The Beginning – chapter 21

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.

Chapter 21
Rose planned on going to town the following Sabbath and asked if I would like to go with her. I had never thought much about religion or church, but thought it would be nice, so accepted. She said she would be there by 7, as services started at 9:30 am. That would give us time to stop early during business only hours at the warehouse store and pick up some things before the crowd. That sounded good to me, also.
She said there was no actual dress code, just clean and covered although no one had ever said that, even. She usually wore either clean jeans and shirt or long skirt with pants under and shirt. She said she felt naked without pants covering her legs.
Sabbath morning, she was there, right at 7 am and we left right on time. She is not a slow driver so we made it to the warehouse store in good time for shopping before leaving for church. She picked up some cases of canning jars and some of the dehydrated or freeze dried storage food. There was some marked down burger and some skinless boneless chicken breast and she bought quite a bit of that. She has a cool chest in the pickup that plugs in to the lighter and keeps things cold. She also got some lunchmeat for the shack and some cigarettes that Kara sells. Then we headed for the little town south of Fairbanks, North Pole, where she goes to church.
I’m not sure what I expected, but this is a nice little church and everyone is very nice and friendly. It is like coming to visit family and we enjoy ourselves a lot. After services, there is a potluck and Rose has brought a large pan of rolls she had made and a dessert, another of those lemon cakes. Oh, yum.
We stop on the way home and pick up the ice cream Kara needs for the shack. The meat gets moved to cool bags with ice and the ice cream goes into the plug in cooler.
We stop and check the mail on the way home, at the little locked boxes in Fox. It is only a 50 mile drive to check the mail.
Rose will be canning meat tomorrow, so asks if we should stop and invite Shari to join us, if I wanted to come, also. This sounds good to me, I can always use some new ideas on meat canning. So we stop and Shari is very happy to come over tomorrow.
Rose takes me on home, thanks me for going with her. I can and do hope she will invite me again. She says she seldom gets to go as the trip costs so much now. Then she goes home to unload her purchases. This has been a very nice, pleasant day.
The next morning, I ride over with Noah. He and his Dad and brother are finishing up the cabin, woodshed and the outhouse. They have hauled some firewood for the woodshed and are cutting and stacking it whenever they have spare moments. I hike on down to Rose’s and Shari is already there. They are cooking the meats in assorted ways. They made some small meatloaves and are canning them in thin brown gravy. The chicken, she roasted the night before and they are dicing it up. Some of the diced chicken gets covered in Buffalo Wing sauce and they use that to top pizza with. Most of the rest, she cans in broth and uses in recipes calling for diced chicken.
They are browning a large pan of the burger to just can dry, to use in recipes, also. A pint is the equivalent to a pound of browned burger. Some, she added diced onion and celery and green bell pepper to, and will pour in a #10 can of diced tomatoes. That can be spiced any way when opened to use.
Shari is even taking notes. She really wants to learn how to do these things. She is also making a grocery list. I think Will is about to have a large hole in his bank account.
Roman and his sons have started buying barrels of gas and diesel each trip to town and storing them in the back of their woodshed. They also picked up a nice small generator in addition to the larger one he has in his shop trailer.
He has been loading up on nails and screws, house wrap and vapor barrier rolls. He says he wants to build a large home someday and wants to buy it while it is available. So do his sons. He is buying roofing ever so often, also. He was thinking of building another shed like the woodshed to put building supplies in. He asked Rose if he could sell building supplies from here and also do diesel mechanic work. She told him yes, if he got insurance to cover it as she only had the policy listed at the driveway. He thought that over a bit and agreed, he would buy insurance. He offered to buy blanket coverage for the whole place as he said it wouldn’t be any different in price. So she said yes. Her signs keep out the wussies, anyway.
The next few days, the guys put up another structure and roof it. Then start adding pallets of supplies in under it. They will pick up some T 1-11 next trip in and cover the walls so it is more secure. This may be the middle of nowhere, but there are still thieves.
