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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Today, as I experience it.

We have posted twice now that freeze up has started. As of today we have had snow on the ground for 12 days with absolutely no sign of melting. We even had a hard down pour of rain about 4 days into the snow and it did not melt. It has snowed some every twenty four hour period since it started. The river on the other hand, well, as the video will show it was beginning to freeze nicely. While a little of the rim ice is still in place, there is no floating ice on the river again today. I know that I don't know much about the Eco system around here but this river is strange. Freezing is as fickle as water depth during the summer, I have no idea what it is going to do.
videoWe have been land locked to our little "Island in the Forest" for between 7 and 8 (me 7, Myra 8)weeks now. This is the first time I actually looked at the calender and counted weeks since we have been to town. We do have the two different neighbors that are a couple of miles away and Willie did move to his cabin which is a little closer. Willie is a true Bush person in every sense of your imagination. Picture a guy in his Fifties, lives alone with a couple of dogs, little formal education, lots of love for the territory and been in the woods a long time. Yep, that's Willie. Anyhow, visiting with the neighbors is not a regular thing. There is always so much to do for everyone out here. Just living requires so many hours of the day, it does not matter if you have our little cabin or 10,000 sq ft lodge with a racquetball court, there is a lot to do just to get thru the day. We have only been to each neighbors place one time, together, that I can recall. On occasion I will go over for something like water or mail, or Myra will go for mail or water and this will result in a short visit, but this is not a social event out here. Accessible right now, by means of land are, Northwoods Lodge with Shan and Eric, Bentallit Lodge with Tom and Pat, and Willie.
When living a "Normal" life we would get up in the morning, start the coffee in the Bunn coffeemaker and let the dog out. Coffee was done in 3 minutes or so and off to the shower we go. Then, onto the computer, do email and begin the day of work. Walk into the garage, get into the vehicle and drive to a destination. Get out of the vehicle, walk into a heated/air conditioned building and go about business. When we would get hungry, just go buy a meal somewhere convenient. Building to vehicle, back to building, back into vehicle, etc. If at work in the same building for 8 to ? hours then it was back to the house, picking up an item or ten at the store on the way home. We would live for the weekends and time away from work so that we could go play or do something for ourselves, or just relax and do nothing. Does all of this sound familiar? Work and the number of hours required to travel to and from was the means in which it afforded us to "live". We did see more people (many thousands more) and have very close relationships with some of them (you). The personal time spent together talking, visiting or playing was limited and precious, and still is. Life just seemed to keep getting in the way.
Today we live a very different life. I will speak of my " developing routine" here. I get up in the morning put on my robe and slippers. Go down stairs and change into tennis shoes.Go outside to pee, let the dogs out and start the generator. Come in and start percolated coffee and check the wood burner and get it stocked up and warm in here. Thirty Five minutes later coffee is done and the wood burner needs adjusted. I have now been up for nearly and hour and done virtually nothing but get warm, get electricity, get coffee, get "pee'ed" and maybe have time to get dressed but not usually. Now there is time for a little "wake up" so I fire up the computer for a while, Read the news on the Internet, check email and cook some breakfast. No microwaved or fast food here, usually oatmeal, if we have cereal you get out two cans of condensed milk, dilute it with water, shake it in a sealed quart jar, then you pour your cereal in a bowl. Now put on the tennis shoes again and go outside to relieve some coffee. How many of you have gone outside in nothing but a robe and tennis shoes in a foot or more of snow and 15 degrees to pee, more than once? I know it is a really bad mental image but it is life! Now dressed I've been up for 2 hours and time for chores. Dress for work includes putting on the outside clothing and boots and the gun. Outside is shovel a path, clean snow off of vehicles (snowmachines), scrape snow off of roofs (cabin, generator shed, barn and shop), fire up a snowmachine and pack snow, then groom smooth so we can walk around comfortably, then stock wood into the back porch as needed. Now Pump more fuel into gas cans if needed and check the water supply. Once all of this is done I can begin my task(s) of the day. These may include cutting or splitting more fire wood, going after water, fixing something or building something.
Yesterday for example Myra said she needed an Ironing Board to make her sewing task easier and we did not bring an Ironing Board. We went to the barn and picked out some wood and proceeded to Make and Ironing Board. She now has a nice little portable Ironing Board that she is Making a cover for. I proceeded to work on welding the stainless steel Shower floor pan that I am making. At this point in time we still stand in a 15 gallon galvanized laundry tub to take a shower. At least we have running hot water to it though we do have to haul the tub outside to dump after every shower. When I finish the shower pan I will install it with a drain pipe to go outdoors into the galvanized tub for now, that we will have to dump it quickly so it does not freeze. Next year I will dig in a leech field for the shower and "Gray water" from the house.
