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!!

Social Distancing (quarantine)’: Day 13 & 14

Day 13: I didn’t do much. It was a gloomy day and just didn’t do much. I did paint my vanity and stool one coat and needs to be done again tomorrow. Then, I went on my daily walk with the girls and had a few adult seltzers and hung out for a while. I love seeing my friends even though we are over 6 feet apart. I also went to Dan’s house for dinner. We supported one of our local restaurants and ordered take out. Alibi is one of my favorite places to eat. They have the best shrimp tacos! I am so thankful they can make it gluten free! So, my day was a whole paragraph. LOL

Day 14: Today I got a bunch of things done! I finally finished painting the vanity and stool. Tomorrow I will be finishing the dry wall and hopefully painting the wall soon. I, also, had to repot my tomatoes because they are getting so big! I almost didn’t have enough pots. I swear they were getting bigger as I was potting them.

Tomatoes on the right in bigger pots
Ran out of big square pots and used round ones
Tom Thumb tomatoes in hanging pots. They are already starting to get buds.
Brussels Sprouts and Shallots
Cabbage and Dill

As you can see. Everything is growing and I have no place to put it. I am supposed to be seeding out kale, lettuce and a few other things that I want to eat! Believe me. I’m not complaining, just a little concerned. Lol! Well, That’s all I got! Talk to you tomorrow! Stay Safe my friends!

Social Distancing (quarantine) : Day 11

During yesterday’s cooking events, I also realized that I had run out of ketchup. This is a slightly big staple in the house. When I started looking around I realized that we were about out of mayo, bbq sauce and some other very important items that you must have in order for recipes to fit together. I have to go to the store AGAIN!

Turns out we needed a plumbing part for my shower and a shower curtain rod as well. So, off to the store I go! It was a nightmare! I think I held my breath all through the store only to take a fresh gulp when no one was around. I got everything on my list and a few extra stuff. I decided I wanted finger foods for dinner. So, I got some frozen home style meatballs, grape jelly and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. Tossed in the jelly and BBQ sauce in the bottom of my crockpot, threw in the frozen meatballs, stirred and called it good until dinner. I also made chicken wings! I like cooking them naked! No, not me, the wings you dirty minded people! LOL

I don’t batter my chicken wings is what I meant. I just season them with garlic salt and pepper and call it good! I fry them in lard. Yes, lard! These wings come out so crispy! To dip I use Hidden Vally Ranch Dressing and Crystal hot sauce. Delish!

Okay. I gave you dinner first so I guess I need to go on with the rest of the story. We got the shower completely put together. YAY! All is lacking is finish work. There will be trim where you see wood.

This is a close up on what the panels look like

I am so happy! It came out so beautiful. Thank you Dan!

Later, It was time for our ladies walk! Two Alaskan Brewery Seltzers and a group of women standing over 6 feet apart walking and having conversations to stay sane. LOL. I so enjoy it. I think this social distancing, children being out of school and no one is working has brought us all closer together as friends. It looks like its going to happen on a daily basis. We get exercise and don’t feel so isolated in an isolated neighborhood. Our houses are not close to one another like a normal suburban neighborhood. We all love it!

It snowed a little today and expect more tomorrow. Seems like a great time to finally finish painting my vanity and stool. Then I can work on finishing the drywall and get that sucker painted so Dan can install the vanity.

Well, That’s all I have today. It was a pretty slow day. Talk to you soon!

Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 10

Dan came over to install my shower panels and I had to go to town to get Dad more potassium, bread, and a few extra grocery and hardware items that we needed. I tried to keep it down to two stores and trying to stay away from other people. I just walk the other way if someone was getting close to me. It makes it very difficult to grocery shop when you keep having to change directions to avoid other people. If I got boxed it, I’d hold my breath. I carried my Clorox wipes with me so I didn’t contaminate my personal items like my purse, wallet and sunglasses. Then, I have to wipe down my car keys, car handles, steering wheel, gear shift, emergency brake just to make me feel clean.

