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!

Dad’s Alaska

A menage ‘a trois: Vodka, Ice and Lemon-Lime

I am running out of things to do inside the house. Spent much of the day picking up tools, construction debris and putting away things that have been displaced by the construction over the past several days. This took longer than I expected and at the end of the day there was still stuff where stuff shouldn’t be. Living in a construction zone is a constant mess.

Today was another cold morning followed by a cold day to be followed by a colder night. This was the first day of this winter that I’ve had to put the ice cleats on my shoes. The previous day’s heat was melting the snow and now the watery snow has become ice. As I am allergic to death and/or broken bones so the cleats became a necessity. We, meaning Summer and myself, thought that the winter was over. We were mistaken as the weather predictions now say that the temps will be in the mid 30s during the day for the next 10 days. Worse it will be in the mid 20s every night for that period of time. Ice upon ice. How wonderful. Last year this time people were planting their gardens. This year the ground is still frozen solid and will not likely thaw until the later part of April or the first week or so of May. Personally, I could use some of that Gore-bal Warming. Coincidentally, we are in Solar Minimum #25. That could explain why the cold just won’t go away. It’s fairly simple: No sunspots, no heat. Summer remarked the other day that she had seen a report that the earth was some fractions of a degree cooler than last year. ****https://interestingengineering.com/this-year-will-mark-the-lowest-solar-activity-in-over-200-years**** You can read this article for yourself. I remember making some comment to my Dad when I was a teenager about the weather seeming hotter. He told me then that the weather ran in 30 year cycles. I recalled that conversation sometime ago when in another conversation. The 30 year cycle is a real thing. When I thought about it for the first time in 50 years, I looked it up. You can look it up on Google: 30 year weather cycle.

On average Alaska is a cold place, however, the southern portion of the Kenai Peninsula is/was a rain forest. Much of that forest has been destroyed by civilization but more of it was destroyed by the Spruce Bark Beetles. Millions of trees were destroyed. The property on which Summer and I reside was once a solid mass of Spruce trees. When we bought it it was nothing but downed trees, tree stumps, grass clumps and frost humps. Clearing up this mess has cost thousands of dollars and hours and hours of heavy machinery time. It was completely unusable when we arrived but now it is mostly flat, cleared land on which we can grow food or make use of in some manner.

To be sure, the natural weather cycles have far more detrimental consequences on the Earth than any other factor. The Spruce Bark Beetle infestation is an example. They had a mild winter followed by a warm summer. The beetles ran rampant. All of our disasters: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, beetles, locusts, plagues and pandemics are just natural occurrences to be endured by all of us humans, animals and the Earth. With that said, COVID-19 is simply another endurance test for the human race. In a few months there will be a vaccine and then we can look forward to the next evil virus coming down the pike.

Well it’s vodka thirty. Also time for a supper of leftovers from last night. Got to eat all of what is cooked. Food, like everything else, is very expensive in Alaska.

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

19 March 2020 Friday

Me in Oct-Nov 2017 after I found out that haircuts were $25, we hadn’t unpacked and as yet did not have running water.

Was so wiped by the 600 mile trip on Thursday that I got but very little done. Still no sign of the Wuhan Kung Flu. After 3-4 stops in and near Anchorage, where they have cases of the Wuhan Kung Flu, I figured I might be a candidate for bringing the virus back to Homer and Fritz Creek. I was careful as I did wash my hands and use a paper towels to operate the doors. No symptoms, as yet. Probably a little early to have symptoms as the incubation period is 10-14 days or something like that. I’m not too worried about it. I haven’t even had a cold in the last 20 or so years and I think I’ve taken the flu shot maybe 2-3 times. I did wake up this morning with aching shoulder and finger joints. At 75, I kinda expect to be hurting some in the mornings. When I get up and get moving the pain seems to subside. Arthritis in my fingers is the big problem. Nothing twelve cups of coffee can’t fix.

Last Wednesday, I went to the Homer City Hall to complain and warn the moronic mayor and even more moronic city council about these reusable grocery bags. They banned “single use” plastic bags a few weeks ago. “Single Use” are their words, however, those of us out in the real world find many uses for those bags. Anyway, I wanted to explain to these idiots that the average reusable bag brought from home had more bacteria/virus infestation than the average public toilet. They’re just ‘begging’ for some one to bring in a bag with the Wuhan Kung Flu virus on it. Can’t you just see it? They put it on the counter where the slide you groceries down to be bagged, a nice young person handles your bag while filling it with your items and then they move on to contaminate 50-60 other bags and, perhaps, their fellow employees. Banning these plastic bags made little sense in the beginning and no sense now.

