Welcome to "Our Life"

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Home from town

Hi Everyone, As usual it took longer in town than we anticipated. We still have not adjusted to what it takes to get everything in an orderly fashion in a single pass thru town. While we are at home we make a list of everything we are going to town to get, then we add to the list on the way to town (it takes 4 hours total to get there so we might as well do something). Of course there is always that thing that you think of while in town, then when I buy something for the cabin it needs install parts or supplies that don't come with it and the place I bought it is out and then, and then, and then.
So this trip here is the short list of what we did: Laundry (we hauled it to town for the first time instead of doing it by hand) We sold the truck in Anchorage an additional hour away, We bought 4 ea 530 amp hour batteries for the cabin - they weigh 113 pounds a piece, we purchased a used On-Demand water heater from a very talkative lady (on craigslist), we bought a Toyo fuel oil furnace for back up heat for the cabin, we picked up a "fixed wireless" phone system from the phone company for the cabin, we got the ATV part, we bought groceries, a pressure tank for our new water system, propane parts for our new water heater, chimney parts for the new furnace, and on, and on, and on. Oh yea, we also had dropped off and picked up the boat from the repair shop and I added a 28 gallon auxiliary fuel tank to the boat myself, while in town.
All in all it was a very boring trip, can you tell?
Now I gotta tell you a true story. We went to look at a freight sled that attaches to the snow machines (cause we will need to go to town in the winter also) that was listed on craigslist. We followed the guys directions to his place down the end of a dirt road (not unusual around here). This was on the way to drop off the boat at the repair shop so we still have the boat. We get to the end of this dirt road and here is a "salvage yard" full of stuff. There is a $40,000 camper in the middle of all this stuff and that is the guys home. There are tires and trailers and snow machines and trucks and scrap steel and you name it, stacked everywhere. We are at the end of a road that stabs right into the middle of this stuff and there is nowhere to turn around a pickup truck and a 22' long boat. NO WHERE! We look at the sled and it is a good one but not the style I am looking for so we gotta get out of here. We start backing down the road, we go about 500 feet and there is a little turn off, it is tight but I think I can get turned around. I pull into this drive and dropped the boat in a small ditch. It is not a big deal, but it is too tight to back back out so I have to pull on through into the driveway. There are no trespassing signs posted every 10 feet and I am not kidding, but now we are into it. The driveway is so narrow that the weeds and tree branches are rubbing the truck, and it is curvy. The boat is rubbing on everything and I can't help it. We look up at this house once we go up this driveway and Charles Manson is standing on the top deck looking down at us. UH OH. Then pit bulls are running around all over, and then They show up, 2 people and one tooth. We are in the middle of the forest in a clearing near a house with pit bulls, Charles Manson and the zombies AND no where to turn around again. We just started laughing. Long story made shorter, We made the right impression in our old pickup and my long beard and hair and just coming in from the bush we fit in go figure, (see the picture of me fresh out of the shower). After talking to them for a minute the one with a tooth started to lead us on a path that circles the house and back to the driveway. After much jockeying around and tearing the front plastic valance off under the front bumper we got around their place and heading out the driveway the right direction. The one with no tooth lives in a truck camper that is setting on the ground with "sexy senior citizen" sticker on it, the one with a tooth lives in a broken motor home on the opposite corner of the clearing and Charles Manson apparently lives upstairs only, in the house, as the down stairs appeared to all open for the pit bulls including the ones still in cages and the fighting ring, from what we could tell. What a neat experience. Goes to show you that you can't judge people, they just want left alone to live their way and since we weren't hurting them, they chose not to hurt us. Whew!
We got back to the cabin about 8:00 last night (Friday Night) and hauled the stuff in that should not stay out in the wet. That means we hauled the new furnace, the water heater, the telephone system, the laundry, and the groceries. Two trips and another hour and a half later we started making popcorn for supper.
Another interesting side bar. On the way home I told Myra I had a very uneasy feeling that we had bears visit the cabin while we were gone. I was right but they did not do any real damage. The burning barrel is knocked over and has been worked over and dug thru and there are 8 piles of bear scat around it. From what I can tell it is a mother (very big) and at least one cub and probably two cubs. This is all judging from the size of the scat and the tracks. We are not in the habit of taking pictures of poop but this is by far the biggest pile I have seen out here. The good news is it is full of berries so it looks like they have plenty to eat.
Now there is a ton more work to do here. With all of the stuff we have purchased I will be working on plumbing, heating, electrical and telephone, besides, cutting wood, installing pilings (if it ever quits raining) digging the root cellar, building an Arctic porch, fixing an ATV, thinking about a real workshop and OH SCREW IT, I think I'll just go fishing.
See Ya, Thanks for reading!

