Dad’s Alaska

30 July 2022

Here’s to the Mexican Cartels making drug and human trafficking great again

There are by some estimates nearly 2,00,000 people that have crossed the southern border illegally since the Biden Administration stopped enforcing the border. That number is about 2 1/2 times the population of Alaska or about 4 times the population of Atlanta or just a little less than the current population of Chicago. These people are from 100s of different countries. We have no idea who they are or where they have gone. They could be just regular people except that we have no way of knowing that. They could be spies, criminals or terrorists and we have no way of knowing that either. One thing we do know is that they have few, if any, intentions of fully integrating themselves into American society. They refuse to learn the language, they take over and turn neighborhoods into an American version of the craphole they left behind. If they do partly learn English it is just enough to take an American’s job. Along with this invasion comes a flood of drugs, primarily Fentanyl. This is a drug so deadly that a pound of pure fentanyl could kill over 200,000 people. Already over one hundred thousand and counting Americans, mostly under 30s, have died from fentanyl poisoning. This poison comes across the border in pill form stamped as some common drug that millions of Americans have taken over decades. There in lies the danger. People think that they are taking a sleeping pill, for instance, and go to sleep permanently. Tens of thousands more will die, if we don’t close the border and stop the drug smuggling. The question is how many more young Americans must die before the current US Government closes the southern border. The Mexican Cartels are making billions of dollars a year smuggling drugs and people. They are better armed than the Mexican government and I would not be surprised to learn that they have anti-aircraft missiles and other materials from the Biden Administration Afghanistan debacle of a nearly a year ago. They have the money to buy anything they want. The Mexican government is so corrupt that Mexican officials are, no doubt, benefiting from this illegal and deadly invasion of the mostly United States of America. At what point do we say ”Enough”.

Well, I’m calling that rant done. The ‘homestead experience’ continues. I’ve been running some appliance service calls and then returning home to work on various things, primarily firewood. I told a customer the other day that I was going home to chainsaw some logs and she asked me ”Why don’t you pay someone to do that?” I explained to her that it cost too much. She doesn’t live in Alaska full time and likely has no idea how expensive it has gotten to have split firewood delivered and stacked. Five years ago, when we first moved to Fritz Creek, you could but a cord of mixed birch and spruce firewood for about $225-$250 delivered and dumped in your yard. The current price of the same cord of firewood is now $350 and you might have to go get it and bring it home yourself. I’m currently buying a mix of spruce and birch in 8’ log lengths for $220 a cord. Even with the cost of fuel to haul it home I am still well under $240 a cord. The cost of processing is about $8 a cord for chainsaw and splitter gas. My labor is, of course, free except for the groceries I consume. So all totaled up and rounded up I’m paying about $250 a cord for the firewood. If I purchased the 12 cords of wood that I’m buying already processed the cost would be $4200. If I buy the logs and process it myself the cost is $3000. $1200 is a lot of money to waste in these times of $7 a pound hamburger meat and near $6 a gallon gasoline. This is not to mention the fact that our 500 gallon fuel oil tank is empty. Not almost empty. Absolutely empty, Nary a drop available. I am still afraid to ask the fuel oil supplier how much it will cost to fill that tank.

Today the forecast is for 100% rain. So far that has been correct. It is about 11:15 AM and the rain has stopped. This is likely temporary because the sky is still the same gray color as when it was raining 15 minutes ago. I had intended to finish up the chainsaw work on the remaining 40 or so logs left on the trailer. The logs range in size from about 5 inches to 15 inches with the average being about 8 inches in diameter. A couple of hours of concerted effort would have them lying on the ground and ready to split. I could put on my rain gear and take care of the logs but it is 54F and very damp outside and I have no desire to abuse myself. I have abused my body quite enough in the past 7 decades and further abuse is just ’piling on’. I texted ‘Dangerous Dan’ and suggested that he take the day off from the foundation repair that he is doing on our house. It was out of character but Dan agreed that working in the rain today was not a good idea. He has worked in the rain on the foundation project recently so as I said “it is out of character” for ‘Dangerous Dan’ to not work regardless of the weather. He has stabilized the house but it is not yet level and we have not poured any concrete footers under the center of the house or along the back of the house. That drudgery will come in the next few weeks. During that time I still have 6 more cords of wood to process and stack. The fun never stops. There are times when I think, that if I had known how much work living in Alaska would be, I’d still be in Florida. Most of the time I am happy to be here. I’m kind of like the old time comedian, George Burns. He often remarked when he went on stage late in his life, ”I’m happy to be here and at my age I’m happy to be anywhere.” He was in his 90s when he made that remark. I am only approaching 78 but I understand the sentiment.