That trailer is getting a good workout and is used every trip they make to town. They can haul a lot of material home on it and never fail to make the stop at the Transfer Stations. They have found enough windows to make a very nice greenhouse with real glass. Several metal clad insulated doors, assorted fixtures, electrical and bathroom. Kitchen cabinets and appliances. They are picky and only bring the very good condition items back. Now they are placing them with care in the new shed. It is going to require an addition very soon at this rate.
They have also been buying a lot of dry food supplies. One trip back, they also bring a dog.. They said he followed them and they couldn’t resist him. He turns out to be a pregnant female. So now they have a dog.
They also build a run out the back door for the dog, so when they let it out, it has the pen right there handy. They decided Will had the right idea, so they also mix and pour concrete for the floor and around the posts to keep the pen easy to clean and no digging out. Until everything is set up and dry, they keep her tied to the bumper of one of the trucks or in the house with them. She seems to be well behaved and housebroken, so that is a plus. She is not a fancy
looking dog, and looks more like what is known as an Alaskan sled dog and maybe something heavier built thrown in somewhere down the line. She has one blue eye and one brown eye from the sled dog line. She does not seem to bark, which is okay, but not much help for a watch dog. She does growl when something bothers her though. That night, they get to hear her howl and she does a very good job of it, too. She settles in happily and adds one more creature to the collection in the area and soon to add more.
I want to build an earth bermed shelter as a barn, I think. That should help keep animals warm, if I manage to get goats. If I don’t, it will be good storage. Maybe I should start it and try stocking it with supplies for animals, just in case I ever get some. The next morning, I start laying out an area to build an earth bermed barn. I don’t want it into the permafrost bank as that would defeat the purpose. So I guess maybe build on top the ground and haul dirt in around it. The area where nothing wants to grow very well should be a good spot. It is mostly rock. So I measure out and move a few rocks around, to give an idea how it will look. Then I move some more and think there are enough rocks here to make a foundation, of sorts. By the time my back is complaining loudly, I have a low foundation set out in the far corner of my yard. The larger flat stones I had scooted over into place, trying to have a fairly large one at each corner. I would have to come measure and square it later. I don’t think it is all that square, but it is a barn after all. Square is over rated. So is level and straight.
At the lower end of my place is a large rock outcropping, so I take my pickup, a pick and grub hoe down to check it out. Maybe if there are enough rocks, I will try making a mostly rock barn, insulate the outside or inside, whichever, and dirt berm that to help make it warm for the animals. Should help it be fire proof or at least fire resistant. The more I think about it, the better I like it, so I start loading rocks into the pickup. I still have a couple bags of concrete in the shed, if they are not too hard, I will start using it to hold the rocks.
When I am unloading, Noah shows up and helps. He wants to help on building the barn, and offers to pick up more concrete in town, next trip. I tell him I don’t have the money for it now, so it will have to wait. He just smiles and we keep on working. We haul several more loads of rocks up from the ledge down the hill. Most are rather flat and should be fairly easy to stack. Noah leaves after we get done with the rocks. I have some long bolts I had picked up at the Transfer Station one time and brought home just in case. Well, this will be that case. I can set them in between the rocks and concreted in, then place through a board on top to nail to and hold the upper section of wall and roof on with.
Our piles of rocks are looking pretty good. I think we may have enough to make the lower 3 or 4 feet all rock and concrete, when I get some. That should deter a fire fairly well, if I put a metal roof on it. I mix up the concrete I have on hand and start placing the rocks in the walls I have marked out. It
doesn’t go far, but it is a start. I peel some more of the logs the guys brought as firewood. I think they will be part of the future barn.
Maybe I should cut 2 sides off and stack them, like kids toys. I should do that to the rest before peeling, will only have half the peeling to do then. So I get out the chainsaw and an old board to tack on the log and use as guide. I make a quick block for each end with a couple of 2×4’s and nail 2 small pieces on each side to hold the log in place and start to work on that. If I have everything ready to go, once the rocks are stacked, it will be quick work to do the rest of the building. I am thinking of adding a short side walled upstairs for dry storage, also. Depends on how much material I have when it is being built


The Beginning – chapter 20

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.