Whew am I glad to be home! Those trips to town are exhausting and they seem to create an awful lot of work! LOL! Just have to keep reminding ourselves that some of this like putting in the fuel oil furnace and water heater are one time things (I hope!) and we won't have to do them all the time. Some things like cutting wood will be constant but hopefully we won't be playing "catch up" all the time.
The "turn around" experience was definitely a "trip" all of it's own. Glad I didn't have to get out of the truck while we were there! That toothless "sexy Senior citizen" was the scariest!
Oh one thing Roger forgot that we did in town was take Hans to the vet. He is good and healthy and already weighs 30# at 3 months old! The vet even said he is interested to see how big he gets. Hans does have HUGE paws and joints! We may have to add on to the cabin just for him. (Guess you will have to come back from fishing Roger).
Don't let Roger fool you either. The picture of him just shows what going to town can do to a person!!!!!! Even Jeff and Hans are glad to get home. Right now they are on the couch with me trying to play and making it very difficult to type. Creating some good laughs when they fall off though.
Well not much more to add at the moment. Guess I will have to get to work now. Put away the groceries and laundry,  make the bed, cook something for lunch and supper, help Roger with pilings (if no rain), and bringing the rest of the stuff from the boat, need to make some fire weed honey before the fire weed is gone. The locals say that once the fire weed has bloomed all the way to the top the first snow is only 6 weeks away and it has already bloomed a little over half way now. And the rose hips will be ready soon to make into a vitamin C rich jam. Oh yeah and need to clean inside, the dirt and dust never seem to end around here even with the rain.
OK I am with Roger, screw it let's go fishing! Oh poo that means cleaning the fish and getting them into the freezer (oops got to pick that up in town yet) and the beat goes on and on and on and on. It's all good.
Blessings and thanks for reading, Myra

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Sorry we did not post last night, got side tracked.
I just got done reading that it has been the 8th wettest July on record around here. No Wonder I get wet every time I go outside. Anyhow, Rained it all day again yesterday. All I accomplished outside was getting the boat pumped out and peeling the rest of the logs for the Pilings. It was just pouring the majority of the day.
As Myra told you, we have a nice view of the river now and if the clouds ever lift I believe we will see the Tordillio Mountain Range. Time will tell on the distance view. When we get a good clear day I will snap some pictures and post them.
We are getting around to go to town as I type this (I should not be setting here but I felt bad for not posting last night), Myra is packing laundry to go. This is the first time we have hauled laundry to town to do it but there is a ton of it and it really needs a good machine washing. The hand washing is a huge amount of work and Myra's hands swells something terrible when she does it. I have to figure out a primitive mechanical washer for out here. We have sold the big Dark Gray Truck and are going to close the deal on that, we are getting the boat motor fixed, picking up the ATV part (hopefully) buying a used instant water heater (maybe) take the pup in to the Vet for his first shots, fax some papers, buy groceries and supplies, return a chainsaw part and buy the right one (I hope), sign up for a "fixed Wireless" phone and then do the things I haven't listed.
We are going to get the fixed wireless phone so you all can call us, especially if you have no long distance charges or lot's of minutes or free nights and weekends or whatever. We will be able to get free incoming calls at the cabin when we do this. The phone rates are outrageous up here and that is why we have been so restricted. It cost us 15 cents a minute to call out and the same for incoming if we go over minutes now. We will keep you posted (no pun intended) on the phone status.
A very busy couple of days in town just getting started, You may or may not hear from us again until Friday. We should be back home on Thursday but usually we are wiped out after the town / river trip. There is not much to post from town, as it is just the hectic life of the city.
Thanks for reading!
Talk to you soon.

Hi all. As Roger said it has been wet, wet, wet! And then wetter! I don't like the idea of hauling stuff to the laundromat but the hand washing thing is really hard on my hands. Especially jeans and things like that. With any luck all of the stuff we need  to do and get from town will happen so that we can came back home Thursday. Going into Wasilla is busy enough and this time we have to go to Anchorage too.
Time to get moving so that we can get some stuff done in town yet today. It will take at least 4 hours to get into Wasilla. And it is already 10:00 and we still need to load everything on the boat.
Blessings, Myra

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good day today. Busy after the race ended. We don't have TV but we did listen to it on the computer/radio. Sometimes I like that better as I tend to do some things while listening instead of just sitting there and watching TV. I had a few more totes of kitchen stuff to go through so I did that, which of course led to some more rearranging in the kitchen area. Which won't be the end of that as I know there is still a couple more totes of kitchen items in the trailer back at the boat landing. I could give up a lot of "things" but when it comes to cooking and baking I tend to have certain items I like (my Kitchenaid mixer for one) and so they made the move too.

I rearranged furniture a little bit too which started because I wanted to clean up and redo under the stairs and the dining table was in the way. I moved that and Roger commented that I seem to be able to "manufacture space". I figure I will just keep moving things until we figure out what is going to work the best. We will eventually be adding a door at the back of the cabin to use as the "main entrance" as the enclosed back porch will act as an arctic entry. So I try to keep that area and walkway clear now so that I don't have to move a bunch of stuff again. I am getting tired of the chaos and disorganization. I am ready to know where things are when I need or want them.

Roger spent the day outside in the drizzly rain cutting down trees so that we can see the river from the cabin. It is AWESOME! We knew there was a good view of it other than the trees that needed cleared. There have been a lot of changes since we arrived here at the cabin on June 10th. This is what the outside looks like now. We have got it cleared out quite a ways so that the bears can't "sneek" up too close. (Yes we still carry our guns when we go out.)

Here is the downstairs ceiling at the moment. I had a tote of memorabilia get wet so.....what's a girl to do?

Time for a nap now. Tomorrow will be another busy day. Tuesday we head into town to take the boat in for engine repairs. Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.
Blessings, Myra

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A little Modern Convenience

Today was a landmark day of sorts. It was Wet, rainy and cool. Didn't really want to work outside so I started thinking of something to do. I decided to check out the RV water pump we brought with us from the old camper we had.

