Welcome to "Our Life"

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just Workin around Here

We have been working on the cabin for the last couple of weeks. You may have seen some of these pictures before but I wanted to show you the before and after of some of the cabin.

Living in a forest and having so much wood right here it does not make any sense to pay for and haul lumber here. I did receive a gift of a bunch of "Seconds" lumber from Tom and Patty from their lumber mill. It is all 1"x4" edges of the trees that they milled. All of it is rough sawn and odd size and length. I have spent a full day Planing it all to 3/4" thick and getting one side to good quality.

I have also been practicing cutting planks from fallen trees that I seen come down this winter. I cut the planks "free hand" with the chainsaw, then planed them down to usable boards.

We also cut a few saplings a couple of months ago and peeled them. We put them in the cabin for a Month to dry them out so we could use them.

Now I will start putting this all together for you.

These are the rough boards we received from Tom and Patty. Hans is "helping" me with my job site agility by laying in the middle of the work area and making me walk around him with every board. I have to plane every board at least twice to get them to dimensional thickness. I will have to rip every board twice on the table saw to get dimensional width.

This is one of the products of the 1"x4"s. this is a box covering the batteries we use to power the cabin. It doubles as a bench for putting on boots and outdoor clothing and has added storage inside for ATV batteries, boat battery, snowmachine batteries etc. What ever we are not using for a season needs to have the batteries removed and charged occasionally so this works out very well.

The area of the battery box used to look like this.

Then the area was stripped, got a new door and then re-sided with the same wood plus new that was here and already installed all over the down stairs. See the water heater behind the wood burner. That was not there in the previous picture. Oh, neither was the door! (the little white thing in the other picture is the end of the microwave on a shelf in the kitchen)

This is the same area, this morning. The battery box is down to the left under the power panel etc. I still have to build in the power panel and wiring but most of this area is done. This door goes out onto the new back porch. This is our main entrance now. the old door on the front of the cabin is emergency exit only. We don't even have steps to it any more.

We move to the front door area of the cabin now. I needed to make some big shelves for our "Modern" electronics to set on. This is where I used a couple of the planks that I cut and made with my chainsaw and planer.

These planks were cut from a spruce tree that had fallen across one of our trails this winter.

I was able to plane those rough planks into finish boards.

The front edge of both the cabinet and shelf are from the planks. The "post" that go to the ceiling are from the saplings that we cut and peeled. These post support the "electronics shelf" and 40' of shelving around the perimeter of the living space of the cabin. It was 1 year to the day from our Auction when all of this was disconnected, until the day we hooked it up here. We have our real Stereo now! See how we used Burlap material to trim around the Log beams and give it a finished look.

This is the best picture I could find of what the front door area looked like once upon a time. As you can see, it has changed a little bit.
I built this cabinet with the plank wood I made plus 1x4s I processed. Notice the bark edge front. Myra made the curtain for the front.
The shelf is also plank wood plus it is assembled and hung by the saplings.

This is our "New" front area of the cabin. See the self up high? Then the sapling on the wall. This sapling was cut in half length ways then I routered out the back and it is covering wiring that goes down the surface of the wall. Myra is printing pictures to fill this collage frame then we will hang it here. (( HEY Mike and Sharon --- There is an Empty space on the high shelf for Pictures of your kids!!! Hint Hint))
Notice Myras' garden. She has started a bunch of plants that will end up outside. There are more on a shelf above the wood burner. As you can see by looking out the window (these pictures were taken this morning) we are not ready to garden outside yet. The paneling leaning on the wall behind Myra is going to be installed upstairs. Right now the upstairs is just OSB nailed up and un-finished.

AND, while we have been doing all of this, I received word from the Coast Guard on Thursday that my license has been approved and I will be a Fishing Guide this summer. Woo Whoo!

Thank you all for letting us share all of this.
The cabin is becoming Home!
See Ya,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Time

Spring is definitely in the air but, it is not like any Spring I have ever experienced before. The weather is and has been absolutely gorgeous. Other than the dump of snow we got while I was in Ohio it has been sunny and clear virtually every day. The highs have been in the 40s and today is forecast to be in the 50s. We still have a few feet of snow on the ground but it is disappearing every day. There are bare spots on just about every South facing slope and where ever we have shoveled it is down to the ground. These areas get very soupy in the afternoon as you might guess. Nights have still been in the Teens and low Twenties so everything is hard as a rock every morning but by early afternoon the snow is very punchy and can be hard to walk threw.
I have began putting away winter items like the roof rack and shovels and putting fuel stabilizer in the snowmachines etc. I thought about digging out the four wheelers but Mother Nature is doing a nice job of that and we can't ride them for about a month yet anyhow, so they can set for a while longer. Myra and I went for our last mail run of the season last Friday. We delivered our Tax stuff to the post office, picked up every bodies mail and then went to the Skwentna Roadhouse for lunch before returning home. I took some pictures of the river conditions on the trip home to try to share a little of the trip.

