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.

Dad’s Alaska

Pain relief on the rocks

19 April 2020 Sunday

Had a little trouble getting out of bed this morning. It was not, as in previous mornings, a lack of motivation. This morning the problem was pain. I had muscle aches in places I did not know that I had muscles. Instead of simply sitting up and getting out of bed it was more of a slow crawl to grab the head board and painfully pull myself up to a sitting position. All of this pain was the result of working yesterday at burning everything we could possibly pick up and toss into the fire. On one occasion, I dragged a sixteen foot long, 6″ soaking wet spruce log about 90 feet to the fire. By the time I got it there my heart was pounding like a trip hammer on steroids and I was exhausted. I had to sit down for about 10 minutes before I could summon the energy to put the darn thing into the fire. I decided that I’d had an adequate level of cardio for the day. I’ve gotten very badly out of shape during the winter and it shows. We got about half of that same wet log burned today. As I stated yesterday, whatever burning we need to do must be done before May 1st.

They’ve been predicting rain for days. We’ve had none as of today. I have been disabused of the need to believe anything that anyone says about weather or climate. My 60+ years of listening to the radio or TV weather people getting it wrong almost daily has given me the knowledge that they don’t have a clue. With that said I cannot fathom how anyone can predict climate 20-80 years into the future. The ECO-wacko crowd are working off models. Models allow you to input data into a system in a manner to that produces the result that you want. The actual way the system works has been fully demonstrated with the COVID-19 predictions. First, it was 2.2 million plus people would die. Since then and almost on a daily basis that number has dropped until now it is somewhere in the around 60 thousand range. What appears to be happening now is that a person with a serious heart problem, with COVID-19, dies and it is being attributed to COVID-19 instead of the heart attack. This is being done to pump the numbers in an attempt to prove the model correct. This discrepancy in numbers is an excellent indicator that any modeling for any event or action is, usually, WRONG. Hurricane models are another example models always being wrong in the long term. Of course, common sense would have told you that a long time ago. One last thought, this so called pandemic is fulfilling Margaret Sanger’s (founder of Planned Parenthood) dream for America. It is eliminating a lot of blacks, old people, handicapped and other of her so called, useless humans. Certainly she would have wanted to abort them but I’m sure she’d be glad to take these deaths any way she could get them.

We are in the mud season here in Fritz Creek. The snow has very nearly all become running rivulets of water cascading down our hill. There are 100s of thousands, if not millions of gallons, rushing downhill toward Kachemak Bay. This was/is a temperate rain forest are that has dropped spruce needles and other plant matter that has become a layer of very fine soil that when water is added becomes a soft sticky mud. Even though it is only unfrozen to a depth of 1 to 2 inches, it grasps your boots like an evil Goo monster trying you pull you into the depths. Its’ grip makes it very difficult and very tiring to walk. Summer and I slogged around in this gooey mess for about 8 hours. We kept gathering up debris off the property and along our road frontage to feed the fire and dry out the burn pile so that it will, actually, burn. We have a couple of lawn chairs near the fire where we drank coffee in the morning and vodka in the late afternoon. It wasn’t quite as warm to day as yesterday. The sun was buried behind thick gray clouds being moved slowly along by the light wind. It was another good day to burn, but not nearly as nice as yesterday. We’re hoping tomorrow will be a repeat of today. About 6 PM the wind began to pick up so we let the fire burn out. Both of us had only eaten a couple of slices of cheese toast during the entire day so quitting and making some supper seemed the right thing to do. Trudging uphill in the sticky mud took very nearly the last bit of energy that I possessed.

During the day, the geese and the ducks were a little perturbed by a bald eagle circling overhead. The eagle was dissuaded of his intent of eating a duck or goose by Summer walking over into the gaggle of geese and ducks. It came back one more time. We shouted and banged on the shovel. The noise sent it gliding off down the hill to a potentially easier prey. Eagles ate two ducks and a goose last fall. They had some expensive meals. Expensive for us not for them. We do have bears, coyotes, weasels and other meat eating critters but not very many. The biggest problem lately has been a neighbor’s dog. It caught and ate one of the chickens, To solve this problem Summer loaned them our wireless perimeter fence transmitter and a collar. After a few shocks it will learn that leaving the yard is bad. Haven’t seen the dog since it started wearing to collar. We’ll likely let them keep the system for another 2-3 weeks. By that time the dog should well trained.