Well, folks, that it for me. It looks as if the rain has subsided for a while and were getting a bit more light through the clouds. That means that the logs on the trailer are calling my name. It may be damp but I’ll likely be sweating before too long. Y’all be careful. It is a dangerous world, outside your front door.


Dad’s Alaska

28 July 2022

Here’s to China. They conquered America without firing a shot.

The Chinese Communist Party, hereinafter referred top aa the CCP, owns much of our farm and ranch land. They own a vast number of food processing plants in America AND they own most of our politicians. ”We the people” are screwed. The CCP has been at war with America since the 1940s. They have not surrendered or taken a step back. The have moved forward at a snail’s pace and consolidating each minor victory as they’ve moved. UNTIL NOW! The CCP controls most of the computer chip business, all of the solar panel business, much of the America food industry, 100s of thousands of acres of farm and ranch lands, untold 1000s of homes and apartments. While this war has been being waged politicians like Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Swalwell and a bunch of both Democrat and Republican politicians have either just stood by and watched or actively aided in the conquering of America. The entire Federal government has been co-opted by the CCP. There are two things left to the American citizens. 1. You can stop buying Chinese manufactured merchandise that would include computers, cell phones and a bunch of other crap you don’t need. You don’t need a new computer or cell phone every year or two. Do we have to satisfy our every retail fantasy at the expense of losing our nation and our freedom? 2. Call for and force your State Legislature to pass a resolution calling for a US Constitution, Article 5 ’Convention of States’. At said Convention the US Constitution may be amended by 34 States and ratified by 38 States. Changes to the Constitution should include term limits for the Congress and the repeal of the 17th Amendment The 17th federalized the US Senate. Before the 17th, the State legislatures appointed the Senators. This appointment process was the insurance that there would be no lifetime serving Senators and that the Senators represented their state and not the federal government. The 17th Amendment was the beginning of the slippery slope on which we are racing into the 3rd World abyss.

The next 2 cords of wood are here. I picked them up last Thursday and have made very little progress in processing them. For the last several days, I have been feeling exhausted. Last night I went to bed and hour early (11:00) and got up this morning 45 minutes late (8:45). I was feeling very tired when I arose but as the day wore on I felt much like my usual ‘busy bee’ self. I think that sometimes the enormity and sheer volume of things that need to be (must be) done just overwhelms my little pea brain. I, sort of, go into survival mode. Kind of a tip toeing past the grave yard scenario. If I just creep along the boogey man might not pay attention. The main problem with this behavior is that nothing gets done and more things pile up that must be done. Summer has continued to work 6 days a week delivering the mail on her 62 mile rural route. Most of her ‘Get up and Go’ has got up and went. She’s been coming home and stacking wood for an hour or so. This has led to the wood piling up outside the tents. Some of it is kind of green so the lying out in the rain has not helped it dry. I had hoped to be able to have all of the wood in split and in the tents by the end of August. It doesn’t appear that this is going to be the case. Jeff, my wood guy, has been slow in getting the 12 cords of wood that I agreed to purchase. With his failure to call and tell me he has the next two cords, I am not taking care of business like I should. Therefore, it is Jeff’s fault and not mine that I haven’t fully processed this last load of wood

Unstacked wood
Unsplit wood

Unbucked wood

The Dangerous Dan house leveling project is proceeding along swimmingly. He works all week at his regular job then spends Saturday and most of Sunday working to keep our house from falling off the pilings. I can tell that all of this work is grinding him down. Because I am not an expert at construction, I spent two summers trying to do what he has done in 3-4 weeks. By last summer I had given up on the project. However, this spring the house slid forward about 12 inches and Dan jumped in to save the house from becoming kindling. I’ve told you this before but it bears repeating. He is the only thing between us and homelessness.

