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!

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!

This Past Spring and Summer

It’s amazing to me that Dad and I have lived in Alaska now for over 2 years.  It’s been busy busy for us and I just haven’t felt like blogging.  So, as I sit at work today, I got a wild hair to try and catch everyone up.  We had such a beautiful summer.  The fireweed exploded this year.  It was hot too.  We got up into the 70s which is hot for us in Homer.

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Okay.  So, I have been working for a doggie daycare for a little over a year now.  This explains why my blogging stopped.  Not only am I working a job, but I am still working on our God forsaken house.  Time just kinda passed with a blink of an eye.

This passed spring Dad and I built a greenhouse I bought from Clima Pod.  It was about 50 million pieces with the worst directions ever.  I’m talking you can follow IKEA instructions better than this!  This green house about drove me to drink heavily.  I will never buy another one like this again.  We got it done and it was a little to late to grow veg at that point.  So I took care of all my house plants and made sure they got enough sun.  Although, I did plant cabbage and carrots to see if I can get them to grow in such a short period of time.  I don’t think there will be enough time.

We also built a new pond for the ducks and geese.  I planted clover around it.  We also took an old boat house and created a goose house!  The waterfowl love it!

I also decided to try my hand at honey bees and I’ve gotten honey as well!

 

We keep adding more things to our list of to do’s.  We keeping stretching ourselves a little thinner every time.  On top of all the work we are doing on the house, I take breaks to go halibut fishing with my boyfriend.  So, I gain food for the freezer but loose a day or two working on the house and property.  I also did some blueberry picking!

It’s fall here in Homer, Alaska and barreling down to winter.  We still need to lower the house, which will make it level.  FINALLY!  We need to skirt it and move on to the inside of the house.  I am so excited to have sheet rock, finish the kitchen, have real flooring instead of plywood.  I have this vision in my head on what it’s going to look like finished.  Hopefully, what I have envisioned will be close to the real thing.

We are also going to add a new room to the house.  There will be a basement, new living room, a bedroom with its own bathroom and shower in it for Dad.  This way he doesn’t have to climb the stairs anymore.  We are also going to enlarge the powder room upstairs to a full bath.    All my beauty stuff will have its own place in a bathroom, my bathroom, and not stored in my bedroom.  The days of feeling like I live in a dormitory will be over.  No more lugging around my bath stuff.  I’m really hoping to get to my new bathroom this winter.

When we are finished with this house, it will be a four bedroom, three bathroom house.  Large eat in kitchen. a basement, a large living room with great views and much more.

I will try to do better on posting what we’ve been up to.  Sorry for the long wait.  There will be more to come!!!  Thanks for reading!

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.

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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.

Bob’s Version: Day 66 Homestead

Homestead Day 66 Monday 11/27/2017 Got up this morning at 7:15 and pushed the ‘coffee button’. Yesterday some news weather lady was hyping the storm in the Gulf of Alaska. She was practically screaming ‘the strongest storm on earth today”. Therefore when got up I was that expecting the the strongest storm on earth yesterday had dumped a prodigious amount of snow. NOPE. I don’t think it snowed at all last night. About 1:00 this afternoon we had a little flurry that lasted maybe 30 minutes

We cleaned the house as thoroughly as possible amongst boxes, dogs, dog beds sheets of sheet rock and plywood remnants. House cleaning turned into a serious half day job. About 2:30 Summer abandoned me and was off to town for some supplies or respite from her grumpy father or, perhaps, both. I picked up a few odds and ends and started the laundry.

Everyday I get earthquake alerts. Summer put the app on my phone and I’m enjoying knowing where around the “Circle of Fire’ the earth is getting jumpy. If it were in my near vicinity, I’d most likely know. Although the wood pile beside the stove fell at about 10:00, there were no quake notices. So it was likely that earth gravity set in on the firewood. Summer was anticipating the same “strongest storm on earth” snow. She brought in a 3-4 day supply. All that work for nothing. Kind of like prepping for a “hurricane of the century” that falls to a simple gale force wind just before it gets to you. You’ve worked like crazy to prepare and then nothing. That it subsided was a good thing, but if the overzealous news knuckleheads hype them all as “the storm of the century”you will, eventually, ignore the warnings.

Tonight’s dinner is homemade lasagna. Homemade meaning not coming out of the grocery store freezer. Sauce comes in a glass jar, noodles that don’t need to be precooked and hamburger meat sautéed with onions, garlic and shallots. It was very good.

Bob’s Version: Day 65 Homestead

Homestead Day 65 Sunday 11/26/2017

A day of recovery from the excesses of Saturday night’s overeating contest. Coffee, news and buttered toast w/no jelly. Didn’t need the calories. I can almost get into a pair of size 36 pants. I can remember when I wore a size 28. Of course, I was 70 pounds lighter and 60 years younger. The only thing that really irritates me about getting old is having to wear glasses. The constant effort to keep track of the miserable things is a absolute distraction.

Unfortunately, they are a fact of life.

Today I finished up the leftover work on the bathroom wall and filled in some bad spots on the floor. Ran out of big pieces of plywood, I was forced to make a jigsaw pattern of wood on the floor. The insurance inspector is coming tomorrow to see that we are living in the house and that we had all of the utilities run safely. I never had that type of inspection on a house before except when selling one. Usually they look at the roof and go away. It appears that things are somewhat different in Alaska.

Made an early day of it as I just had no ambitions beyond piecing the floor together. Anyway a good bit of the floor will have to come out with the bath tub and the surround in January. So patching it up is just a short term solution to a long term problem. I’m always telling people not to do that, but sometimes a short term solution is the only one available. Tomorrow will bring the inspector and a good deal of housekeeping. We have neglected the housekeeping in favor of repairing the house. Will probably do some laundry as part of the housekeeping effort.

Sunday, Summer ate leftovers from Saturday’s repast. I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup and some saltines early and then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich later. I wasn’t very hungry.