Chapter 20
Well, this has certainly been a lively afternoon. Will and Shari come over as we are all putting our various weapons away, Noah right behind them. Shari is nervously giggling and says she bets those guys never met women like us. “Let me guess, he started out by calling ya’ll little ladies, right?” Will looks sheepish at this and grins and pokes her. She is laughing outright by now. Rose goes over to her and says it will be okay. She says she does the same thing when scared half to death, she starts giggling and laughing. Shari is shaking so bad we find her a seat to sit down. Kara comes out with a sweater and puts it around her so she don’t chill. She has been so afraid for so long, it is hitting her very hard. I just hope she doesn’t let her guard down too soon. There are still 3 people not accounted for and who knows how long Royal will be held in jail? I needn’t have worried, she and Will both mention just that thing after a few minutes of relaxing. But at least now we have faces to the fear and knowing what is going on. Will gets ice cream from Kara and hands it out to us. A little sugar may help Shari right now and the rest of us always like ice cream.
I ride back over to Will and Shari’s and we work out in the garden a while, as we talk. They want to get their place a bit more secure. They do have a nice open area around the house and outbuildings so they can see if anyone is coming in. I suggest some old rearview mirrors set so they can see behind the outbuildings from in the house, like I have at my place. If anyone asks, it is because of bears. But it would help spot a person, also. I need to get a few more set up on my place, since I have been building and blocking my views. Noah comes over and says Rose has invited us all to her place for dinner, this evening, if we can. I go back with Noah, Will and Shari follow in their vehicle.
Rose has made some bread using the quinoa she has been growing with some success. It adds a different flavor and texture, but is good. She used it in place of rice in the side dish and has made chicken fried steaks from some moose meat she had in her freezer. The salad is greens picked thinning her garden patch. A very good dinner, especially since I didn’t have to cook it. We all talk about growing more of our own food out here and what all grows quite well. Rose used to work for a seed company in Fairbanks and did the research on new varieties at that time.
Dessert is a lemon cake, split and filled with lemon pudding and a cream cheese frosting on it. Oh, my. I love lemon almost as much as chocolate.
After dinner we are all almost too stuffed to move. Kara is the first one to go home and the rest of us just slowly follow along. I don’t think I like days this interesting
. The next day, Will and Shari go in to get a dog and take the picture Rose has printed out for them to give the Troopers. That should help the case against Royal. The picture shows his face perfectly and also what he is trying to do.
Shari has her doctors appointment and everything is going well. The doctor suggests she relax more. Well, with Royal in jail, maybe she can. They find a lovely female mastiff at the pound. She is about 3 years old and quite well behaved and trained. Then they found 2 beautiful malemutes and by the time they left, they had the start of a team. The dogs had been brought in with harness, so they were given the harnesses, also. They find a deal on a used sled and strap it on top the vehicle. They are going for the whole Alaskan experience. Then they fill the rest of their vehicle and the sled with dog food. They pick up wire to make a dog run, and soon have an overloaded vehicle. The mastiff and the malemutes check each other out, but seem inclined to get along okay.
When they decided to get a dog, they were really serious. From none to 3 large dogs in one day was quite a change. They decided to put the dog run behind the house and a bit to the side so the dogs could see anyone coming up the drive. When Roman and Thad pulled up, Will was digging post holes. He figured next trip, he would buy some metal posts which would have been simpler to place and last longer. He thought he would probably have to buy some concrete to keep the dogs from digging out, but this should hold them, in the meantime. Roman says he is going in the next day and can pick up posts since he is taking his trailer, and the concrete, also, if Will would like. So they figure out what amounts of each will be needed and Shari asks about a gate. So a gate is added to the list. Will hands over a wad of cash. Roman says to wait until they get back, as they may not be able to find all that is needed.
That night, Pal is nervous, pacing around in the house until I finally check all the windows. I don’t see anything, but hate to turn him out and maybe have a bear in the area or wolf that may hurt him. He thinks he is invincible, but I don’t want him hurt. So I grab the 12 gauge with slugs and go out with him. He sniffs around the house and under each window. If it was a bear, it is the only one I ever saw that wanted to peek in windows.
As we come around the back corner of the house, 2 guys jump away from the wall and Pal immediately takes off after them. From the sounds, he is getting in his notice that they are not welcome. I call him back, when he reaches the edge of the yard. I don’t want them to hurt him if they have a vehicle parked out of sight and maybe guns. He comes trotting back with a big doggy grin and shards of shirts hanging from his teeth. I think he may have gotten deeper than shirts from the screams once in a while. I hear the motor start and it sounds like they are pulling in instead of leaving. I step to the side of the house and as they pull in, shooting from the windows of their SUV, I open fire with the 12 gauge and take out their front windshield and the back, also. The next shot is in the radiator and the third shot is just into the rig. They certainly found reverse in a hurry and back out a lot faster than they drove in. It looks like the SUV Royal was driving earlier. I guess his buddies are still looking for Shari.
Noah got back a short time after they left and mentioned seeing the SUV along the road, with steam coming from under the hood. I told him about the 2 guys and what I had done. He went over to let Will know then stopped to tell Kara and Rose and his Dad. His Dad would notify the Troopers tomorrow in town. I think I liked the good old days when it was only the bears I had to worry about.

