Welcome to "Our Life"

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bush Entertainment, Fixing Stuff

I know I mentioned burning trash the other day. I probably should have told the story about what was in the trash.
Kids & Careless People, DON'T try this at home!
Have you ever used "Great Stuff" spray foam insulation? You know how it expands to seal cracks? You ought to put one of those cans in a fire once, it's cool. I dumped part of the trash can from the tarsp into the burning barrel and laying right there on top of a very hot fire was a can of spray foam. Too late to grab it, so I just walked back about 20' and held the trash can in front of me and waited. I waited long enough that I had given up and thought it was not going to do anything. I lowered the trash can and took one step toward the burning barrel and Bang, this missle shot out of the barrel. It went up into and thru a tree, over the tarsp and landed in the front yard about 60' from the burning barrel. At least it cleared the flamable Blue Tarp work shop. Ok, this was way cool so I picked out the second can of spray foam that I had seen still in the trash can. I did not want to risk the missle starting the tarsp on fire. That does not mean I am not going to burn the can, I just need a better plan. Being the observationist that I am I had noticed that the bottom is what blew out of the first can when it exploded. This time I dropped the can into the fire head down, You know, so when it explodes it will push its' self deeper into the barrel. My calculations were correct! Boom!!! No can flying, it was spray foam and flames everywhere. I had my own fireworks display for about 30 seconds as this "Great Stuff" went through its full life cycle right in front of my eyes. Bush entertainment! I know I gave a list of what we do around here for entertainment, I guess this was part of my work entertainment. It was fun.
Remember a few post ago when I talked about going for an ATV ride with the boys that helped us unload the barge. I failed to mention that when we got back to the cabin and I was looking around the muddy machines I seen where the Other machine broke a part on the drive shaft to one wheel. I ask Vinnie if he felt or heard anything and he just said, "yea but I was having fun and did not want to stop". Well it looks like I have the parts to fix this drive shaft from the old parts that weren't broken on the other drive shaft that I changed on the other machine. It was cheaper to by the whole assembly than to by the parts I needed so this may pan out in the end. The only thing I don't know yet is if the big hole I see in the hub will hurt anything, or if I have to buy a new one of those. Oh well, more fun I guess.
Today, I got on the roof and pulled out the wood burner chimney. I replaced a few pieces of the metal and re-fastened things in a different fashion so I can pull it apart from inside the cabin and clean it much more easily. I do not want to have to climb on the roof to clean the chimney in the middle of winter with snow on a metal roof. This will be much better, and two of the metal pieces were corroded through and needed replaced anyhow.
I also caulked the window at the back of the cabin on the second floor and and installed exterior trim to that window. These windows were installed in the winter by the previous owner and were never finished. At least that is the only reason I can see for no caulking anywhere, just some foam stuffed in some places. Anyhow, with the spray foam and caulking on the inside and now the caulk and trim on the outside, this window won't leak. I also caulked all the seams and joints in wood siding.
I started putting the roof system together for the back porch. I got the center supports up and the peak support in place. Thunder storms rolled through and put an end to any more of that work for the day. It is still raining. Today was only the second thunder storm we have had. We had real thunder and lightining with this one. The first one about a month ago, we never even seen lighting. The storms are not (at least so far) anything like what we are used to. They have been very gentle and only a little wind. I think the windiest I have seen it here has been about a 20mph gust. It is usually not windy at all. I guess I have seen a continuous wind down at the mouth of the river. I am told this happens with the incoming tide from Cooks Inlet and only last about 2 hours when it does happen. It made it pretty ruff water that day though.
Speaking of the tide change in Cooks Inlet, Did you know that Cooks Inlet has the second highest tidal change flucuation in the world. It changes on the average of 26 feet twice a day. We have seen it change as much as 37 feet in a four hour period. It changes so fast sometimes people actually go surfing on the incoming "tidal waves". There is a famous area for surfing near Baluga point on the "turnagain arm" of cooks inlet. It gets a bore tide that curls like the Hawai surf.
Myra started going through the totes that are under the tarp by the front door and putting things away. I haven't looked around to see how she put stuff away but I heard a lot of hammer pounding coming from inside, upstairs. Things that make me go Hum?
She made real home made pizza for supper. The crust from scratch (flour) and everything. It turned out great! She is getting pretty good at this bush cooking stuff. This may be marking the end of my wieght lose. I guess I may have to remember when to say when.
The river is getting really low. We are trying to put off our last trips to town until next week. We are going to have to keep an eye on the river though. We are going to make one trip for groceries and building supplies etc, then a second trip to get some of the wood and stainless off of the trailer and we are going to put the boat trailer on the boat and bring it out with us. We will then pull the boat out of the water over at one of the lodges and park it for the winter. This will be about 4 miles by water and two miles by land away from us. The only way this will change is if we start getting more rain and the water level comes back up. It may very well be from the first week of September until sometime in December that the only way in or out of here will be to call an airplane in. At this point in time, we choose not to do that. We are trying to have everything ready to just wait for the river to freeze.
Sorry, no pictures tonight.
Talk to you soon.
Thanks for being with us!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Normal Day

Today was nothing special. Myra spent the day inside cleaning. The only special task she took on was starting to develope a spreadsheet for the inventory of groceries. With stocking so much and not going to town very often it is hard to keep track of what we have used and what remains in stock. We don't have room to stock it all on shelves, a lot of it is in totes that are marked, so yu can't just go thru the cupboards and see what you need. I'll bet she gets a good handle on a system.
I spent the day burning waste and debris from around the property and building the walls on the back porch. The walls are complete and I will start the roof system tomorrow.
I don't have a lot to pass on so I am just going to post pictures.

