Welcome to "Our Life"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quiet Sunday Morning

Sunrise at the Phillips; These pictures are from our bedroom window. Isn't it cool how God keeps trying to out-do himself!
I have been outside and it is so Quite I am pretty sure I heard a Bear snoring in its' Den!
Maybe just kidding about the bear but it is really still. What a beautiful day. It is -5 degrees, not a breath of air moving and the Ravens are talking back and forth across the forest occasionally.

It has been a pretty eventful week after being gone for soooo Long. We have managed to get some of the essentials done. The yard and trails are pretty well packed down, but still not groomed. We got the chimney cleaned for the wood burner. We got the high roof of the cabin shoveled off for the first and hopefully last time this year. We got the collapsed barn pretty well cleaned out.
We put the fuel barrels and some of the building supplies in the shop.
Most of the totes went under the cabin. Notice the "extended" hole I dug to get under the cabin!
The other more "sensitive items" like the boat canopy onto the back porch. I got the wood pile dug out so we can more easily access the wood, and we have gotten one trip of water.

Now it is time to start the chores: I need to change generator(s) oil, tear down the old barn before it snows, clean up the recently inundated shop, fix the Roof snow rake (it got broken moving heavy compacted snow), Get more water, pump gas into cans, groom the trails, fix the tongue on the skwagon (I broke it hauling too much stuff from the stuck freight sled), and of course there is bread to make, clothes to wash, cabin to clean etc, etc,etc.

Speaking of cleaning the snow off of the roof; I did some calculations. According to my figures we had over 600 cubic feet of heavy compacted snow on the high roof. According to the Internet resources this snow is about 20 lbs a cubic foot. That my friends is over 12,000 lbs of snow on the roof. There was not near that much on the canvas barn that collapsed, only about 1000 lbs.

I tried to take some pictures at the seep where we get our water, but I have a new camera (yea) and I goofed them up. I had to dig out several feet of snow to find our water supply. either the weight of all the snow or the last bigger earthquake knocked down the water feed pipe and collapsed my little pond. I had to re-do the pond and the pipe and cut a shelf on the ice from where the water had been running. It was a pretty long project to restore our water supply but we have it back now.

I will post more soon,
Thanks for letting us share our adventure!
See Ya,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

33 Days Gone from Home

Hello All,
I left the cabin on 12-23-2010 and returned @ 10:20pm on 1-25-2011. Myra had gotten home just 4 days prior to me even though I flew to Michigan for eight days. With it being so cold that she cold not travel, she ended up spending several days in Anchorage with friends of ours. Thanks Joe and Janette.
Where do we start talking after 33 days away. The snow is building up!The dogs trying to find their old paths.
I flew from Detroit to Anchorage on Monday, arriving at the airport at 1:00 in the morning. I was too cheap to buy a motel room so I attempted to sleep in my truck in the parking lot of a store in Eagle River. I was up and on my way to Wasilla to do the stock up shopping by 7:00am. Several hours of shopping and picking up a new recliner for the Dogs and Myra and off to the landing I went.
At the landing I had to dig out the freight sled and snowmachine. Fill the fuel barrels with gas then load everything onto the sled. By the time I was done with preparation work it was 4:00 before I was headed up river.
The trip up river to Yentna Station was filled with a pretty hard snowfall then the last five miles it rained. I got soaking wet. I stopped at Yentna Station and had supper and debated spending the night, but the rain changed back to snow and I really wanted to get home so I forged on. This was a good thing and a bad thing all in the same decision.
The good thing first; The rain and wet snow makes the river ice very heavy so it sinks a little and water runs up above the ice, under the snow. This is called overflow, and it is very hard to drive through or over. It was a good thing I went home because there was a lot of overflow on Wednesday and I avoided that by going on home on Tuesday night.
The bad things; It snowed very hard so there were no fresh tracks to follow. I had to watch the trail very closely and trust the trail markers, and choose the right paths. Things went pretty well until I got about 6 miles from home. I ran out of gas in the snowmachine. I was hauling the heaviest load I have ever pulled and this was the first time I did not make it in one tank of gas. I was hauling 125 gallons of gas so I did have gas with me, just none in the snowmachine.
I unloaded one of the barrels of gas from the freight sled and opened it up. I did not have a syphon tube or gas cans just barrels of gas. I found a plastic bag under the seat of the snowmachine, that had been holding some spare parts. I took the bag and stuffed it into the opening of the barrel and shook it up and down to fill it with gas. then pulled it out, discovered it was full of pin holes and ran to the gas tank to pour it in. I repeated this about twenty times to get enough gas into the machine to get home.
Now I reloaded the barrel and headed home. I took the path into Fish Lakes Creek and followed the trail markers. Come to find out THE HARD WAY, the bank of the creek had collapsed and created a straight up 6 or 7 foot cliff. I hit that cliff at about 15 mile an hour, pulling about 1500 lbs. The snowmachine shot straight up and over the bank, the freight sled followed half way. As you can see in the pictures I stopped about 6' sideways from where the trail is heading into the bank. I flew and went sideways at the same time.