The new wall alongside the stairs was my project for today. I finished it by about 1:00 and ate Summer’s leftover Chinese takeout from yesterday. This made me very sleepy and I took an hour nap. It reminded me of my Grandfather. Everyday at noon, while working in the cotton fields, we’d break for lunch and he’d lie down under the cotton trailer on his cotton picking sack and take a nap. This was a long time ago. I lived with them from age 6 until almost 13 and we worked in the fields all through spring, late summer and into the Fall every year. Spring and early summer were the times for picking strawberries and chopping (thinning) cotton. It had to be thinned to allow the plants to grow tall and produce the most cotton bolls. Midsummer was ‘Summer School’. You went to school in the summer so that you could stay out of school in September, October and part of November to pick cotton. I have always wondered how I skipped a grade in school. I didn’t get to start until I was near 7 and plus 12 should have made me 19 in my senior year but I was only 18 in my senior year of high school. Some where I skipped a year. One of life’s small mysteries, I suppose.

The wall framing was finished when I realized that I was going to have to move it away from the stairs by about an inch and a quarter. An inch and a quarter to accommodate 1/2″ sheet rock and a 3/4″ side plate on the stairs. Since it isn’t load bearing there are only 6 screws holding it in place so I can pry it away from the steps install the side plate and the sheetrock and tap it back into place. Bad planning but a minor difficulty, at worst. I got on with the electrical part of the job. I needed an outlet for the TV that will hang on the wall, a switch for the light that I’m installing in the stairwell. At present the only way to light the stairs is climb up and turn on the hall light at the top of the stairs. That switch is not located near the stairwell but just outside Summer’s bedroom. Currently, you must climb the stairs in the dark and then search for the light switch on the wall, also, in the dark. A serious accident waiting to happen.

Summer got laid off from her job today. Seems that people were discontinuing their external dog care as they, themselves, were losing their jobs or deciding to hibernate until the Wuhan Kung Flu season has passed. I know I’ve probably already said this numerous times BUT all of this is the dumbest damned thing to which I have ever been witness. Close to 13,000 deaths this year from the current version of the common Flu and a few hundred deaths from the Wuhan Kung Flu. There has been no news at all about the 13,000 people in America who have died but nothing except wall to wall panic news about the few hundred who have died here in the US of A. As I have stated previously, you have a better chance of being killed by a WWII German NAZI driving a Panzer tank than dying from the Wuhan Kung Flu.

We seemed to be in mid ‘Break Up’ until tonight. It has begun snowing with a vengeance, Not big wet flakes that you know are going to melt on touch down but tiny little flakes that tend to stick. The weather forecast is for it to continue to snow through Saturday and clear off Sunday. Temps will go back to the mid 30s starting Sunday and through most of next week. It is ‘Break Up’ but it seems to be a more gradual process that last year. Last year was !!!!!BREAK UP!!!!! It was all over in about 10-12 days. Not so much this year. It looks like we might have snow on the ground right up to mid-April.

Well, I’ve had dinner. It was ‘make your own dinner’ night. I guess it’s time for bed, I’ve had a few vodkas, fed Miss Suzy and watched a bit of TV. Ta Ta.

A typical Alaskan warning sign

Dad’s Alaska

16 March 2020 Monday

An Alaskan summer sunrise.
No food in corona virus epidemic-No Problem

Today we got water. After the truck left, I checked for leaks other than the one I had already repaired, Found one small one that took only a few minutes to repair. Still the water did not flow. Got out my jet heater to thaw out what I thought were frozen pipes. The jet heater was, of course, out of fuel. I wandered around looking for the diesel jerry can and failed to find it. That was when I decided that re-leveling the front of the house. I mentioned yesterday that it had sunk about and 1 1/2 inches along the 40 foot front. Took a lot of grunting, groaning and cussing to get the jacks in place and lift the house.

Summer called. She suggested that I get the Range Rover and ‘The Beast’ topped off with fuel. I took all of our empty gas cans and filled them, as well. This Corona virus crap has people panic buying fuel, in addition to food and toilet tissue. Panic buying causes artificial shortages. I have seen it many times prior to a hurricane in LA (Lower Alabama) and Florida. After going through Hurricane Frederick in 1979 with nothing in the way of preparation, I will never do that again. Trying to insure 4year old, 1 year old and wife eat regularly was more than just a little bit stressful. No water, no electricity, my business destroyed and, more importantly, no air conditioning in Mobile, Alabama was an abbreviated glimpse of hell.

Got back to the house and filled the jet heater with diesel and started it to defrost the pipes in the water house. It ran for over an hour and still no water. This led me to think that the line into the house might be frozen again. Sure enough, the power was off to the heat tapes for the water line into the house. Further investigation found that the GFI receptacle had failed and there was no power to the heat tape. I ran an extension cord and in about an hour we had running water.