I’m driving a 22 year old car. A 2000 Subaru Forester that day before yesterday lost a fan belt on the way home. This was not the first time that the same belt had failed. Since I was already changing the missing belt, I decided that it would be prudent to change both belts. This led me to discover that the belt adjustment idler assembly was broken and not adjusting anything. Since my car was not drivable, Summer had to pick up all of the necessary parts. This was a project for ”Stupidman”. I had already disassembled the belt idler when Summer arrived home with the new parts. The closeness the radiator cooling fan assembly to the Idler assembly was too small for my hands. There were two bolts holding this assembly to the engine block. I broke them loose with a socket but there wasn’t enough room to remove the bolts with the socket and ratchet. This left me poking my arthritic fat fingers down into the narrow slot and turn the bolts a quarter turn or less with each movement. It was a major bit of aggravation that took over 15 minutes. Then the idler adjustment screw would not come off the assembly. This led to another 15-20 minutes of aggravation. My fumble fingered efforts, finally, managed to reinstall the assembly back onto the car. All total this little project took two hours. Had there been a single inch of extra space this job would have taken less than 30 minutes. Like my old Grandpa used to say ”If it was easy anybody could do it and everybody would.” BTW the parts alone were $96. I suspect that doing the work myself saved us $200.

Fat fingers will barely go into this slot. The shiny parts are the new parts.

When I first started working on cars, back in the 60s, you could very nearly sit under the hood with your feet on the frame to work on the engine. Now under the hood there is barely room to put a tool on the engine. This is an improvement?

With about 90 days until the snow flies. This next few weeks we will be getting ready for the snow by picking up anything and everything that will become a trip hazard or end up in the intake of the snowblower. It’s that time of the year again. While we try to keep things picked up, we end up dropping one project to take up another or some emergency. This, inevitably, leaves things lying around where they shouldn’t be lying around.

Well, I’m done. I spent an hour chainsawing logs and now i’m through. It’s Vodka-thirty.

Dad’s Alaska

21 July 2022 Thursday Temperature 51.0F at 9:00 (1:00 EST)

Here’s to strong backs and weak minds. Mine in particular.

Got up this morning to another gray sky. There are no rainy looking clouds, just haze gray. Yesterday was much the same at the beginning but cleared up some and the sun was out for a few hours before cycling back to haze gray. I started off my the morning way overdressed. When I began to split firewood rounds, that quickly became obvious. I shed the raincoat, then a little while later the light sweater, then the long sleeve shirt and spent the rest of the day in a Tee shirt. I split rounds for five straight hours taking only two breaks. One to drink a bottle of water and the other to refill the splitter’s gas tank. The mound of rounds has been greatly reduced. I did not split the large and very heavy Birch rounds. Splitting these big boys is going to require moving the splitter to their location and from the horizontal to the vertical mode. There is no way I can pick these damned things up and put them on the splitter. Below are some pictures of the wood project progress. Compared to yesterday’s pictures the progress is obvious.

About two cords of split wood. Some Birch but mostly Spruce.
Some ’big boy’ Birch rounds and a small pile of Spruce are all that is left today.

Today, I have to go look at a nice lady’s washing machine before I get back to the splitting. I’d like to finish all of the small stuff today. Summer was looking at the Birch rounds and now wants a couple of night stands and other small tables. She want to use slabs of these heavy critters for these table tops. They’ll likely be very pretty but will definitely be a lot of work. I guess I know what I’ll be doing on rainy days in the future.

I haven’t read any news today but I’m certain that there is something stupid going on somewhere and probably In Congress.

It’s off to see the washing machine. Y’all keep it between the ditches and the greasy side down on The Yellow Brick Road.