A Couple of more sunset pictures.This big version of Hans is his Mother. She is named Chewey (Chubacka)

We had a Hail storm the last time we were in town. The hail came down for about 3 minutes and this is the results. You can see how deep it is around my shoe.
Thank You for reading about our adventure.
See Ya,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Since June 10th

Finally I have a little energy left to catch up on the blog. We slept in this morning until after 10:00 and had bacon and eggs for brunch about noon before we started working. It has been a long time since I have had a morning like this one. It felt really different, almost one of those guilty pleasures, like Awe I shouldn't have but! At least there was no hangover or ill feelings involved.
Where to start?
OK, I live in Alaska on one of the best Salmon fisheries in the world. My boat stays in the water and it is my main mode of transportation. I have 3 great clear water creeks within 6 miles of me and I have one Salmon in the freezer. I have been fishing 3 times for a total of about 15 hours this entire year. Last year I lived in Ohio, had to pull my boat at least an hour to go to any fishing water. I spent nearly a month fishing in Canada and several day trips around Ohio and the lakes. Hum, I am really going to have to fix this next year.
I am done whining (at least for now).
We have been in this cabin since June 10th. We have cleared a fairly large area of what will become yard eventually, right now it is just trimmed forest floor. We have a lot of bark, twigs, weed mulch, dirt, twigs, past occupant debris, twigs, downed wood, more twigs and more still to clean up. We will weed whack one more time this fall and call it good for this year. Our yard will be white before you know it and the stuff on the ground won't be seen for 6 or 7 months. We do clean continuously while walking around but it is a huge task. The forest floor is about 6 inches thick at least before you see any signs of dirt and this 6 inches covers a lot of stuff that just keeps coming to the surface. Eventually we will have it exposed long enough that it will decay and we will be able to plant grass.
I have jacked up the cabin 3 times since June 10th. As you know I dropped it twice. Like most things I did get better at dropping it. It fell from much higher the second time than it did the first. The cabin is now at what I believe is its final resting height and we have started building the back porch, even though the cabin is not on its permanent pilings. We will put it on the pilings next summer, we have got to move forward with things before winter.
We have logged over 1600 miles of river travel since June 10th. That sounds like alot until you think that it is 130 miles round trip, just to go to the landing. Do the math and this is 10 trips to the landing, 3 trips to Dan and Jeans and fishing since June 10th. When you think about hauling all groceries, gas, propane, fuel oil, most household belongings, 2 ATVs, building materials and everything in ten trips, that is not very many trips. How many times have you stopped at a convenience store, gas station, grocery store or other store in the last week, or the month of August?

Since June 10th I have cut down, cut up, split and stacked eight cords of fire wood. I still have more to do because we need more dry wood as previously described.

Since June 10th we have cut a clearing to the river so we have view from the cabin. It rained 31 days straight before we could see the mountains through our clearing. We cut an approx 1000 foot atv trail to our boat landing from the cabin. Some day I am going to have to measure that trail. It is a different length every time we mention it.

Since June 10th we have added a water pump and running water in the cabin (sort of). We still have to haul the water to the pump but we pressurize it and have it come out a faucet now. We have installed our RV refrigerator through the wall of the cabin (no longer using the hole in the ground). We have relocated the stairs in the cabin and made some new hand railings. We have caulked and sealed the windows. We have started installing the new fuel oil (back up) furnace. We have started installing the water heater. We have installed 2000 amp hour batteries and a 5000 watt power inverter for electricity. (we still use extension cords for a wiring system, all except the fridge). We have to run the generator every two or three days to charge the batteries.

Since June 10th, we have had the bears visit the cabin 4 times while we are here and 5 times while we are gone. I have blown up one grouse and we have eaten one of the freshest Silver Salmon possible without it being sushie.

Since June 10th we have fixed atvs, installed satillite, hung shelving, rearranged the rearranged cabin then rearranged it again.

Since June 10th, we still have the same old daily chores as everyone else like; we have to Haul our water into the cabin, haul our waste water out of the cabin, haul our water from a nieghbors place. We have to add gas, change oil etc to the generators to make our electricity. Change propane bottles, pump gas from our storage barrels into gas cans, We have to burn trash, cook, do dishes, sweep, laundry, fix what breaks (alot of stuff), check on the boat a couple times a day, lawn care, bear watch etc. You know, all that mundane daily stuff just like everyone else.

Since June 10th, who knows what we have done that I have forgotten or it is too small to mention.

As Myra told you, we have virtually all items to the cabin now. The only thing left at the Deshka Landing is the wooden box we built on the trailer, the stainless steel we had on the floor of the trailer and of course, the trailer its' self. What this means is we have a lot of "stuff" to deal with at the cabin. I was able to put all of the tools in the "Tarsp". This is what we have affectionately named the blue tarp workshop. It took me another full day to stack and sort stuff in the tarsp so that I could actually use some of it and be able to move around in there. We have one tarp covering things by the front door. About 8 totes and some wicker baskets and a folding table and whatever else is under it. The cabin, well it got overwhelmed for a few days but much progress was made.
Myra has worked like a squirrel packing things away. I think she even buried some nuts in the process. We have to make ONE MORE TRIP to town for final stock up for fresh meats and freezer items so that we will be all set (I hope) for our isolation time. Myra has managed to make room for all of the items that can't freeze inside the cabin. She is a master packer.
We have hung the TVs on the wall upstairs and down. We don't get any stations but the one upstairs has a built in DVD player and the one downstairs will work for movies, the Wii and I am hoping I can plug in my laptop to it and watch Internet TV. Internet TV is OK. I use a service called Hulu, that is free to use. Most of the programs are from one week to 40 years old. I can watch Tele Savalas on Kojak. Who loves ya Babe'? Anyhow, there are commercials and stuff just like regular TV and it works to get a TV "fix" once in a while. We can't use the service until after 10:00 pm because it uses so much Internet download capacity and we are limited in how much satellite time we can use except from 10:00pm until 3:00am. Between 10 and 3 we can download all we want but only then, so that's when I can watch TV. I don't watch much TV anymore as you might have guessed. We catch the Nascar races on Internet Radio stations most of the time but it is not always available. Other than this all of our entertainment comes from our surroundings, our work, the dogs and cats, the Internet and especially each other. The aging thing and being together nearly 100% of the time is pretty cool. More on this later, Myra has something to say about this.

