Dad’s Alaska

29 December 2021

Here’s to my hero. OMICRON!!!!!!

Our freedom is, apparently, being saved by a virus. The Omicron virus is, by all accounts, a very mild illness. People who have had it have remarked that it was like having the common cold. It seems to be causing a bunch of reported cases but fewer and fewer hospitalizations and deaths. We are, at last, being able to see a light at the end of the tunnel that is not an oncoming train. The politicians are not going to want to relinquish their newly found power. At some point, we’ll just have to ignore the politicians and go on about the business of living our lives. Anyway, it seems that the Omicron virus is enough like Delta and the other variants that it will give immunity to the other more deadly viruses. As I said earlier, we are being saved by a virus. I still have not taken the MRNA gene therapy ”vaccine”. The military researchers have come up with a real vaccine that I suspect will never see the light of day. This is because too many politicians and bureaucrats have too much of a vested financial interest in the MRNA gene therapy. Now there is a pill you can take, if you get the virus that seems to be very effective. The drug companies have finished the major drug trial i.e the coerced vaccination of 200 million Americans and only God knows how many others outside the US with an experimental drug. Sad thing is that the experimental drug did not stop the spread of the virus. Millions of people took the ”vaccine” and still got sick, spread the virus and many died. I’m reminded of the scene at the beginning of The Walking Dead where they discover that there is no cure for the virus that created the zombies.

The last picture of Miss Suzy

Little Miss Suzy was the last vestige of 43 years of marriage to my wife and my best friend. Summer and I had to take her to the Vet and have her put down. Some disease in small dogs makes the throat collapse. She got to where she couldn’t eat or drink. It is a terrible thing to have to kill that which has become almost another child to me. Suzy was Connie’s dog. She doted on this little critter right up until the last days of her life. When Connie was in hospice, I would take Suzy to visit. Suzy was a bed hog. She would sleep on top of the bed covers between Connie and myself. Some how every morning I would find myself barely on the bed and Suzy lying across the bed. She pushed me so that she could be comfortable. After Connie passed away, she continued to sleep on the bed and I gradually became her human. That did not stop her from shoving me to the edge of the bed. I did become comfortable having her sleeping against my back. Her little warm body was like having a heating pad against my sometimes sore back. Connie died almost 5 years ago and I got the honor of being Suzy’s human since then. She went everywhere I did. She made 3 trips on the ALCAN as were going to and from Alaska. She was the perfect passenger. She was on my lap looking at the scenery or sound asleep. She was no trouble at all during our travels. For almost 50 years, I have not slept alone. It has been an adjustment. I miss my wife terribly but I, also, am missing Suzy. She was my buddy and her presence pretty much was the only thing that kept me sane after Connie died.

Summer’s two barkity critters. Taco looking at us and Betsy Boo sound asleep.

As you can see in the picture, we still don’t have the oak flooring down. We are going to rewire the entire house which entails taking out all of the sheetrock on the walls and ceilings. There will be a lot of tramping around on the floor and a crap load of sheet rock pieces and dust so the floors have to wait. We have the flooring, we have the kitchen cabinets and we have the wire. It is now just a matter of waiting until Spring. The entire kitchen has to be removed and we’ll have to set up a cook house outside. That is the one thing we really can’t do in the winter. As I have stated previously, I have surrendered to the house as far as getting it level is concerned. I have a guy coming when the ground thaws to pour some concrete and stabilize the house. After that I might be able to level it. The original plan was to lower the house to level it. However, I’m inclined to raise it a couple of feet so that I can get some heavy beams mounted of concrete pillars.

Winter is bad for your health. There is no way to work outside in 18 inches of snow. Any serious construction will have to wait for spring. During the summer I would rack up 2 and sometime 3 miles of walking around the property along with whatever exercise that the current job required. Since the snow started, i’ve been sitting on my rear end doing nearly nothing except eating all day Chewing does not count as exercise. All of this eating and inactivity led to my gaining 5 pounds. Since I’m already about 20 pounds too heavy an extra 5 pounds isn’t a good thing. My solution to the growing poundage is to walk, at least, 2 miles every day. I thought that I might be biting off more than I could chew but two miles seems to be the correct number. I get a little cardio going up the hills on the road and it doesn’t completely exhaust me.

We’ve had a heat wave. The daytime temps have been at or above freezing for most of a week now. The snow on the roads has become ice and I’ve been forced to wear cleats on my walks. This is Wednesday and they are predicting 80% chance of snow for Thursday and Friday. This will likely put us to over two feet of snow on the ground and cause me to be wrestling with the snow blower. I was going to build a snowman but the snow was too dry and wouldn’t ball up.

Since Christmas, I have been eating soup for every meal. I made potato soup the day before Christmas and it was very good. Summer and I ate a lot of it that evening. I had it for dinner last night and breakfast this morning. I made a Minestrone soup on Monday which I alone have eaten for every meal this week that wasn’t potato soup. I am about souped up to my eyeballs. The rest of the minestrone is headed for the freezer.

As you can tell there isn’t much going on here at the homestead. I’ve watched too much Antique Aliens, Unexplained and news shows. There is always one little chore or project to do but 30 minutes later you are stumped as to what you might do next. Most of the time there is nothing else to fo but screw around on the computer or watch another dumbass show in search of Sasquatch, Antique Aliens gold, tuna, crabs or even worse watch the depressing news

Yesterday on my walk a moose cow decided that I was not going to pass her by. She ran out into the road as as I was approaching. I backed up and walked up a drive way and stood behind some brush. I stood very still for about five minutes. Abruptly, she turned and trotted back up the hill where she had been eating. I, again, got back on the road to continue my walk. The crazy moose then ran back into road and stood in the way I intended to go. I was only about 300 yards from the house and Summer happened to looking in my direction and saw the moose and me. Summer drove down to where i was and the car noise made the crazy moose run off down the slope. The first time it blocked my way, I was within 15 feet or so. In other words, too damned close. People in Alaska are more afraid of moose than bears. Moose kill far more people than bears is a fact of life in Alaska. There aren’t a whole bunch of things that scare me but that moose scared the crap out of me. I was so scared I forgot to take pictures

Below are some pictures I took on my walkabouts and from the house.