The Beginning – chapter 19

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.

Chapter 19
We walk back up the hill to the shack. Right after we get there, a rental SUV pulls into the turn around area. A large hefty guy looking like a walking advertisement for a heart attack or stroke waiting to happen steps out and no other word for it, he moseys over. His thumbs hooked into his low slung belt. His belly hiding them quite well. He is trying to look like a good old boy that loves everyone but his eyes are hard and unsmiling, searching all around and missing very little. Just looking at the way he looks at Kara and Rose has my hackles rising. This is not a nice man. As soon as he opens his mouth, I groan inwardly. “Why howdy do, little ladies.” Dang, another one of those but somehow I don’t think I am going to change my first opinion on this one.
There are 2 other guys sitting in the SUV. They are watching every move being made and look like they would be more comfortable with shotguns in their hands. This looks like a hanging party to me. But Beer Gut is back to slathering it on thick. “I don’t suppose either of you little ladies know where I could find my dear daughter-in-law, would you? She done run off with some low life and is hiding, afraid to come back to her loving family. She thinks she might get a spanking and I am sure my son may reprimand her, but he loves that little gal.”
Uh, he is talking about Shari. I saw the pictures of how he reprimanded her for nothing, and he would consider this more than nothing. Except he is dead and this man knows it. I ease over to where the guys are working and ask one of them to go warn Will and Shari that her father-in-law is here. He also has 2 more in his pack of wolves. No, I am bad mouthing wolves to lump them in together. These are more like hyenas. Looking for weak and injured to gang up on and tear to shreds. I know this man knows his sons are dead, why is he pretending they are not? The Troopers would have notified him back when they found Rod, and again with tentative ID on Rob.
Rose and Kara are doing the same thing I did with Will, the first time I met him. They are acting like they haven’t a brain and why would anyone ever leave such a nice family? Rose has her hand clenched so tightly, I think she is going to break something and soon. I can only imagine what Kara has in her hand, inside the shack where she has a gun and knives. I am wishing for something to take care of Shari’s problem, myself.
As we are standing there, wondering how we can send this troll off on a wild goose chase, a Trooper vehicle pulls in. It is our friendly Trooper that has been so nice about all the other problems. He walks over and asks the man for ID. He shifts the man over a bit so they can have a private conversation, but the man isn’t having any of it. He is loud and blustering and not about to back down. The first thing I know, he has swung a fist at the Trooper and somehow, quicker than I was expecting, he is flat on his face on the ground and the Trooper is cuffing him. The other 2 bale out of the SUV and run at the Troopers back and Kara pulls up a nasty looking handgun and stops them in their tracks by firing up into the air. They almost land on top the Trooper bent over their leader. But they do get stopped. The Trooper stands up and brushes off the knees of his pants. When he turns to the “boys” the smile on his face seems to take the starch right out of them.
They haven’t actually done anything, so he allows them to remain free while he manhandles the reluctant prisoner to his car. The man is screaming that he is a Sheriff and he will have the Troopers badge. The Trooper says that is fine, there are no Sheriffs in Alaska. He has always thought he would like to take up painting and tells him his number. Rose is snickering over behind the shack, Kara still has the gun in her hand, but down out of sight now. I have mine slid along my leg out of sight. Roman and Thad have managed to make it over near us and are standing with a gun each, also. The Trooper suggests to the Sheriff’s buddies that they fly right back to where they came from and he better not hear of them causing any trouble for anyone. He does write down all their information from their ID and gives it back to them. He does take the time to tell us that when they flew in and rented an SUV, the Troopers were notified and he had been following them. He had seen the pictures and read the report on Shari’s condition after her loving family had taken such good care of her. All the healed up broken bones were listed, also. Since the Sheriff had actually swung at the Trooper, he would be going straight to jail and held without bail as a flight risk.
As the Trooper in his car and the SUV are leaving the driveway, Will and Shari are pulling in with Noah. Shari has scrunched down so they cannot see her. We all explain what has happened. Will called the 2 buddies Beau and Luke and said they liked to think they were the epitomy of the guys in the movies. He didn’t think they would be dangerous without Royal in his capacity as Sheriff, backing them. Later, we learned that the 2 buddies had not flown out and were still hanging around in town. So now there was a buddy of Rod’s and 2 buddies of his dad’s still somewhere in the area. Just what we needed. But Will and Shari will certainly be careful and are getting a dog, too. They want one that is large enough for protection, but good natured to family. It would be an indoor dog except when out with them in the yard. I suggested checking at the Pound. Sometimes can find well trained nice dogs there. They were planning on going in the next day, and would look. Well, that certainly livened up our day. I would have missed that if I had stayed home and did my chores. Somehow, Rose managed to snap a picture, just as Royal swung at the Trooper and she has it ready to print out and send in with Will and Shari the next day. It will be pretty hard for Royal to say that never happened. I hope they keep him a very long time. Instead, they will probably send him home if he promises never to come back. Somehow, he doesn’t seem the type to honor a promise he didn’t want to make