After making it back from the grocery store in one piece and mostly disinfected, I unloaded the car, got everything in the house and put away. At this point I am starving and I need to eat before I go on a hike with my friends. No worries, we stay more than 6 feet apart the whole time. I needed to get some fuel in this belly because we blocked out 2 hours for this hike. It starts at the top of our main road and goes straight up before cutting across another road to get to this awesome snow machine trail that goes into one of our mountains. During the summer, its swamp area and can be a deep and messy hike. It seems the best tine is now!

Panorama where we decided to stop and turn around on our hike

The hike started off on flat snow covered land until you start a slow incline of elevation into the spruce. That’s where it got interesting. Trail markers were great! Old t-shirts, a shot ski, lanterns, street signs and fake booze hanging from trees. We loved it. We got up to the base of the mountain and decided to turn around due to our time limit. Most of my friends have children and have only so much time to have adult time. Anyway, we turned around and headed back. Tiana was mentioning when we get back to the flats that we should keep our six feet apart and do cartwheels on the snow at the same time. I haven’t done a cartwheel in 20 years! And it shows.

Attempting the cartwheel
Hurt my back attempting the cartwheel
Then, I just collapsed because trying a cartwheel after 20 years can be deadly

It was all fun and games. I decided that my other two friends can do cartwheels and I’m just going to jump!

So we came up with this!
Close up!

It was such a beautiful day! It was so sunny and warm! We totally needed this five mile hike! We also had a sun dog or halo around the sun.

Sun Dog/Halo

We didn’t notice this phenomenon until we were walking back. The only thing missing was our friend Jamie. Will definitely hike it again with her when she has her husband home to take care of the kids.

When I finally got home, Dan was just about finished with the shower and I needed to start dinner. The menu was Jalapeño Popper Meatloaf! It requires a whole 8 oz pack of cream cheese. Low and behold when I pulled it out of the fridge, half of it was eaten. I specifically bought it for this recipe. Two jalapeños, pack of cream cheese, a pound of ground meat, chopped bacon, onions, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Anyway, Dad ate half the cream cheese. So, I had to improvise and grab the ricotta cheese from Dan’s house and add that to the cream cheese, then spread on the bottom half of the meatloaf. I did and added bacon and the chopped jalapeños to the cheese. Then, I put the top part of the meatloaf to it and drizzle on some ketchup. Turns out ketchup is gluten free. Duh!

The meatloaf was fantastic! Here is the recipe! My friend Jamie posted the link on Facebook. <https://lowcarbinspirations.com/jalapeno-popper-stuffed-meatloaf-recipe/&gt;

So, Dan finished the shower and it needed to dry. It will be ready to shower in as soon as Dad installs all the shower controls.

Well, I leave you with an awesome picture that Tiana took of her sister and I walking down the road towards home after our hike. Thank you Tiana for such a beautiful picture!

Thanks Tiana for such a beautiful photo!

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!

Happy One Year Anniversary on traveling to Alaska, my home!

Today, One year ago we made it to Onawa, Iowa and stayed at the On-Ur-Wa RV park.       This was a pretty good RV park.  It had a laundry mat which is was great, by this time we were in desperate need clean clothes and sheets.

We have come a long way since our arrival.  I think back to that first trip north to Alaska; the adventures and long days of driving we had to endure.  The stress of an overloaded school bus carrying an overloaded 28 foot enclosed trailer going 50 mph and 10 mph up mountains and hills.  That was just Dad; I was behind him in Spike towing a 36 foot gooseneck travel trailer.  For all who have just started reading Spike is our big dually diesel 3500 Ram Bully Edition pick up.  He’s big, even comes with its own jake brake, which I had to use many times in the mountains.  Open highways and roads were a piece of cake until we had to drive through large cities with tons of traffic.  Very nerve racking and very scary.

Here are the pics I originally took on Sept. 7, 2017 in Iowa.

This year has just flown by.

Well, Damn! How long has it been?

I have a funny story for you.

So last night I decided to let my Karelian Bear dog (Cookie) for the first time in a longtime.  Big mistake.