Midday sunshine
My old ugly mug. I ain’t pretty no more. It was about 33 degrees when I took the picture.
Dawn on the homestead
Dawn a few minutes later
The sun is setting while I’m walking down Tom Cat Drive at about 3:45 pm
An absolutely beautiful Alaska sunset taken on Hill Ave just before Tom Cat Drive.
Another picture along Tom Cat Drive

Well that’s it for me. I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and may your God bless each and every one of you.

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to the Omicron virus that might save us all from COVID forever

I’m pretty much isolated from the human race up here on Greer Road hill. Yeah, I have the interweb and streaming TV. My isolation is physical rather than mental. I talk and text with friends in Florida fairly regularly and I harass a few people on Fakebook when I’m not in Fakebook jail. I think I’ve done about 16 thirty days stents plus several 3 and 7 days sentences. I figure that if they aren’t putting you in jail you aren’t spreading the truth. Anyway to my point, I read several on line newspapers every morning whilst sucking down 32+ ounces of coffee. I just read a day or so back that GlaxoSmithKline have developed a real COVID vaccine. I haven’t taken the jabs that are currently available as I’ve been waiting on a real vaccine that is not the MRNA gene therapy currently being foisted upon the public as a ”vaccine”. The CDC changed the definition of ”vaccine” in order to call this gene therapy a vaccine. This new vaccine, apparently, generates a natural resistance to COVID like the polio or measles vaccines. According to what I’ve read it has few, if any side effects and encourages the bodies own defenses to recognize and attack the COVID virus over much longer periods of time. It is being approved for use in Great Britain but is unlikely to be approved in the US. This is because the CDC/NIH/FDA and other alphabet agencies have a reputed financial interest in the MRNA vaccines being used in the US. It’s another ”Follow the Money” deal. I guess I’m naive but I was not aware the government agencies ( and maybe government employees) could profit from research done with taxpayer money. Anyway, the take away on this is that there is a better, safer real vaccine out there that you probably won’t hear ever about here in the Marxist Republic of America. Now on to more mundane and non-medical things.

Much to our surprise it is blowing our third blizzard for this winter. The entire property is covered in about 18 inches of previous snow with another six to ten inches predicted for this blizzard. Those items which we did not picked up have disappeared until late April or early May. The same goes for all of our outside projects. I had intended to put a porch deck on the back of the house in November. And then frame in a walled, roofed ‘Arctic Entry’ atop the porch deck. In that entry we would have had a bench, a place to hang coats, other outerwear and snow covered boots. That just isn’t going to happen. The Fall and early Winter has been colder than in previous years. We bought ten cords of firewood logs this year. I reduced them to rounds, split and stacked most of it myself. Ended up doing the last two cords with only one working arm. I had some surgery on my left shoulder. The doctor told me to not pick up more than five pounds with that arm. I waited until six days after the surgery to start splitting the last two cords. I was using the left arm just to balance the round before I put it on the splitter.

The geese have, finally, resigned themselves to their captivity. They are no longer trying to get around, over, under or through the fencing. Their pond has frozen solid so we’re having to take water to them every day. Taking water to them every day is a small chore until you find yourself ’post holing’ through 18 inches of snow. This struggle led to starting the snow blower. The snow blower was built for the genteel suburban snow. That is to say moving snow off concrete or asphalt paving. The suburbanite opens his/her garage door, starts the snow blower and cleans his/her driveway and sidewalk. No problem as the machine is operating on a hard surface and does not get stuck every three feet. The narrow tires sink into the snow left behind and will not proceed forward. When shifted into reverse it will not back up without some major snatching and jerking to get it out of the holes the tires dug. I spent almost an hour and a half forcefully shoving the plow forward in order to clear a path to the goose house. This time included the time I had to take to let my pulse get back under 140 or some number that made me think my heart might jump out of my chest at any moment. I seriously contemplated what I might do if I stroked out. I really didn’t want Summer to find me slumped over that confounded machine dead. I certainly got my cardio for the day. After resting up for awhile I plowed my way to the wood tent and then to the conex (40’ shipping container) and the water tank sheds. This plowing while strenuous was done on packed gravel which made it a lot easier.. Not easy but easier.

After my heart pounding trip to the goose house it was time to take water to them and then post hole my way to the chicken house to collect eggs and check on their water. They were good on food as Summer had dumped fifty pounds of food in their feeder the night before. Of course, they were out of water so struggling back through the snow to get a bucket of water and then returning with that 40 pound bucket of water pretty much did me in for the day. It was only about 3:00 PM and sunset was just over and hour away, but I was done. There would be no more snow blowing trenches.

