Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 7

I feel like I haven’t accomplished much. I’m gonna have to think about this for a moment. Let me think……

Oh! I went to the store for needed provisions. Vodka, wine, gluten free foods as well. I also checked the mail looking for my last pay paycheck. No luck. Maybe tomorrow.

Dad and I rearranged the living room before we finish the new wall in the kitchen. That way we can freely walk through the kitchen and living room with no issues. We also moved all the freshly painted bee hives into the tent for safe keeping until we have full on break up. We can’t put them in their new homes until then, too much snow. That, and I don’t have my bees yet.

There was a lot of sweeping and straightening up that needed to be done as well and still needs to be done. I’m still trying to get to the point that I can work on the bathroom, but things just keep coming up. The bees need to be checked on as well. It’s time to feed them pollen patties. This time I’m going to were my bee suit. Last time I didn’t and I got stung. That became a waste of a day. I was all whacked out on Benadryl and slept most of the day. Not gonna make that mistake again!

I’m going over to Dan’s tonight for some social distancing practice and dinner. I made Dad a crock pot roast that’s been cooking for two days, it smells so good! Tonight at Chef Boy’R Dan’s will be grilled red salmon, broccoli and rice. Tonight I dine like an Alaskan and tomorrow I will eat the roast like a southerner.

Borrowed from Facebook

This morning I found this image on Facebook and was reading all the little arrows. I started to look down from my IPad and discovered that I was wearing red Christmas pajama pants, oversized cardigan well more like a zip up hoodie, and a stretched out tank top. No stains. I was just getting over a pimple that I usually don’t get and I didn’t have a headache, but the rest was true. I busted out laughing hysterically. My hair was even in a bun!! I just about died!

Well, that’s all for now! Talk to you later! Day 7 coming soon the a blog near you!

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!

Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 1

Friday, March 20, 2020 was my last day at work. My boss decided it was best since everything else was closing down. As a dog walker, I go into people’s homes to pick up their dog. This is potentially dangerous to everyone because we could spread this virus across our little town. So, we are doing our part to keep people safe.

I have lots to do around the house and will probably never get bored. I was reading an article about how Gen X’ers are probably the best for this whole quarantine thing we are going through. I have to admit. I am a Gen X’er and looking back at my childhood, I would have to agree with some of these articles. We were the latchkey children that came home from school and found our own snacks and did our homework alone. We listened to the radio waiting for our favorite songs to come on so we could record it and create awesome mixed tapes. I played out in the woods with friends and came home when the street light came on. I hung out in my room entertaining myself with games, music, and my imagination. There was no internet and we didn’t have cable. We also played Oregon Trail and learned from it. LOL! We are the generation of social distance. We got this! #socialdistancing #GenX It was like we’ve been training for this all our lives!

It’s snowing again! Just when you thought it was break up you get another 3-4 inches of snow. That’s okay. Soon spring will be here. I’m gonna have to upgrade some of my starts to bigger pots. This is a good thing. The longer we have to keep them growing and put some growth on them, the better they will produce and survive.

My herbs and tomatoes are ready for the next size up on pots. You slowly move them into bigger pots as they grow. It’s really fun and messy since I have to do it I’m my living room. So, that’s one job that will take pretty much all day. I have all my onion starts and begonias as well.

I now have the time to get my new bathroom finished. I’ve got a lot to do, but it will be fun! Dan is almost done with my beautiful vanity. He said he needs to do a little light sanding and then I can prime and paint it. I am so impressed and grateful. The vanity will install onto the corner of the wall so it only needs one leg. It’s going to have solid surface on top that will match the shower stall.

This will also give me time to sort out everything that I don’t want anymore. Out with the old and no more stuff!

Maybe I will have time to work on my quilt as well. I don’t think I will go stir crazy but I’m afraid by day five I will be drinking out of a wine bottle! HAHAHA! Maybe not.

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy and don’t get bored!

So long and keep calm!

Are we there yet, Spring?

Weather is as unpredictable as usual. It warmed up and then it snowed, then it warmed up, and then it snowed and now its pretty chilly and sunny. The weather this week should be sunny and cool (highs in the 20s). Yesterday was warm around 33 or 34. It started to get really melty and difficult to drive in. I’m sure you read my Dad’s blog about his encounter with the water truck and him getting two vehicles stuck while I was at work.

Speaking of work. It was a challenge to walk through sticky, melty and mushy snow. The dogs really didn’t care, but I was walking around like I was a staggering drunk. The roads were melting and it was really really slushy in places. You kind of slide around and look like you are drunk driving. Then, the road starts crumbling into deep pothole filled with melting water. So now, you are dodging deep potholes and yet again you look like your driving drunk. If you can’t dodge them and you have to hit them you are only make the potholes worse. Good Times!