The Beginning – chapter 18

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.

Chapter 18

After dinner, we sit around talking about the small community we seem to be making, here. Yes, we are spread out quite a bit, but it is still a community of sorts. There are other people living a bit farther away from us, but not many of them. We talk about meeting them, but decide it would be better to include Rose and Kara in that discussion.
Everyone finally decides it is time to get some sleep, and we all go our separate ways. The long daylight hours make it hard to realize we have talked half the night away.
The next morning, I head over to see Rose after getting my chores done around the place and refilling my water tank for showers and laundry. I love that spring. She is up at the cabin the guys are building, so we go check how they are progressing. They have a woodstove set up in the downstairs room and pipe out the roof. They could stay in here if they needed to, before cold weather. Roman has put laminate flooring down, on both floors. This is going to be a very nice little cabin. The guys have most of the insulation in and are working on putting the foil faced foam board up over the fiberglas insulation. It makes a thermal break so heat doesn’t transfer out at each stud and rafter. They have taped the foam board seams, also. Then a good vapor barrier over that, with the seams taped and taped around the electrical outlets also. They cut small pieces of the foam board to place inside each outlet box and have caulked where the wire comes through to cut heat loss, ice buildup and drafts. The
guys are following Rose’s building pattern that she used for the houses built here. It seems to work well. They have large homes and very easy to heat. This little cabin should be easy to heat and very comfortable, no matter what the weather.
They are fixing a small shower stall and toilet under the staircase and to the other wall. The door will open from the kitchen area. Roman dug an outhouse hole just behind the cabin, and is piping the bathroom directly into it. They will have a kitchen sink with a pipe running into it, also. He will place a vent pipe up the back of the outhouse to near the roof of the house, for odors. This is going to be one very nice little cabin. Amazing what you can do if you have a little bit of money and can buy new. Kara comes up to open the shack and we all go over and take up the discussion from last night at my house. Will and Shari pulled in about that time, so that was perfect.
Some customers pull in and Kara is busy for a bit, so we wait until she is free again to start. Shari actually starts the conversation about us being a community. That girl is getting some backbone out here. When she finishes, Roman says a few words, then Will chips in and Noah. Rose and Kara take it all in and think it over. They agree that we are a loosely knit community and maybe we should start meeting others in the area. Kara says some have been coming in to buy meals and cigarettes. So she can talk to them a bit more. Some are very much out here too be left alone. She was on pretty good terms with most, as they knew she also did not welcome visitors to just stop on a whim, if she didn’t know them.
Lots of people were curious about the houses here and the whole area, but most actually did pay attention to the road signs and word did get around after Kara shot over the heads of some guys that were determined to use the driveway for access to the property on down the hill from here. Kara got a lot of business from folks that were just plain curious about what was in here. Why on earth the State decided on making remote parcel staking available near here, I will never know. There really is no access to it. So Rose and Kara get to deal with a bunch of jerks. The guys coming out to stake weren’t so great, either.
Kara says she will mention to the other folk in the area as they stop in, about us all being a bit more of a community for helping each other if in need or someone injured. One fellow had almost froze last winter as he fell and broke his ankle and couldn’t get firewood in very well. He had crawled in and out, dragging one piece at a time, every day and his ankle still wasn’t too good. It had healed solid, so didn’t bend now. We wondered if we should haul a load of firewood over and drop it off at his house, just as a hello and sorry he wasn’t doing so great.
Noah drove down to the river to see if the guy clearing his lot had more trees too get rid of, and he had about another trailer load. So the guys went down and loaded it up. Rose rode along with the guys to deliver it, as she knew where the man lived and had spoke to him a couple of times. Kara sent a sandwich, the kind he had ordered, when he had stopped in a couple of times.