The next morning I ate my cinnamon raisin bagel, sucked down 32 ounces of coffee and then went outside to start the infernal machine. I was and did plow/trench my way to the chicken house. It was pretty much a repeat of the goose expedition only maybe 20 feet further and on the side of a hill. During the previous days fiasco I developed some techniques that made it somewhat easier. I got pretty much the same cardio workout but finished the longer course in less time. Just as I got the blower back up the hill a neighbor, one of Summer’s friends, arrived with his snow plow truck. He had plowed his own driveway and the drove down to our house to plow our road. This, usually, costs money but he does it for us no charge. Snow plowing isn’t his occupation. He works up on ’The Slope’ or in oil field for you Lower 48 denizens. It just happened that the last blizzard came at a time when he was off the job for a couple of weeks. I think he works 2 weeks on 2 weeks off but now that I’ve said it I realize that I really don’t know. After he had plowed the road he was backing out to the main road and somehow got his truck stuck. He’s gotten a little too close to the edge of the road and the truck slipped down the slight embankment. My truck covered in snow and ice had to be cleared to be able to see well enough to extricate his truck. After my truck had warmed up and melted the ice off the windshield, I went to pull him out. Had to jerk his truck harder than I would have liked to get him out of the ditch. My heavy rope tow line got cut on the blade of his snow plow which leaves me with 6 feet less rope and all of my other rope that size is buried somewhere under two plus feet of snow drift. I guess I’ll just have to make do with the shorter rope until Spring when I probably won’t need a longer rope. After he went on his way, I plowed Summer’s parking area and the ‘turn in’ to the parking.

Summer was at one of the ’up the hill’ neighbors home for a visit a few days ago. For some reason the lady had to move her truck. While moving the truck she backed into Summer’s car. The fender was bent, a headlight crushed, the grille popped out and the radiator support bracket bent. All of this damage on her 2006 Subaru might lead the insurance company to total it out. I was supposed to have repaired the Summer’s Land Rover in latter part of October. However, it rained and rained and rained and then when the rain stopped it started snowing. Needless to say the Rover is not repaired. Of course, we look like the rednecks we are with a dead car on blocks in the yard. The Rover repair is postponed until May or June of next year. Summer has said that she could borrow one of Dan’s (her significant other) trucks while the Subaru is being repaired or condemned. If they condemn it she will just buy it back from the insurance company and use the settlement cash to have it repaired. She is in love with that little car.

The poor little Rover abandoned in a snow bank until Spring.

We failed to sell a couple of fruit trees (one pear & one apple) this spring and summer. We now have them sitting in our living room. Because we were trying to sell them (and because of the 42 other ‘opportunities’ that cropped up) they did not get planted on the property. And here in Alaska, it is more than just digging a hole an plopping the tree into said hole. The moose like fruit trees. When the trees are young the moose will eat them almost to the ground and the tree dies. You must build a moose proof wire cage to protect the young trees. We just didn’t have the time, hence trees in living room.

We’ve had continuing water problems. With the new 1000 gallon tank installed and the 500 gallon tank residing in a newly constructed shack, I thought we were good for the winter. Yeah, I was wrong AGAIN. A heat tape failed and the pipe, by which the big tank is filled, froze and cracked. Fortunately, when the pipe froze and burst the pipe was plugged with the ice and we did not lose the 100+ gallons of water still in the tank. Still some of the fiber glass batting insulation got wet so I had to remove it and take it inside to dry off. Two trips to the hardware store plus digging through my own plumbing supplies got the fill pipe rerouted. The insulation, at last, dried and was reinstalled. This process only took parts of two days as there were other chores that needed attending. We had been using water from the 500 gallon tank as the 1000 gallon tank was near empty. We did not realize that the tank heater had failed on the small tank. So when the water truck arrived on Monday, we still could not fill the big tank because of the burst pipe problem had not been resolved. Also, we found that the little tank fill pipe would not work. I opened the tank to find three inches of ice all the way across the tank and into the fill pipe. I used a hammer to break a hole in the ice so that we could fill the tank from the top. I held the hose in the tank while the water guy ran the pump. We got a week and a half of water pumped into the small tank and I got the tank heater working again. The object of the two tanks was to have a month of water and then only have them filled once a month. This would save us a couple of hundred dollars each month. Water is my mortal enemy but I shall prevail over it.

This is Friday at about 8:30 AM. I’m sitting down with a sausage biscuit on which I placed a dollop of mustard and, of course coffee. Sunrise is at 9:54 and sunset will be at 4:02 this afternoon. This means that I’ve got just over 6 hours to tend to the critters, bring in firewood and whatever other outside chore that needs to be done. There is the reopening of the pathways to all of the various destinations on the property. The previous day’s heavy snow (it is still snowing) has rendered the near stroke inducing snow blown paths of Tuesday and Wednesday pretty much useless. I see some snow mowing in my future. If I don’t get the paths blown out again today, they’ll be full again by tomorrow.

I have included some pictures for your enjoyment.

Wednesday’s Sunset after it, temporarily, stopped snowing.
Tuesday just after sunrise,
The Chicken Trench
Icicles after last weekend’s warm up to above freezing.
The Goose Trench
Summer’s ‘closed for the winter’ store.

That’s it for me. While the pictures were loading I fried a Honey Bun in butter and ate it. The sausage biscuit just didn’t do the job. Hope all of you had a Happy Thanksgiving. See ya soon.

Dad’s Alaska

17 November 2021

Here’s to a safe, happy, healthy Thanksgiving and Christmas

Winter has set in with a vengeance. The current temperature at 3:00 in the afternoon is 6F. I had shoulder surgery on the 2nd of November. Since then I split and stacked 3+ cords of firewood. Since I was instructed not to lift anything over 5 pounds with my left arm, my right arm and shoulder got a pretty serious work out. One wood shed tent is completely full the other is about half full for a total of about 8 cords. I’m hoping that this will be enough to get us to April.

A tent full of warming goodness.
The last of the unstacked wood waiting for the Beserker to come back out and play.