I let her out with Taco and Gandie.  She then proceeded to run off with Taco trailing behind her all the way to the road.  (Forehead Slap!)

I got them back onto the property and was able to scold Taco and he ran back to the house and went inside.  Cookie on the other hand found the pond with my ducks swimming all zen like.  She was chasing them around the pond while I was screaming at her.  To make it clear, this was about 10 pm and I was in my jammies.

So, this makes a funny picture.  Me, in my jammies, yelling and chasing a dog chasing ducks.

Now, at this point, I was prepared to tackle Cookie and land in the cold dirty pond water.  There were a couple of times that this was going to happen.  She ran into the brush next to the pond where one of my ducks were hiding and went in after her.  Of course she was already out and I am falling on my face in the mud which is in the brush.  I’m in my jammies mind you.

I get up fall yet again.  At this point, I am so pissed that I could barely keep all the bad words inside my mouth.  Cookie finally figuring out that this wasn’t a game as I am chasing her all over the muddy ass property stopped and let me catch her.  I grabbed her by the tough of her neck and told her what I thought of her at that moment and told her that she was being bad.

I’m muddy in my jammies and she is muddy and wet from the pond.  Which got me wet when I caught her.  I led her back to the house by the collar and went inside.  I must have sent dad a psychic thought, because inside was a nice warm fire.  I made and drink and told dad the whole story.  We laughed about it in the kitchen while I warmed up.

I went upstairs and changed into clean jammies and got into bed.  It seems Cookie decided to seek revenge and rolled her muddy wet body all over my comforter.  So, it too was wet and muddy.

I changed my covers and went to bed.  All the chickens were in for the night and the ducks slept knowing they dodged a serious bullet.

So, this was my adventure last night.  I hope it brings you as many laughs as it brought me and dad.

 

Hello Again

Well, It’s been a while since my last blog entry. Sorry about the delay. Since we’ve arrived back home to Alaska we have been trying to find our groove and get back into normal life.

We finally made way inside the house and created a more comfortable living space.

Normal life. What is that? I guess for me it’s trying to start back up where I left off.   I got to go halibut fishing and it was a success!  I caught two big halibut for the freezer. It was so much fun!  Catching halibut is really like trying to pull a door off the ocean floor.  I couldn’t have asked for a better time with my friend Tiana.

I seemed to fit right back in to my friendships without a hitch. Thank goodness. Spring was nice and it was really cool to see new beginnings on the homestead. The grass and flowers growing and blooming, the moose with her twin calves. Birds singing, the sandhill cranes flying in for the summer with their noisy squawks, you just feel summer is here.

 

We have been busy with sheet rock, kitchen cabinets, clearing land, digging our spring box, creating a pond, spreading gravel for a big driveway, getting chickens and trying not to wear out our bodies before winter.

 

The best thing we came across was an estate sale that had a ton of firewood. This is something we have been struggling to get. If you have read my previous posts than you know this is something we have been struggling with. We have so much wood we can get through this season and maybe the next. It has been back-breaking to load and carry all this firewood and on top of that we bought a whole bunch of lumber from the same people. We now have the wood to fix the house and build whatever we want. Life is good.

All this and I got a part-time job that I really like. Two days a week I get to go hiking with a bunch of dogs! I get to be outdoors and play. In one full day, I hike about 4 miles up hill and sometimes on a flat surface. What a fun way to get exercise, all this and a great view to boot. On the third day I am in the office. a great break from all the work I do.

Yesterday, I cleaned and renovated the chicken coop. It was gross. It had about 2 hay bales in it. I was given the coop and chickens and I knew there would need to be some cleaning and maintenance to be done. So, I drove to Anchor Point for a couple of reasons. The first reason was I bought a new rooster and decided to buy a hen to make him feel like her wasn’t alone in the relocation process. Well, the hen started crowing yesterday morning. Dude looks like a lady!!! So, I had to return him and get a hen. While I was going that way, I might as well go to the mill and get saw dust for the coop.