Dad’s Alaska

20 July 2022 Temperature 49.8F at 9:00 AM (1:00 PM EST)

“Something evil comes this way.” I previously opined that in “The land of the Blind the one eyed man is king”. I suggested that the ”one eyed man’ might become the government doling out food. It is reported that the Netherlands are the prototype for the ’The Great Reset” using the ’Green New Deal’ as the template. And what do you know, I found this this morning. “

While I have been splitting some wood everyday, it has become imperative that I dedicate the next two days to that effort. Friday, I’m going to pick up two more cords of logs. If I don’t split the existing rounds I will have no convenient place to pile up the rounds from those two cords. I’m predicting a miserable couple of days in the neighborhood. Rain, shine, sleet, snow or round brown stuff falling from the sky, this pile of rounds must be completely split or, at worst case, greatly reduced in numbers. Yesterday, Summer got much of the previously split wood, and a good portion of what I had split during the day, stacked. Neither the splitting nor stacking is or can be done quickly. The hydraulic ram on the splitter cycles fairly slowly, I’m splitting the wood smaller and the stacking has to be done with some finesse in order to maximize the amount of wood that gets put into the tent.

On a lighter note, it’s another gray, dank day with the potential of rain. I built a fire and the dogs are huddled up to the stove. I’m down to the last half of my second cup of coffee and procrastinating as hard as I can. I know that when I get to the last drop of coffee, It’ll be ’Game On’. Socks, meds, comb hair, brush teeth, pull on a light sweater and my stuff my feet into a pair of Xtratufs. After that, I will don a raincoat and a water proof hat. And then, finally, I will be ready for 50 degree temperature of the great outdoors.

Y’all have a great day whatever you end up doing or not doing

Betsy Boo napping by the fire

Buddy dozing off
Taco looking like roadkill.
The rounds yet to be split.
About a cord of wood stacked and unstacked

Dad’s Alaska

18 July 2022 Temperature 51.4F at 9:00 AM (1:00 PM EST)

Here’s to Monkeypox. It made people forget about COVID.

The Monkeypox outbreak in New York and particularly in New York City has the Gay community in a panic. There are people now blaming Uncle Joe and his minions for not getting this vaccine out sooner. They had the Covid non-vaccine out all over the place in a few weeks. The Monkeypox vaccine seems to have been or most of it still is on a slow boat from China. Fortunately, the Monkeypox vaccine is a true vaccine because after you take it you can’t/don’t contract the Monkeypox. This is unlike the COVID ’vaccine’ where you take two shots and 47 boosters and still come down with COVID. Anyway, so far the Monkeypox is mostly in the Gay community as was AIDS for a short while. Will we all be forced to get a Monkeypox vaccination very soon? Or like the Flu and now COVID are we just going to have to live with it? The answer is probably not. The Flu and COVID are now endemic which in layman’s terms means that the horses are already out of the barn and there’s no good reason to close the doors. If the Monkeypox starts spreading into the general population, I will be first in line to take the vaccine. The Monkeypox vaccine and previous vaccines used against it have been around for decades. I was hiding in the bushes when they were trying to give me the COVID stuff. I had read the early VAERS reports and I wasn’t having it. No way. No how. Enough of this foolishness!!

Been splitting wood like there’s no tomorrow. Actually, we are likely less than 100 days from snow. I really don’t want to be, as in previous years, splitting and stacking wood in snow and 15-20 degree weather. Every year is a race to cut, split and stack the wood for the coming winter. Summer, my darling daughter, has a new chore for every day she comes home from work At least, 30-45 minutes of stacking wood.

As for me, I will be splitting wood after I make some kind of door for the greenhouse. This piece of crap has just been shaking itself apart in the wind. There are ten million little bolts and almost all of the have had to be tightened over and over. The entire door assembly simply fell off. Chinese junk and I’m not talking about a boat. Well that’s it for now. “Hi Ho, It’s off to work we go.”