Today Summer went to the two grocery stores only to find lines near an hour long. People with buggies full of groceries that they’ll be eating months from now, if ever. This entire panic is all Mainstream Media driven. It is shames me as an American that so many of my fellow citizens are so easily panicked. My father, a WWII veteran and a Great Depression survivor, would be absolutely appalled. He was a man with a sixth grade education that could talk with you about virtually any subject you might desire. He read hundreds of books and had a very low opinion of the college educated with book smarts and no common sense. He called them “educated idiots’. And today those are the people that are driving Americans crazy and creating this silly panic.

After all of the fuel purchasing and water folderol, I went back to my leveling project. I took some doing but I got the place leveled again. While I was leveling the front I noticed that there was a beam further back under the house that was not down on the two pilings that were intended to support it. I crawled under the house with a couple of jacks and some shims. It took about an hour all told. By the time I finished I was completely tuckered out.

Got inside, made a vodka drink and decided to wash my filthy clothing. Days of crawling under the house and sloshing through the mud had cause my outer clothing to be covered in mud, dirt and who knows what. I had been taking it off at the end of the day, shaking it out and then putting it back on the next day. It was gross. Now that we had water the possibilities were endless. I ran the dishwasher and hand washed some bowls and pans that really don’t fit in our new 18″ dishwasher. Life is good when you having running water.

That’s it for me today. It’s 11:00 PM and I’ve had a shower, dinner and a couple of vodka drinks. Time for bed.

Dad’s Alaska

10 March, 2020 Tuesday

Not water

WATER!!!!

Yep. We, at last, we have running water. It turned out that the water line coming into the house had frozen because the heat tape had failed. I spent about a quarter hour ripping off the insulation that I had spent most of an hour installing last week. Got down to the pipe and found the defective heat tape. Took it off put on a newer heat tape, redid the insulation and in about an hour we had running water. Whooppee!!!!

On one of the dormers on the north side of the house had about a ton of ice and snow on it. The south side dormers are snow and ice free. Tried using a travel trailer jack stand tied to a rope to pull it down. Ten attempts later I had pulled down pretty much nothing. Took 4-5 attempts just to get the darned thing on the roof. After I got the range, I was pulling almost nothing off the roof. PLAN B. I went into the room with the overhang and used a 2×2 to punch the hanging ice off the eave. Didn’t get the snow off the roof but I did get the ‘widow makers’ knocked down. Some of the chunks of ice weighed near 5 pounds. Certainly enough to give you a massive headache.

Went to the kitchen and turned on the dishwasher. Heard that wonderful hum and the sound of sloshing water. How wonderful. There were several pots and pans that had been abandoned for lack of water. I washed them all with great joy and I really, really hate to do dishes. When I was just a teenager, myself and two brothers had to do the dishes nightly. It always seemed that my turn was almost every night even though it only every third day. Childhood things seem to hang onto you even when you think you’ve out grown them.

I have very nearly gotten the house level. A few pieces. of lumber and a couple of tweaks under the downstairs bath and this nightmare project will be over. Tomorrow I will go to the local lumber yard to procure the last of the necessary materials. This has been an aggravating trek through time and space and I will be elated to have it finished. House level means sheetrock, tub surround for the upstairs bath, new kitchen counters on new kitchen cabinets and best of all real flooring. Of course, real flooring means that I have to build and arctic entrance where everyone sheds their shoe.

Like winter before it Spring Break Up is bearing down on us like the proverbial freight train. This means that any of our winter projects that are still not finished must be finished in the next 2-3 weeks. It will be nice to be able to find those things that I lost in the snow like for instance my Pasquali tractor. I know it’s out here somewhere but the exact location is a mystery. Well, that’s not exactly true. I know where it is and the location of the parts tractor I bought to repair the tough little momma. I broke and axle last fall and could not get parts as it is old and the factory no longer supports it. I lucked into another tractor of the same model. It presumably doesn’t run and it has some transmission problems but the parts I need are ready to rock and roll. Rock and roll as soon as the near three feet of snow melts. By next winter, I hope to have built myself some kind of enclosed space so that I can do work like repairing the tractor.

This coming fall when the snowblowers are on sale again, Summer and I will be the proud owners of one of those little beasties. I have shoveled innumerable tons of snow to keep the access to the various buildings open. It isn’t that I couldn’t use the exercise and the cardio workout but it ate up time that could have been spent more productively in activities like sleeping, napping, dozing and restful contemplation whilst sipping vodka.

Our Alaska experience has been kinda tough. Not tough like going out into the bush and building a cabin and clearing the land tough. But it has been by modern standards ‘tough’. I suspect that most sane people would have abandoned this place long ago. I told an acquaintance who saw the enormity of the job “I don’t fail”. I’m sure he went away fairly certain that failure was a ‘fait accompli’. However, as we finish one of the harshest winters that they had here in many years, I am still determined to succeed by completing the renovation of and the addition on this house. Quitting is not an option although dying might be. Anyway, I’d rather die working than rotting away in some stinking rest home for old farts waiting to die.