He lived just a short distance beyond my place, so I followed them as far as my place and went home. Later, Noah told me the man was very surprised to see them and after Rose talked to him, he was okay with the delivery. The guys unloaded the logs and he said he could cut them up and he appreciated the thought, wasn’t sure he wanted them to ever do it again though. Rose gave him the to-go box and they backed out and came home. Well, to Rose’s place which for the time is their home too. As nice as the little cabin is, that they are building, it looks like they could be settling in for a very long time.
The guys head on in to town after dropping Rose off. They want to get more supplies to finish up the cabin and start stocking it a bit. It’s a good thing the building supply store is open early in the morning and late into the evening, in summer. They hauled everyone’s trash in, since they took the trailer, also
. When the guys come back, we know they have found the joys of visiting the transfer stations in Fairbanks. These are areas set aside, with roofs over them and concrete pad for folks to set out stuff that is too good to trash and not the time and energy to sell. They have found older cabinets they need for the kitchen and possibly a propane cook stove, with pilot light instead of electronic ignition, if it works. Those are hard to find for folks living way out with no electricity. They also had some used windows and doors on the trailer. Everything looked in excellent condition. I have found clothes folded and set out still warm from a dryer. Most of my carhartt pants are from there. I certainly can’t afford to buy them.
They had managed to make it to the supply store and had some nice light fixtures to hang in the cabin, a sink and more sewer line, some counter top and some totes they have filled with groceries. On the very back of the trailer, they have some polydrums of fuel. We need to get their woodshed built, so they have an area to place those without water getting in them or anyone seeing what they have on hand.
They had picked up some more of the pier blocks, so we would start on their woodshed in the morning. They laid out the size and set the pier blocks this evening. I will come over in the morning to help.
Noah is late getting to my place and telling me all about this, as he is unloading some bags of groceries in my kitchen. I’m not sure what he is doing, but he explains they have ate so much at my place, they felt guilty, so wanted to replace some. Knowing I don’t have electricity, they bought cans of dried storage foods, which is great but expensive. They did buy a couple of 50 pound bags of flour and of sugar, also. He said they really like the breads and cinnamon rolls.
I will save the cans of dried foods and continue feeding them bear, hare and whatever else I manage to kill around the area. I would like to get some more of those, could store them in the back of the ice house in totes to keep them dry. Maybe I should pan the creek some more and see if I can afford to buy a supply.
Very early the next morning, I went down to the little creek down the hill and panned a while. It is hard on my back, so I don’t stay long. I do find some color and save it in a small bottle. This is going to take some time to earn enough for groceries and fuel. I need to pick up some more chains for my chainsaw, spark plugs and bar oil.
By the time I get back to the house, it is time for breakfast and then over to build another woodshed. I stash the pan behind the seat in my pickup and heat up a bun for breakfast.
Noah shows up just as I have it ready to eat, so I run out the door with tool belt in one hand and hot toasted bun in the other. He asks if it is for him. Oh darn, I tear it in half and hand him half as I get in the truck. He looks slightly guilty but goes ahead and eats it.
We pull in as the rest are starting to place the first post. By now we have this down to a routine. This woodshed should go up very fast. By noon, we have it ready to roof. Noah goes over and buys me a sandwich to make up for eating half my breakfast. Well, maybe I will share better after this.
I visit with Kara while I eat. We talk a bit about getting supplies on hand. She thinks it is better to have extra of everything. Bad weather, anything, can make it difficult to restock and the last couple of years, the stores in Fairbanks are noted for being out of stock on a lot of items needed. It always comes in, but we don’t go to town often enough to keep checking for new stock on the shelves.
