The trees were budding out nicely, giving a green haze to the hillsides and the smell of fresh growing things made it hard to stay indoors. Spring in Interior Alaska is a lovely time of fast growth and renewal. From the first sign of green growth until the trees are fully leafed out is about 10 days to 2 weeks and then it is summer. This usually happens sometime in May. Daylight hours have increased to the point of not being able to see any stars. It isn’t exactly sunshine all 24 hours, but the sun just dips behind a hill and right back out the other side. Summer is so short, everyone works until they drop, sleep a while and do it all over again. That is the secret to enjoying winter. It is the time to rest up from summer. By the actual first day of summer, June 21st, we start losing minutes the next day and are on our way back to winter. So everyone works.
I started seeds in egg cartons a couple of months ago, on my sun porch on the front of my house. So now I was busy getting everything transplanted into the garden I had tilled below the house. I soaked seeds of the plants not pre-started, and planted them. That would give them a week or so head start on growing also. With such a short growing season, every little bit helps.
Later in the afternoon, I heard another vehicle coming in my driveway. What is this, ignore the driveway signs day? If I had wanted people around, I would have lived in town, or at least a lot closer to town. This one is a nice looking older model pickup. Wow, a nicer looking older model driver, too. Umm, forget I said that.
If I must be interrupted, at least this one looks good while doing it. How shallow is that? But true.
The first words out of his mouth may cancel that. He is from the government, so help me, if he says he is here to help me, I may kick his shin. Okay, maybe he got that, just from the look in my eyes, he didn’t say he was here to help me. He is doing some sort of survey and is looking at improving the communication system in the State. So I tell him I like it the way it is. If I wanted better communications, I would live near town. If it gets very bad out here, there are always smoke signals. He did not appreciate my attitude when he thinks he is doing something nice for us deprived Bush people. He isn’t so jaunty walking back to the pickup, but the view is still good, going as well as from the front. Oh, how can I even be thinking like that. So inappropriate. He works for the Government for crying out loud. Oh well, my tax dollars at work, whether I want them to be or not. Wait, he is coming back.
He sort of hemmed and hawed a bit and finally asked if I have a phone number and when I start laughing, he grins sheepishly and says, “Yeah, figured you didn’t. But I would like to stop by and visit?”.
I am not sure why, but okay. “Sure, any time.”
After he left, I kept thinking about how good he looked and he did seem nice. But I have been fooled by seemingly nice guys before. Even married one for a while.
The rest of the day was fairly normal for out here. I got my tiller started, after a few false starts and started tilling the garden patch. The ground is still frozen down a ways, so will have to make do with the shallow pass over to get any recently sprouted weed seed. Then the fun part. I used the rake and make raised rows in the garden to plant in. The very early started area was looking green under the plastic I put over it after I planted it in April. After I had a couple of rows built, I used the hoe and went down the center, making a hoe wide valley with raised edges. Carrying water to the garden makes it a necessity, and this warms the soil for the roots and saves water for the plants I want, not extra weeds. Then I uncovered the part that was growing under the double thickness of plastic and started transplanting the little seedlings over to the new rows. Most of them were nice sturdy little plants now and already used to the cold soil and the outdoors. The seedlings I had on the sun porch would go out into the greenhouse.
I finally stopped and realized how hungry and tired I was. The sun was still bright and warm and it was 8 p.m., no wonder. My outdoor shower had more than enough water in the tank from a rain shower to make a quick shower possible before going in and fixing something to eat.
If all the traffic in here keeps up, I will have to start taking a change of clothes into the shower house with me. The water drains out into a container to use it on the plants in the yard.
I finish planting my garden the next day and my back is complaining about it. Now I see why folks had large families in the old days. Short kids closer to the ground could do the planting.
A year ago, I ringed some trees down on the lower end of my property so they would dry standing to cut later for firewood. I go down and check them and they seem to be ready. So I started falling them. After I have a few down, I cut and haul them up to my depleted woodshed. Last winter had dragged on long enough I was getting worried about maybe not having enough in there. I’m pretty sure I can get enough cut and hauled in 2 weeks to have enough for the coming winter. I know, it isn’t exactly even summer yet. I just like to be prepared.
After the first week of cutting and hauling, the woodshed is looking pretty good. While unloading my old pickup, I hear a motor so check the driveway and there is a newer looking pickup with a camper on the back, pulling in. I guess I am going to have to update my entrance signs, no one is taking them seriously.
However, as the guy gets out of the pickup, I may have started salivating just a little bit, it is the fellow from the government. This is late Friday evening, is he lost? Government guys don’t work late or weekends.
“Need a hand?”
Yeah, I’m a brilliant conversationalist. He pitches wood out of the pickup and I stack in the woodshed. We finish unloading the pickup and he is sweating. Somehow, I don’t think his job requires a lot of physical labor.
As we walk over to the house, he asks if I would mind if he camped here while he is doing the survey farther on out the highway. He wants a place he can unload his camper and not have to haul it all over the bad roads farther out. I offer to share my meal with him and show him where he can unload after we eat. He offers dessert. Wow, I am impressed. The man has stopped at the best place in town that makes their own ice cream and brought their home style wild blueberry ice cream out.
After we have our meal, I show him a fairly level area along the road I am hauling my firewood from. It will give him some shade, too, so the camper isn’t an oven when he returns in the evening after work. The plus side is, I can’t see it from the house or yard.