Buddy sleeping on my bed

19 July 2022 Temperature 52.4 at 9:00 AM (1:00 EST)

Today, Tuesday, is ’Old Farts’ day at Safeway. In addition to whatever is on sale, we get an extra 10% discount. Not a great deal of money is saved but it is worth the drive into town as we make a list of things we need or want all during the week and I buy it on Tuesday. Yesterday the sun shone brightly for a few hours and then it began to rain AGAIN. Now the forecast for the next ten days is 40-60% chance of rain. We are on the cool side of a very wavy jet stream. for some interesting weather updates. I really need to mow but mowing tall wet grass just clogs up the mower and takes 2-3 times longer. The greenhouse door install did not go as planned. I will need to make the door a couple inches more narrow and get some decent hinges. The hinges in the picture are an old plastic flower pot cut into pieces. It will, for now, suffice to keep the warm air in the greenhouse. I’ll get it done before the snow flies. Today’s itinerary is Safeway, hardware store and home to the wood splitter. I split wood earlier and then split more, for about an hour yesterday, while Summer sacked the splits into the tent. She got almost a half cord stacked during the hour. There is still a big pile to be stacked and I’ll be adding more today. The splitting process is taking longer because, while the wood is technically ’Dead Standing’. it is still pretty wet and I’m have to make smaller pieces to insure that it dries properly. My wood guy, Jeff, texted me yesterday that he had another 2 cords of wood ready for pickup. I’ll go up to Soldotna Thursday or Friday to haul it home Well, here we are again. I’ve had my requisite 32 ounces of coffee and it’s time to get to work. I need to load the dishwasher, wipe down the countertops and clean the top of the stove before shoving off to ’Old Farts’ Day at Safeway. Before I go, here is a Monkeypox update

Wood split and wood stacked.
The really, really crappy door install on a really crappy greenhouse’
The doors before my halfassed attempt to repair. This greenhouse was a serious mistake in purchasing.

Dad’ Alaska

Here’s to COVID because it allowed us to see our politicians for what they are ie. Potential Dictators.

13 July 2022

My adopted brother, Dave and his wife, Lisa are on COVID Quarantine again (Dave is ’Dangerous’ Dan’s older brother). At least, I think it is again. They’ve had the shots and a booster but are again put upon by the new OMICRON Covid monster. The variant going around up here in Homer, Alaska is the OMICRON, so I’m told. I have read reports that it is about the same intensity as a bad cold. I was seeing my doctor about my trailer hitch shortened finger and I mentioned that it appears that the current state of affairs seems to be a “Pandemic of the Vaccinated”. He laughed and acceded that it did appear that it was indeed the case, while admitting that he had been vaccinated. There are millions of us recalcitrants who have not been nor will we ever be vaccinated with a product that does not protect us nearly 100% from the disease for which it is intended. You take the Bubonic Plague vaccine and you are pretty much 100% immune to any exposure to that plague. The same applies to Chicken Pox, Polio, Measles and others but not to COVID. By definition, a vaccine protects you from the disease therefore the “COVID vaccine” is not a vaccine. The government is selling ”Taking the vaccine lessens the symptoms”. whilst vaccinated people were dropping like flies from previous variants. However, unvaccinated people who’ve contracted the OMICRON variant state that ”It was like a bad cold”. Which means Fauci, the CDC and the NIH are either uninformed or lying. You decide. Ultimately, millions of “We the people” refuse to be stampeded into a behavior that might be more detrimental to our health than OMICRON or any other COVID variant.

It has been a cold summer by my experience. Some people seem to think that it is normal but 51.4F at 7:30 AM and then only 53.9 at noon seems a bit chilly to me. I built a fire this morning. The sun was behind a thick layer of clouds and it felt damp in the house. Burning some of the newly acquired and split wood warmed me for the fourth time. The first three times, cutting it, splitting it and stacking it were not nearly as gratifying as sitting near the warm wood stove. This past weekend, I chainsawed 2 more cords of logs into rounds using my 14” RYOBI chainsaw engine pulling a 16” bar and chain. This $129 or $139 chainsaw has cut over 20 cords of wood, several trees and starts 2nd or 3rd pull every time. It even started on the third pull after having set up all last winter. It has been a remarkable piece of equipment. I bought a brand new STIHL a few years ago that was a useless piece of junk. It often took 10-15 pulls to get it started, if it would start at all. Almost $400 and it was a POS. I will never buy another piece of STIHL equipment.

Some pictures of before and after. I’ll need to start the splitting and stacking, in earnest, soon.

The loaded trailer with some large Birch limbs on the front
Some huge Birch rounds
The trailer load reduced to rounds ready to be split.
Another view of the 4 cords of rounds ready to be split.

