Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 9

I got a lot done today. I put a second coat of Kilz on my stool and vanity. They are now ready to be painted with the final coat of white. Then, I can install the new crystal (plastic) drawer handle. I’m also going to paint the frame on my vanity mirror silver to match everything. It’s gold now and too warm. Since, I am going to paint the wall grey it needs to be a cooler color.

I also need to finish the wall. It needs to be sanded and remudded and then sanded again before I kilz that wall and paint it the beautiful color of grey I chose. I am very excited to get my bathroom finished. It’s getting close!

I checked on my honey bees, they didn’t survive the winter. We were so close. Well, better luck next time, I guess. This year I am going to try something different and hopefully keep my new bees safe. Honey is an income. I sure would like to have it.

I got to hang out with my girls as well. We all stood about 10 feet apart in a circle drinking White Claws! Tiana and I traded eggs. She has chickens and I have ducks and geese. So, we traded. I love that our little neighborhood can trade farm food like this. I still have some of last years honey. I wonder what I can trade fore that?

I had to repot some of my herbs today as well. They are getting crazy big too soon. I got to check that off my to do list, so that’s something.

Without repotting my dill it would have died.

Dad finished the wall in the kitchen and it looks pretty darn good!

Cheers everyone! Stay safe!

Social Distancing (quarantine) : Day 4

I didn’t get a lot done today. Just a bit of here’s and there’s. It was a tragic day. It all started with my slippers. Yes, I know, they are just slippers, but they are needed here in my home. There is no running barefooted in this house and I want my feet to stay warm. Betsy, as you all know had some sort of skin irritation that led to her being on steroids. Well, it made her tummy all sick and messed up. She ended up having bad stomach problems that led her to have a poopagendone all over my beautiful shag rug. Well, I stepped in it with my fabulous favorite slippers that I’ve had for about two years. Yes, they were starting to stink and they were leather. So I couldn’t really put them in the washer.

I woke up with Betsy making noises and she pooped on the bed. I thought that was all she did until I stepped in her rug mines. I was so grossed out by it and had to changed my covers that I just ripped off the slippers and left them in the hall with another soiled little rug. They sat there for almost a month until now. I decided that I would finally clean my slippers only to find out that the crap on my slippers chemically adhered to the rubber on the sole. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get that crap off because its now part of the sole. I had to throw them away. So long favorite slippers!

I also replanted some tomatoes as well. My friend Tiana is asking what I’m feeding them. I just used two different blends of potting soil. They are looking so wonderful! I am kind of worried about some of my plants because they are growing in an accelerated rate! The ground isn’t defrosted yet and there is still a lot of snow on the ground. I can’t put in the Brussels sprouts into the ground yet! They just keep getting bigger. So, I am just going to repot them again when it becomes necessary. Everything is growing faster than it should be. I might have to rethink my potting mix.

Tomorrow, I will be painting my new vanity that Dan made me and while I’m in the painting mode, I will go ahead and paint my bee hives as well. Then, I can work on the bathroom wall and finish it. I want to be able to prime and paint ASAP. At this point, Dan will be able to put in the shower walls and my vanity top all in one day. I am super excited about this! It will be so nice to be able to shower upstairs on my own floor.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited that my seeds have exploded like they have. I might need to sell them if I cant put them in the ground soon.

My gander (male goose) Lucifer, tried to kill one of my drakes (male duck). He was pretty busted up. So busted up that I knew I couldn’t heal him. When I figured out that he couldn’t be saved, I had to break out the 20 gauge. It took one shot and he was out of pain. It broke my heart. I couldn’t use him for meat due to adrenaline. I guess that’s part of farm life. It is what it is. He went over the rainbow bridge today and is out of gruesome pain. These geese need to be fenced in ASAP when the ground defrosts. My heart is broken, I hatched him out in my incubator and raised him. He has a twin sister and she is alive and well. I plan on breading more of this cute hybrid of peaking and well I don’t want to give up all my secrets!

It’s about that time and I’m tired. It’s time for bed. Good night and enjoy your time off if you have it. Thanks again for my friends who are truck drivers (Shana the Bad Ass), and all others that are still working to keep America getting mail, packages, and food!

Dad’s Alaska

February 26, 2020

Somewhere there are people that live where nothing ever goes wrong and every project goes perfectly. That place ain’t here and I’m certainly not one of those lucky people. After we got the water drainage situation under control, and the weather warmed up enough that the downstairs shower was again operating, the damned fresh water is not leaving the water house. It seems that the water delivery man may have bumped the heater that was the secondary method keeping the pipes from freezing. The heater has a very sensitive tilt switch and when I looked into the problem, I found the heater had turned itself off. The heater being off would not have been a factor except we had a single night of +5F temp. If the temp stays above +15F the heater in the, heavily insulated, 500 gallon tank keeps everything flowing. The tank is kept at a constant +40F. I tried to thaw the piping out yesterday afternoon with no positive result. This morning I will attempt to defrost the piping again. I left the heater running overnight. I’m thinking that the pressure switch may have failed in the interim. When I’m sure that the supply line is thawed and the pump doesn’t work, I’ll change the pressure switch. I guess I’ll get my shoes and socks on and get after this aggravation by putting the jet heater to work. If there are frozen lines anywhere, it will thaw them. However, my most important job for the morning is taking 4 dogs to the groomer to get the toenails clipped. I know that this seems very weird under the circumstances.

