John Steinbeck’s book ‘Of Mice and Men’. “The best laid plans of men oft time go awry” has been a substantial understatement in describing 2020. Summer’s Garden Store was completed two weeks too late for the fall bulb planting season. She only had two weeks before the ground started freezing and precluding the planting of all of those beautiful flower bulbs. Now she is holding over inventory until Spring and hoping that the mice won’t destroy them. I did not get the tractor repaired. It continues to leak gear oil all over the place. When I park it I am placing a coffee can under the leak so as to collect the expensive gear oil. The green house was to be recovered with plastic. That didn’t happen. All we had time to do was pull a tarp over the missing panel locations. The permanent chicken house and run didn’t get built. Neither did the permanent Goose enclosure that we had planned. The Land Rover started making some weird noise on the back axle and a mechanic deemed it necessary that we should spend $800 on a $1500 car. It didn’t happen as we are crazy not stupid. He was a nice guy and when I went to pay him for his trouble he said “Merry Christmas”. That was an unusual bright spot in 2020 and I’ll be taking him some business in the future. It took me from February until late October to get any response from my auto insurance company USAA. I was trying to file a claim for the fender I damaged and for the other fender someone at Home Depot had so graciously smashed along with the rear bumper. In early November, they sent a couple of checks, which I, somehow, managed to throw in the stove to build a fire one morning. I am assuming that the fire was their fate, as I have yet to find them. I called their Rep in Anchorage. He had them reissue the checks. By this time it was almost December. I found a local auto body shop and gave them the checks, they ordered the parts necessary one of which was a complete fender. The fender arrived bent. pretty much, in half. They had to reorder the fender and as of this date we still don’t have a fender. That bent fender was the only one in all of Alaska. I, now, have no idea when the truck will be repaired. I’m selling the damned thing as soon as it is repaired. I can sell it for nearly as much as I paid for it in Florida 3 1/2 years ago. I might be 3-4000 down but I drove it for 3 1/2 years. A $1000 a year doesn’t seem an exorbitant price to pay for using a Dodge 3500 Double Cab Dually with a 8′ bed. It is a big truck that I no longer need. Seems a waste to haul trash to the dump and pick up a bit of lumber from Home Depot in it.

For those of you on the East Coast you are either drunk or getting drunk as it is a bit after 9:00 PM your time. Only just after 5:00 PM here in Fritz Creek, Alaska. I’M CALLING IT DONE. Stay safe and DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to a Happy New Year and less government intrusion..

24 December 2020 Thursday

The night before Christmas and all through the land the Democrats are saying, “Your Christmas is canned”. Out in the street I heard such a clatter went to the window and saw Black Lives Matter. Up on the roof top of my neighbor’s car was an ANTIFA whacking it with an iron bar. In tighty whiteys, shotgun in hand, I ran through the door thinking that the fun had began. I fired one shot into the air and they kept comin’ and I didn’t care because I knew I would just keep gunnin’. Loving wife in her house coat brings me the ammunition to keep me afloat. The BLM zombies kept coming and coming and not a moment too soon my neighbors came running. We bashed them, we shot them and splattered them asunder. We knew pretty soon the whole bunch would soon be six or more feet under. After it was over Steve, with his backhoe, dug a big hole and into the abyss their bodies we did roll. The moral to the story is that what the Socialist and Communists do in the Democrat big cities ain’t gonna play well in flyover country.

Curiosity is an odd thing but recently I have found that I am uncurious. Incurious? Non-curious? WHATEVER! My curiosity, like my ‘get-up-n-go’, seems to have got up and went. I’m not sure where it went. I am sure that it either no longer exists or exists only minimally in some parallel universe. I’ve decided that my lack of curiosity is attributable to either “I just don’t give a damn” or, perhaps, I already know everything I want to know or need to know. One thing I know with some certainty is that my ‘hard drive’ is full and that it keeps deleting stuff when new stuff is inputed. This causes me to leave one room and go to the next and not remember why I went there or not remember names of people I’ve known most of my life. I find myself at a point where I really don’t care why birds can fly, why grass is green or why a little salt makes sugar sweeter. Those and many other things happen daily and I marveled at them long ago. I now just accept that they proceed without the benefit of my curiosity. The point being that elections in the past 160+ years have assumed the same status. They just happen. I was sixteen, when Mayor Daly (Democrat, Chicago) stole the presidential election from Richard Nixon. A electoral cheating incident that is universally accepted as fact today. Cheating in elections is as American as apple pie starting in the 1850s by Tammany Hall in New York City. That set the bar high for the Democrats. The Tammany Hall method was copied in all of the major cities in the US. Cheating in elections was rampant and expected, if Democrats wanted to keep control of those cities. In this last election, the Tammany Hall (many of you didn’t get a single history lesson) formula was carried out on steroids. Cheating is not new. The cheating on the scale that just took place this past election is unprecedented. We Americans have always looked to the court system to rein in the avarice and unconstitutional behavior of the political class. This time, that has not happened. The entire court system seems unconcerned about the violations of state and federal law. They have refused to even examine the mountains of evidence and sworn affidavits of malfeasance. They have no curiosity and have simply accepted it. They have proceeded as if nothing has happened. As I’ve stated they have proceeded without the slightest curiosity as to the facts. Their determined refusal of oversight does not bode well for our Democratic Republic. Please to note that we are not a “Democracy”. The problem with this cheating is that, in order to compete, the other side will be forced to cheat. Either that or they will never win another election. With both sides cheating as fast as they can, the end of our Democratic Republic will be pretty damned close. There will be no confidence by any citizen that any politician was legally elected regardless of party affiliation. There really is only one solution. That solution is to do away with machine counting and only have in person voting. Then all votes will have to been hand counted. Sure there will be some cheating but not on the wholesale scale of this last election. Any solution that fails to do these three things is ripe for massive cheating in other ways. Humans adapt and will find another new way to cheat, if such a way exists. Without free and fair elections we are no longer a country we are just another ‘Banana Republic’.