One more Time; Since June 10th, this has been an amazing adventure. I would not change a thing about this summer (except maybe dropping the cabin or losing the boat). I cannot wait to get up each morning and see what the day is going to bring. What I think I am going to do for the day and what God has planned for me is usually different and I have found it best to go with his plan, when and if I am able to figure out what his plan might be for the day. I never know what I am going to see out the window or while walking to the river. I never know what I am going to see while traveling on the atv or in the boat. Some of the sounds in the forest send chills down my spine and some of them make me shiver with joy and amazement. You should wake up to an eagle screach as it soars above, That is amazing! We have met people that willingly give of themselves and their things and they welcome us to the territory. Each person out here, is here for there own reason but the commonality of the adventure seems to bond us all together. I am yet to meet the rude store clerk or desgruntled worker out here, and that too makes this an amazing place. By the way, there are no stores or jobs out here but those personalities don't seem to exist out here either. I think we have met a total of 7 residents and 9 land owning (part time) adults and a handful of kids out here. I might have missed one or two.
Sunset at our place last night. I wish you could have seen it in person, The fog rising from the river and the colors can only be described by God and your own Minds eye. I surely can't put it into words.

Thank You for letting me Share this with you,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Final Move?

Hi All. Wow has it been a busy week!
On the 21st Roger called Eric, the fella that owns the Mammoth barge, to find out about having him bring up the rest of our stuff from the landing. Eric has been hauling contaminated dirt for the EPA from Skwentna down to Deshka Landing where it is then loaded into containers. Any how on most of those trips the barge comes back empty and Eric had said a while back that if he got the contract for the dirt that he would give us a deal on bringing the rest of our stuff up.
The original plan was that on Monday the 23rd we would meet the barge at the landing and the crane would just lift the trailer with the rest of the stuff into the barge and we would go over to Eric's place on the ATV's and between our 2 atv's and his we would just pull the trailer off the barge and he would let us haul from there and tear the trailer down and bring it back here to our place in pieces. So we went to town on Sunday morning, did a bunch of stock up shopping for freeze up, went back to the landing loaded it all in the trailer to come up on the barge and finally got some supper around 10 p.m. and some sleep so that we could be at the landing by 9:30 a.m.
OK so do we all know how the best laid plans go?
The crane wasn't big enough to pick up the trailer! Therefore we had to unload the trailer and hand load everything onto the barge. There is a rather steep hill (not real long though thankfully) that we had to get everything down to put it on the barge. Luckily we had brought Vinnie (16 y/o foster son of Dan & Jean) and Eric had a young man Chris with him so we were able to make a chain and pass things along rather than go up and down that hill. We had the crane move the snowmachines over from the trailer to the barge though.

Flying Snowmachine!
Our Landing

Our boat was loaded with fuel and propane and we were overloaded as usual. We did get to see the seals though at the junction of the Susitna and Yentna Rivers.

We stopped at Yentna Station aka Dan & Jean's and picked up Anthony  and the dogs and left some of the fuel there until we took the boys back. The boys helped unload the barge at our landing and haul stuff to the cabin from the landing. Monday was another loooooooong day!
Tuesday Roger and the boys went fishing and then Roger took them home and picked up the rest of our fuel. I worked on finding a path through the maze that is here at the moment!

One of the things we had bought in town was a "garage" that we were going to use as a back porch for now so that we would have some storage space for stuff that it wouldn't matter if it froze. Long story short, what started as a 2 hour project has already been 2 days and we still have a few more to go as we are building the actual porch. Roger decided that we might as well put the floor in the "Temporary porch" rather than backfilling holes etc from the work on the pilings and some other digging that had been done in that area. We now have the cabin jacked up to where he wanted (sitting on cribs, not pilings), the porch floor and since we went this far well we might as well just do the porch!~

Oh yeah the bears were here again while we were in town and tore the heck out of one of the window screens and there are also scratches on the side of the cabin. Kind of wonder if they were trying to get the cats.

Anyway now you know what this week has been and why no posts. TOO TIRED!
Thanks for sharing our adventure.
Blessings, Myra

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Short Update

I am too pooped to do a long post or process pictures, Sorry.
We mad a last minute deal to hire a Barge to bring the rest of our belongings up river. The water level has dropped so much hauling on the water is about to end. We are almost dryed into our place now. It stopped raining and the glacier stopped melting because of longer nights and cooler temperatures. The river is not passable for the barge after today. We had one bring all of our stuff up yesterday.
We went to town on Sunday and shopped for about 10 hours to get as much of our groceries and supplies and fuel to last until until the river is frozen. We were told to do this just in case the river does not come back up (rain) and we get stuck for up to 3 or 4 months. I guess this has happened a hand full of times over the years and it is about due to happen, so be prepared!
We loaded the barge and our boat yesterday morning, stopped and picked up two boys from Yentna station to help us unload and got to our landing about 4:oo. We hauled to the cabin until after nine, then a quick ATV ride for me and the boys to treat them for working so hard. Finished hauling to the cabin this morning then took them fishing on the way to taking them home.
I put a nice Northern and a decent Silver in the freezer tonight.
We did get some pictures of the seals but the water level was so low we could not get too close to there island, we will post the pictures. We also have pictures of the barge and the crane loading the snowmachines and other pictures. Just no energy to download, re size and upload the pictures tonight.
I will catch up with you soon, Probably on a rainy day if it comes again. No rain in the forecast until Saturday and we are busting butt to get ready for winter. It is in the thirties at night all week this week.
Sorry no more information,
Keep checking in, I will give lots of pictures and a good update, probably Myra too.
See Ya,

Friday, August 20, 2010

I've been tired and tried, Myra's been gone

We have had our first rain free days (3 in a row) since 31 days ago. It had rained for 31 days straight, with cloud cover and murky skys almost the whole time. You had seen a few pictures from afternoons where we had a break in the clouds for a little while, but we had measurable precipitaion 31 days in a row.