I had a battery in the shop that the last owner left here, from his airplane (I guess). It says Aviation Battery. Anyhow, I hooked up some Pop system hose I had brought, gathered up some rain water and primed the pump. Fired it up using the little plane battery and Walla, it pumps water.

So, We haul water to the cabin and put it in a 50 gallon plastic barrel. Then as we need it we have been dipping in the barrel and filling a 3 gallon jug we keep at the sink.We pour water into about 10 pop bottles for quick drinking water. Well NOT anymore. At least not the jug or pop bottle part.

I took a small tote, placed the battery and pump in it, added some wires to the pump and a switch point and put it under the sink. I ran a hose to the water barrel, the discharge hose up to the sink and we have RUNNING WATER.

The pump has a pressure switch integral in it so we don't even have to shut it off, it shuts off at 45 psi. OK, so we don't have a faucet or a valve so we just fold over the hose to stop the flow and the pump shuts off. We stick the folded hose in one of the faucet holes in the sink and we have ready water for the next use.

It may be a little rudimentary but it beats a pitcher and jug and filling pop bottles with drinking water. The red wires are actually tucked out of site by now but they are the emergency disconnect if you loose control of the hose. Just pull the wires apart to disconnect the battery. It's only 12 volts, it won't hurt much, right?

On another note, we have never bought pop to bring to the cabin. Our drinking has been 100% water or water with crystal light. The pop bottles we have brought back empty when we buy it as a treat in town. The No pop thing is a huge change, but I believe a pretty good one. Many cravings for carbohydrates seem to have really dropped off. I also don't have near as much instance of my irregular heart beat (SVT).
Speaking of Modern convenience, Myra on the computer, in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity and no wires. Isn't it cool. We have a couple of deep cycle batteries and two little power inverters and we charge the batteries with a little generator. Now we hook all that up, use a wireless router in the cabin so we are both on line at the same time, then shot all of this modern technology through a satellite transmitter and shoot the signal 20,000 miles into the sky then back down to you all. Ain't it cool! we have that AND running water today.
Talk to you soon, glad you are here.
WOO HOO "running water". Progress is awesome. I won't miss having to fill the water containers and bring them downstairs and then fill the old pop bottles for the quick grab of water thing. It is important to stay hydrated when working up here just like anywhere.
I had one of those days where I just didn't feel like doing much of anything so I spent most of the day either reading or on the computer. I did help Roger install the water "system" and also made some chili for supper.
That's it for me today.
Blessings to all, Myra

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Walk to the Boat

Every day at least once and sometimes twice I or We must go to the boat and check on it. We decided to take our cameras along tonight and show you a little of the trip. There are two reasons for the trip to the boat. Number one and most important is because the water level on the river changes so dramatically. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the river level can fluctuate 14" in one day, maybe even more but I have not put out a measuring stick and don't want to tell you wrong. With this much change in depth the boat ends up setting on the bottom, or floating to high against the shore. It Literally has gone from floating in the morning to me struggling to get it off of the mud in the afternoon and back to floating loose on the rope the next morning.
The river is fed from a glacier and if the sun hits the glacier or it gets real warm the glacier melts and the river goes up real quick. If it rains alot in the valley the river raises slowly. If It only rains a little or it is cool and cloudy the river drains just as fast as it goes up. I have set in the river with the GPS unit in the boat and drifted as slow as 3 MPH and I have set in the same area of the river and drifted as fast as 8mph. That is an amazing change and it can happen in under 12 hours.
So anyhow, I - We walk to the boat once or twice a day to tie it shorter or push it off the mud and let rope out or just do nothing depending on the river. Reason number two to walk to the boat twice a day is to check and see if bears have decided to visit and tear things up. Not that we could do anything about it by then unless we catch them in the act, but if we go there often it tends to keep our scent fresh and the bears away.
The dogs are hiding from us along the side of the trail. They do this then jump out at us, or come out behind us and run up on us. It is a neat game.
Myra is walking off to take a picture of the flower you see up close. Look at the height of the flowers compared to her. NO SHE is NOT that short.
The brown strip is the trail that we cut in for the ATVs and us, the weeds in the middle just insist on growing even though we travel this trail multiple times a day.
There are other wild flowers that I failed to take pictures of while they were in bloom and we will be making Jam from one of them, we will show you pictures of it when the time comes.
The mess in the yard behind Myra is from Peeling the logs for the Pilings. We only have a few left to do.
It is a great day to be alive,
Thanks for sharing this with us,
The walk to the river/boat is nice. There is always something beautiful to see, even if it is just the way a tree twists and bends or the bees gather pollen from the wildflowers.
I am looking forward to getting the pilings done as then maybe it will seem like things are moving a little quicker. At least there will be "visible" progress i.e. building the back porch, putting in the door to that porch. I am ready to get things "organized" LOL. At least somewhat.
Guess that's about it for me today so Take care and we will do the same.
Blessings, Myra

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weather / Sunlight / Pilings / More

I got all the Piling logs for the cabin cut today and brought up to the front yard. Pilings are basically vertical logs stuck in the ground that the cabin sits on. The original Pilings were rotted and junk so the cabin was setting on boards laying on the ground when we got here. That is definitely not the thing to have here because of the depth of snow fall and quantity of ground creatures, you want the cabin up off the ground. I have been jacking it up a little every few days and we are getting close to having it high enough so it is time to get the new Pilings ready.