Got the last of the wood stacked yesterday. Had high hopes earlier this year that I have all of the wood stored before the first snow. I missed that goal. Went Berserker on it yesterday and completed the task. Only took four pairs of wet gloves, ten frozen fingers and about 3 hours to complete the job. The temp yesterday never got above 16F and the snow and ice on the wood was causing me to fumble around a lot. Picking up the same piece two or three times in order to toss it into the tent where I had to pick up again to stack it was aggravating and tiring. Anyway with the wood, at last, stacked in the tents I was able to get on to other chores like watering the geese, retrieving the chicken eggs, winterizing the log splitter and on and on and on.

Log splitter with gas treated for storage.

The wind blew like crazy last night. The splitter tarp blew off and I’ve yet to find it. The drop cloth cover did not blow off so it was protected from the unexpected snow early this morning. The outside work is either done or will have wait until Spring. After reading Electroverse.net, I was expecting and preparing for an exceptionally cold winter for Fritz Creek. The high temp predicted for the next nine days is 19F and the predicted low for the same period is ZERO. Probably going to be burning a lot of firewood and dressing warmer inside the house.

The early morning snow on the truck.
Summer just home from work and my ugly mug

Now that outside work is done, I can get back to finishing the sheetrock in the upstairs bath. There really isn’t much to do. There are a few trim pieces that will take longer to cut that install. There is, also, some missing sheetrock in the ceiling of Summer’s upstairs sitting/media room. This was caused by removing a wall and moving a light fixture. A pain in the rear but not hard work. These little projects will likely occupy me for a couple of days. After that I might just go get a job. I am really very bad at sitting around. Getting a job at my age may be a problem. I can still lift 80 pound sacks of concrete so I am not physically handicapped. Not supposed to be lifting them right now because of the shoulder surgery but in a couple of more weeks lifting boxes or whatever should not be a problem. The bigger problem may be that I haven’t submitted to the Gene Therapy that the government is calling a ”vaccine” The other impediment to gainful employment might be the employer mask mandate. I have not worn a mask anywhere but in my doctor’s office and the hospital. If you want medical care you MUST COMPLY. Anyway my job search might be futile as there are few jobs for old men in the fields in which I am competent. Nobody is going to hire an antique Journeyman Marine Pipefitter, Electrician, HVAC Tech or an Appliance Tech. Best job I’m likely to get is ”Would you like fries with that?” I’m not so prideful that I wouldn’t take the french fries job. Like the old salt said, ”Any port in a storm”.

The outside temperature has dropped to -2F. It was 3.6F when I went outside to get the eggs. Found some of them frozen and cracked. Guess I’m going to have to go on egg patrol a few times everyday. Was filling a bucket with water for the geese and found that the water line is frozen some where. Went to the water house and found that all of the pipe heaters were on. It’s too late in the day to try to troubleshoot the problem as it is nearing sunset. Sunset is at 4:32 today. I took the water that I had in the bucket to the geese and as I was returning I slipped and fell. Fortunately, when I fell I landed on my right shoulder. I didn’t fall very hard and the only thing damaged was my pride. This is the first time I’ve take a tumble this winter so I guess it time to put on the ice cleats.

Well it is 5:30. It’s dark and we have what looks like a full moon tonight. Might be almost a full moon as I am viewing it through a small gap between two spruce trees. Summer just got home and her dogs are going crazy. I guess that’s it for me today.

Miss Suzy doing her favorite trick i.e. sleeping

Dad’s Alaska

Here’s to the end of the China flu.

Haven’t written on the blog since last April The reason was that all I could describe seemed so infinitely mundane. The descriptions of building, repairing or destroying seemed redundant and boring as hell. They were boring to me as I was writing about them. Because I don’t deal with boredom very well, I stopped the drivel (my description) and then just couldn’t seem to find the time to get back to the writing. The average time involved to produce a blog is about 3 hours. Something that you read in less than 10 minutes requires numerous revisions in language, photos and the avoidance of dangling participles. The, overweight red faced Hueytown High School English teacher mercilessly pounded punctuation into me as I was retaking 10th grade English as a senior. Her frustration was great. I could tell her why the English or punctuation was wrong but I had not a clue why. Anyway, enough explanation and on to the recent history of our Alaskan adventure. Adventure may be a little overstated. Tribulations might come closer to the mark.

Where to start. We began our 5th year here in Fritz Creek on September 18. It passed us by with our noticing. September is Fall and the snow will come too soon. There are a hundred little things that need to be done before the snow. Dozens of items left in haste to get to the next project during the summer now need to be picked up and put away. You don’t want the snowblower to suck in a chunk of 2×4 or a large rock. It’s damned inconvenient, when you are trying to make paths to the wood tents, the chicken house or to simply give the dogs a place to walk, to suck up a carelessly dropped piece of 10/2 w/ground Romex. I did that last winter. I had to take off my gloves and it took twenty minutes to unwind it out of the snowblower tines. The temperature was only in the low 20s but my fingers were numb by the time I extracted the wire. Trying to be way more careful this winter. Speaking of this winter here is some video I shot two days ago. The cinematography is so bad that I’m afraid that The Idiot will come here and shoot me as well. It was reported early on (and never heard again) that when The Idiot was told that they would have to reshoot the scene he reportedly remarked how “It might be easier to shoot the two of you”. This is, apparently, when he aimed the gun toward the camera and pulled the trigger. Anyway, here is the video.

The snow is gone today. It has been wiped away by a steady downpour. Rain we don’t need. Rain makes mud and we’ve had quite enough mud for one year.

In the last years I built an aircraft landing strip (not really) deck. It was built for Summer to be able to open her Greer Rd Greenhouse which is a seasonal garden center. This past Spring was the first season. She got kind of a late start and didn’t do as well as she had hoped. She had some problems sourcing plant starts. I solved that problem a little late. By the time she got all of her plant starts and other merchandise, most people had already gotten what they would need for this extremely short growing season. She did fairly well considering the late start handicap. She made a lot of new friends and customers that will be back for next Spring’s planting season.