So, I picked up the new hen and headed the mill. I got three aluminum cans worth of dust, loaded them up and headed home. At this point, I go into the coop and inspect it. I decided that the laying area was not acceptable and should be changed as well as the roosting configuration. Thank goodness for all the wood we have. I found a decent piece of plywood that I could handle myself and started the measuring procedures inside the coop. My thought is that I could use the nesting shelf and rafters to create nesting boxes.

I came up with a plan and went to work. The first pieces were basically prototypes to get the right sizes and angles. After that, I just traced the template on the plywood and cut it out. Everything was screwed into place including little roofs. Then, I added sawdust. I added new perches and cleaned the coop out. I added new sawdust to the floor, re-hung the food and water. Then I made them a more permanent ramp to get in and out. It’s clean and smells like fresh-cut spruce. The next thing on the list is to create a winter run for them. That way they can go outside without being neck-deep in snow.

 

 

We are still planning to level the house before fall sets in. It’s very important that we do this. Without the house being level trying to do finish work on the sheet rock will never happen and we can’t finish it this winter. Sheet rocking and flooring is top of the list for winter work. Also, leveling the house means we can build an arctic entry to the house. A place where we can keep our boots and coats and shake all the mud and snow off us. This keeps the house so much more clean. We tend to track Alaska right into the kitchen and the rest of the house. It creates a constant major cleanup every time we enter the house.

So, without the house being leveled we can’t finish sheet rock, install flooring or build an arctic entry. It must be done. “The spice must flow” (Dune).

Today, my neighbor had a bear in her turkey run. It ate all her feed, bit didn’t touch the turkeys. It seems the bears are moving lower and lower down the road closer to us. I have a feeling this weekend we might get to see a black bear in our yard. Probably trying to get into the chicken coop. That’s where we store the feed as well.

We also had an earthquake today. A 4.3 or 4.4. I haven’t felt one thus far until this morning at work. It happened so fast that I didn’t know what hit me. Can you say scary and exciting at the same time? There was a weird rumbling noise and the walls were shaking and I had to do a balance check as it was happening. There was not time to get outside or think. It was over as fast as it came.

screenshot_20180713-142332_geotremor-earthquake-alert8960657062795250663.jpg

Well, I guess I have caught all y’all up on what’s happening on the homestead.

Oh! Here’s a movie with me driving my tractor.  It’s a really cool one too!  It’s a Pasquale and it articulates.  Enjoy!

Leaving on a Jet Plane

The last few days we have been preparing for the trip back to Florida to close up some loose ends. Dad and I have been working the whole week to prepare the house before leaving.  Luckily, My wonderful neighbors are checking on my place daily.

I decided to fly back on the red eye in Anchorage and Dad wanted to drive back with Gandie and Suzy.  Me and Taco flew Alaska Airlines.  Which by the way, is the best airlines I have ever flown.  If you are going to fly in strong winds, snow, ice, etc. they are your airlines.  I sprung a little extra for a premium seat which means I get more leg room and I get to board the plane sooner, right after first class and military.  Not only do I get those perks, but I get free alcohol to drink!  For someone who hasn’t flown on an airplane since 2005 and extremely nervous a vodka ginger or two made a real difference from starting off thinking we are all going to die a cold, snowy, fiery death to calm laughing and enjoying my airbus ride with a nice older gentlemen that kept my mind off of dying.  Inflight snack was a cute little box of organic goodies that consists of a fig cake, gummy bears, almonds.  Of course, I swallowed it down with a few vodka gingers.  I was feeling good about flying at this point.  This entire time Taco was sitting in my lap sleeping.  He was very nervous and wouldn’t drink water or eat a treat but stayed calm the whole way.

When we landed in Portland, Taco walked off the plane like a pro.  We walked to the dog restroom to see if he needed to go.  No go.  He smelled all the dogs that peed there and he just couldn’t do it.  I felt so bad for him.  So, we walked to our next gate and hung out the 50 minutes until we were able to board.  We boarded and took our seat.  Still having a bit of a buzz, I was ready for the next leg of the flight.  This time I was able to order food.  First I got my little box of organic snacks and a double vodka.  Then a bit later food was served and I ordered the cheese and fruit platter.  It was really good!  I ate every bit of it. Still, Taco wouldn’t eat even when offering him some apple and cheese.  Two things he would normally eat in a heartbeat.