Finally, nice weather and Myra was gone helping out a Yentna Station Roadhouse. What that meant is that the work I did at the cabin had to be of the "safe" nature. I could not jack up the cabin or fell trees or get on the roof or climb tall ladders etc because of no one around to find me or help if I get hurt. Little accidents can turn big after 3 days of being pinned under something.

So what did I do for 3 days? I drug wood up to the wood pile from trees I had already cut down and I split wood. I also split the wood I had previously stacked that I thought I would wait until winter to do. The pictures are the morning of day two. I wanted to show you my helpers. I only have about 3 or 4 hours work and I will have all of the gathered wood split. It is about 6 face cords so far. I still have to get more standing dead and dry down trees cut up to get me going for early winter to give most of this wood more time to dry. I only have about 2 face cord of dry wood right now. That will only get me into November by my guesstimate. The other wood should be freeze dried dehyrated by mid January, so I need about 3 cords of dry wood yet. I have been gathering, cutting and splitting wood all day each day except for time out for pictures so there really has been NO ENERGY left to do a blog post. I will get you a picture for the next post, of the wood pile now. It is real different!

Now for the neat stuff. The clouds lifted for the first time since I cut the clearing to the river. We Really have a view! The first picture is from the living room window or the front door, I don't remember which, but they are side by side. The next one is from our bedroom window.I can see some more firewood in the front yard, can you? This is very cool that we can see the mountain range, now the need for firewood and a wider view just may come together this winter or near near future. Not right away though because I gotta get some more dry stuff from the forest in the back yard. I took the 3rd picture real early in the same day as the clouds were lifting. The mountains came into view and I was on the hill in the front "yard" pulling some of the wood to the wood pile. I seen this and couldn't wait for pictures. The panorama view from the front yard is spectacular, and not something I know how to capture with a camera (especially my cheap one). Myra will probably get better pictures with her good camera. And finally, the fourth picture I took was on the way to Yentna Station to get Myra yesterday. It is Mt McKinley (Denali). I had a view of the alaska range and Denali from at least 7 different places on the river on the way down. some better than this but not good places to stop the boat when the current is so fast and I was the only one in the boat. I can't steer and take pictures at the same time in 10 mile an hour current. By the way, the river has dropped 4.5 feet in 2 days and is predicted to fall another 1.5 feet by Sunday.

Myra, Anthony (the 12 year old from Yentna Station) and Me came back to the cabin about 9:00 this morning. Anthony and I packed sandwiches and drinks and headed out fishing for the day. There is only about a week left in the Silver Salmon run and I need to get some in the freezer. I brought Anthony for an extra license in case they were biting great, so I could double the limit of posession for the day. Well fishing was real good BUT, I had a 12 year old fishing with me. We had fun most of the day and had lots of fish on the hook. Getting them in the boat was a whole other story. I was getting the hang of the bite of the Silvers, and baiting Anthonys hook (because the eggs are a little difficult to get right)and talking and fidgeting and spilling coffee etc. We had a Rainbow Trout and a big Silver on the stringer. The Silver was not quite dead after 3 whacks on the head and it was still moving slowly on the stringer. Anthony was obsessed with the Silver still moving and insisted on killing it. I had another Silver on my line, Anthony is whacking the heck out of the one on the stringer. I am fighting the one on my line. He whacks the one so many times he tears the stringer thru the fishes gill and losses both fish on the stringer. He grabs the net, dips it in the water going after the stringer fish just as I am getting my next one close to the boat. My fish dives under the net, breaks my line and we loose all 3 fish. Uug, arrrrrrrg, shhhhhhhh, daaaaaaa, UH, I buried my head in my hands, set down on the bow and got quiet for a couple of minutes. Yes, he survived. We lost another one while he tried to net it for me. I broke off on 3 more goooooood fighting fish, ran out of eggs (bait) and came home with none. The 12 year old survived, did I mention that. His Dad (Dan) gave me more eggs tonight.
It was a beautiful day outside, I HAD fish in and at the boat and I am going to try to go again tomorrow, after other chores are done. I will be alone or with Myra though.
Myra managed to rest and recooperate all day today. (Soap Opera's and Bon Bon's!) The plan for tomorrow is for me to split wood while she bakes bread then jack up the cabin some, while the weather holds, then go fishing. We'll see which one wins priority. After typing this I feel fishing moving up on the list.
See Ya,
If your over 25 and can handle a fishing net please come visit next season! OH Yea, I'll net your fish for you also.
Glad you are here with us,

Monday, August 16, 2010

I May need a smaller gun,

First I have to tell you, if you are squeamish about hunting or talk of shooting wild game, Please bypass the next couple of paragraphs. I will end this dis-claimer with a "stop" and I will capitalize "start here" when reading will be safe. Scroll quickly!