Finally, got a shower tonight. Also ran the washer with a load of my clothing. Later this evening I will strip off my bed and put on new sheets and pillow cases. Clean body-Clean bed. Actually, I’m going to do that now it’s midnight and I can hear that bed calling my name. See ya tomorrow.

Dad’s Alaska

March 7, 2020 Saturday

Vodka:30

MUCH LATER…. As in two days later. Last post was on Thursday and it was short. The best laid plans etc. etc.

Thursday was spent thawing out a pipe that the heat tape had died on. Found out when I removed the insulation that water had run down the outside of the pipe for about six inches. The insulation was frozen to the ground. There was no was that the heat tape could generate enough heat to keep the frozen ground thawed. Hence dead heat tape and pipe frozen below ground level. Everything was just peachy keen. Used the jet heater to thaw the ground around the pipe then installed 4″ of foam insulation board below ground level and around the pipe. I carried this foam board out about 12 inches all the way around. That should help the new heat tape keep the water flowing.

Moved onto lowering the house. This entailed belly crawling 30 feet in the fine powdery dust that gets everywhere. It’s on your clothes, in your clothes, in your mouth, up your nose, sifting through your clothes into every crack and crevice that is your body. Whether you spend hours or minutes crawling through the stuff you end up like Pig Pen with a cloud of dust accompanying you where ever else you go. Anyway got the board out of the way that needed to be out of the way. This allowed me to remove the hydraulic jack as its’ holding capacity was replaced by one of the newly located screw jacks.

The next project was to extricate a hydraulic jack from the frozen mud. The boards holding it up collapsed where the rain soddened earth slipped away. I did not notice this event as it wasn’t supporting anything. I was much surprised to find the damned thing sticking out of the ground with all but the ram exposed. The ram and the fully extended screw top were buried nearly straight down into the frozen mud.. Frozen mud is only slightly less hard than concrete. I chopped at it with an axe, a shovel, a big screwdriver and hammer. Got out the propane torch and tried to heat the ground but this resulted in melting some of the plastic paraphernalia on the jack. As a last resort I decided to try to pull it out. All I accomplished was fully extending the ram. Still stuck. Getting the jack body out of the was allowed me to get back in with hammer and screwdriver. I loosened it enough that I was able to fling the thing back and forth violently a few times uttering choice words of wisdom. Suddenly it was released and I was sitting on my ass in the muddy snow. Since my time in the US Navy, I have found that certain choices of words seem to have an effect on inanimate objects. Like John Kerry, I served in Viet Nam. I didn’t, however, get three scratches that ended up as Purple Hearts and a ticket home. Never mind. Water off a duck’s back.

Along about 5:00 Friday morning with my gout ridden left foot hurting like hell, I took two pain pills on an empty stomach. A very short time later I was heaving my guts out. I had slept little Thursday night as the pain kept me awake much of the time. The entire day was a day of sick stomach and inability to hold down liquids or solids. I spent almost the entire day in bed. Then I noted that my blood pressure had spiked again and I had to force myself to hold down a sip of water and the pill. Later, I had some chicken broth and went to bed again. It was a miserable damned day. But HEY! I’m still alive.

Discovered on Thursday that the main reason for no running water in the house was that the pump had died dead. Installed the new pump today. Turned on the feed water to the pump, no water. Looked inside the 500 gallon tank and discovered that there was no water. This led to the discovery that one of the lines had come loose and that all of the water had run out under the snow. So it appears that the pump ran empty until it died from wearing out an internal thrust washer/seal/bearing in the pump. This seized the motor and the motor, it seems, went out on its’ internal overload. Chances are the motor is okay. The newly purchase pump is exactly the same pump under a different brand. You can buy parts for the new pump. Oddly enough, there are no parts available for the old pump. If the motor is okay, I have another nearly new pump for a fraction of the cost of the one I just bought. My silver lining for the day. Water pumps are a good spare to have on hand. Might use it for an irrigation pump this summer.

For over 2 years we have diligently been attempting to turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse. We have for various reasons had to abandon the work for periods of time. Still there are times that I am certain and I believe that we can do it and others when I wonder aloud “What the hell am I doing here?”. Today after discovery the missing 500 gallons of water, I was certainly wondering. There’s little I can do but shake my head in disbelief, shrug my shoulders in resignation and plow on through this mess. Water will be delivered Monday AM. In the mean time, I’m melting snow for the animals and for flushing the toilets. Both life and dirty dishes, as usual, continue to be a mess to clean up. See ya.

The front of the house when we arrived.
The front of the house now. Dug out and cleared for a new foundation to support the house and 4 new rooms.