The construction of the aircraft landing strip.

The aircraft landing deck.
Summer taking a sweet tea break. It was hot that day.
The greenhouse being installed.
The finished product. Yep, I noticed some of the pilings sank. Been leveled since this picture was taken.
Shelving ready for plants and a ton of pots across the aisle.

Inside ready for the huge throng of customers.
Outside on the deck with various amendments, dirt and a crap load of pots across the bridge over the River Why..
Some flowers with some potato sets in the foreground
Our built in one day parking lot with some of the baskets Summer planted.

There have been some ’challenges’ this year. Many of you have experienced the mask madness at stores that would not let you in with one of the useless damned things strapped across your face. My solution was to not shop at those stores. Some of the stores only suggested that you wear a mask whilst forcing their employees to mask up. Almost everyone wearing a mask was doing it wrong. I saw one lady with a face shield and no mask which made even less sense than the improperly fitted masks. Summer tried to take the vaccine but had such a violent reaction that they would not give her the second dose. My doctor who was forced to wear the mask agreed with me that, if you can smell the french fries through the mask it is useless. I heard another doctor remark that trying to catch a virus with the available masks was about like trying to catch a mosquito with a chain link fence. The silliness continues, It appears that the more they vax the worse it gets. Not only that the vaxed are ‘shedding’ the virus and infecting others more than the unvaxxed are infecting others. The majority of the unvaxxed don’t have the virus and thus are unable to spread it. It is simple matter of common sense that this is not a ”pandemic of the unvaxxed”. I have been vaccinated for everything from polio to bubonic plague. I am not anti-vax. All of those vaccines were not experimental and provided a mostly permanent shield against that particular disease. These COVID vaccines do not provide a permanent immunity to COVID. I have not taken any COVID vaccine. My doctor recommends it but as I told him ”I may seem a little morbid but I’m 77 and I expect to die from something sooner rather than later”. The only bumper sticker I’ve ever had on one of my vehicles reads ”Fear is not a virtue”. Well enough of that crap.

The summer has been busy. I moved the wood tents from just outside the back door to a position further away. This cleared up the parking at the back door much to Summer’s delight. The POS greenhouse we bought three years ago continues to fall apart. I had intended to pull out all of the corrugated plastic panels and cover the entire thing in proper greenhouse plastic sheathing. That didn’t happen. I guess it will be early next Spring before I get that done. I had the plastic but not the time. Time flies even when you aren’t having fun. I hauled in eight cords of firewood logs and bucked them up into rounds. Summer and I have split five cords so far. We had hoped to avoid having to split wood in the snow but I’m guessing that won’t happen now.

I hammered in 20 something steel fence post and installed four 4×4 treated corner posts to corral the filthy damned geese. Goose crap is as large as that of a small dog and they just dump it indiscriminately. Nothing like goose crap on the soles of your shoes. We had intended to fence in the chickens but we seemed to have run out of time for that as well.

Earlier this year we noticed a grinding noise in the rear end of the Range Rover, Summer’s favorite winter car. It has remote start and heated seats. Anyway, I took it to a mechanic that diagnosed the problem as defective rear brake calipers. He wanted $800 to replace the defective calipers and the two flexible brake lines. I didn’t let him do the job. Too much money. I’m a mechanic. I used to build hotrod engines for people back in the day. I ordered the calipers and then took a couple of months to get back around to the Rover. I pulled the wheel and saw no real problem with the caliper. But since I had the new ones I decided I might as well change it. When I removed the old caliper the entire axle assembly pulled out of the rear end housing. The moron that diagnosed the problem obviously did not have a clue about the real problem. Apparently, the rear end was without lubrication and even though we’d had the vehicle serviced several times and nobody checked the rear end. Back in the old days we changed the oil, checked all of the grease fittings and the rear end. Today there are few, if any, grease fittings and oil changes are ”Wham, bam, thank ya ma’am” and nobody checks anything underneath the car. BTW, the noise was the axle bearings on both sides that were no longer there. Fortunately, we bought a Rover with a bad engine back in the Spring. This was purchased for $500 and to be used for spare parts for Summer’s Rover. It was a bargain because the alternator alone would cost near $300. Plus it had a brand new $150 battery and five very good summer tires. It was the deal of the year. Next Spring I’ll pull the entire rear end and put it into Summer’s Rover. I had intended to do it this summer but didn’t have time.

Leveling the house has become a lost cause. I have given up on the project. After over 2 years of wrestling with this project, I’ve had it. I’m tired of crawling around under the house, getting it level and then having it rise or fall again. Ultimately, It looks as though we will have to spend close to $30k to get a solid concrete foundation under the house. We probably should have done that several years ago but a Steele head is hard and once we start something we are unwilling and unlikely to give it up. With that said, I am declaring an unconditional surrender.

I mentioned earlier that we built the store parking lot in one day. Summer and I rolled out the TYPAR underlayment fabric in the morning. I called the gravel suppliers as we were rolling out the fabric. I was informed that the trucks could only haul 60% of there capacity which meant in order to get the minimum 20 yards that we needed we’d have to have four deliveries instead of two. The major cost of gravel is the transportation. So instead of a $900 parking lot we ended up with a $1600 parking lot. The reason for the reduced loads are the frozen ground thawing under the roadways. It doesn’t thaw evenly so heavy loads can break the asphalt and create pot holes. It is just part of living in Alaska. Had we ordered the gravel in the previous week we’d have gotten the gravel in two loads and saved $700. This is one of those hard lessons learned. Sometimes I think that my Grandma was correct in her assertion that ”You live and learn and then die and forget it all”. Some of the stupid things that I have done in my life deserve to be forgotten.