We have been working hard to get the house in order. That has been an all consuming job. The super hard freeze I’ve been hoping for hasn’t happened. In the last hard freeze, I did get the center of the house leveled from end to end. The weather keeps warming and water keeps running under the house. The underneath is a swamp of mud, goose crap, duck crap and feathers. Not a place where you want to go belly crawling. The back part of the house needs to be lowered about and inch and a half. With the ground being soft, it is really not possible to jack it up and remove the shims. As soon as the rear wall is leveled the kitchen will get remodeled. New hardwood floors installed. New cabinets installed and we, finally, have something approaching normality. Summer will begin installing the hard wood flooring in the upstairs as soon as the rear wall is down. The remodeling of this old house is proceeding even with all of the impediments. Hopefully, by the Spring we will be at the end of our construction trials and our associated tribulations will be coming to an end. At last, I’ll be able to get the hell off this hill and get a life.

We’ve still got the geese and ducks in their own compound. The wind storm night before last knocked down the pallets that were acting as both gate and fence extension. Funniest thing is that the critters would not walk across the pallets to escape. Their freedom was right there in front of them and they were too afraid to move. Sounds like a lot of people around the world. Oddly the same thing happened to the chickens. A panel blew out of the greenhouse and it was right behind the roost I built for them. They could have stood on top of the roost and flown to their freedom but they didn’t. We Americans may be standing at similar point in time. Our freedom is right in front of us but we stay in the virtual government prison.

It has snowed, froze then rained and the froze again. The ground is covered in an inch or more of ice. Walking is scary. The thin cover of snow does not keep your feet from pressing through to the ice. I have gotten to the point where I do not go outside without wearing ice cleats. The time or two that I did I came dangerously close to bustin’ my old ass on the ground. Ay my age, 76, a hard fall on the ice might just be the Coup de Grau, The End, T-T-That’s All Folks. Since I am extremely allergic to death, I have assiduously avoided it regardless of the cost. By all rights, I should have been dead numerous times. I have been so close so many times that once I thought I saw the grim reaper standing in the hallway looking into my hospital room before my heart surgery in 2001. A couple of days after my 47th birthday I was visiting my father. This was just shy of two months before he died. He had lung cancer that was metastatic. He was paralyzed from the waist down and was confined to his bed. I, in my usual self absorbed Boomer manner, was telling him how I’d never really expected to live so long. He listened to my rant and at the end said nothing for what seemed several minutes. He had been staring at the wall in front on his bed as I talked and he continued to do so after I quit talking. After the pregnant pause he turned to me and said “Hell, Boy, I didn’t think you’d live to be 21”. That gave me a whole new perspective on life. He died in December and I cried like a baby at his funeral. I, like many first born sons, had a love-hate relationship with my father. This the 29th December after his death, I still remember.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to all branches the military who are just doing their jobs