I don’t think I’ve told the remarkable story of Summer’s chicken boy friend (not Dangerous Dan). We were given a ramshackle chicken house by a lady relocating to the Lower 48. The terms of the gift included having to take the few chickens and the several ducks. We agreed and it took most of one day to get the chicken abode onto our trailer and unloaded at our place. This was in the late summer. We kept and fed these chickens and the few that we had prior to this transaction through the winter. The next Spring, chicks were hatched in our incubator. Among those chicks was a chick that became an extraordinarily pretty rooster chick as he got a few weeks old. Fast forward about 2 months and he was handsome and becoming more handsome by the day. Summer thought him so handsome that she named him Fabio after the handsome guy that graced the covers of dozens of romance novels back in the 90s. Then one day Summer went into the chicken coop to get the eggs and feed the chickens only to find herself face to face with a small black bear attempting to open the galvanized trash can where we stored the food. This upset Summer and we decided that the chickens had to go. We gave them all to a couple who had done some work for us on the same terms we acquired the chicken house. ”You can have the chickens but you have to take the chicken house.” They agreed and Summer started catching chickens and loading the in to carriers. Summer had caught Fabio and a hen which she placed in the first carrier. The couple’s son was the door keeper on the carrier and he opened the door too soon for the next two chickens and Fabio escaped. All of the other chickens were caught and hauled away to their ‘old’ new home. Fabio, however, had escaped into the bush and was not seen again for months. We decided that he had become dinner for some critter out in the wild. That was not the case. In late winter, approaching Spring, Summer saw him roosting in a Spruce tree about 20 feet from where the chicken house had been. She tried to catch him after dark on a couple of evenings with no luck. We had and have no idea what he ate or where he roosted during that hard winter. Anyway, Summer began putting food out for him and he, eventually, began to wander around the property. Soft hearted Summer decided that he was lonely and bought two hens from a neighbor to keep him company. The remarkable survival of Fabio through a winter where there was, apparently, nothing to eat and the temps had been as low as -6F is a testament to his unbelievable tenacity. And that fact does not even address the constant dangers of eagles and other very hungry carnivorous critters wandering around in the snow looking for their next meal. His winter survival is nothing short of a miracle. Now that he has been back for a couple of years, Summer will not even consider getting rid of him. And that is how we ended up with 15-20 free range chickens. Fabio has been a busy boy.

The Fabulous Fabio and a couple of his lady friends

Dangerous Dan and his brother, Dave were working on the house foundation this past weekend. They nailed all of the plywood to the studs and beams supporting the house. Dan had put just enough nails in them to keep them attached to the studs, during the previous weekend. Dave put a ton of nails in them to insure that they would never move. After that they jacked up the other corner of the house and installed more beams and studs. Dan did not want to apply the balance of the plywood before removing all of the now useless beams and structures under the edge of the house. This needs to be done so that the foundation can be insulated. If the foundation is not insulated the ground freezes around it and it heaves. The frost heaving ground can and will break or lift the concrete foundation. Breaking or lifting the foundation is not a good thing since it would require a great deal more money and work to repair it. Even with the free labor this project is costing $7000+. I had given up, if Dan hadn’t jumped in to do this, I guess that the house would have fallen off the existing piling foundation before winter and left Summer and I homeless. This house was built on pilings that some only went 2-3 feet into the ground. Some of the pilings were untreated Spruce logs others were chunks of old power poles. The Spruce logs had rotted away completely and I had replaced them with house jacks. The house has moved so much that the house jacks had been pushed over and are no longer supporting anything. I replaced the house jacks with concrete blocks topped with a wooden pad. The house moved more and some of the concrete blocks fell over or were no longer supporting anything.. Now, in a couple of more weeks, the house movement will be stopped for the foreseeable future and I and Summer will continue the inside renovation. I had quit on the house because I was expecting it to become a pile of kindling very soon. I am now re-enthused and ready to start the interior renovation as soon as Dan says that the house will no longer move. We will still have to do some more jacking to get the entire house level. I am really and truly tired of living in a disaster area.

Here are some pictures of the progress and the potential disaster.

The southwest corner of the house reinforced with beams and studs.
An 8 inch piling and the house is no longer sitting on it.

Concrete blocks no longer supporting anything

The leaning pilings under the house and the goose destroyed insulation on the sanitary drain.
Another shot of Dan and Dave’s handiwork, on the southwest corner, this past weekend.