Well, that’s it for me. I’ve been pecking away at his for near 4 hours. Below are some photos I thought you might like.

Alaska Summer

Summers here are extremely busy. There is a feeling of rush to get starts planted so it will make it to harvest time. Too early your plants could die and too late your plants will not fruit and will die. There is sort of a Goldie Locks situation here.

I have been harvesting broccoli raab for w few weeks now and it just keeps on giving. My Chinese cabbage is almost ready to harvest. I am so excited!

It’s hard to walk in here because everything is so big!

Everything in the outside planters are starting to take and grow. I am in my happy place when I am gardening. If I could make a living at it, I would!

Tomato Palace

We are now finishing a new project which will contain my corn and potatoes! It’s a lot of work to get a new plot fenced in and tilled. That’s what we have been working this week. Today, I will be able to plant my potatoes and corn. This is it! The last day you can plants starts in the ground for it to produce.

Today we will fence the new garden plot and get things planted. From there it’s all about maintenance. Water and weed the garden. I am sure glad this garden is almost done. I am so sore!

View from our property
To finishing another garden project! Cheers!!

Another day on the Homestead

I have been extremely busy these past few weeks. I thought I could summarize it and bring you to speed. Although, most of you read my Dad’s postings you know what’s been going on on the homestead from his point of view.

I’ve been trying to get the greenhouse ready for planting, setting up for new bees, and getting ready for hatching eggs as well. So, here’s what’s been going on.

I was given 6 hens for Fabio. He has been very lonely since his girl DB was murdered by a dog. So, I posted an ad on Homer Communications on Facebook and it was answered with 6 hens! They are very very nice too. They come up to me and dad and I can pet them. They follow us everywhere on the stead. I really really like having them.

Fabio and Elvira
Dot
New bee bench
Bess are happy to have a new home

We built the new bee bench on a Thursday to prepare for the coming of the bees on that Saturday. And the bees are in place.

New goslings

We have new babies! I thought I would try to hatch out some geese! I did and I ended up with 4 cutie pies! They started hatching on Saturday, the same day I was picking up my bees. All four are healthy.

UPDATE: I sold them to my two best friends and they are doing well.

Little happy campers

During this time, I was also trying to get the greenhouse ready for planting. We had the geese and ducks over winter in it and they destroyed the bails of hay I was storing in there. Which means dad and I had to scrape hay and poop off the floor of the greenhouse. It was about 6-8 inches of hay and crap! It took us all day to clear it out. Then, the next day I raked the rest out and then dad and I shoveled more dirt into the house. After this exhausting part of the process dad ran the tiller through the dirt to mix it all together. It smells! Smells like composted goose poop, hay, and dirt. The smell of hopefully a successful garden.

After tilling the dirt, I had to furrow it. This was exhausting! It was me and a hoe. Once I finished it was drink thirty and I was done for the day! Since, we had all that hay in the greenhouse (which was a big mistake) I am going to have to use ground cloth to grow in to keep the weeds down.

At the beginning
Ground cloth and netting

Here I have started the ground cloth but I ran out of ground staples so I had to post pone finishing. I did get my netting up for my beans, pea and cucumbers!

Here I have planted all the bean and pea seeds. Cucumbers are started in the house. I also planted the Chinese cabbage. That’s the green stuff.
I’m almost finished planting inside. Yes. I know some of the plants look a little tight, they’ll be okay. I had to bring the tomatoes into the greenhouse because I have run out of room in my house for them as I plant them in 5 gallon buckets.
Here’s what’s left that needs to go into the ground.
In the house, I have onions, lettuce, kale, and cucumbers that need to go into the ground soon.

Weather is getting warmer. We are going up into the low 50’s and with the sun out its short sleeve shirt weather! I’m hoping in the next 2 weeks we get to the high 50’s low 60’s! Tank top weather! It’s already tank top weather in the greenhouse. We no longer have snow and mud in it’s place. The mud has dried up a bit on the property so that’s freaking awesome.

Squash and cucumbers that also need to go into the ground as well.
I repotted jalapeños and basil that will stay inside

There is still so much to do! I need to build some raised beds for the rest of the winter crops that I have started. As you can see with the pictures above, I still have lots to go into the ground.

I will be making the raised beds out of old wood slabs from a saw mill. It’s gonna look really cool! They will kinda look like log cabin frames. I’m gonna make 4 of them or maybe 5. I would like to dedicate one to really nice cutting flowers. I am so happy when I’m working in the garden. It’s my happy place.

Well, better get back to work! See y’all later.

Social Distancing: I don’t know what day we’re on!

Lots of stuff has happened and not happened. I give up!

Just kidding! I have been extremely busy with my plants and working around the house. I have hardening up all my brassicas, artichokes and onions. They now reside in the greenhouse.

My tomatoes, brassicas, onions, and artichokes.

We are melting rapidly and are just about out of snow. We have been left with mud and that’s okay. I am not gonna complain!

We have been waiting for spring and it has finally arrived. We can finally burn our brush pile! And so that’s what we are doing now.

Me and the fire

It was a glorious day yesterday as we started the fire. Sun shining bright, 55 degrees and warm, total short sleeve shirt weather. Today, we will try to finish burning. There will be a burn ban starting at the end of this month so we need to get our burn on!

Dad chillin by the fire
Music and hard seltzer. I buried them in what’s left of the snow to keep cold

We hung out and enjoyed burning in the sun and watching all the snow melt before our eyes. I am so happy that the snow is gone. Now I will have to change my tires from studded to regular.

3 days ago. Now its almost completely defrosted.
Friday’s dinner with Dan consisted of bear sloppy joes on top of tater tots and Romano cheese! YUM!
Fabulous Fabio

Well, That’s all I have for now. I will try not to be a stranger and keep posting.

