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 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!!!

Dad’s Alaska

14 March 2020 Saturn’s Day

Here’s to ya.

Today was a day of taking care of neglected chores and repairing the damned water situation. Yesterday we discovered that we’d lost all of our water, AGAIN. I cannot wait until we get our new 2500 gallon tank installed in the new basement. In the basement we can have hard piping and protection from heat tape failures and burst pipes. I am so sick of this half-assed water situation that I am very near running down the road screaming and pulling what’s left of my hair out. Repairing the water leak problem is plumbing. Plumbing requires, at least, three trips to the hardware store. Much to my amazement this project required only two trips to Kachemak Gear Shed for the necessary parts. While I was there I tried to buy a five gallon bucket of Corona Virus. The young fellow told me that they were out but later he was going to try to drink five gallons or a couple of six packs (which ever came first) of Corona Light. The chores consisted of picking up and putting away tools that had been used in the house leveling project., straightening up the tool shed, picking up trash, loose ends and other detritus. Level checks at the end of the day indicated that the house was dead level along the length and width. Success!!!!!

I still don’t have Corona Virus and only about 3000 people in the U.S. are known to have contracted this over hyped Main Stream Media disease. Only 30 have died and every one of them was already seriously ill from some other more serious disease. Nobody knows how many people had the stuff got well and went on about their lives. Common sense would indicate that for most people the usual symptoms were so mild, that most people would assume they had a cold or a mild case of the flu. 14000+ Americans have died from the flu this season. So far 30 have died from COVID-19. Where’s the panic, folks. AND stop hoarding toilet paper. It sure as hell won’t keep you from getting the flu or COVID-19.

15 March 2020 Sunday

Should have known that finishing up on Friday the 13th would not bode well for the leveling project. Got up this morning and whilst drinking my half gallon of coffee, I looked at the ceiling. I was horrified. Just eye ball alone told me that the house was no longer level. The house had, somehow, sunk an inch and a half across the forty feet of the front. To say I was disappointed would be a serious understatement. Dejected, morose, sad, gloomy, glum and more than a little bit angry would be more precise description of my feelings. Apparently, the jacking up of the house somehow allowed the pilings to be lifted. When the weight was put back on them they sank back to their rightful place. I would have gone back under the house today except that we have no water for me to wash the dirt and mud off at the end of the day. Tomorrow we will have water and I’ll be back at the leveling project. I am truly sick of this.

Today with no water to spare for showers, I spent the day cleaning house. I don’t know why it seems that if I don’t sweep daily there is about ten pounds of fine sand and dirt on the floor. I moved all of the furniture, dog beds and everything else in order to sweep the place clean. Cleaned the kitchen as best I could with only the little bit of water I could spare. With the dishwasher locked and loaded, I turned my attention to sheetrock and lumber lying on the floor and in the path of walking. I stacked all of that crap against the wall and swept up that unswept part of the floor.

There was a mess made in the downstairs bath that I cleaned up. While trying to install the new beam under the old sway backed beam beneath the bath, I found a mysterious wire. I had to tear out some sheetrock in order to trace the wire. This was a Friday the 13th discovery. I found that it was feeding the receptacle that ran the washing machine. However, it was way more complicated than that. I turned off the breaker for the washer but the red light on my ammeter stayed on. In order to find out which breaker to which the wire attached, I flipped each individual breaker off. The current detection device that is my ammeter has a red light on it indicating a hot wire. There is no need for current flow for it to detect voltage. As a turned each breaker off and then back on the light stayed on. I’ve been doing electrical work for 40 years. I held Master licenses in two states and I have never seen a circuit that would not de-energize when the breaker was turned off. This one would not turn off no matter which breaker you turned off. I knew it was routed to the main breaker panel. Therefore, it must turn off when the proper breaker was turned off. I put the main panel back into the wall (it was lying on the floor of the bathroom) and wired up every existing circuit myself when we bought the house. I knew that nothing was jumped or improperly wire in the panel. However, just to be sure I took the cover off and inspected every connection. I was mystified. With all of the breakers off. I turned them on one at the time. I worked from the right bottom to the top on the right. The top right breaker turned on the red light on my meter. The notes on the panel indicated (in my handwriting) that the 5th breaker from the bottom on the left was the washing machine. I turned off the top right and turned on the breaker that was indicated as the washer. The red light came on. I disassembled the receptacle box for the washer and found that the mystery wire and another wire were both feeding the same receptacle. Some idiot had connected two hot wires to the same receptacle. That they were accidentally on the same leg of the 240 volt service is the only reason there wasn’t an electrical fire. The potential for killing someone (probably me) was very large. You flip the indicated breaker and start a repair or replacement (wrong color receptacle) and you get a big old handful of 110v at several hundred amps and before the breaker trips you are dead. I have truly been scared to death that this place will burn down before I can get it rewired. Who knows what other half-assed crap has been done. I’ve found a lot of it but this incident just proves that there is very likely at lot more. In Alaska, outside of the cities, there is no such thing as a building codes or inspection procedures. People just build crap anyway they want and which ever way that happens to be convenient. Don’t have the right material. No problem. Just use whatever you have. A prime example of that is that there are four light fixture boxes in various parts of the ceiling in the main part of the downstairs of this house. All four are on one switch by the back door. I had to put pull chain switches on all of he fixtures so that they weren’t all on at the same time. We will be pulling down the rest of the sheetrock to rewire as soon as I get this disaster re-leveled.