Some time during this week I have to move the water line feeding the house as it is in the way of getting in another stud on that SW corner. Also, since the house has moved more, it is once again in a strained position. Adding a bit of pipe will eliminate the 90 elbow and the potential for it to come apart at one of the joints. As you can see I have already had to take the strain off once before. That is how the 90 elbow came to be installed.

Well that’s it for today. I’ve got to get my old bones back to work.

Dad’s Alaska

8 July 2022

Here’s to Summer! All five days were wonderful.

9:00 AM It’s July 8 and it’s 51 F outside and it’s raining. I built a fire in the wood stove. It’s uncomfortably cool and damp. There could not be a more depressing day, at least for myself. While it is technically still Summer but we are starting to get little glimpses into our rapidly approaching cold future. Normally, at this time of year, I have my blackout curtains pulled tight. During the Summer sun is relentless and shining 17+ hours a day and can and does interrupt normal sleep patterns. Almost everyone in Alaska has their blackout curtains pulled tight so as to get some much needed sleep. Yesterday I decided that my bedroom curtains were going to stay open. I’m not too worried about Peeping Toms as I doubt that anyone, and I do mean anyone, wants to see a 77 year old man take off his clothes and go to bed. I’ve been working so much that sleeping is not a problem and I don’t want to miss any of the light. It’ll be dark or darkish for about 17 hours a day very soon and I don’t want to miss any of that gorgeous golden sunshine. I want to go to sleep looking at it and wake up looking at it. Of course, this decision comes a few weeks late. Then there was still bright daylight when I crawl into bed some where between 11 and midnight. Last night at just after 11:00, it was almost dark. Another one of life’s missed opportunities.

If you’ve been to the grocery store or your local gas station, you are likely suffering from ’Sticker Shock’. Now granted, I am old. However, even though it’s been over 60 years since I worked in the grocery store meat market with my father, I cannot believe the prices. I was in our local Safeway a couple of days ago, last Tuesday, I think. Anyway, as Summer, my wonderful and beautiful daughter, is working six days a week delivering the US Mail, I decided that I’d pickup some quick and easy dinner. I was thinking, maybe a roasted chicken, a couple of fresh veggies and something for dessert. I proceeded to the Deli and found that there were only two roasted chickens remaining. I was considering myself fortunate that there was anything left, as this is the tourist season. The Homer economy is geared to the tourist trade, they are like locusts. They clean out virtually everything in both grocery stores. There are aisles that have fewer cans of product than my own pantry. So back to the roasted chicken. I was about to put it into my basket when I decided to check the price. $12.83 !!!!!! Yikes! I quickly put that 2 pound critter back onto the heated shelf. Can you say ’Sticker Shock’? I can remember, while i was still in high school, working in the meat market and that we were selling fryer chickens for 17 cents a pound. For 17 cents a pound we cut them into pieces and wrapped them. I must have parted out a zillion chickens. Rotisserie roasted chickens were about a dollar-twenty-five. Dad roasted them, at least, three times a week and covered them in his special BBQ sauce on Fridays. They made the store smell wonderful. The point of this trip back into the distant past is that while things have become easier in many ways they really haven’t become any better. Food, gasoline and diesel are at the highest prices in the history of America. There is a looming worldwide food shortage and who knows what else whether the lights will stay on. There is an old adage, ”In the Land of the Blind, the one eyed man is king”. I am afraid that the ” man with one eye” will be the government doling out the food. Whoever controls the food controls the people. People will submit to or do anything to feed themselves and their families. The ”New World Order” seems to be the old world order where a few people controlled all of the land and the people were slaves to them. If you haven’t been stockpiling food, you may become one of the slaves. Just two years ago food, and fuel were cheap and plentiful compared to todays’ prices and shortages. The entire American economy is not just in shambles it is a full on disaster. I don’t have to say it but you know who to blame.