Anyhow, they are here at the cabin and Myra got one of them most of the way peeled today.

We will treat them with a preservative so they don't rot very fast (15 to 20 years). I probably won't care if they rot then.

I did go out back to rescue the ATV this morning. I was able to remove the whole drive shaft to the back wheel and put the tire back on. I just drove it home with 3 wheel drive and we will limp that one around until we get the new part. I ordered it today but it is 10 to 12 days from getting in to the dealer, then we have to pick it up, so who knows how long.

The Upstairs looks great for the arrangement Myra finally settled on. I like it a lot. (THANKS BABE')

It is starting to get very dim at night now. It still does not get totally dark outside but it gets dark enough it is dark inside. You can still go walking around outside with out a flashlight any time of the night, but we are getting close to full darkness about 2:30 to 3:am.

The weather has been very consistent. It has been mid Fifties almost every day, with a rare occasion when it will shoot up to mid 60s. Today was one of those days, it got up to 63 and mostly sunny. I sweat my butt off on days like this. I literally wore light shorts under carhartt bibs and a very light weight vented fishing shirt and roasted all day.

It is amazing how fast the body acclimates to the change in climate. Even JEFF has as much hair now as he had all of last winter. He is not shedding, just growing a very full coat.

Speaking of Jeff, he is getting very muscular and he eats like a horse. He plays with Hans, the pup a lot and he runs with me when I am on the ATV almost everywhere I go now. That worries me when I am pulling logs around or hauling the trailer because he does not always watch out real well. The pup pretty much stays around the cabin when I get on the ATV, I think he has figured out he can't keep up yet.

Speaking of sweating my butt off, when we got to Alaska the belt I am wearing was on it's last notch at the end. I am now bouncing between the 3rd and 4th hole. I don't have a clue if I am losing weight, getting in shape or the belt is stretching. We did not bring a scale, but I am able to get into one pair of jeans I couldn't wear when we left Ohio.

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. I had to weld some pieces on the ATV trailer. It was the first time. I have not welded in 4 or 5 months. I have been letting my beard grow. I made my first weld, I had on welding gloves which are thick, the welding mask was down. I finished that first weld, I reached up like I have always done and hooked a thumb under the welding mask to flip it up. I never knew how hard you can pull a beard from under the chin with one thumb. OMG, I almost cried! I have since learned a new technique to flip up the welding mask.

It has been a fun day,

Thanks for reading, we are always thinking about you all.

OK so the upstairs arrangement is finally done! Only took 3 times as long as I had figured on. Which seems pretty typical around here. You start on one thing, have to do something else in order to do what you first started and round and round it goes! Now I will start on the downstairs. Slowly. It is a good thing we are "retired" and not in a hurry. LOL. A lot depends on the weather right now as we need to get the pilings done and get more firewood put up yet.

I had taken some pictures to post showing some of the changes around here but apparently my card is corrupted and there was nothing on it! I really hate when that kind of stuff happens. I will try again tomorrow. At least I have another card I can use.

It is really weird strapping on a gun to go outside and take pictures or hang laundry or whatever! I just know that I do not want to come face to face with a sow and her cubs and not have one with me! You get used to it sort of. The longer we are here the less signs of bear I am seeing close to the cabin anyway. There are still lots of trails farther out around the area.

Well it has been a long day, the pup got me up about 6:15 this morning to go out (better than not and peeing in the house!!!) and I had been awake until about 1 am. Time to get ready for bed I do believe.

Blessings to all, Myra

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Round In Circles

Well, over the last two days Myra has re-arranged the upstairs twice more, but she says she thinks she has it now. We will see.
I spent several hours yesterday straightening out a drive shaft on one of the ATVs. This morning I installed the winch on it and got the charging system working. The ATV was working great. this is the first time in 3 weeks we had both of them running. this evening Myra and I went for a drive over to the airstrip and an overlook into a really cool valley on the ATVs. On the way home we for about 1000 feet from the cabin and the drive shaft that I straightened yesterday broke off and locked up the back wheel. So Much for that repair. Now the ATV sets along the trail at the back of our property and I will have to go out tomorrow with some tools and remove the Wheel, Hub, and then the drive shaft (CV Joint) to that wheel. Hopefully I will be able to drive it home on 3 wheels or something, because it won't move right now.
It has been fun buying the used stuff and encountering these challenges.
Today i modified our ATV trailer by extending the wheel base 12" wider so maybe it won't flip over on the rough terrain anymore.
I will get some pictures of the "finished" arrangement of the upstairs and the modifed trailer soon.
On a little different note, It was a nice day and the weather was good. Partly cloudy and about 60. The drive we took was gorgeous to look out over the valley. I took Myra to some places she has not been yet. It was fun. After my ATV broke i jumped on the back of hers and let her haul me home. That was spookey!
We picked some Wild flowers and Myra put a BuKay (I don't have a clue how to spell that) on the table. I think she will do pictures of that also.
See Ya,
Thanks for being here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rearranged The upstairs

Well, it was a day to get things done for Myra and Myra did a lot of work. I finally repaired the floor area where we re-located the stairway, then we used more really twisted limbs and sticks to finish making more Guard Rail upstairs. It looks pretty cool. Then Myra moved the bed, the restroom (which is easy when there is no plumbing), made a closet area and a craft area. I unloaded the stuff from the boat, fueled it up and greased the Jet propulsion unit and cleaned it, and Built a toilet box for the Honey Bucket.