The ducks think it to be spring. They have started to lay eggs again and I have found myself with a surplus of duck eggs. I have made gathering eggs a game. Due to our below freezing temps in the morning, you have to get to the eggs before they freeze and then crack. Then they are no good.

This was Sunday morning and I haven’t gather eggs yet and I was just thinking to myself that the geese should start laying as well. So, after coffee and such I went out to the greenhouse to check out the situation. Low and behold, the waterfowl finally made a nest! The ducks just lay their eggs where ever they are standing up to this point. So, someone got organized and the rest have followed. I walk up to the nest of hay and start digging around. I find 3 duck eggs and guess what?!?!

You guessed it! Two goose eggs! YAY! I’m so excited! I’ve never had geese before and let alone goose eggs! I think I’m gonna try to make a custard out of them in celebration. I took some pics so you can see the difference in the size duck versus goose. Now, these geese are first time egg layers so the eggs should get bigger the more they lay.

Today, I was in the store. There is no Toilet paper in the stores at all! It feels like this mass hysteria and people are prematurely panicking. Today at the local supermarket the paper toilet/paper towel isle looks like this.

All that’s left is crappy commercial TP that will eventually be bought out when the entire U.S. runs out of TP and we will no longer get shipments into our little town. It’s ridiculous. I’m not going to panic until I absolutely have too.

I searched Amazon for my favorite TP only to find the price gouging has started. So freaking ridiculous!

Worse case scenario when the toilet paper runs out, we can always install one of these!

Thursday was a pretty good day. The snow is slowly melting and hopefully break up is near. My geese are trying to destroy my car nibble by nibble. They have chewed the plug off to my block heater on Zippy and have proceeded to do damage to my front bumper by the fog light. They must be fenced in ASAP! Come on break up we need you!

Thursday night we had such an amazing sunset!

Friday was such a lovely day to work (walk dogs or more like hike). The sun was out it felt warm due to the sun reflecting off the snow. It has been so warm that I have started shedding my major winter gear for more lighter stuff. It went from Arctic Muck boots, to Keen winter boots and gaiters. Well, the gaiters were getting too hot and not letting my sweat leave my legs. I had to come up with a better solution. I needed something that would work like gaiters but would allow my legs to dry quickly.

It’s been getting so warm on my hikes that wearing fleece lined Carhartt pants were too warm. So, I have gone to Carhartt leggings which work just fine as long as I don’t have those sweaty gaiters on. Low and behold! LEG WARMERS!

Yes, people! I’m bringing them back as the number one winter accessory you need for post holing through snow! My legs stay dry and the synthetic material keeps the snow on the outside. I recommend leg warmers for those knee deep snow days. Besides, they’re cute! I’m pretty sure Dan thinks so too!

We found another leak in our water system, AGAIN! We found the leak, but have to survive without water for the rest of the weekend. Thanks Dan for the use of your shower, yet again! Monday we will have a water filled again. It really sucks, what a waste of money when the water just drains out all over the snow and under the water house. My duty for today is to shovel snow into the Homer buckets and melt it on the wood stove. Something to last us all weekend. It’s already Saturday so it shouldn’t be too much trouble to go one more day without.

Then, it’s time to start some spring cleaning. I really need to stop hoarding clothes and such that I’m never going to wear. I also wish I had time to try to finish my quilt. Maybe I will finish it by next winter. LOL

Okay. It’s time to be somebody and do some work around the stead! I leave you with cute pics of my dogs. So long readers and stay disinfected!

Dad’s Alaska

March 5, 2020 Thursday.

Managed to crawl out of bed in time to see Summer off to her work. Drank the requisite 3 large cups of coffee and ate a cinnamon raisin bagel stuffed with a sausage patty and smeared inside with grape jelly. Yep. It tasted almost as bad as it sounds. I ate it anyway. I was reared in a family of 6 children where food was what was on the table and you had to hurry along to get your fair share and nothing was to be wasted. You ate whatever there was and you cleaned the plate.

This is another day of crystal clear blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud. The temp at a quarter to eleven this morning is a crisp 7F. Getting dressed for this low temperature is a pain in the ass. Insulated underwear, two pairs of socks, jeans, snow pants below the waist. Above the waist is insulated underwear shirt, tee shirt, a long sleeve outer shirt and topped by a thick hoodie. Trapper’s hat to cover the ears and gloves for the hands finishes off the sartorial arctic splendor.

