Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to the end of winter.

Spring in Alaska is an ugly, but happy time of the year. The winter was lo-o-ong. Interminable seems a good description. We have worked all of the way through. I was led to believe that when the winter set in the work outside stopped. You would spend the winter eating, drinking and getting fat. That might be true somewhere in Alaska but not here. I am fully disabused of this fairy tale. The work never stops. Critters must be fed and watered. Water has to be hauled. Firewood brought in. Fires built and continuously fed. And all of that is just the daily stuff. The longer term stuff has been continuing the remodeling of the house, getting Summer’s new garden store ready, snow mowing. For Summer’s business, we got the deck down and the greenhouse/tent up before the winter set in. During the winter we spent a lot of time getting the interior ready for the opening in the Spring. We have been struggling to fund the store. It seems simple but it takes a lot of money to get the business started. Summer has bought thousands of dollars in inventory in preparation for the opening on April 29. I sold Spike. I really didn’t need to keep making payments on that big Ram Dually for it to spend, sometimes, a week or 10 days sitting idle. Most of the use of Spike was to haul trash to the dump. Not a really good use of a $37,000 truck. Summer’s business was the beneficiary of the Spike sale after we purchased a 3/4 ton dual cab Ford truck. It’s a nice truck but it ain’t Spike.

The replacement truck.

There is a lot to be said for being completely out of. debt. BUT I sure do miss Spike.

An old man badly needing a haircut and a shave.

We had frozen water problems AGAIN, this winter. I have had it with water worries. I took 12′ of the Conex, walled it up and insulated it. I had to leave a walkway through for the time being. I will be installing another door ASAP. I had expected to install the 1000 gallon tank in the Conex. However, the tank was frozen to the ground and was not moveable. As of this morning, the tank is still frozen to the ground. One of the reasons, beyond the freezing water problem, for the larger tank is the cost of water. With the small tank (500 gallons) the water delivery service is charging us about $270 a month for their service. If we install the larger tank they will deliver the water for about $65 dollars a month. That is the reason that every Monday I haul water from town. The water is free but the gasoline is not. At any rate, the gasoline is way yonder cheaper than having the water service deliver. I’ll finish this project, after the tank comes loose from the frozen ground. Once the new tank is in place and plumbed, I can cease the water hauling operation.

You can still see the ice under the tank.
Insulation between the studs

I built shelving for Summer’s store. It was an easy enough task. It took a lot of time but I figured out the first shelf unit and then was able to precut all of the wood. The assembly was relatively easy. Time consuming but easy. She has already filled most of them with pots. She is going to Anchorage this weekend to get all of the plant starts. The wholesaler has been a little behind so Summer is a little behind in making the plants available for sale. I had installed a small wood stove in the greenhouse portion of the business. It has not worked out very well. I tried to convert it to a drip oil stove and this worked less well than the wood fuel. Now I am going to install a oil fired heater. It has a fan to circulate the heat and is very efficient. This will give the greenhouse a little heat. The current night time temperature is still falling into the mid 30s. That temp will not be good for the new plants. In a couple of weeks the night temps will be in the 40s which will be okay and will allow the end of heating problem.

The wood/oil drip stove that doesn’t produce enough heat.
Shelving built for trays of plants.

Summer has installed the new oak flooring in this upstairs of this ramshackle house we purchased. She did it with some help from Dan (her significant other) and a fair amount of cussing. It looks very good. I am happy that it was her project and not mine. I don’t think I have the patience for the intricacies of hardwood flooring.

Summer’s new oak flooring

Well that’s it for me. I’ll try to post more often. Thanks for reading the blog.

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