This was basically a typical day. It rained again, almost all day. there were only a few breaks in the rain. It was nice to be able to work in my Blue Tarp workshop so I did not get wet today.
Myra here. It was nice to figure out the arrangement for the upstairs today, I hope it works out! I think it will. Tomorrow I will finish up the upstairs and then work on the downstairs. It is a disaster! There are several totes of stuff that I need to go through and get stuff put away as well as there are still groceries to be put away. I think I know where stuff should go but as I have told Roger don't carve it in stone yet. About the time he gets used to where something is I move it.
Well time for popcorn, thanks for reading! Blessings to all.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our first boat trouble

It is Sunday evening. I did go to town yesterday to get Myra. We also picked up one of Dan and Jeans Foster kids to take to their house. they live about 35 miles from the boat landing and we obviously go past their place everytime we go to town.
Anyhow, we were about 18 miles into the trip, near the mouth of the Yentna river still on the Susitna. the boat motor just made a sudden slow down and dropped about 1500 RPM and about 13 mile an hour of speed. We put out the anchor and I looked the motor over. I discovered that # 4 cylinder was not firing so I changed the spark plug. No luck, this did not fix it. We drove a little ways and paid a lot of attention to what was going on. It seemed no mechanical failure, probably electrical so we made the decision to continue to the Yentna Station Roadhouse / Dan and Jeans.
We made it without furthur incedent but it took 2 hours from the one hour point to get there. Uag, made for a long drive wondering if the boat was going to fail furthur.
I did as much work on the motor as I could do at their place and determined that the Fuel Injector for that cylinder is not working. there is nothing I can do for it out here, and It is getting to dim of light to continue home this late at night. We spent the night at the roadhouse (Thank You Dan and Jean). They made us a great breakfast and we got on our way to finish the trip to the cabin. We got here and got all of our supplies home, but we still have a broken boat. It is not hurting the motor any furthur (that I can tell) to run it. It is just running on 3 cylinders instead of four.
We brought out a little TV with a built in DVD player and some DVD's so we are watching our first movie on a TV instead of the computer. Pretty good entertainment for a rainy evening.
We fired up the wood burnier today, July 18th, because it was a high of 52 and rained all day. It got pretty un-comfortable inside, so we fixed it. I am warm now.
Anyhow, I will call around to Marina's tommorrow and see if i can get the boat in somewhere hopefully on wednesday, because Dan has to go into town and I would like to have a fellow traveler incase of more problems. I would only have to go the first 30 or so miles alone.
Life is good, we got here and we have heat and groceries,
See Ya,
thanks for reading!
I had a good time in town with Jean. Met a lot of really nice folks and had a blast going to the craft stores and thrift shops with Jean. The whole deal with the boat stinks but that is what it is. Thanks again Dan and Jean for all your hospitality.
I will try to get some pics posted in the next couple of days, not happening tonight! I am tired and Roger is making popcorn. Going to have some popcorn, read a little and go to bed!
Love and blessings, Myra

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The pictures did not post.

I refered to the pictures all over the last post and they did not come thru.


Oh Oh OH I forgot to tell you

We had our first real EARTHQUAKE the other day. It was early evening and I was in the boat cleaning it up and Myra was upstairs in the cabin. I felt the ground rumble and could hear it coming at me then BOOM, the shore moved up about four inches and dropped with a thud. The boat splashed in the water. It was way cool (sort of). Myra said she thought the cabin was falling off the temporary pilings but it last way too long, and the cabin shook all over. It is amazing it did not knock it off the temporary pilings because it is not fastened in any way, just setting on top of pieces of logs.
Myra went to town with a friend of ours (Jean Gabryszak) on Wednesday and wont be home until Saturday, and that is only if I go get her! I am open to votes from you on lookers. I have been here with the dogs and cats and the chain saw.
It is different being here alone. I don't want to say too much, but it has been really quiet. I have been working on cutting and stacking wood today. I will still have to split it but I think that will be easier when it gets cold out.
The pictures show the progress on cleaning up and making a yard and some of the down trees, I got most of them cleaned up and stacked today.
I have built a Bush Work shop out of a big blue tarp so I can stay dry when trying to work on things. July rains almost every day. Today it poured until 11:30 then ended the day with clear blue skys.
The picture of the back of the cabin will show where the back Porch USED to be. I tore it down and will rebuild a nice one once I get the cabin all of the way jacked up. You will see the holes I have dug to put Jacking pilings under the cabin as well as temporary Pilings the the Cabin is currently setting on.
Also look at the styrofoam boards on the ground at the back of the cabin. I dug a hole there and hit frost at about 18" down, I dug thru the frost which is about 6"to 8" thick and went down another 18 ". Yep, about 42 inches deep. I put a big plastic tote in the hole and have covered it with several layers of styrofoam. We have a REFRIGERATOR. It stays about 33.5 degrees.
You will also see the boat I think. I was trying to post about 10 pictures but the web site cut me off.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Roger here