Myra is setting on an Ice Bridge that still goes over the open water. Last week there was no signs of open water here.

The river opens up in narrow channels first, where the fastest water flows and erodes the ice away.

Notice how clear the water is. This is the same river/water that is grey and full of silt in the summer. The Glacier is not yet melting enough to "muddy" the water for the summer.

When the Glacier starts to melt is when the violent breakup of the river will take place. The water level will raise and lift all of this ice and crumble it. Then it will flush it and the ice rubble will move and plug and move and plug cause violent water fluctuations and is a spectacle to see (so I am told). We obviously have not witnessed this before but we are looking forward to it. The river breakup happens May 2nd on average.

Usually about a week after that all of our snow will be gone on the trails and everything will turn to mush for about two weeks. It gets so soupy that the four wheelers can't even travel because the frost is just under the mud and you can't get any traction. I am told that the four wheeler often gets stuck setting on flat land, don't even try it until the frost is melted deep enough for the water to run away and the mud starts to stiffen.We already have Flies and Mosquitoes and little White and Brown Moths flying around.

Then we have these other little bugs that remind me of termites coming right up out of the snow. You should be able to see them in the video. we don't have termites in Alaska so I don't know what these are. There are not many mosquitoes yet and I have not been bitten by one so far. I think these are just the scouts going back to the nest with the recon info for the big clan. Yippee! It is the strangest thing to see all of these little insects and have so much snow on the ground. This does not happen in the Midwest I come from.

We also had another visitor during the week I was in Ohio. It was a Monster! Mazie Monster to be exact. Mazie Monster Jakcsy is traveling around the country for her three year old master, Addison Jakcsy. Addi and her Mommy knitted Mazie and created a Blog and a Facebook page for her. Mazie had another engagement she had to get to so she did not stay here very long at all. Hopefully she will come back later this year so I can visit with her and we take her fishing and four wheeling and sight seeing.

See Mazie Monsters adventures on Facebook at Mazie Monster Jakcsy. she can also be watched at Maziethemonster.blogspot.com

The dogs have been very content the last couple of days. Our neighbors finally cleaned their Moose and disposed of the bones and carcass down by Fish Creek. Each dog chose the same type of bone and brought them home. They each have a front lower leg and hoof to chew on. They have been extremely happy with their feast and spend most all of their time outside now. Yesterday, Hans was in the front yard near his when a Huge Bald Eagle came swooping in to take a look at the bone. It came in closer and tighter for a look and I believe it thought about taking his bone. Hans just sat on his haunches and watched the Eagle in amazement, just like I did (watch the eagle that is). The Eagle was really big with about a 4' wing span and very bright white head and tail. It was awesome to see the display. It stayed around close for about a minute then left for a while. It came back for one more pass about ten minutes later but Hans was still near his bone. I have not seen the Eagle any more yesterday or this morning. It was a huge gift to have one of these magnificent birds fly twenty to thirty feet away, for several passes. When ever God can give us a visitor like this one it makes me stand up and take notice of his creation in full appreciation.
Thank You for being with us,
What an Amazing Adventure
See Ya,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

100th Post

I had another name for this post in mind but when I started to do this post the computer told me this is number 100 that we have put up. Wow, how time flys when you are having fun. When you think about it, typing 100 short stories about your life seems like a daunting task. We have done that in under 10 months. 10 short stories a month on average, over 2 a week, and I sometimes feel bad because I don't do it often enough, or because so many things have happened that I forget some things or I have to delay writing about them. Anyhow, WhewWho, #100 is on the board and it seams like yesterday that we got here.

Today is our 32nd wedding Anniversary! She did it! She put up with me the WHOLE TIME! April 14th 1979 we were married at ages ( Myra 16) and ( Me 18 ). 32 years, two great children, 6 wonderful Grandchildren and a lifetime filled with adventures and mis-adventures and here we are today. I Thank God every day for this life I have been blessed to experience. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Great! I Love You Myra, Happy Anniversary.