Once I got over the shock I got out the cell phone and IT WORKED. I called Myra and she came to get me with the two person snowmachine. I was still about three and a half miles from home. It would have been a heck of a walk in this fresh snow. I did walk about a half mile toward home, with my snow shoes while she was coming my way.
I got home about 10:15pm. I was one tired puppy!
Upon arrival at the cabin I took a quick look around and all looked good except I told Myra I need to shovel roofs first thing tomorrow.

As you can see by the picture, I should have shoveled that night. Crap! The snow that fell over night was just too much for the roof of the Barn.
I thought I would throw in a picture of what it looked like when we left just for fun.
Myra and I spent Wednesday morning packing snow in the yard and the trails so we could get the freight home by using the two up snowmachine and the skwagon.Myra got too far toward the edge of the packed snow and fell into the fluff. She was partially on packed yard and partially on fluff, that does not work.
I love that "What just happened" look!
I also spent time shoveling the rest of the roofs. We spent the afternoon hauling freight to the house, until help showed up in the way of our neighbors Tom and Willie. They helped finish with the freight and we used Tom's snowmachine to pull mine the rest of the way up the bank. They were a great help because those 30 gallon fuel barrels were on the back of the sled hanging over the edge of the bank. That would have been a real challenge for Myra and I by ourselves.
I spent today pulling things that I could get to out of the barn, then shoveling the snow off of the top of it. That was a real challenge since I had to climb onto this vinyl "bowl" of slippery snow and then operate a shovel while trying to stand up. It took a long time. Then got out a barrel fuel oil and filled up the house tank for the little furnace. We are shutting down the wood burner tonight so we can clean the chimney on Friday. I also have to get the rest of the stuff out of the barn or figure out how to raise the roof and support it with pine poles or something.
Lots and Lots of work to get caught up. We will keep you "Posted", pun intended.
Thank You, to all who follow our adventure. It makes all of this challenge and work a lot more fun when we are able to share the events.
Talk to you soon,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

1 16 2011

I typed this on 1-16 but have not had internet access until today.


I have some news that I would rather not share but it is all part of our adventure of life.
My stepmother passed away about 4:00 this morning in Coldwater Hospital in Michigan. She had gone in for laparoscopic gallbladder surgery and there were complications during recovery. She had surgery on Thursday and passed away on Sunday early morning. I will not go into anymore details, other than to say at 85 years old, no surgery is a minor surgery, but she was not doing very well before hand because of the need to have the problem fixed. God has other ideas for her this day.
I was due to fly home to Alaska today and instead my flight was changed to back to Michigan and I am now staying with my Dad at his home near Jonesville Mi.
Myra did fly back to Alaska and will be attempting to go home on Tuesday if the weather warms up a little. It was -41 degrees at home today according to a neighbor and that is too cold to travel on snowmachine safely. Can you believe this lady is going to the wilderness of Alaska by herself (with the help of neighbors) to take care of our home.
I am now scheduled to return to Alaska on Monday 1-24, late at night.
My Dad and stepmom were married on 7-6-1974 when I was a young teenager. They have resided in the same home the entire time, near Jonesville Michigan. They are on a few acres in the country and have a very nice setting. They have had a pretty nice life together. Dad is a retired truck driver and Mom was retired from an industrial job. They have been retired for many years now, and spent the majority of their time together.
I was looking for a note pad this evening and Dad handed me a spiral notebook. I opened it and the first few pages were covered with scores from the two of them playing Dominoes with each other. It brought quiet tears to both of us. We will bury her later this week.
Your Thoughts and Prayers are already appreciated.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Been a While

Hi all. Sorry there have not been any posts for a while. With the traveling the past few weeks it has been hectic and not too much to post. Any way I will give you all a quick rundown of the past couple of weeks and what is happening now.

We flew to Ohio on Christmas day and Mandy, Rick and the kids picked us up at the airport. It was so awesome to hear the kids reactions as they did not know that we were coming. They had been trying to guess who was coming but Mandy just kept telling them she didn't know either, that Santa had told her they needed to be there to pick up a special delivery. What fun! We had "Christmas" with the whole family then on the 26th. Our son Mike, his girlfriend and their kids, my brother Vance and his kids came over to Mandy and Ricks and we all had a great time. It was so wonderful being with all of them again. I have missed that.