OK, it's small game hunting season. I did not mean to hunt, it was an opportunity! I had just got back to the cabin after taking Myra to Yentna Station (more on that later). I brought the ATV up the trail from the boat and decided to drive around back to check for the bears. I got around the back corner of the cabin and there it was, a Ruffed Grouse. I stopped suddenly watching the bird, and it is watching me. I am making a decision here and I think the bird knows what I am processing. It starts to walk away, under the cabin. OK it's "ON" bird, I shut off the ATV and climbed off, walking slowly, stalking the bird, it clucks at me and walks out the other side of the cabin. I stepped around the corner and there it is, between me and the door. My only shotgun, a 12 ga. is inside, and it was loaded with slugs for the frequent visitor. To big to use anyhow, so no shotgun is accessible. The 308 moose rifle is in there too but that would be a little over kill also. I own a BB Pellet gun but it is still in the trailer at Deshka Landing. SO Now it's me and the bird, I am 20 feet from it, it is 6 - 7 feet away from the cabin. It stopped and just stood there. I pulled out my 44 Magnum with 300 grain, hardened point bear loads, took aim at the birds head and fired. I missed it by "that much", the bird stood there, now with that blank deer in the headlights stare. I aimed again, shot and blew up the dirt right beside the bird, it stood there, I think it was laughing at me. I aimed again this is my third shot, all the sudden this thought crosses my mind; "damn these bullets are expensive (over two bucks a piece) I don't want to miss again, this is going to be one expensive dinner for myself, even if I do get it". So, I aim lower on the head, pulled the trigger and poof, half the flippen bird disappeared. No shit, did not see a sign of it for six and a half feet in any direction. The reason I started seeing signs of it at six and a half feet is because thats how far it was from the cabin.

I gotta do one picture, it's not to Gross but still not safe for the squeamish.

DON'T ASK QUESTIONS about this picture if you are not reading the above story. I will tell you where to start. MOVE ON DOWN the page!

Yep, those are pieces of the bird on my window. I was able to pick up the other half of the bird. It was pre-gutted and partially skinned. All I had to do was walk to the river and rinse it and finish peeling the skin and cut a few joints. I had a perfect half bird. It was the perfect meal for one. God really had a sense of humor when he gave me these abilities. With so many things that come natural to me, hunting instincts surely do not! It was fun.

OK "START HERE" it is Safe:
I ran Myra to Yentna Station today so she can help out there for a few days, they had a lot of traveling and work to do. She will not be here until Wednesday night or Thursday. On my way back I was blessed with the site of another bear along the river. This one is actually on the shore on the opposite side of the river for a change. This second picture shows how steep and high the bank is that the bear is grazing on. Yes I set and watched it for a while and it was going from bush to bush eating part of them. I was too far away to see what parts.

I am here at the cabin alone for a few days, for the second time sense we moved here. I had a wild game dinner (above story) and am experiencing a solitude that is not often allowed any person. Me, the dogs, cats and wildlife wherever. How does one explain the quiet, the inner self? To live this life of ours, to go from the aggressive business environment to this. It is amazing what god can give you if you listen and you let him (I believe you also have to do your part, he does not do it all alone). To live this is the story books and Disney movies of childhood. Yep, it's a lot of work. Yep, I get scared as hell of what I don't know is coming this winter or around the next corner. Isn't that the suspense part of the movies and the reason we went to watch them.
It is also wonderful to feel my confidence grow (not cocky) in reading the river, recognizing more of the trees and berries, beginning to read more of the different animal trails and see the signs of which animal and what direction they went. Often there are no tracks in the ground, just bent grass, weeds and brushed trees. The awareness of my environment that I am in, instead of blanking out all that I don't want to hear or see.
How do I describe the gratitude that is felt from every fiber on my being. I give gratitude God and to ALL things and people that have touched me in my life for this is what made me who I am and where I am. The gift of living in this moment is beyond explanation.
Thank You for letting me share,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More Progress

What an awesome couple of days! We now have electricity and a refrigerator!!! Roger installed the new inverter and the big batteries and also the RV fridge that we had brought from Ohio. I am sooooooo excited! Now I want to go to town again so that we can stock the fridge!

I worked on the upstairs and the kitchen (again!). I ended up doing some more re-arranging in the kitchen area as we had to take out a shelf/counter area in order to put the fridge in. I am getting tired of redoing the kitchen but it was well worth it this time! I also move the "bedroom around a little so that I had somewhere to put some hooks for robes etc. Next will be the Bathroom! We are slowly getting this place put together, I hope. I am getting a bit tired of the "chaos" of moving! I have been in the process of "moving" since March! I am ready to do something else!! Ah well life is good anyway.

We took the wood off around the windows and Roger use "Great Stuff" around all of them as there were many areas we could see daylight! We will let that set up for a couple days and then trim it back where needed and caulk and put the trim back up. Maybe we will stay a little warmer this winter now. At least it shouldn't be as drafty.

Well that is all for me tonight, tired and ready for bed. Thanks for sharing our adventure.
Blessings, Myra

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bears & Work Everywhere.

When you read Myra's post you will hear of our last bear visit to the cabin. We were on the way home from town and came across this bear in the river. Of course it is swimming across in the direction of OUR CABIN, so we may get to see it again also.
I know I told you that I would try to get pictures of the seals. They were not there at the island. In fact the water level was so high the island was not there. It is covered by water at this time. We did see two seals in the water but they dove before we could get the camera up. We will keep trying to catch them.

The bears did visit while we were in town. They literally took the tote out of the ground as you can see by the pictures. There is the burning barrel in the back ground, knocked over again.

She left a big pile of scat as a marker and the were cub piles scattered around again. I am sure it is the same family.
We found a total of 4 eggs left on the ground that they did not eat, but of course the eggs were out of refrigeration for ? Anyone know how quick they will spoil, We thru them away.