So she and Rose have been trying to keep as much on hand as possible and replacing anything as they use it. Sounds like a good idea to me. I think everyone out here is on limited income, one way or another, so we can’t afford to just go to town even if we wanted to make that long trip every few days. At least all the locals or long term
folk are. Rose offers me a ride home so Noah can stay and help roof the woodshed and whatever other projects they need to do. They will probably go check and see if the guy has any more wood they can salvage. Later, I find they have gotten about a full load, but he is almost done.
Rose was interested in all I had built here. She had never been over here before. Most of us out here are private people and give others their privacy, also. She says great minds think alike as we have done a lot of similar things on our properties. She weeded as we walked through the gardens just like I was. It’s hard not to do things you see needing done.
We went in the house and she liked my artwork, suggesting I come see some of hers, also. It is funny, we had never met, but had worked in a lot of the same fields. Guiding, taxidermy, mining and several others.
She had been a Registered Guide, I, a 1st class Assistant. Whatever, it is hard work. The was what her place was supposed to have been. A hunting and aurora watching lodge. Her partners never coughed up the money and she spent every dime buying the land. So she refused to add their names on the title and another reason she makes everyone sign a lease.
Alaska has an Adverse Possession Law. After 7 years of claiming property, a person can advertise the owner out. A woman near here was being nice and allowed the folks with property beyond hers to cut across her land to reach theirs. They served her with Court papers to give them the Right to that strip of her land and she lost it. They had used it free for 7 years and never bothered to build the driveway that was platted, to theirs. Then they sold their property and hers went with it, no longer hers and no Right to stop others from using it. Really makes a person want to do good deeds
. After Rose left, I started a batch of bread dough. It seems to go quite fast. I think I will make large buns and a loaf of bread. The cinnamon rolls are a given
. As I am taking the rolls out of the oven, Noah and his Dad and brother pull in. They are going looking for areas to cut firewood. They figure maybe they can deal with some of the mine owners up the road, to clear the trees out of their way. They immediately decide a short break is in order and have a cinnamon roll and one to go on. A good thing these guys work hard or they might get fat here.
I stick a couple on a paper towel and go work in the greenhouse. I must be losing it dreaming about lovely melted chocolate eyes, and ate one without even noticing, because when I go over to the paper towel, there is only one on it. Unless the Jays are getting into the shelf in the greenhouse. Or a squirrel.
I have a pot of stew on the stove from the remains of the bear. It is getting pretty slim pickings. I am glad I canned every bit, it has came in handy often this summer. So when the guys pull back in to let me know how it went, they have dinner with me. Stew and buns, filled with melted cheese. Then another cinnamon roll for dessert. I wonder if they will ever get tired of those.
I ride over to Rose’s the next morning, to see if there are any projects needing attention. I find Rose and Kara cutting up the firewood and stacking it in the woodshed. They are also stacking the stack they had against the house over in the other half of the shed. We work until shortly before noon, then Kara goes to get cleaned up and head up to open the shack.
Rose and I walk down to her house. It is very large and nice looking. She has a sun porch across the front and grows salad veggies on it in winter. In winter, it is a large walk-in fridge, too. Not very warm, so only cold weather crops survive most of the winter on it. She transplants what she has late started, just for that. I really like her artwork. Most is in a soft black and white and portray animals and people, not many people. Some oils and some pen and ink.
She also has published some books. She says they are only self published, not like a publisher bought them and did it for her. She says it is one way to earn a bit of extra money living way out here. They have internet when the generators are on, she says if I have a laptop, I can bring it over at free time which is between 10 pm and 2 am. The system doesn’t work very well, but out here, it is nice, anyway.