Social Distancing (quarantine) : Day 14 -16

I have spent three days repotting plants because I still can’t use my greenhouse and the outside garden. I had to go to the feed store to get more flats and pots. While I was at the Wagon Wheel, I bought some asparagus roots that look like they are about three years old. This is good, that means they will produce large enough sprigs that we can harvest. My old asparagus is one year old now and won’t be ready to harvest for another two years. I can wait that long! It’s one of my favorite vegetables. But that can’t go in until the geese and ducks are out of the greenhouse.

It looks like I am going to have to move more plants upstairs so I can make room for new vegetables I need to seed out. Otherwise, I’m not going to have kale and lettuce this summer. It must be done.

Excuse the mess. As you can see the plants have taken over the living room.
Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower
Brussels Sprouts, shallots, tomatoes and peppers
Basil, dill, cilantro and lots of tomatoes
Tom Thumb tomatoes
Three baskets of Tom Thumb tomatoes
Saw this little one while driving back from Dan’s house.

It was wild Alaska the other morning when something attacked and ate my hen Dead Bird II. I didn’t name her, my friend’s children did before they gave her to me. It stuck. There is no sign of her little body. Just lots of feathers and a trail of blood and feathers to the road. I’m guessing it was a dog or a coyote. It’s so sad. My rooster has been looking for her since it happened. I will get him a new hen when I think its safe.

Well, I guess that about it. Going back to work to get the bathroom finished and move plants to my bedroom.

Dad’s Alaska

Don’t and will never own a selfie stick.

6 April 2020 Monday

Got up this morning with my left knee still inflamed and hurting like the dickens. I cannot crawl around under the house as I cannot be down on my knees. So I guess Summer and I will being going into Homer to dump the trash, drop off extra clothing at the Salvation Army and go to the grocery store. We don’t need much at the store but since we are already in town we might as well take advantage.

After our trip to Homer, I guess I’ll get back to work on Summer’s bathroom walls. I need to complete the sheetrock finishing so that she can paint. The painting will allow her to install he custom built vanity and bring in all of her girlie fru fru stuff.

This morning listening to Mark Steyn on the Rush Limbaugh Show. The number of deaths from COVID-19 has reached near 10,000 since the end of January. This is to be compared to the daily death toll by other causes at about 7500. THAT’S 7500 PER DAY. The COVID-19 death toll in America for 2 1/2 MONTHS is almost 10,000. That is ONE AND A THIRD of the every day, ordinary daily death toll in America over 2 1/2 months. WHERE IS THE PANDEMIC???? WHY THE PANIC??? .0002273% of Americans die on any given day. Why does that number not make you scared? The reason that doesn’t scare you is that it is that death is a normal part of life. The reason this so called “pandemic” is scaring the crap out of you is the incessant media hype. Without the constant drum beat from the the main stream media you would hardly notice this minuscule increase in the death rate. So media hype is the real cause of your fear and panic. Are you going to allow an extra 200 deaths per day added to the 7500 that normally occur to scare you silly?? Your fear is undermining the very freedoms that we have cherished for nearly Two Hundred-Fifty years. America get a grip!!

Decided I needed to eat something so I could eat my pills. Breakfast consisted of store bought biscuits and Depression gravy. Depression gravy came about during, you guessed it, during the Great Depression. Many people had very little food. You had to stretch the food to feed your family. It is made with a tablespoon or two of lard (or any cooking oil) enough flour to take up all of the oil. This mixture is heated until the flour starts to brown. At that point you add water. You want to add a little extra water so that it can be cooked down to get rid of the lumps. Start to finish is about ten minutes. Serve it over the biscuits and salt and pepper to taste. If you made your own biscuits you could, even at today’s prices, feed 4-5 people for less than a dollar. It may not be very nutritious but it will stave off the ‘missed meal colic’. Something in your belly is a lot better than nothing. I was raised on this and to me it is comfort food. Yes, I could make biscuits but the store bought ones, while not as tasty, they are convenient. Getting lazy in my old age, I guess.

Later

Returned from the big city of Homer. The people are acting crazy, by my standards. The grocery store was packed. I saw one guy wearing a mask that you would use to paint cars, a woman with a scarf underneath a mask, a guy wearing a black hockey mask like Jason’s white mask in “Friday the 13th’ and numerous others with a variety of store bought and home made masks. Some of the people who were wearing masks were not following the proscribed ‘social distancing’ program. It was like, “I’m safe, so screw you!”. Of course, I wasn’t wearing a mask. I’ve got masks so that isn’t a problem. I’ve been through dozens of diseases from polio to 50 kinds of flu and the is no telling what I was exposed to in three tours in Asia during Viet Nam. I am not going to be bullied by government idiots or stampeded by fear. BTW the Homer City Council idiots repealed their stupid plastic bag ban a couple of weeks ago. The Lib/Prog City Assembly in Anchorage are still allowing people to bring their filthy, bacteria-virus ladened bags from home. These people are simply ignoring the scientific data to pursue their eco-wacko agenda. Unbelieveable!

The Alaska Legislature is stealing Alaskan citizens money at every turn. They are stealing the Permanent Fund that every Alaskan is due to be paid. They cut the $3000 to $1600 last year and then this year down to $1000 and next year it is likely to be zero. These Democrats and RINO Republicans are building a bigger and bigger government. Alaska has the size of government that you might find in, perhaps, California with a population of a medium sized city. There are only about 900,000 people in the entire State of Alaska with a state government sized to serve tens of millions. There seems to be a revolt brewing in Alaska. There is a movement to oust all of these big government types in the upcoming election. Alaskans are beyond angry they are pissed.