Now for the Work: We keep talking about all of the stuff we haul up river on the boat. Here are some Pic's of the load this trip.

The list: New 18" Husqvarna chainsaw w/gal oil, extra chain, gas mix, Groceries in 4 totes and a cooler, chest freezer, camper refrigerator, 6 4x4s, 3 4x6s, 100# & 20# propane tanks, laundry, 34 gallons of gas, fishing gear, 7 new water jugs, misc supplies from lowes,Myra, Me, the dogs and we picked up 12 year old Anthony at Yentna Station.

We Must quit going to town. Here is my list (that I can think of) of things to get done:
* = before winter
*Cut more Fire wood,
*Install Fuel Oil Furnace,
*Finish Jacking up Cabin,
*Install New Pilings,
*Replace all Insulation under floor (squirrels)
*Caulk and seal windows (not done when installed by previous owner)
*Get snowmachines up here before Freeze up
*Get boat out of water
Get Winter work shop area, blue tarp won't hold up to snow! *hopefully*
Install Fixed Wireless telephone,
Dig root Cellar,
Build Back Porch,
Install water heater and more plumbing
Install permenant electrical outlets,
Build real restroom
Install New Battery inverter and Big Batteries,
Install Refrigerator, it goes thru the outside wall (RV style)
None of this includes, Haul water, stock more Gas and Fuel Oil, Daily chores, sleep, eat, sex - (yea right), get the mail occasionally,
When we get time, then we will finish the wood trim in the cabin, paint and carpet the upstairs, build a real bed frame, build more shelving all over inside, plant a garden, Fish, Hunt, Do Canning of fish meat berries etc, build a permenat workshop, build a gas/fuel shed, build a wood shed, continue living etc!
Is anybody else tired?
Life is good today.
Thanks for being here to share this, I can use the help!
Talk to you soon,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggg those darn Bears!

Denali (Mt McKinley) on Right

Hi all. It is Friday night and we made it safely back from town yesterday evening. We stopped by Yentna Station Roadhouse on the way home and picked up Anthony, Dan and Jeans 12 year old foster son who has been driving all of us nuts wanting to come and stay with us for a few days. It is different having someone else around besides just the two of us and the critters.

The bears visited again while we were in town and ransacked the burning barrel and also our miniature "root cellar" that Roger had dug a fed weeks ago so we could at least keep a few refrigerated things. Roger had put a half a salmon in there and forgot to get rid of it before we went into town. Needless to say they not only got the salmon but also the cheese, eggs and butter that were in there.       :(

I have been busy trying to find places to put stuff in the cabin, especially groceries as we have started to stock up for "freeze up". It can be quite a while that the river in unusable to travel either by boat or snowmachine. We did bring up the refrigerator and a small chest freezer but do not have them up and running yet. Soon I hope. Our inverter did come yesterday, Tom from Bentalit Lodge which is about 2 miles from us and that we can drive to on ATV's picked up our mail when he went and it was in!!!!!  We went over there today and got the mail from them and filled water jugs.

Roger jacked up the cabin a couple inches today, taking it slow and easy and letting things settle each few inches. It has been a challenge to do with all the rain we have had. Today was the 27th day in a row that it rained! It has been one of the wettest, cloudiest, gloomiest summers on record here. :-(  And even with all the rain it is still dustier than all get out in this cabin! Nothing seems to stop the dust.

Well that is about all for tonight from me. Thanks for sharing our adventure.
Blessings, Myra

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life doesn't get any Better

Jeff and I worked HARD today, then Myra fed us dinner and this is the result. One of the best half hours of my life!

We haven't seen the bears for two days now. I must have shot close enough to Momma to get her attention.

Today was just another day. I took apart the small generator that the cabin fell on and used a heat gun (via the big generator) and warmed up the plastic shell and took the crease out of it. You would never know it had a cabin land on it. We are running it right now to provide the power to Beam this Blog to the satellite.
We got the rest of the items out from under the cabin today. The only thing we have to replace is two pieces of black stove pipe for the chimney to the wood burner. We stored them under the cabin until I am ready to replace the old ones. (another job to do) Anyhow, the tote that got crushed was full of citronella candles and oil lamps etc. Everything just shifted down in that tote and the bottle of oil looks like an accordion, but nothing broke. The other stuff under there was UN-touched. Can you believe it, I dropped a cabin full of stuff, Onto stuff, and we have lost a total of $15 worth of items. God was truly watching over a fool that day.

I also put the new drive shaft on the ATV, cut and hauled some wood, and finished clearing the limb and one more tree for or view to the river. Skyped with the Grand Kids, Then supper, nap with Jeff, loaded the ATV trailer and went to the boat. Loaded for our trip to town, greased the Jet on the Boat motor, paid some bills and now typing a blog post. I feel like I am forgetting something but I hear that comes with age.

Myra did hum, what did Myra do today? Hey Myra, what did you do today? Whew, that was close!

She helped me a share of the day, attempted to burn trash (wet again today), started arranging her sewing and craft area, cooked, cleaned, cooked some more, cleaned some more, Helped pay bills, got ready to go to town. Just a typical day that has me typing this blog at 11:oo at night.

Oh Yea,

I remember now! I sprained my ankle the other day and it has been getting more sore by the day. OK in the morning except weak, then burning, swollen and sore as all get out by the end of the day. I have tried medicines, ace wrap, ankle brace, ankle brace with ace wrap and medicine. Today I found the answer. We had Paper Medical tape, so I shaved my ankle, applied the paper tape, and then,sense we have no athletic tape, I duct taped my ankle. It worked! I worked virtually pain free all day and feel fine tonight.

We have 3 rolls of duct tape left, and have it on the town list to buy. Duct tape holds most of Alaska together, me included!

Life doesn't get any better!