After six to ten hours of working on projects plus meal times I can settle in for the evening. Oh Yea, first I may have to re-shovel and pack snow and clean roofs and cover the snowmachines as it seams to be snowing regularly and Every night at least a little. Then gas up the generators so they are ready for the following morning.
We do not have normal TV so most evenings are spent reading with the radio on and some time on the computer looking up "God knows what" stuff or reading a manual for something that isn't working right etc etc etc. Sometimes I watch a video (DVD) and a couple times a week I will watch an outdated TV show on the Internet.
Did you know that even though it seems simple to set down and type that it takes between two and three hours to do one of these blogs. By the time pictures are sorted, re-sized, uploaded and the typing is thought thru (most of the time) the process is quite extensive. This blog post has now taken over two hours and has one video.
Anyhow; back to the general theme of this post. Our life is very much different from what it used to be but it has many familiarities. Instead of going to a Job to earn money to buy the things to live and entertain the Job is to live and build the things we require or want. There is no more "free" time than there was before, in fact, there is less time because of things like wood stove (needs attention 24/7), water (hauling and transferring), waste water and honey buckets, preparing every meal (always), outdoor attention requirements etc. There Are NO modern conveniences even though we have conveniences that are modern. Examples: We have electricity but not with out a generator (and maintenance) and fuel and we have running water but not with out hauling it In & Out etc. There is different time available to "spend" unlike anything that I was once accustomed to. Vegging on the couch for a day still involves maintaining heat, power, water and meals. The utility companies and pizza delivery just don't exist. We don't just run to the store or the fast food place, we don't Just plug in the microwave, we don't Just turn on the faucet to get a drink.
Now after eight weeks of virtually no contact with other people other than computer or some telephone I do see it starting to wear on Myra. I have never been a social butterfly and have always said I could be a hermit. This might just be true for me as I feel very grateful and happy to "just be" here. I do miss the kids and grand kids and will be happy to see them when we make a trip to Ohio, and I even miss most of you folks. I am pretty content to just Be here with Gods gifts of nature for the most part. This style of life does afford time to think. Prioritizing what is Really important is coming to the forefront of my thought process more and more often. I also see Myra struggling with the seclusion. This was the first Halloween she missed with the grand kids and it has brought about a tough period to go along with eight weeks of just being here. There is a lot of personal learning going on with in both of us.
As a couple I think we are doing quite well (at least as I see it). Of course I could be the last to know if there is a problem brewing between us because I am a guy. Again, we are together (at least in very close proximity) twenty four hours a day. This is a change from me traveling about three weeks a month for work. This is another Huge change in our lives, almost as big as the relocation. I personally am as happy with this change, or happier, than anything else. (You will have to ask Myra for her prospective on this.) I feel like I am truly getting to know my wife on a whole new level than ever before, and I like most of her. (She understands, as anyone who has been married thirty one years will understand.)
It is Sunday morning, I have been typing this post for nearly three hours, Myra is beginning to make bread (have I ever mentioned I like bread day) and I have my chores to get done. Sundays we are pretty Non-routine around here. I have found it good to still Take a day to do something different. We do also make time to get out into these surroundings and enjoy the gifts God has given us today. Being able to appreciate the little things is an important part of this life.
Thank You for allowing me to share,
Talk to you soon,
Roger

1 comment:

  1. Hi, oh me, you have quite the days. I can not even begin to imagine. This blog will be such a great journal for your grandchildren. It truly is remarkable.

    I certainly can sympathize with long days. I was not ready for winter, but it is here. Today it snowed. Not our first, nor will it be our last. Unlike yours ours will melt. And, we only have 50 miles to go to town. Major differences. I will never call our house "wilderness" again.

    I must say there is something exciting about the Alaska experience. I am not sure I could do the year long and lifestyle change, but the thought of viewing the Northern Lights and listening for ice calving is very appealing. I may have to talk Don into a trip out to real "wilderness."

    In the meantime know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Oh and by the way, His Barage is organized, his garage-that is another story-definitely a winter project. Be well, Hugs to you both. Kd2 for D3too.

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