Had to go into town tonight. Summer needed some pharmacy supplies and wasn’t feeling well enough to go into town. I went to the Safeway as they, also, have a pharmacy and they were the only place open. While I was looking for the Pepto, I met one of the masked store employees. I spoke to him and said, ” You Millennials are scared to death aren’t you?” His reply was “I’m a Gen-X and this is for your benefit.” I laughed and told him that he needn’t have bothered. “The management makes me wear it” he replied. He helped me find a couple of other needs and was walking off as I said, “You’re a gentleman and a scholar. I don’t care what they say about you up front”. “I don’t either” he said over his shoulder as he was pushing his cart away. I am still of the mind that the mask thing is nothing more than a scare tactic touted by the Main Stream Media. Most employees would stay home, if they were sick. If an employee arrives with a fever or appearing ill the management is going to send that employee home. There is no need for the mask to protect the public. I’ve heard the “asymptomatic’ argument but I’m still thinking that we need to pursue the Herd Immunity solution.

Supper was leftover meatballs in marinara with some freshly cooked pasta. Both of us were too tired to do anything else. The thing we have to look forward to for tomorrow is more of the same. The large stumps have to be reduced to ash whether we want to or not. Try not to ‘Go gently into that good night” and I’ll yap at you again tomorrow.

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.

Dad’s Alaska

11 April 2020 Saturday

Started the morning off by making coffee and building a fire. It really isn’t that cold, around 40F, but it’s nice to knock the chill off. Made Depression gravy and canned biscuits for breakfast. I needed to get something in my stomach before I take my BP meds and my various vitamins and minerals. I’ve never taken so many pills in my life. The majority of them are vitamins and minerals. Some of them like the D3 and those related to not getting enough sunlight will be discontinued until next fall. We’ll start getting 18-20 hours of daylight for a while.

I got all suited up and in the proper attitude to crawl up under the house. Had put the jacks within reach and was properly motivated to finish leveling the rear portion of the house. After I belly crawled and then on hands and knees the 30 feet to where I needed to be, I found that the various freezes and thaws had formed a sheet of ice so thick that the jacks wouldn’t go under the floor beam. BTW, my left knee, while still tender, was up to the task. This is just another set back. I’m going to have to wait until the ice is gone before I can lower the back of the house to match the front. This means that we are stopped from installing all of the new cabinets and countertops in the kitchen. In other words, all of the interior remodeling has come top a screeching halt. I was able to lower part of the house where the ice had not become a glacier but that wasn’t enough to get the kitchen level. The majority of the back of the house remains as it was. Fortunately, the weather prediction for the next 10 days is rain. The rain will melt the ice but then I’ll be crawling in the mud. There is no happy medium in Alaska.

Summer was given six chickens and two ducks today. We sold all of our chickens last fall and then Summer slaughtered, with the help of a neighbor, and processed nine ducks last October. Now we’re back in the chicken business and we have two ducks that don’t fit into our breeding program. She started out to get Fabio, the rooster, another mate as his previous mate was eaten by a neighbors dog a week or so back. The only reason we still have Fabio is that he managed to escape the Great Chicken Roundup last fall. The search for Fabio’s new girl friend led to a guy who just wanted to be rid of his six chickens. “And oh, by the way, if you want the chickens, I have two ducks you have to take as well“. So as I said earlier, we’re back in the chicken business and we now have two ducks that need to be rehomed or slaughtered. Rehomed is preferable as we still have 3-4 ducks in the freezer. Duck is decent eating but for me a little duck goes a long way.

Chickens led to building a couple of nesting boxes a putting some fresh hay inside the old chicken house. Summer managed to catch Fabio ( had jumped up into her Subaru Forester looking for the hens) and throw him into the house with the other chickens and the two ducks. They’ll all stay cooped up together for the next several days. There will be no ‘social distancing’ for these critters. This will allow the chickens and ducks to understand that this is their new home. When they are, finally, released they’ll stay close to their new home. Home is where the food is.

Today has been a bust as far as getting any progress on the house. but I got a few things accomplished. I was able to pick up things that had disappeared into the snow. Most of them I did not need. But, at least, now they are in a place where I can find them. if I do need them. Stuff disappears into the snow and no matter how badly you need it, you can’t find it until ‘break up’.

Well, that’s it for me. Good news is that I am still ‘Corroded Virus’ free. Nite. Nite. Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.

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.

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 8

Today was a good day! I finally started on the bathroom! YAY! I put the first coat of Kilz on my vanity and stool. I need to add a second coat and then they will be ready to paint with the shade of white I chose.

From there, I will continue to finish the wall and get that painted as well. Then, the bathroom will be ready for the shower panels and vanity top install. I’m thinking it will take me another 3 days to finish the wall and such.

I still need to check on my bees! I am going to try to do it Sunday before anything else.