The last picture is the surface of the river the other day when the water was so high. I told you how Gray it is, well now you can see the glacier silt. It is so thick it looks like it's cracking. Of course it's not. .
It is actually clear on the top couple of inches, then the sediment boils down in it. It looks cool during different light conditions. The salmon swim up these rivers, then turn into the spawning streams which are the clear tributaries and lay there eggs. Most of the fishing is done in the tributaries but I see fish jump out here all the time. I just gotta get work done and go fishing more often.
Going to town early tomorrow. Talk to you in a couple of days.
Glad you are here with us,
Roger & Myra
PS: We live very close to 3 GOOD spawning streams! See Ya

Monday, August 9, 2010

Birthday & Rain

The dogs had a good day!
Sunday was my birthday. We listened to the nascar race in the morning and then left for a 125 mile river trip. We went down to the Deshka landing for some friends of ours to help them load up people and gear and food to go to thier Roadhouse. Dan & Jean had family come in from New York, Dan's half brother and Sister and spouse, that he had never met in 63 years of life. It was pretty neat to be part of that. We also had birthday cake for me at the Roadhouse AND it was Dan and Jeans 31st wedding anniversary. It was a big day and we did not get home until just before 11:oopm. It was still light enough to see on the river, but it was getting close to the edge of night. We do get darkness now, like most of the rest of the world. It gets night fall about 11:15 or so depending on clouds and it is getting daylight around 4:30.

It rained all night last night, and sometimes very hard rain, again. I did NOT jack up the cabin today. Myra worked inside all day doing the domestic things like dishes and floors and cooking and and and. I cut, split and stacked wood all day. We worked until about 8:30 and had homemade chicken noodle soup for supper.

The top picture is a normal view of the gravel bar in front of our boat landing area. The second picture is the exact same direction except the river is up, the gravel bar can't be seen except for the logs setting on it. That gravel bar is usually 3 to 4 feet above water. It is gone for the second time in a week. The boat is doing fine tied right where we normally keep it. Myra tied it this time.

We did find out that there are seals on an island almost all of the time, down at the confluence of the Yentna and the Susitna rivers. We go by them all the time and have never noticed them. A new acquaintance or ours told us to stop and look, they blend right in with the logs on the island. We are going to town on Wednesday and Thursday, we will try to get some pictures if they are there. (Also, with my advanced age, I will have to remember to look.)
This picture is in the area where the seals are at. The mountain in the background is Mt. Susitna. Most pictures of this mountain are taken from Anchorage which is about 45 miles due south, across Cooks Inlet, of this position on the Susitna River that we travel. If you google Mount Susitna you will find more information. We are looking south west at the mountain here.
Talk to you Soon,
Thanks for being here!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Myra wears a Gun

Yep, that is Myra wearing a gun while she is working on the trail. The black straps over her shoulders and the case on her front is her "body front" holster which holds her 44 magnum revolver with hardened point 255 grain bullets.(translation, Big hand gun, with big bullets).
Sorry, I did not realize how small her image would be on here. This is the ONLY picture I have of her working, and she was a long way away from me. Yes, I wear a gun too, but for a different reason. I wear mine just in case she gets mad at me. I am not sure why she ever would though. Lol
Below is the reason Myra wears her gun (I Think). These bears are right at the back of the blue tarp "work shop

Myra will tell you her version of the story but I got to the blog first so I gotta tell you mine.
We were working on raising the cabin AGAIN today and she was hauling things around and moving some dirt. She went by me on the atv heading toward the back of the property, I was jacking up the back corner of the cabin on the opposite side from the work shop. All of the sudden I hear Oh OH and the brakes of the atv. I jumped up and looked at her and she is pointing and saying Bear! (No camera at hand) This time it is at a back trail where we worked cutting down a tree yesterday. I looked where she pointed and a cub came out of the tall grass and headed away from us. That was not the first one she had seen at that spot, but the only one I seen. The bears were about 75 feet from us at the back of the "yard" we have cleared.
I did not see all of them at this point but we knew it was a Mother (sow) with cub. If any of you have read much about bears then you know a sow with cubs is about as unpredictable as a hormonal mother of three toddlers. Anything can happen at any time, and probably will.
The cub I saw ran into the brush in the area Myra said the other bear went that she saw. We watched and talked (and hollard at the bears) for about a minute and the brush just kept moving and cracking in the same area, they weren't leaving. I finally fired a shot high in the bush over them and we heard them run off. This was about 2:00 I am guessing.
We came in for supper about 5:00. We had the big generator running so we could use the microwave oven to heat soup for supper and charge the batteries some. We had eaten and decided we were going to relax for a few. I went out to shut off the generator. I rounded the front corner of the cabin toward the work shop and there is a cub standing right by the back corner of the work shop (40').

It did not see me. I turned around, back into the cabin and Myra and I started snapping pictures thru windows. This is Momma and 3 cubs, she has her head in the burning barrel. It appears that when we burned trash yesterday that not all things burned completely. I don't think this mattered though because when we got back from town and they had rifled through the burning barrel and there was not a thing but ash and char in it.

The cub really wants Bushes baked Beans. See its paw wrapped around the can.

Mom, get out of the can, It's My turn.

This one wondered off about 30' from Mom. The scarey thing is Never get between a sow and her cub. If we were to come around the corner of the cabin and get between them by accident?

She is standing up here because I was yelling at her from an upstairs window and she was looking for me, with no luck. She could not see me and wouldn't leave. I finally put my revolver out the window and fired right beside her (Not at her) and she took off, cubs close behind. We are planning more target practice tomorrow, and I think the 12 gauge shotgun will be close by all day, maybe the rifle too if we are in seperate areas. (that Hormonal Mother thing) More power!
We do not want to kill this bear. If we should have to do it because she won't leave us alone then we need to kill the cubs also. They are one year old(s) and will not survive on there own. They will just die a much slower death. This is the rules out here. Then we have to report to State Game control and do a bunch of paperwork and and and. Let's hope she learns to stay away.