Bathroom breaks on an airplane with Taco are interesting.  If you could picture it, I am holding Taco like a baby being burped and walking to the head.  So, then I have to put Taco down in this tiny coffin sized room just to go potty.  Then, flush (which scares Taco), wash hands, pick up Taco and walk back to our seat, get comfortable and seat belt.  All this time my phone isn’t updating due to the fact that I have no service.  I have no idea where we were and how much longer.  The men that I was sandwiched in the middle of didn’t want to be bothered so I felt that I was trapped by the unknown.  So I finished my drink and tried to take a nap.  Just about that time we started our decent into Orlando.  Thank God!

What I am guessing is about 45 minutes before we landed.  Then, touchdown!  I text my beat friend Tammy and she told me to text her when I get my luggage.  So, I hight tail it to the tram, get on, get off, and race down the escalator to the baggage claim.  About 5 minutes later luggage is starting coming out in the conveyor belt.  I see mine and run and get it.  Then I text Tammy and she is on her way from the cell lot.  Taco and I jump into the vehicle with the help of Tammy and we were off to Suwannee County!

Taco was still freaked out and took a well needed calm nap in the back seat and I was slowly fading.  My body was aching from all the stress of flying and sitting for so long.  It was so nice to get back to the hood.  Taco just was happy to be free from a leash and me.  He was able to run around and finally go to the bathroom.  It was like he had to pee forever.  When we finally went inside he was just a little shell of himself.  He wouldn’t eat anything and just wanting to sleep.  A little later we went to our friend Jan’s house to see the gang.  It was so great to see everyone!

We got back to the house and I laid in bed watching a show on my iPad and I was falling asleep dropping the iPad on my chest.  It was 9:30 pm Florida time.  I was sleeping good when I received a phone call that woke me up too abruptly.  I was disoriented and didn’t know where I was and what time it could be.  I had an older washing machine for free on Craigslist and it was a woman calling about it.  I’m still on Alaska time but hadn’t slept for 24 hours so I could’t speak or think.  I told here to text me her name and I would get back with her when I woke up on Florida time.  I was so disoriented that threw the covers and pillows off the bed trying to figure out where I was.  Now after the fact it’s pretty funny.

Yesterday, Tammy and I went to town to run some errands.  I needed to go to Walmart for some things, we ate blacked fish tacos at Beef o Brady’s then to the liquor store, and last Publix.  I forgot how inexpensive food is here I looked like a tourist in my old town.  As we marked things off our list it started raining and the temperature went from 77 to 53 by the time we got back to the house.  We got home around 5 pm and took it easy.  Tammy said I brought the weather with me when I left Alaska.  I wasn’t feeling like going to bed since I am still 4 hours behind on Alaska time.  Tammy wanted to stay up with me and so she did.  This morning she is suffering from lack of sleep.  Me on the other had a full nights sleep on my Alaska time schedule.  Went to bed at 2 am Florida/10 pm Alaska and woke up at 12 pm Florida/8 am Alaska.  Tonight I am taking two benedryls and call it a night by 10 pm Florida.  We have a lot to do tomorrow.  We have to go back into town for a few more errands and I need to go by the rental house and check on it.  We want to get it all done in the morning and then prepare for more guests for this weekend.

Tonight we had homemade soup that Tammy made it’s called Tammy’s Take on Pasta Fagioli with kale, zucchini and Italian sausage and lots of garlic bread.  Yummy!

Meanwhile, Dad is working his way down from Alaska on the ALCAN.  He was currently spotted he was spotted last in Watson Lake, Yukon about an hour ago.  He just might make it to British Columbia today.  If you see Dad driving Spike and a 28 foot white empty enclosed trailer,  give him a wave and say hi.  He is slow and steady and should be out of Canada in a few days.

Well, good night everyone.  I will try to do better about posting.