This evening, I was trying to text Dan, but I kept getting someone else. It was like our wires got crossed. Every time I tried to text him, I’d get another guy instead. It was funny, because at the time I thought I was talking to Dan. It all started because I decided to text on my IPad instead of my phone. I was streaming off my phone to the tv. So instead of Dad seeing my texts blasted all over the tv, I tried my IPad. When I got a text back “Who is this?”, I thought Dan was being funny so I texted back,” It’s Summer. Your girlfriend. You have more than one? LOL”. Still, I am thinking Dan was being funny and said, “ I can’t keep track”. Then, he said his name was Jared and I thought this was still a joke, so I said, “Jared from State Farm? What are you wearing?’ At this point, I suddenly realized that this was not a joke and this was definitely not Dan. It’s my new friend Jared. I apologized and tried again. I still got him. Once I found out who he was, we have mutual friends including Dan. LOL!! I am so embarrassed. Stupid IPad!

My vegetable starts are growing extremely fast! They are going to have to be replanted in new pots. We still have a crap load of snow on the ground. I might have tomatoes and Brussels sprouts growing out of pots before they even get in the ground.

Stay tuned for Day 9. Stay safe my friends!

Self Distancing (quarantine): Day 6

Today I painted all the bee hive boxes in the living room where there is still no flooring. Good thing since I made a big mess on the floor. Lot’s of drippy paint since I had to really put on the coats to protect the hives from the elements. I choose black spruce green. It’s a really nice color. I wanted the hives to blend in with the rest of the area. Although bee hives are not an eye sore, I just wanted them to blend in more.

I can’t wait to get my new bees. They are still coming despite of the epidemic. There will be social distancing when I pick up my bees.

I feel better than I did yesterday. My heart has lightened up and I know I did the right thing by putting my drake out of his mystery. It’s a farm life and sometime you have to do what you have to do. In this case, I did right.

Dad and I were able to get the wall up in the kitchen. YAY! I think it makes the house look a little bigger. I can’t wait to add onto the house and get the living room I’ve always wanted. Then, I will have a larger eat in social area kitchen that is going to be awesome!

New wall being built in the kitchen

My upstairs bathroom has yet to be touched since the last time and I really need to get to it soon. I am hoping I can get to it tomorrow. Dad had to run the electrical and water to where the fridge is going to call its new home. So, I should have some time tomorrow to get it done. Oh, Crap!! I forgot I have to make a trip to town to help out a friend. I have to go to the store and get a few things. Then, I will get back and Lysol myself to death before doing anything else.

Well guys! I guess that’s all I have for tonight! Will talk to you tomorrow. Stay safe and disinfected. Good Luck!!!

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

March 4, 2020 Wednesday

Got up at 9:30 AM, after getting to bed at after 3:30 this morning. Missed seeing Summer off to work as she was leaving as I was crawling out of my warm bed. Doctor’s orders to take it easy today. Not sure exactly what his definition of “take it easy” is. But with the temperature hovering around +5F, I’m not in a big hurry to go outside anyway. It is another one of those cold, beautiful, clear, bright sunny day that lift the spirits. Spirits are best lifted by standing near a warm wood stove with a large cup of coffee.

Yesterday was ‘Stupid Tuesday” or, perhaps, better described as ‘Socialist Tuesday’. There were no Capitalists on the menu for yesterday. Two really old white men (one extremely angry and the other not exactly sure where he is) dominated the day for the Party of Diversity. There is no amazement here considering that the Party of Diversity has trashed all of the minorities and women candidates. Yeah, I know Warren hasn’t dropped out—YET. I am always amazed at the hypocrisy of these people. Don’t get mad. I’m an equal opportunity critic. The decades of RepubliCAN’T has been roundly criticized and jeered by me. I am for that which is Constitutional and best for America not some dumbass political party only interested in their power to piss away our money..

After finishing my coffee I decided to bring in firewood. We had burnt every single piece of firewood as the temps had been at or just below zero for most of three nights. In a little bit of effort to abide by the doctor’s advice, I moved lighter loads. Had to move several extra loads in order to accomplish the task. We’re into March and, hopefully, toward the end of winter. Also, hauled water out to the geese/ducks and dished out feed. Filled seven Homer buckets with snow to generate more water for the animals and for flushing the toilets until I can get the water unfrozen. Earlier this morning the water was flowing from most of the faucets inside the house. Around about 1:00 PM, I decided to finish reloading the dishwasher and clean the kitchen and found that the water had frozen. The temp outside had risen to 15F and yet it all suddenly froze. Inspection revealed that the heat tape had failed.

I was going to unfreeze the piping but it just seemed more trouble than it was worth. I just don’t have the energy or will to drag out the jet heater, unwrap the supply pipe, thaw it out and rewrap it with insulation.

My fingers are tired. So-o-o-o goodbye for now.