As you may have guessed by know I made it home from Ohio. It was a more stressful snowmachine ride than usual because of conditions on the river. There were many areas of overflow ( where water is on top of the ice making slush out of very deep snow, that you can not ride threw ) that I had to watch for and go around. Overflow is nearly impossible to go threw if it is very wide and going threw the deep snow pulling a heavy freight sled to go around the overflow is no picnic either. Then there were two places where the "Ice Bridge" that was left over open water was very narrow and then I came to one place where the River had opened all the way across the trail. I had called a friend / neighbor who I knew came up the day before and he told me about the narrow Ice Bridges but where the river had opened all the way had happened over night, after I had talked to him. It is a funny, serious, sinking feeling to come up on an area where the trail goes right over an area about 15 feet wide of open water. The snowmachine tracks from the previous day just stop at the waters edge and start on the other side. OK, Now what do I do? I unhooked the freight sled and started looking for alternate ways around. I drove to the right and tried to find a way to cross going up river but ran into a woods that I could not pull the freight sled threw. I went back to the old crossing and started heading left and down river following beside the open water. About 1/3 mile down river the river closed back up so I traveled a ways farther, took a deep breath and hit the throttle and turned to cross and head up river. I crossed a small section of overflow but found I could get back up river to the main trail. I followed my same trail a few times back and forth to pack it down so I could pull the freight sled threw this new area. The only place still in question was the short overflow because you can't pack that, it gets worse every time you go threw it so I have to keep going wider around that spot. With the freight sled that means deep unpacked snow for about 30 yards, on top of overflow. Well, I went back to the main trail, hooked up to the freight sled and headed down my new trail. I got near the spot of overflow, hit the throttle to full speed, picked a new path and said a short prayer. OK, enough drama, I got threw it ok and back to the main trail to finish my trip home. Life is good today.
As you can see, I had a Freight Sled FULL of stuff.
When I got near home, to our trail off of the main trail, I unhooked from the freight sled and went to the cabin. Myra came back out with me and I took the Skwagon out because I had too much weight to pull the freight sled up to the cabin. I hooked the skwagon to the freight sled and pulled everything to the base of our landing where we get off of the river. That is where we did our unloading to haul home.
We used the skwagon to unload several loads off of the freight sled and took them to the cabin so I got light enough to pull the fuel barrels home. We had gotten about 15" to 17" of fresh snow 3 days earlier and no one had packed our trails so I had to be very careful how I pulled things in. I did not want to get stuck with all of this stuff. That freight sled had 75 gallons of fuel(550lbs plus barrel weight 50lbs), 100lbs of dog food, 62lbs of cat supplies, 200lbs of potting soil, and $650 in groceries (about 200lbs) plus 50lb suit case for a total of 1212lbs plus the weight of the sled. You don't just pull that over 15" of fresh unpacked snow for any distance.
This is what it looked like while the snow was still coming down. Myra took these pictures on last week while I was in Ohio.
It seems that each time I leave Myra for any length of time, we get a pretty good dump of snow.
I can't wait to see what happens if I go away for a week in June!

Myra did a Great Job of taking care of everything. The buildings were all cleaned off, the wood pile was accessible and the cabin was in good shape. Thanks Babe'!

Life is good today,
I Thank God for 32 event filled years and a safe journey home.
Thanks for letting us share with you!
Talk to you soon,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Busy Times

Sunrise on the Yentna River

OK where to start? It has been a busy week. At least for Roger. The temperatures are climbing and the snow is getting really soft so everyone is pushing to get the last of the freighting done before the river trail is no longer usable. Therefore most of the freighting is being done like from 3-4 am until mid morning. The temps are still dropping low enough to harden up the trail during the night so the freighters have to "make hay" while they can. Trying to haul during the day is just asking to burn up your machine. Which several of the haulers have done in the past week. Which was kind of to our advantage cause then they have been calling Roger to haul while they fix their machines. The bad part about it is that we had to cancel our day trip up the "ice road". Well I guess you just can't have it all.

I have been working on various things around the cabin as well as just doing the everyday things that need done i.e. bring in wood, make sure generator gets started on time, empty buckets, vacuum, laundry, meals at strange times (Whenever Roger can manage to stop in for one, Friday night was @ 11:30 pm). I also did some data entry this past week for Shan over at Northwoods Lodge.

The "Harvest Moon"
On my way back home from Northwoods on Wednesday I managed to put the 600 on its side. Tom from Bentalit Lodge (which is between Northwoods and our place) has been bulldozing snow around the upper airstrip and also the trails that run near it, getting ready to start using that airstrip again. They use the upper one spring, summer and fall and the one down on the swamp during the winter. I was heading for the trail into the woods and hit the "bank" wrong where he had dozed the snow  and OH CRAP! Over I went. It really was pretty comical, seemed like slow motion. Oh and of course I had an audience. Tom and Willy were just beyond that point loading wood to haul to Bentalit and saw the whole thing. Tom can move pretty quick for a 70 year old I do have to say. He was scared I was hurt. I wasn't, just kind of embarrassed. I let Tom know that I was OK and he did slow down. I had the machine righted by the time he got to me and Tom of course let me know that it happens to everyone. OK so got the machine started, took a different approach to the woods trail and made it home in one piece. Whew!
I really hate it when that kind of thing happens, but at least with the 600 most of the time I kind get it upright by myself. Not the Skandic that is for sure! Had to walk home and call for help the time I put that on its side. Thank God for good neighbors.