The week between Christmas and New Years was busy, busy, busy! Trying to get around to see people and go to different places we wanted to was exhausting! And the chaos! That really took some getting used to again. I had just spent from September 12th until December 24th in the bush seeing only about a dozen people total in all that time. Roger had made a couple trips into town after the river froze but still had not spent long periods of time with a lot of people all at once. Needless to say that was mentally challenging at times. Not that I did not want to see everyone and do all these things, I just was out of practice.

On New Years Eve day we went to Rogers sister Naomi's for a family get together. Their sister Kaye was also in Ohio (she lives in Vegas) and so all the sibs and their dad and step mom got to get together. A good time was had by all! I went back to Mandy and Ricks for New Years Eve as I had told several people that I would be there on New Years Eve and New Years Day so if they wanted to see me they could stop by there. There was just no way to get around and see everyone so that worked well. Several of my friends stopped by, my brother and his kids came and spent the night and we all had a great time ringing in the New Year together with homemade pizza, tons of other munchies, and sparkling cider. Roger had the pleasure of ringing in the New Year with his siblings also as he had stayed at his sisters for the evening and spent time with them.

The week after New Years we went to Michigan and spent an evening in Muskegon visiting with family and friends there. We then went to Grand Rapids and went to see my 100 year old Grandma who is currently in a nursing home / rehab facility as she fell and broke a hip. Luckily it was not a total break and they were able to pin it back together but there is still rehab needed. It was wonderful to see her and spend some time with her, although it also was hard as her sense of time is pretty well gone and she would mix up things that happened forty years ago with things that had happened 4 days ago. She seemed happy and comfortable though and at peace with what was happening so that is a good thing. We spent that evening visiting with my cousins and their children and then back to Ohio the next day. We spent a couple more days in Ohio and then is was off to Florida to see my Mom.

We arrived in Florida on the the 9th and that was the warmest day we had while we were there. It was about 72 when we arrived and the rest of the time it was around 60. Of course to us that was great! But boy were the people down there ever griping. There were a couple of nights of frost warnings while we were there so we helped Mom cover plants or bring them in so that they didn't get damaged. While we were there we spent time helping her with odds and ends she needed done, Roger went through her files for me, and all in all had a good time. On Thursday the 13th we received a phone call that Rogers stepmother had had gall bladder surgery and that something had happened and she was now on life support. The next couple of days were up and down, lots of praying, and not sure what to do. We were scheduled to fly home to Alaska on the 16th. Ultimately Roger flew back to Michigan on the 16th while I flew home to Alaska. It was the right decision as his stepmother passed away that morning. He has been able to be there to help his Dad through this difficult time and that is good. 

I am currently in Anchorage as it has been way toooooooo cold to ride out to the cabin. Even the freight haulers and the planes haven't been running. The temps have been -30 for the past few days out in the valley and no one runs in that. The weather is supposed to start warming up today and tomorrow so if all goes well I will be riding out tomorrow with Dan from Yentna Station. I will probably stay there on Thursday night and then have Dan ride up the rest of the way with me on Friday. It will be a rather slow trip as we have will have to take Jeff and Hans back with us but that is OK with me. I am looking forward to seeing my puppy dogs. I have missed them. I know that they have been well taken care of while we were gone though so that helps. I am so thankful for our friends and neighbors up here that have made the trip home possible. I owe them a lot.

Well that is about it for the moment. Roger will be flying back Monday and gets in in the middle of the night so he will ride out Tuesday or Wednesday depending on weather, shopping etc. Life should get back to "normal" soon. Whatever that is! Have a great day and thanks for sharing our adventures.
Blessings to all, Myra

Saturday, January 1, 2011

We Got Snow and Help

Myra and I are in Ohio. We have a neighbor named Willie checking on our place and running the generator for us while we are gone. I recieved this email this morning from another neighbor of ours that helps out alot around our little island in the forest.

"We got 10" yesterday, then 12" overnight and they are forecasting 6 to 12" by the time it tapers off this evening.... temp is +26, .... Willy reports that he got over to your place and cleaned off your tents.... and that was between 6 and 7 AM..... He had to walk part way, but got the job and is back home..... Andy and I were planning on going up at daybreak to give him a hand.... will still do that at least to get some trails opened up.... otherwise all is good.....

Happy New Year!!


All I can say is THANK YOU to those that are helping to take care of our place in our absence. I think I am learning that this may be a bad time of year to be away from home. This much snow needs a lot of attention to keep it from doing damage and be travelable.
Thanks again to Willie, Tom and Andy!

PS: We had a great New Years Eve with Friends and Family. Got to visit for many hours and seen one sister that I have not seen in two years. Had fun with ALL!

Talk to you all again Soon,