Seems that we are having fried chicken for dinner. I am truly sick of broiled or baked chicken. Healthy food sucks. It has no taste and the texture of it kinda makes me gag. At my age it is a little late to be cutting back on fried anything. At 75 1/2, I’m not likely to give up the things I like just to live 4 extras days.

Ta Ta. Y’all have a happy Corona Virus vacation. Speaking of Corona..The Mexican government shut down the Corona brewery as a non-essential business.

Dad’s Alaska

My 14th attempt at a selfie.

5 April 2020 Sunday

In the background of the above picture you can see the snarled wiring that I am attempting to unsnarl. There is much electrical to be done. The are connections in the walls that aren’t in boxes and were covered up by sheetrock or wood paneling. Just wire nutted together and left dangling inside the walls. All of these stupidities are going to require that new wire be pulled in. What I have done in the interim is to make sure all of the wire nuts are tight and expose the wires. If there is a loose connection getting hot it will be visible and not burning behind the wall out of sight. In have worried every day and night that there is some connection unseen that will start a fire. Rewiring this house is high on the list of things that must be done soon.

Still don’t have the Corrosion Virus. I’m not rusting yet. Did not sleep well last night. My knee was hurting and burning all night. Decided this morning that it is indeed a gout flare up. The balls of both feet are slightly achy which is a definite indicator of gout. The “golden years “ suck. However, I am quite happy to have these ‘golden’ years, even if the price is some bit of pain. I‘m working with the full knowledge that “this to shall pass”. The Bible says that “to everything there is a season”. This is my season of gout. I don’t, usually, have these flare up unless I’m sitting around doing nothing but eating and drinking vodka. Seems every time I park my carcass in the recliner for extended periods I get a gout attack. Like the old saw “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” Doctor replies,”Well don’t do that”. Good advice. I’ve got to end this sitting around crap.

It is another “Bright, bright, bright sunshiny day”. Today the wind is blowing 25+ with gusts even higher. There have been some so strong as to shake the house. Those, I’m sure, were closer to 50 mph or more. The strong wind and the temp above 35F is causing a rapid melting of the snow. Places on the property that were completely covered in snow yesterday are bare ground today. The ponds should be fully thawed in a week or so. Break up will be halted by several days of temps being just above freezing during the day and down into the teens at night. The halt will stop the running river under the house and I’ll, at last, be able to finish the last bit of house leveling. With the house level the new kitchen can be installed. Of course before that we must remove the ceiling sheetrock and do the necessary wiring to make the house electrically safe prior to the kitchen install.

I found an interesting fact today. On average there are about 7500 deaths a day in the U.S. These are completely unrelated to the COVID-19 “pandemic”. I spent 15-20 minutes on the web searching major newspaper sites trying to find out about yesterday’s death toll. I could find almost all of the hysterical rhetoric I would have cared to read but not a single word about the daily death toll. It is either so high that they are afraid to publish it or it is so low that they don’t want to give President Trump the credit or that the various government entities would have a hard time justifying all of this ‘House Arrest’. I did find that 95% of the deaths involve persons who are already deathly ill from some other disease. So in my common sense brain parts, I am thinking that it is the former reason not the latter. Why is there no body count like Viet Nam or all of the other military conflicts over the past 50 years? I did not find a single news story that gave that number. I’m starting to believe that the actual death toll is minuscule compared to the number of persons infected. Common sense commands you to know that there are tens of thousands of undiagnosed cases. And, also, that the majority of those with the virus are getting well without medical intervention, This is as Shakespeare said, “Much ado about nothing” as far as I can see. If you are healthy and under 60, your chances of dying in this “pandemic” are very near zero. Maybe I’m being paranoid but this does, in some ways, seem more about government control of people than control of an infectious disease. This seems particularly true at the state and local level. Just sayin’.

A picture of today’s weather.

Much Later

Got off my duff and worked on Summer’s bathroom wall. She had taped and mudded the wall. Problem is she had no idea of how to do it. The remedy was to use the mud knife to scape the dried mud as smooth as possible and then use a wet sponge to smooth it out. I’ve been using the wet sponge method on drywall for decades. It beats all of that sanding by a mile. Of course, there are still an few spots to be sanded but you aren’t spending hours breathing in the sanding dust. A bucket of water and a tile sponge gets the job done,

I often feel like that guy in the old donut commercial. But instead of donuts it’s dishes. Take the dishes down, use the dishes, wash the dishes, stack the dishes, take the dishes down, use the dishes and on and on ad nauseam. We try, as much as possible, eat off paper plates. Yep, I am aware that some people think that it is bad for the environment. “You’re killing trees.” “Yes. But I’m saving water.” The next day someone is saying something different. You please one eco-wacko and anger another. There is no happy medium or common sense being applied. The truth is that there are more trees in America now that when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. There are, also, more deer and lots of more of other game in America than when the Pilgrims landed. I’m surprised that more of them didn’t starve to death. Management of our natural resources has been seen as a critical need and it is being met. BTW, I am truly sick of dishes. Maybe I’ll just start eating out of the pot or pan. Laundry is a lot like dishes. Maybe I’ll try to find some paper clothes or just go naked. Nope. On second thought naked isn’t an option in Alaska. Could have done it in Florida but not here. Oh well.

I think I’ve sorted out why I am having this gout attack. I drank over a half bottle of really good red wine on Friday and woke up yesterday morning with a sore knee. Drank some more of it yesterday. I barely slept last night because of the pain and now have pain in the balls of my feet. Since the red wine is the only difference in my daily diet, it must be the cause. No more large volumes of red wine. I will miss it. Maybe I can have a glass now and then.

The washer is playing that pretty little tune that says that its’ job is done and that now it’s my turn.