I have managed to finish a crocheted wool hat for Roger and started on a "paper clip" hanging light this week. By the way Christy, thanks for the hoop thingy and I am doing it in the colored paper clips. The silver ones were just too fancy looking for our cabin. It is turning out pretty neat looking but I have run out of paper clips so Roger will get more for me when he gets back from Ohio. He leaves tomorrow afternoon for Anchorage, flies out at like 1 am for Ohio where he will be doing his CE class to maintain his Ohio electrical license. He will be gone for a week so I will be here by myself. Wishing I was going with him so that I could see the kids and grandkids but...... someone has to take care of the "homestead" and the critters. I will be in Ohio from mid July until mid August for Mandy and Rick's wedding. They will be getting married on August 13th but I am going early so that I can be there for the shower and to help with some stuff. This week while Roger is gone I am hoping to spend the majority of time decorating the favor boxes. I am stamping and embossing them. It is quite a bit of work but it is a labor of love. I can't be there to do a lot of things but this is something I can do.
King of the Wood Pile!
Nap Time on the Wood Pile

So this past Friday I went to Northwoods again to finish the data entry, and on Saturday went up to the Skwentna Roadhouse for a potluck and a meet and greet type deal with representatives from 2 companies, one that put in the ice road to move heavy equipment upriver for the new mine and is the one putting in the natural gas pipeline to the new mine. The other company is the one putting in the new mine. I rode up and back with Eric and Shan from Northwoods Lodge. On the way home from Northwoods I thought "OK lets try  a different approach to the woods trail so that maybe I won't tip the snow machine over." It was late afternoon, the snow is soft and I am on a short, narrow track machine. Not the best combo. I decided to run between the air strip where Tom is busy bulldozing the snow off and the old trail that we used before he dozed it to haul his wood through. Had to keep some speed up so that the machine didn't sink too far in the soft snow, doing OK, made it across the snow, across the bulldozed trail, hit the beginning of the woods trail and one ski overshot the trail and OH CRAP, not again. Nope didn't tip it over but it sunk all the way down to the seat. GRRRRRRR! I really am getting sick and tired of this. It is a royal pain to get machines out when this happens. Got to dig out some of it, pack a path in front of it, etc. etc. Takes a bit of time and energy that is for sure. Oh and that is after you get through the snow that you have sunk to your thighs in. I started working on getting the machine out and I look up and here is Tom coming over on his dozer. He hops off, comes over helps lift the back end and says, "The heck with this I have a chain and a bulldozer, I'll pull it out". Of course about every other step you take right now you sink to your thighs so it was a challenge just to hook up the chain but Thanks again Tom! You are my "Hero". Made it the rest of the way home without any more problems but even the woods trails are getting soft.
Hans wants in & Isabelle wants out! Grass is always greener
on the other side of the fence eh!

Won't be long now and we will not be traveling for a bit. There will be a period of time when the snow is too soft or not enough left to run snow machines and it will be too mucky and watery to run the four wheelers, unless you want to get stuck in the deep muck. So when Roger gets back from Ohio he will do one more stock up grocery shopping, fuel etc before he heads home. I only hope that the river trail holds out til then. If not he will probably forgo the fuel, get the groceries and fly back out. Not much choice if the river isn't safe to travel. Most of the guys that haul freight say that you can usually run the river safely until about mid April. Praying that that holds true this year but a lot of folks have been saying that it has warmed up earlier than usual this spring. Time will tell I guess. Oh and it is out of my control!

Sunset on the Yentna River
Well it is about time to end this. Need to find a bite to eat, (can't cook anything right now cause Roger took all the propane tanks in with him to get them filled), probably should get started on making some space to bring in the dog food and other food stuffs that we have stored on the back porch this winter. Time to move it inside, the bears will be waking up soon and they LOVE dog food! That is what is used for baiting them if you have the proper permits to do so! Roger hopefully will be home in the next hour or so and then we will need to make sure a few things are done before he leaves tomorrow. It seems like there is always something that needs done, or fixed or whatever!

Bald Eagle along the Yentna River
Thanks for taking time to share our adventures. Hope you all have a great day! Blessings, Myra