Started the jet heater blowing into the water shed while the truck was warming up. Diesel engines really don’t like temps below +20F so I really wanted to make sure that it was warmed up properly before hitting the road. After the truck warmed up some, I loaded all four dogs into the truck. The water had still not thawed so I left the jet heater running with the hope that I wouldn’t return to a burnt down shed.

At the groomer I hauled the dogs in one at a time. Taco, the Chihuahua, tried to bite the lady trimming his sharp toenails. All of the other dogs went through the process with no more drama. Back at the homestead the heater thawed out the piping. I returned to find that the water as flowing again. I surmised that the problem was that the supply pipe to the pump was freezing because the heat tape had failed. Heat tapes are my enemy. Had to rethink the insulation and how to trap the heater’s output in a way that heated the water supply line. Built a bulkhead that covered the lower 1/3 of the door and held insulation above the heater. Anyway, the heat should stay around the supply pipe for the pump. Hopefully, the water problem is solved.

Third project of the day was to get the Range Rover running. It had been sitting dead for nearly three months. The battery had died and I just didn’t have the time to bother with it. The first thing I had to do was dig my way through 15 feet or so to get to the car. The snow had accumulated to 2-3 feet deep around the car and there was 12-15 inches piled up on the hood and windshield. All of that had to be removed before I could raise the hood to install another battery. Got the hood up after about 20 minutes of shoveling. Removed the old battery and installed the new one. The darned thing started right up. I was amazed. I let it run until the ice was melted off the windshield and then backed it out into the street. I ran it back and forth several times to make sure that it could be driven out of the snow bank whenever we want.

Next project was to fill six 5 gallon Homer buckets with snow, The water from these will be used to water the ducks and geese. I just set them near the wood stove and they melt down in a few hours. It isn’t one of the difficult projects but it has to be done daily. A bucket full of snow becomes about 4-5 inches of water. Four buckets of snow fills a 5 gallon bucket to about 2 inches from the top. The need is for two 5 gallon buckets of water on a daily basis. Not heavy labor but a constant need.

The sun has been out all day. This has melted the snow off the south roof of the house, the big tent and other buildings on the homestead. Since the temperature was still well below freezing the dripping water was freezing into icicles. Falling icicles are a dangerous hazard. With that in mind, I knocked some large chunks of ice and icicles off the roof that were hanging over the back door. A couple of them weighed near five pounds. Some were big enough to send you to the hospital with a bleeding head and a concussion, if they didn’t kill you outright.

That was the last of my projects of the day. Time for vodka.

Dad’s Alaska

January 14, 2020

I’ve learned a few things since moving to Alaska. Born, raised and living in the South all my life, I was ill-prepared for the weather, the lack of stores, the convenience of popping out to get fast food or ordering a pizza to be delivered. The disaster of a house we purchased has been, well to put it politely, trying. I’ve learned how to lower a house. I learned to shovel snow. How to turn clean snow into flushing water, drinking and cooking water. How to drive 50-55 mph on icy, snowy roads. How to dress ((so that when outside in below zero temps)) so I stay warm. That not only do the pipes bringing the water into your house freeze but the pipes taking water out can/do freeze, as well. I’ve learned to stop in the doorway when going outside and take a look around so as not to surprise a moose or a bear. I’ve learned that moose kill more people in Alaska than bears. I’ve learned that moose is both singular and plural. I’ve wondered why the plural of moose isn’t meese. And, also, that it couldn’t be mice because ‘mice’ is, obviously, already taken by Mickey and friends. I’ve learned to become moderately proficient with a chainsaw. I haven’t sawn off any appendages or cut a major artery. I learned, maybe relearned, how to load and operate a wood stove to get maximum heat and how to make the fire last almost all night. I’ve learned that being different in Alaska was once the norm and not so much anymore. I’ve learned that most old time Alaskans are friendly, anxious to help and will talk you through your newbie/tenderfoot problems. I’ve learned that $8 haircuts cost $25. I’ve learned that Alaska is being Californicated. I’ve learned that Anchorage has already been Calfornicated and that Homer is being Californicated in a rapid pace. When I arrived, I already knew that banning plastic bags is not only stupid but is just the first of many eco-wacko abuses to come. I learned that I need to plug in my truck when the temperature goes below +20F, so that the block heater would allow the diesel engine to start more easily. I’ve learned to appreciate sunrises and sunsets. I’ve learned that the snow on the boughs of spruce trees is a beautiful thing that can fall on your head and down the back of your neck. Lastly, I’ve relearned that things happen when they are supposed to happen and there is damned little that you can do about it.