6 December 2020 Sunday

Tomorrow is December 7th-Pearl Harbor Day. I wasn’t in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I was in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1963. only 22 years after the Japanese destroyed Pearl Harbor and sank a lot of ships including the Arizona. The ship I was on tied up to Hotel Pier which was just about 400 yards from the Arizona Memorial. I could walk out the back door of the Combat Information Center on the 03 level and look right at it. I saw it everyday when we were in port. I watched the boats taking the tourists to the memorial. To me it was a daily reminder that ships sink and people die. I never visited the Arizona Memorial. Just seeing it every day made me sad enough without setting foot on the Memorial platform. I was 19 years old and and becoming old man at the same time. In my three years onboard the USS Ponchatoula AO-148, I did nothing heroic. I did my job. That’s the contract you sign when you join any branch of the military. You agree to do a job, you are expected to do the job and the vast majority of military personnel do their jobs without question or serious complaint. They see their duty and they do it. I sometimes wear a baseball cap on which there are the military service medals. Often people will say “Thank you for your service” to which I reply “Thank you. I didn’t do very much.” A lot of us didn’t do very much. We simply did our job. The cap I wear was given to me by the son of a ‘Brown Water’ (River Boat) sailor who earned medals for his heroism while just doing his job. I’m not allowed to wear his heroic medals but I wear the cap with the ones that I am allowed in his honor. My youngest brother was in Vietnam with a Marine Recon group that killed a lot of people just doing their job. After returning to civilian life he was never the same. Most of the men and women who come back are never the same. They just did their jobs and those of you who were never in the military will not and cannot understand. So next time you see an active military person or a Military Vet say to him/her “Thank you for doing your job.”

This past week has been a doozy. Monday morning we awoke to 9F temperature. Tuesday morning it was 6F and snowing. Wednesday was another 6F morning. Thursday was a 2F morning and the water froze during the night. Friday was another 6F morning, Saturday was the same as Friday. Today, Sunday, it is 38F and raining. Dressed properly the 14-16F afternoons weren’t bad. I got a good bit of outside work done.

On Wednesday, Summer had to go into work. It was around 6F when she started her walk with the pack of dogs she supervises. The uphill walking made her feet sweat. Sweating is about the worst thing you can do in extreme cold. Her feet were hot right up until they weren’t. The dampness conducted the cold and by the time she got the dogs back to the van her toes were aching from the cold. It took thirty minutes or so for her toes to thaw out and they hurt like hell whilst they were thawing. She had, apparently, decided to wear the wrong boots for the weather. Fortunately, she carries extra clothing including socks in the event she gets wet. With her toes thawed she took her second pack of dogs for a walk that afternoon. Same thing happened and it happened sooner as her boots were slightly wet inside. Even after she got home she kept complaining about being cold. She now carries two pairs of boots along with a couple of pairs of dry socks. Lesson learned. I, on the other hand, spent the day kneeling, lying in and rolling around in the snow. My big task for the day was to remove the tires from the ‘parts’ Land Rover. The first thing was to shovel over a foot of crusty snow away from the vehicle. I needed room to get the jack under the car and to get the tires removed. I spent over an hour shoveling what seemed like a ton of snow away from the Rover. Then, because I have always aspired to be a bonafide redneck, i went to get concrete blocks to set the car on. A impediment to my aspirations to redneckness presented itself. The damned concrete blocks were frozen together. A drizzling rain late last week had wetted them enough that they were attached for the duration of the winter. I tried to separate the and managed to break one. That was four dollars shot to hell and the end of my redneck aspirations, concrete blocks and the beginning of jack stands. The ground is frozen and as hard as concrete so the jack stands will suffice until Spring. After that they’ll sink and likely disappear into the ground. Sometime between now and then I’ll need to get out my propane weed killer torch and defrost some concrete blocks to fulfill my redneck dreams. I had recently removed the lug nuts on the rear tires and replaced them with the non-factory lugs nuts off the ‘good’ Rover. When I did that lug nut switch, I only needed a 24 inch breaker bar to remove the lug nuts on the ‘parts’ Rover. The first thing I did was attempt to remove the lugs nuts from the front of the ‘parts’ Rover. I put all of my 200+ pound fat ass pushing down on the first lug nut and could not make it break loose. This led to a 20 minute search through a snow covered pile of scrap metal trying to find a piece of pipe heavy enough to use as a cheater bar. I found a three foot piece of pipe and returned to the task of removing the lug nuts so as to remove the tires. With it slipped about a foot over the 24 inch breaker bar, I now have 4 feet of leverage. With all of that leverage and again my 200+ pound fat as I was just barely able to break those lug nuts free. The kneeling in the snow was caused by taking off the loosened lug nuts. The lying down in the snow was caused by the need to place the jack and later to place the jack stands. The rolling in the snow was caused by tripping, sometimes on my own feet, and falling into the snow. I, usually, fell backwards or sideways and when attempting to get up I’d have to roll onto my belly and push myself up. The kneeling made the snow melt onto and into my snow pants, jeans and thermal underwear. When I would get up to walk around they knees of the garments would freeze. After the first tire removal, I was kneeling on ice knee pads for the removal of the other tires. All of this effort is to get the studded snow tires on their own rims. Having the tires changed from rim to rim ends up costs near $200 every year. If you have two sets of rims with the proper tires for the season, you can change them yourself for free. I am really, really fond of free. Yes, I did start sweating from the exertion. First I shed my trapper’s hat, shortly after that I shed my heavy wool sweater and I swapped gloves three times. Wet fingers are cold fingers.