Today the plan is to get the water flowing again and then crawl up under the floor and restart the leveling the house project. I’ll let you know how that goes later.

Dad’s Alaska

March 2, 2020

Today is the third anniversary of my wife’s death. Connie and I were dating and married for over 43 years. She was the great love of my life and there isn’t a day or night that passes that I don’t miss her. I am greatly diminished without her love, wit, wisdom, humor and, sometimes, biting input. I have always been subject to whims. Her presence curtailed many of the stupidest ones and mitigated some of the less stupid. She was the anchor that kept me from drifting into the rocky shores of dumb ass many times. There is no possible replacement for such a person and, frankly, I have no inclination to attempt such a replacement.

Yesterday it snowed a little more. Nothing of any great impact. Just more. Summer spent most of her day working on her planting of herbs and vegetables that she hopes will bear fruit in the coming Spring and Summer. As for myself I wandered about in the snowy landscape attempting to continue the leveling of our humble abode.

I spent much of the day trying to arrange various boards and concrete blocks so as to lift the house off the last two pilings. This project is/was complicated by the fact that the earth had fallen away from the pilings and left no place to place a jack. Thin air does not support 10-15 tons of house no matter how low or high the barometric pressure might be. The only thing holding these pilings in place is a foot or so of frozen soil and several boards that I attached to them that run back to the piling further back under the house. Had I not tied these pilings back to the ones behind them an entire corner of the house would likely be hanging out over the abyss, if not sliding into the abyss. Lowering this house has been a much greater project than I thought. The Aegean Stables would have been easier to clean and taken a lot less time. One reason for the slowness of this project is that I’ve been doing it, almost exclusively, alone. You’re working with four hydraulic jacks. You pump one a bunch of times move on to do the same three more times. The you return to the first and pump it however many times deemed necessary. It is time consuming, tiring and downright aggravating as each identical pump moves differently. The ground under each pump compresses differently requiring additional shimming under each pump after each round. It’s enough to drive a sane man crazy and a crazy man, myself, completely ’round the bend’. Yet for some insane reason I pursue the masochistic endeavor with increased fervor. Each and every encounter with this aggravating exercise in futility leaves me thinking that I’m really getting close to the end. Which end? I’m not certain. The end of what is left of my sanity or the end of the leveling project. They are running neck and neck in this endeavor.

Today I maneuvered a 4″x12″x12′ piece of lumber into place to span the gap left by the soil falling away from the pilings holding up the southwest corner of the house. Under this I stacked concrete blocks to support it near the center. Both ends are resting 15-18″ over on frozen earth that is unlikely to collapse. On the corner I placed another 4′ piece of 4″x12″ on top and perpendicular to the large beam. On this I placed a screw jack. Atop the large beam and the concrete blocks I placed a hydraulic jack. I jacked up the hydraulic until the beam cleared the piling and then ran the screw jack up to support the beam. This left the piling clear to be cut to the proper height and a new heavier beam installed under it. I did the same thing at the other end. I’m doing my very best not to have to do this ever again. When Spring arrives, I’ll be pouring concrete footings and setting a wall under the outside wall of the house. This wall and the footings will be of sufficient strength to support the entire front of the house as well as the new rooms built above it. No more sinking house.

I could have done more today but I got tired of wallowing in the mud. The temp was up to 39F and water was pouring off the roof from melting snow. I got wet and stayed wet for the entire time I was working on the jacking system. There was, also, the aggravation factor of removing a support beam that I had placed across the old pilings to hold the newly installed pilings in place. Somehow the socket that I used to install the heavy 8″ screws would not remove them. It stripped the head on two of the 16 and I ended up having to cut those with my saw. It was an aggravating two hours spent first finding the damned socket ((that I put in a place where I would be sure to find it when needed)) and then trying every trick that I could conjure to get those two damned screws out. Of course, in the search for the socket there were four or five side tracks that ate up time. I’ve lost a Milwaukee Hole Shooter 1/2 drill motor, that I’ve owned for over 30 years, somewhere in the storage container. I ordered a new power cord for it and now can’t find the drill motor. One of the side tracks was the finding of the new and the old power cords. This set off another in vain search for the drill motor. Some mysteries have no solution.

Tomorrow is another opportunity to screw up the simplest of things, pretty much the same as today, I think. See Ya.

Snowmagedon 2020

The snow started on Thursday afternoon and continued through Saturday night. It’s now Sunday and the snow storm is over.