So Myra posted a picture of me and Jeff on the ATV, obviously that was still at the motel before we brought it to the cabin. Jeff does ride on it occasionally here also. The other day we went out a mile or so and he acted really tired so I let him ride home. I think he fell asleep because he rolled right off the back. We were going slow at the time so he did not get hurt, he just jumped back on and we went home.
Hans (the new pup) and Jeff have taken to playing hide and seek in the tall bush when we walk to and from the river. It is neat to watch the pup run in front and dart into the weeds and hide waiting for Jeff to come by, then he jumps out to attack. The pup also takes ahold of Jeff's collar and leads him around and pulls on him. Jeff just lets him do it.
I have met four of the nieghbors that live from 2 to 5 Miles away. The people have all been great so far. If anyone wants to by a 10,000 square foot lodge about 3 miles from us I can show you the way. $1.2M will get you started with a turn key operation. It's beautiful and very well done, even has an airport. I could recommend a very good Manager/caretaker and a cook.
I built a blue tarp "temporary" workshop the other day. It seems every time I have wanted to fix or build something it rains. Rain is not bad but it is hard on the tools. When the weather is nice I try to cut trees or weeds or jack up the cabin some more.
I have dropped down a half dozen trees that I will cut up while Myra is in town for a few days. The general rule out here is DO NOTHING DANGEROUS while there is no one around to help if you get in trouble. I can't cut down trees, jack up the cabin, climb on the roof or anything like that without someone around. Just good common sense, so I am told by the others that live out here. I have heard several stories about people dieing out here. One was just mowing his yard and rolled the "large" garden tractor on himself. He layed for 3 days and died of exposure to the elements. All he had was a pinned, broken leg.
I haven't told Myra but I think I am just going fishing while she is in town, and yes, I will wear my life jacket. The water is only 52 degrees and you go numb in a hurry if you fall in.
Thanks for reading, read Myra's also.

Monday July 12 2010

Hi Again. What an absolutely beautiful day we had today. Sunny and low 70's. Good day to hang the wash outside. Especially since the inside clothesline is still full of "memorabilia" that got wet. Thankfully Roger was able to get an old mini washer deal that was here to do the spin cycle so that helped a lot for my hands so that I didn't have to wring, wring, wring!!!!!

Roger dropped (cut down) a couple more trees today that were blocking our view of the river and the mountains. It appears that nothing has been cleared around here in many years. We will continue to clear out an area in front of the house until we have the view we know we can have of the river and mountains.

This evening as we were getting ready to eat a really beautiful dog showed up outside. We had no clue who's dog it was but luckily she had a tag on with her name and where she belonged. Had supper and then we tried calling the people, no answer, so left a message and loaded her and our dogs on the boat and took her home. We had planned on going out in the boat this evening anyway to look for a "seep" along the riverbank where we might possibly be able to get clear water. We had been told that there was one about 100' down river from the landing area. So far we have not found it. Oh well.

Wednesday I am going into town with Jean and a couple of her kids for 3 days. That will be a nice outing and will give me a chance to meet some more people. Jean knows all the neat craft supply places to go so I will love that!

I am going to put another picture in (just for you Katie!) LOL!!!! Blessings, Myra

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Another Day

OK so this is what things looked like outside when we arrived. The little bit of a path you see in this picture is from hauling stuff to the cabin from the boat. The whole area was about 4 foot tall which the bears really liked as they could "sneak" up on the cabin. We have done a lot of weed wacking since we got here. The picture I tried to take of the bear the first day only shows a blur of his butt in the tall weeds!
Roger was busy today cleaning up the "yard" and moving the burning barrel and then cutting down a tree. Of course the tree had to fall across the path going down to the boat landing area! Anyway he got some of it cleared so that we can at least get through.
I spent the day doing dishes, baking some cookies and hanging up wet cards and keepsakes! Of all the totes to have gotten wet it had to be the one with all the cards and letters from 31 years of marriage and special ones from my kids! The only other thing we have found wet so far is a tote of CD's which should be washable/wipe able.
Well it is getting to be time for bed so I am going to end this now and I will try to put some more pictures on in the next few days. Blessings, Myra

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Roger's first attempt to post

I had been trying to type a little every night for the first few nights so i just cut and pasted those notes.
(The quotations parts is Myra adding stuff)

Day One, traveled to the cabin.
We met with Dan Gabryszak at the Deshka Landing at 11:00. We had hired Dan to guide us out to our cabin. He has been on the river for 30 years and owns and operates the Yentna Station with his wife Jean. We had become very quick friends with them when we were here in the winter and have stayed in touch when we returned to Ohio.
The actual trip was 63 miles and took about 3 hours, driving time. We stopped at Dan and Jeans for lunch and met our new puppy on the way. We get to pick him up next week. The trip was un-eventful, but boy do I have a lot to learn about reading this river. It is very fast current, and so thick with silt you can see about 2 inches into it. The river is ash grey color. It is very hard to tell deep water from shallow water and there are thousands of places where the water is only a few inches deep.
We arrived at the shore of the cabin about 5:30. The first event was that I drove up to the bank parallel and Myra started to get out on shore to tie us up. She did the longest splits I have ever seen her do and she all but fell into the river. The whole event lasted over 30 seconds while I grabbed a tree and pulled, the boat pivoted the wrong way and split her farther and she leaned and grunted and OMG was it a time. She never did get wet, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. (Not sure how I didn’t end up in the river!!)
We unloaded our stuff out of Dan’s boat that he had hauled for us and he took off. The landing point is down about a 10 foot bank with a narrow walking trail. We have Generators, gas cans, water barrels, gas barrels, clothes, food, shovels, weed whacker and on and on, literally a ton of stuff on our boat and on shore. Our cabin is over ¼ mile up a trail, down a trail over the hills and thru the woods. Now Myra and I have to get it all to the cabin. We made our first trip just carrying our back packs and the cats. We sat at the cabin for just a few moments and headed back out to the boat for our next trip.
We got back to the cabin with trip #2, I don’t remember what we carried but it was heavy, so we sat down to take a break before the next trip. About 10 minutes into our break we heard a noise under the kitchen window. The cabin actually shook slightly. I got up and went to the window and there was a black bear scratching his back on the bottom of the cabin. Myra tried to get a picture but the bear heard us moving around and took off thru the woods. (What a start to this adventure!!!)
We made two or three more trips this night and called it quits. We had pop corn for supper and it was 12:30 am. It was a very long day. And it was still light out!
The day before we left for the cabin we had worked to get items out of our trailer that we thought essential for our first trip. We worked until midnight that night and did not get back to the motel until 1:00am. We were completely worn out tired, the end of our first day. We slept until 11:00 on day two. We were guessing it was about 8:00 when we woke up, but it is so hard to tell time by the outdoors light because it never gets totally dark right now.