A Good day to experience,

Thank you for letting us share with you, Sincerely, Roger

Gifts from God, Lessons for Me

I wrote this two nights ago. We did not have Internet for a while so I could not post. I wanted to write it while it was still very near to me, and hopefully the feelings come through.

Gifts from God! Blessings in disguise! Two lessons I hope I learned. Two near tragedies, both will turn out OK, one already has.
I received this email from a neighbor a couple of miles away, this morning. I had also received a couple of phone calls before this.

Missing anything? Andy says he retrieved your boat as it drifted past his place this AM.... I advised him to bring it over to our lake for safe keeping till the water goes down a bit. Looks like we had at least a 3 foot rise overnight.....
Tom 733-2716 or 863-5428 cell

As you may have guessed, our boat came loose while we slept and it headed down river, all by its self. This can easily turn very bad in a hurry if it gets caught on a tree along the edge of the river or goes into a gravel bar, the fast current can easily overturn it and sink it. Andy owns King Bear lodge across from Lake Creek about 6 miles downriver from us. They saw our boat drifting about 6:15am and called us as they headed out the door to go get it; we slept thru the phone call. Andy and his son got our boat and luckily I had left the key in it so they could start it. They don’t have a boat big enough to tow our boat in high water and they would have had to just tie it to shore somewhere. Anyhow, they got it and brought it up to Fish Lakes Creek, which we can drive to on our ATV’s, over at Bentallit Lodge, aka the air strip. Tom owns Bentallit and shot me the email you see above. We went down to the river at our landing to look things over, the rope that we tie onto was fine and the anchor point was good. The river was indeed, over 3' higher than when I tied the boat the previous evening. We went to check out the boat and the other rope that we use from the boat to the shore rope was good. Conclusion, I did not tie a good knot when I got back from fishing. It was raining like heck, I was in a hurry to show Myra I was the great provider and had caught my first Silver and I did not tie it right. The boat was un-touched, not even a scratch. This is our first gift from God. PS: We left the boat in the lake until this water level goes down some. There are many floating trees coming down the river and no sense in giving one of those a chance to catch on our boat. We received a second call about 2 hours later that another boat was floating down river and did we know who might own that one. We didn't!

Gift number 2! Over the last week I have jacked the cabin up to with-in a few inches of the final desired height. Today I was taking it up that last few inches, nearing five feet high on the down hill side.

I had taken the picture above about noon, before I started lifting the cabin today. I had taken the cabin up the first lift and was half way through the final lift, it was going to be as high as it is going; when the supports let loose and the cabin fell. It went five feet west, two feet north and about five feet down. It crashed hard!

With all the rain we had yesterday the ground had softened and I was obviously not taking the right precautions with how high I had the cabin in the air. It is right now (as I type this) setting flat on the ground and debris, tilted about a foot down hill to the south (above picture). Here comes the gift part. Myra was outside, she had been moving dirt around getting started on the root cellar and using the dirt to level the trail to the boat. She had finished for the day and had just decided to watch me finish the last lift. The dogs were under the cabin while I was lifting it, as they usually were. I had lifted one corner a little and was walking to the other corner when I stopped to talk to Myra. Jeff came out from under the cabin toward us. We spoke for about 15 seconds, I don’t remember what about, and all of a sudden the cabin took off on its spill. We saw Hans run for the back of the cabin toward us, the cabin went forward and crashed. Hans had slid into one of the holes I had dug to get under the cabin when I first started the project. He slithered out from under and took off down the trail. It took us 3 or 4 minutes to get him to come back, but he did. No ONE hurt. The cats were shook up, mentally and physically, but OK.
The cabin was a mess inside with things thrown all over. Only one broken dish and it was one that was left here by the previous owners.

No windows broke, the door still opens and no holes in the floor where it crashed down on things. The little generator is under the cabin but I can see it and it looks like it may have survived, time will tell. I am typing this on Word and will have to cut and paste this into the blog (obviously have). We do not have satellite at the moment; Ya think the dish might have moved a little?
By the time you read this, I will have already leveled the cabin and begun to pick it up again. I won’t reset the dish until the cabin is level, just too much hassle. I will have found a new way to set the cabin temporarily, as I lift, so I don’t have to depend on the same system that just failed. I don’t think I want to do the same thing over again and expect a different result. I will do it different.
It was a day full of lessons, followed with blessings. The weather was gorgeous, the boat is un-hurt, the cabin will survive and no one got hurt! I have learned a few things today. The lessons may be tough to receive but I obviously needed them.
I am Grateful for many things today and I am glad to be able to share with you!
Thanks for being here with us. (and yes, I cried a little too) Roger

I need to add a few more notes, It's a day and a half later now: The cabin is on it's way back up. I have got some things out from under it and still can't get a couple of things. The little generator still runs but looks a little worse for wear. The gas tank is a little smaller now because it got crushed a little.

I have not been able to get a few things out yet. This is a tote and other things still under the cabin (below).

This is the new support system for the cabin going back up again, and the cabin on it's way back up; To stay this time, I hope and pray. This is a very long post, Thank You for taking the time to let me share. I truly am blessed to be here today.


Now that I am finally done shaking and can breathe again I just have to agree with Roger that we are truly blessed. What could have been a horrible tradegy wasn't. It has been a real rollercoaster ride the last couple of days emotionally and hopefully this particular ride is coming to an end soon. I am truly grateful and blessed to be typing this today. Blessings to all of you, Myra