With winter rushing toward us like a runaway freight train, I have been busy buying, hauling and processing firewood. Normally, I would stop at 8-9 cords. However, in light of the exorbitant price of fuel oil, this year I’m doing, at least, 12 cords. I’ve heard it said that you aren’t a ‘real Alaskan’ until you’ve had to burn the furniture to stay warm. Two things: Much of the furniture is not flammable and there isn’t more than a day or three of it that is flammable. House empty in three days and then freeze to death. NOPE! This year I am able to buy some Birch logs which are much more dense and burn hotter than the Spruce logs that we’ve had for the past 5 winters. The 500 gallons of fuel oil we normally have in our tank, that is now empty, will likely cost in excess of $2800. I’m guessing the price because I’ve been afraid to ask the price. I do know that we’ll be buying it a hundred gallons (the minimum delivery) at the time, as we can afford it.

The first two cords of security.
Birch rounds
These are some of the limbs off of a huge Birch tree.
The next two cords waiting to be processed.

At last, we are getting the foundation under the house. I had given up. I simply did not possess the necessary skills to fix what was slowly becoming an instant disaster. The house was slowly moving to the point that it would simply fall off the pilings and become a pile of kindling. Dangerous Dan, Summer’s significant other, is an expert in these matters. He has stepped in for free to stabilize the house and get a proper foundation under it. In spite of the free labor, this project will cost about $7000.

This is an older house built, in 1982, on pretty much whatever happened to be handy. Mostly old creosoted power poles and chunks of Spruce logs. None of the sunk more than 2-3 feet into the ground. With every freeze and thaw they moved up and down and slowly but surely leaned toward the downhill side of the house. We had maybe another year before we would be living in a tent and become homeless.

Substantial progress has been made.

Dangerous Dan made a lot of progress in a few days.

Yep, we need to paint on the house. But because the house was apt to become kindling I really had no desire to splash out for several hundred dollars for paint. Paint will likely become a reality next Spring.

Much of my life has been or should have been a TV show called ’How Stupid Can You Be’. I barely graduated from a high school whose year book was call ”Retrospect’. This was a book that sold for $15 that I could not afford to purchase. My only participation in that book was a Senior picture. No accolades. No participation. Just a blank space under my name and I was then and am now okay with that. I learned more in the 3-4 books a week that I checked out of the library than from all of the classes that I took. I do not know why Aristotle and Socrates were interesting for the same reason that Treasure Island, and hundreds of others caught my attention. All through high school, I was forced too visit various Student Counselors whose constant refrain was ”Robert, we know that you can do better than this.” The problem was and is that I couldn’t. I was being smothered. Education then was stultifying and now has lapsed into pure stultifying indoctrination. The NEA was just cranking up when I was in school. Now this same organization is selling ”I’m here, I’m queer and hand me a beer” to the children in kindergarten. I may be wrong but I don’t think that that equates to ”Mom and Apple Pie”.

I joined the Homer VFW a few months back. I haven’t been much of a joiner since a joined the Naval Reserve in 1961 at age 17. I was a pretty good sailor. I did my job. I didn’t do much. I was a Radarman on a ship that refueled other ships at sea. I made three trips to the South China Sea. Mostly boring as hell with moments of sheer terror. The reason I mention this is that I can’t seem to bring myself to go to the VFW Club. I’m not entirely sure why but I suspect that it is because I am afraid that I will meet someone like my late younger brother (Marine Recon) that really is a hero and next to him I’m a slug. My brother was the nicest most gentle man you might ever meet. I was standing next to him when a moron asked him ”Did you ever kill anybody?’ His answer was a classic. He replied ”Only women and children”. After he died from some weird cancer, it occurred to me that what he said was, at least, partially true. The NVA would put a gun in the hands of women and children during a firefight. The American soldiers had no idea who was or wasn’t the enemy. My brother, the poor bastard, had a dump truck load of guilt that he did not deserve. If the Agent Orange cancer didn’t kill him his guilt did. It’s a little late but Semper FI, Brother Doug.

I am back to my old game. I am repairing appliances for the nice folks around Homer and Anchor Point. Obviously, I can use the money but more than that after nearly 5 years of living on this hill mostly alone, I needed to see and talk with other human beings. Making a few bucks is good but interacting with other humans is wonderful. I am happy as a clam in soft sand that I get off this Greer Road hill a few times a week.

Well that’s it for me. It’s 11:42 and I have a refrigerator to repair tomorrow and 2 cords of wood to process. Good Night!