Day Two:
After waking at 11:00 it was coffee and my first trip to the boat for more stuff. Myra started sorting the kitchen of all of the stuff that had been left from previous occupants. This place has every item in it that has been hauled in for the past 15 years ,I swear. (No doubt in my mind that no one ever removed anything! Just brought more!) When I got back we had an oatmeal breakfast and back to work.
Myra continued on the inside and I fired up the weed whacker. There has been no outside work done on the property in 4 years or more. The weeds are chest high in most areas and 10 mosquitoes live on each one of them. A walk to the boat and back is a real Alaska experience alright. I went thru 5 tanks of fuel and 2 spools of string cutting a path to the boat and I still have about 50 yards before I get to the boat with the weed whacker. I just wore out and could not hold that thing any longer.
I took a break and then got out the old fashion Sickle and cut a path to the Out House. I had tried to go to the Out House this morning and the weeds were so bad and the Mosquitoes were so bad I went into the Cabin and started what you call a Honey Bucket for the rest room. There was NO WAY I was going to bare my ass to those mosquitoes even if I could have gotten to the outhouse. The outhouse only has an “A” frame tin roof and no front or back wall, it is wide open. Once I got the path cut to the outhouse I discovered the floor is not very strong and I am going to have to replace it, if we don’t build a bathroom very soon in the cabin. (I vote for the bathroom!)
Myra spent the whole day working on the kitchen area and did not get very far thru it. Her knee is also pretty sore from all the trips we took yesterday over the very ruff very hilly trail. She fell 4 or 5 times yesterday. This is the reason that trail repair is first priority. We made one trip together today, to the boat to get more stuff. She did not fall today.
I should explain the trips to the boat. We brought a wheel barrow, we have back packs and we have a really big dry bag back pack. Each trip, we load the wheel barrow with as much as we can put in it and we pack the back packs. Depending on the weight in the wheel barrow I use the small pack or the big one. We have tied a strap to the wheel barrow and a big loop to go around my shoulders. Myra picks up on the handles of the barrow and I pull via the strap as I lean forward to walk. I am literally a pack mule. Anyhow, we have got three or four trips to go before we have this boat load into the cabin.
I think the next trip down river we will bring one of the ATV’s. That sure sounds better than this method, and I will have the trail prepared enough that an ATV can travel it. I will be cutting little trees, cutting stumps and fill holes this week, so the trail will be in good shape. It was only wide enough for a foot path when we got here, and I knew that from my fly in visit last week.
Time for bed, day two. It is a much shorter day and that’s ok after the last few days. It is only 9:30 now.

Day Three
Nothing too exciting today, I worked on sorting out cabin inventory this morning. I must have found 75 pounds of nails spread thru various boxes. I found tools, a chain saw, bottle jacks, tire chains, live ammunition in many boxes and coffee jars for 38 special and 22 and 30-06. Stuff jammed everywhere. Myra continued on cabin work while I then went out and cut more weeds. I found the burning barrel in the yard about 20 yards from the cabin and we had no idea it was there. I couldn’t get my heart into cutting weeds today. Jeff and I went for a pretty long walk thru the woods over the hills down to the river and around the back of the cabin. I saw some pretty neat stuff, flowers, Burrell trees, a lot line marker, so after supper Myra and I went for a walk out back. We got just into the woods from the clearing where the cabin is following the same path Jeff and I had taken. There was a huge pile of bear scat right in one of my foot prints. About fifty yards farther into the woods there was another pile. Hmmm, wonder if someone is trying to tell us something? I’m thinking so. Guess I will carry that 44 with me when I go for a walk.
Anyhow, that is all of the excitement for the day. More work tomorrow.
(Note to Self) We can haul a lot of stuff on the boat and it is a lot of work to haul it to the cabin. If you ever do this again, bring the tools to do the trail and the ATV ONLY on the first trip. One of the tools is the guns however, so don’t forget them. The rest of the stuff can wait until the second trip. Yep that is definitely a good idea.