On Thursday, we got up early to take Spike to the Dodge dealer to have the radio and the backup camera checked out. The radio comes on and turns off by itself. The backup camera comes on while you are going forward down the highway. Sometimes it comes on at 60 mph or won’t work at all when you shift into reverse. Both problems are random and therefore unpredictable. In my old age,I have come to expect things and people to do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it. Actually, that is something I’ve expected for the majority of my life. Oh Boy, have I ever lived a life of constant disappointment! The highway to Soldotna had areas of ice on our way up. Coming back the sun had heated up the asphalt and the road very near ice free. However, at this time of the year the sun is so low that there are places on the highway that get no direct sunlight. These places remain icy for the entire winter. Fortunately, there aren’t very many of them and the traffic makes ruts through them. All you have to do is stay in the ruts and you are driving on solid pavement. The rut thing remind me of times when I tried to keep my balance while walking on the rail of a railroad track. After dropping off the truck we came straight home. We had several chores that needed to be done. Bring in firewood, feed the critters, thaw out the water lines and a half dozen other menial tasks that I cannot remember. I think one of those chores was watering the critters. Since the house water was frozen, Summer shoveled snow into the water in their trough. The water trough has a heater that comes on for an hour every 4 hours the snow would be melted and the critters could drink their fill. By the time we finished it was beginning to get dark. Darkness comes early at this time of the year. The sun sets at just a bit after 4 PM and will set even earlier until the winter solstice in the latter part of December. By then the sunrise will be near 10:00 AM and the sun will set at near 4:00 PM. You have four and a half hours to get done whatever that needs to be done, if you don’t want to do it by flashlight. It is incumbent upon you to have a well planned day under these conditions.

Friday is a blur. I couldn’t tell you all of the things i did because they were small things and a lot of them. The only one I remember is installing the black iron gas pipe into the downstairs bathroom. That entailed drilling holes through several studs and an outside wall. That which would be a one hour job in Clearwater, Florida that took over two hours in Fritz Creek, Alaska. I can’t really use the downstairs bathroom anyway. The pipe that drains the bathtub and the hand sink burst in the first hard freeze. It did the same thing last winter. The problem is that burst on last summer’s repair and cannot be repaired again. The commode is unaffected by this problem. So now I take my showers upstairs and brush my teeth at the kitchen sink. It is a little inconvenient but later this winter I’ll be tearing out he bathroom and remodeling it so that all of the piping is larger and further under the house. Every winter the pipes burst or they freeze because they are all on an outside wall. By moving them inboard, making the drains larger and the angles deeper there should be nothing in the lines to freeze. After three years of this, I am well and truly tired of this annual aggravation.

Saturday we hit the road to Soldotna to pick up Spike at the Dodge dealer. We picked up the keys and Summer drove me to the back of the dealership where Spike had been parked. I turned on the ignition switch and the thermometer is reading zero. Diesel engines really hate cold weather. That is the reason for block heaters that you plug into 110v house power. There was no house power out in the back lot of the dealership. When I turned the key it took almost a minute and a half before he glow plugs got hot enough to start the engine. The damned thing really struggled to run when I cranked it and it was 30 minutes before it got warm enough to defrost the windshield. When it, finally, warmed up enough to clear the windshield I dispatched Summer back to Fritz Creek. I went to Home Depot to get parts to install the heater in the downstairs bathroom that I can’t use. Nobody ever said I was smart. Upon my arrival home I had but one task on my mind. That task was to get the tires I had struggled to remove from the ‘parts’ Rover into the bed of the truck. After that get the studded snow tire into the truck. It seemed to be two simple tasks. Just get the little trailer, hook it up to the 4 wheeler and load all four of them up. Simple. Not simple. The trailer had a flat tire, the 4 wheeler wouldn’t stay running and when it was running you could only carry one tire at the time. that which should have been a twenty minute job took almost an hour. Then all we had left to do was dig the studded tires out of the snow. They were between the two firewood tents. Simple, right? Not simple. The previous week’s rain had caused the snow to become ice and the tires were solidly frozen into on immovable pile. Summer tried digging them out but tit was to no avail. I got the jet heater, which was conveniently out of fuel. By happenstance, I had bought 5 gallons of diesel fuel for the tractor on my way home from Soldotna. With the jet heater refueled it still took almost and hour to extricate the tires. Now all that was left to do was load all eight rimmed and un-rimmed tires. Simple. No problem. WRONG!! The bed of the truck was completely full of snow and under that snow was 20 2x4s I purchased on a previous trip to Home Depot. 30 minutes later after shoveling out a bed full of ice ladened snow and removing the 2x4s we were able to load the tires.

Well, fellow campers, it is 00:41 AM December 7, 2020 In a few hours from now 79 years ago 3000 people died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Let us not forget their sacrifice.