Friday the snow came down heavy. Dan and I named it “A Fluffy Gully Filler”, instead of a regular gully washer. We went to town for dinner at Alibi’s where we proceeded to enjoy shrimp tacos and chicken wings! There was blowing snow and limited visibility, but that doesn’t stop the full time residents here from enjoying life and eating out. Dinner was wonderful and we headed back to Fritz Creek.

The next morning, we woke up to deep snow drifts and buried vehicles. I decided that after coffee that it was time to go home only to find that my road was iffy and I can’t get into my driveway. The snow was almost above the hood of Zippy. Now, I talked about Zippy in my last post and how well she gets through snow. She wasn’t going to make it through the deep snow that was left from the storm.

I ended up backing out of my road, due to the fact that there was nowhere to turn around, and got back onto pavement. I drove to my nearest neighbor and asked if I can park at the end of their driveway so I could hike into my property and get to my house. Further investigation to the snow around me, I realized that there was damaged from the snow and potential damage as well. We needed to act fast. Unfortunately, that had to wait. Betsy my little Jack Russell had an ear infection and it was getting worse. It seems that dogs don’t show their symptoms until it’s too late. And so, I had to drive to town in the blizzard to get some medicine for Betsy. After treating her I found she had more issues. She has sores around her neck from her collar getting wet I suppose. She’s a mess. I’ve scrubbed her neck with betadine and I am trying to keep it dry. Worst case I will call my vet again and set up a visit. I know it will always look worse before it gets better, but dang!

Meanwhile, while I was in town we had a friend come by and plow our road and a place for me to park. It was very interesting. The plow truck got stuck and we spent more time trying to get the truck out than it took for the area to be plowed.

As you can see, we’ve created a goat trail for us to travel through.

A few pictures showing what I saw hiking into my property.

Dad and I got busy trying to save the other buildings. We needed to uncover the greenhouse and what’s left of our storage tents. The snow is deep, my friends! Talk about getting your cardio.

This video gives you a really good idea of what its like here. I am going to have to teach Dad how to make decent videos. He’s all over the place. lol

Well I guess I need to go back to work, the snow isn’t going to move itself.

I leave you with a pitiful picture of Betsy. Until next time! See ya!

Dad’s Alaska

Went to the doctor yesterday to get the diagnosis for my extremely high blood pressure. While I do have some restriction in the artery feeding one of my kidneys the other is fully open for business. The restriction in my right kidney is minimal and something to be watched but requires no intervention at this point. As with all things unknown, I was expecting the absolute worst possible outcome. Human nature is to expect the worst. As you might expect, I am greatly relieved to learn that the problem was caused by the new gout medicine I’ve just started taking.

Now that I know I’m not on the imminent handicapped or death list, I’ve got to get back to the leveling (lowering) the house. The problem I’m facing at this point is that the soil has fallen away from the pilings. This has left me with no place to set the jack and the jack posts. With that problem having reared its’ ugly head, I am being forced to engineer another way to set up the jack and jack posts. What I’m thinking is that I may be able to put some heavy lumber in place of the soil. Place it on the uneven ground and tie it into the pilings further back. The problem is that I need to support something like 10-15 tons long enough to cut the pilings to the proper level. Also, after the pilings are cut, there needs to be enough heavy structure to support the jack posts I am going to use to lower the house to its’ final position. On top of the engineering problems, there has been a foot of more of new snow. This means plowing through 2 feet or more of snow carrying heavy stuff.

As I sit here, writing this blurb and sipping coffee, it has begun to snow again. The temp outside is up to 22F. Not too bad. It is cold enough to need to layer up on my clothing . Once I start moving the 4″x10″x12′ timbers I will start to sweat and need to shed some of the clothing. Sweating in the cold can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia is not a good thing. After I have dodged the kidney failure bullet, I don’t want to maim or kill myself by getting frozen appendages or freezing to death in my own front yard.

Moving to Alaska and Homer, in particular, was a kind of spur of the moment decision. My wife of 43 years had died. Summer and I were sitting, in her Florida house, sweating and talking about having to replaced the faltering A/C unit. I had an acquaintance that makes a trip to the Homer area several times a year. His description of the area made it seem very attractive. This led us to looking on Zillow for a place to live. That’s where we found this dilapidated house. After much talk and hand wringing we made an offer on the house. Unfortunately, they accepted our offer and here we are.

Just looked down out of the bathroom window to the area I’ll be working in. The snow has drifted to about 4-5 feet deep. This is just another in the long string of impediments in getting this house level. Well-l-l-l, I guess I better go layer up and get on with it. See ya later.

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.