Day 4 Living has begun, sort of.
Myra re-arranged the entire inside of the cabin except move the kitchen today. She made her plan on how to rebuild the kitchen though. The inside of the cabin looks very nice what she did but, the first time I sat in my chair I hit my head on the window sill. A little re-arrange to happen there.
I hooked up the small generator and charged the battery in the cabin. There is a small stereo here and it actually gets a few channels. We found a light rock station that comes in and it is a pretty good station. I never would have guessed we could get radio out here. We are 80 air miles from Anchorage and we are getting Anchorage stations.
I also finished the trail to the boat today. I did the rest of the weed whacking (on the trail) then went thru and dug off the sharp high bumps, cut down the trees I had to, and filled in holes where needed. It is wide enough and smooth enough (sort of) to take an ATV the whole way now. We will bring one on the next trip to town. While working on the trail, at one point I had to return to the cabin for gas or string or something, I don’t remember what. Anyhow, when I got back out to the place I had been working, a large crunch of branches and a few other moving noises going away from me. I don’t know if it was a moose or a bear but something was in the area. I was on edge most of the rest of the day.
I think the plan now is to go to Skwentna Monday for a PO Box and into town on Wednesday (this is Sunday) and come back Friday evening. We have enough stuff to do in town that it will take two days to get everything done.

Day Five: Trying to develop a routine
I got up at 6:30 this morning with the intent of getting the day going earlier and finishing work before 10:00pm. Well, I got started earlier but I still did not finish until 9:00. It is really hard to have a concept of time when the daylight does not change.
Today I made a few more trips to the boat by myself and finished bringing things up, all but one tote that Myra helped me with this afternoon. I learned to strap the wheel barrow a little different and pull it backwards while I pick up the handles and pull it with my chest and the strap. I took 18 gallons of gas and a 20’x40’ tarp in one trip which is about 175#s total. I won’t do that again. After that trip I told Myra if she ever gets hurt the only way she is getting out is on a tether and being drug because I now know my limit. Today she is over it. (Dang the truth sucks sometimes. Working on it though!)
I also got one side of the cabin yard cleaned up for about 10 feet away from the cabin. It took 6 wheel barrows full of debris to haul the cuttings, leaves, wood and junk away from that area. Myra ran the weed whacker a while and chopped down some more yard area. We have enough of that to do to last the summer I think.
We also took the boat to the post office today and got a post office box. Our official mailing address is.
Roger & Myra Phillips, PO Box 68 Skwentna, Alaska 99667
The post office is just under 10 miles from the cabin, up river – in the snow barefoot, both directions. It was an interesting drive. This river is very hard to read and we did not have a guide and have never gone there before. We will get more accustomed to it I am sure.
Myra also continued sorting thru the left over stuff inside the cabin. A small library of books, weird ones at that, also the last of the dishes and other items. I think she has been thru all of it now.
I dug around under the cabin and found that we have a little work to do underneath and I think we are going to pick the cabin up a ways and put it on taller pilings, maybe even 3 feet higher than it is now. Then we are going to lower one of the windows in the living area so we can see out while setting. We can’t just lower the window because there is already bear claw marks in the screen where one stood up and looked in some time. To just lower the window would be an invitation for trouble, and jacking up the cabin does not look to be very difficult the way it is built. This will also give us storage underneath the cabin if we skirt it after we pick it up. Storage good, bears looking in window not so good!

Day 6: The routine is shot.
Slept in until 10:00 today, so much for starting a routine yesterday. It is now 9:13pm as I type this. It is a cool rainy day all day today. The only thing that is routine is that we have oatmeal everyday for breakfast. (Be careful what you ask for you just might get it!)
With the weather outside we found a lot to do inside today. We moved all of the extra construction wood that was upstairs. There is 10 sheets of OSB and about 90ea. ½”x6” interior finish boards. Then we took apart the railings etc and took down the stairs and turned them 90 deg. and toward the wall. That really opened up the down stairs. We then re-installed the hand rails a little different.
We HAD to re-install the hand rails because they were one of the main features I liked about the cabin. I told several of you the railings were the reason I wanted to buy this particular cabin.
This day is pretty well taken up.
Tomorrow is a trip to town. We just called Dan and Jean and let them know we were heading down river by 9:00am. We are going to try to get everything done between tomorrow afternoon and Thursday in town and come back Thursday evening. This can save $125 is hotel fee’s if we don’t have to stay in town 2 nights. Saving money is good that way we can do more on the cabin. (And also feed the new puppy as he grows. He is six weeks old today and will be coming home with us this week when we come back from town right Roger. His name is Hans Solo (star wars) and he is really cute, with gorgeous blue eyes.)

This is all of my cut and paste. I have been so busy i quit writting daily. It was seeming futile, with not having the internet. Now I wish I had continued. I will read Myra's stuff and add to it and try to fill in some orher highlights.
Thanks for reading Ya all

Another Milestone

It is a great day! We finally have internet at the cabin /house! After many delays and frustrations our internet was installed yesterday. They finally got it up and running about 11:30 pm last night. Roger is actually taking the installer over to the airstrip right now to be picked up.
Anyway we have been busy as usual. There is so much to be done around here that some days it seems like we are chasing our tails. It also is time consuming to go to town and get stuff. That is definitely an all day deal at the least. Thursday we left here at 8: am and went in to get parts for one of the ATV's, a tire fixed for it and a few groceries as well as some more tools and the ladders from the trailer that is sitting at Deshka Landing and we didn't get back here til almost midnight again. We did stop at Yentna Station Roadhouse going both ways (which was well worth it on the way home, Thanks again for the good food you guys).
We will do some more posting later, time to heat water and do the dishes so I can fix supper tonight. Love to all, Myra