Miss Suzy in the Hood….ie

I guess I’ve complained enough for one day. Goodnight. Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Are we there yet, Spring?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday night we had such an amazing sunset!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dad’s Alaska

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.

Dad’s Alaska

February 26, 2020

Somewhere there are people that live where nothing ever goes wrong and every project goes perfectly. That place ain’t here and I’m certainly not one of those lucky people. After we got the water drainage situation under control, and the weather warmed up enough that the downstairs shower was again operating, the damned fresh water is not leaving the water house. It seems that the water delivery man may have bumped the heater that was the secondary method keeping the pipes from freezing. The heater has a very sensitive tilt switch and when I looked into the problem, I found the heater had turned itself off. The heater being off would not have been a factor except we had a single night of +5F temp. If the temp stays above +15F the heater in the, heavily insulated, 500 gallon tank keeps everything flowing. The tank is kept at a constant +40F. I tried to thaw the piping out yesterday afternoon with no positive result. This morning I will attempt to defrost the piping again. I left the heater running overnight. I’m thinking that the pressure switch may have failed in the interim. When I’m sure that the supply line is thawed and the pump doesn’t work, I’ll change the pressure switch. I guess I’ll get my shoes and socks on and get after this aggravation by putting the jet heater to work. If there are frozen lines anywhere, it will thaw them. However, my most important job for the morning is taking 4 dogs to the groomer to get the toenails clipped. I know that this seems very weird under the circumstances.

Started the jet heater blowing into the water shed while the truck was warming up. Diesel engines really don’t like temps below +20F so I really wanted to make sure that it was warmed up properly before hitting the road. After the truck warmed up some, I loaded all four dogs into the truck. The water had still not thawed so I left the jet heater running with the hope that I wouldn’t return to a burnt down shed.

At the groomer I hauled the dogs in one at a time. Taco, the Chihuahua, tried to bite the lady trimming his sharp toenails. All of the other dogs went through the process with no more drama. Back at the homestead the heater thawed out the piping. I returned to find that the water as flowing again. I surmised that the problem was that the supply pipe to the pump was freezing because the heat tape had failed. Heat tapes are my enemy. Had to rethink the insulation and how to trap the heater’s output in a way that heated the water supply line. Built a bulkhead that covered the lower 1/3 of the door and held insulation above the heater. Anyway, the heat should stay around the supply pipe for the pump. Hopefully, the water problem is solved.

Third project of the day was to get the Range Rover running. It had been sitting dead for nearly three months. The battery had died and I just didn’t have the time to bother with it. The first thing I had to do was dig my way through 15 feet or so to get to the car. The snow had accumulated to 2-3 feet deep around the car and there was 12-15 inches piled up on the hood and windshield. All of that had to be removed before I could raise the hood to install another battery. Got the hood up after about 20 minutes of shoveling. Removed the old battery and installed the new one. The darned thing started right up. I was amazed. I let it run until the ice was melted off the windshield and then backed it out into the street. I ran it back and forth several times to make sure that it could be driven out of the snow bank whenever we want.

Next project was to fill six 5 gallon Homer buckets with snow, The water from these will be used to water the ducks and geese. I just set them near the wood stove and they melt down in a few hours. It isn’t one of the difficult projects but it has to be done daily. A bucket full of snow becomes about 4-5 inches of water. Four buckets of snow fills a 5 gallon bucket to about 2 inches from the top. The need is for two 5 gallon buckets of water on a daily basis. Not heavy labor but a constant need.

The sun has been out all day. This has melted the snow off the south roof of the house, the big tent and other buildings on the homestead. Since the temperature was still well below freezing the dripping water was freezing into icicles. Falling icicles are a dangerous hazard. With that in mind, I knocked some large chunks of ice and icicles off the roof that were hanging over the back door. A couple of them weighed near five pounds. Some were big enough to send you to the hospital with a bleeding head and a concussion, if they didn’t kill you outright.

That was the last of my projects of the day. Time for vodka.