The Beginning – chapter 17

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.



Chapter 17

    I started my rose transplanting the next morning when I got up.  There were small plants all over  my place so I dug and moved them into a triple row line around my yard.  I was afraid it might be too late in summer to fertilize them much, so just made sure they were in good top soil in each planting hole I dug.  I still had a few buckets of the dirt from the ice house that was nice rich looking soil and I added some ashes and sand to it in each hole.  The raspberry plants I placed along the outside row of the 3 rows planted.  As I could afford it, I wanted to add some rugosa roses to the rows, also.  They had wicked thorns but large rosehips for vitamin C and would make excellent tea, besides the jelly and catsup.  I had assorted stickers to show for my efforts by the time  Noah showed up for us to go work on Kara’s woodshed.

      Since he was driving today, I picked and pulled thorns on the way over.  Since Kara was working the shack, we just went ahead and started her woodshed.  She had supplies from other projects around and we had brought a few items, so we set up the pier blocks where we thought would be a good area and then the posts on them.  Once the first corner was built, it was much easier to get the rest up and fastened together.

     We had a good start by the time Roman and Thad got back from town and they were so proud of themselves, they had found a deal on a nice car haul trailer and bought it.  They had it piled high with all the stuff they had managed to get in such a short time.  The trailer was backed over beside Roman’s shop trailer and it looked like he was set to go into business.

      With Roman, Thad, Rose, Noah and I working on the woodshed, we soon had the rough frame done.  All it needed was a few more cross braces and then we decided to fix it up like mine and add another side to it and double her space.      By the time we stopped, that evening, she had the frame for a nice very large woodshed in her yard.  Tomorrow, we would start on rafters for it and the guys would probably roof the cabin so the interior didn’t get any stray showers if it decided to rain.

      When Kara came down, she just stood there and looked.  Then she said that she had about given up ever having one after all the years she had lived there without and fought with digging her firewood out from under deep snow most of the winter.  She said she realized temper did warm a person up, but thought the blood pressure issue offset the gain.

    The next morning, the guys got right to work on the roof of the little cabin and had it done, complete with chimney jack, by noon.  Then they came down and put the rest of the rafter poles on the woodshed.  Rose and I had quite a pile set out to use and had placed a few after we nailed in more cross bracing.  We had it looking very nice and it seemed sturdy enough for all of us to be on the roof, if we so desired, which she and I didn’t.  Neither of us are fans of high places.  Even not very high places.  She has no sense of balance left after a few accidents and I am just chicken.

     We crisscrossed the poles at the peak and nailed them in place, leaving the ends hang.  We could cut them off later, when we saw how much the metal roof would cover.  We also made a 4 foot wide doorway in the end closest to the house.  It would be easier packing firewood through a wide doorway or, if she got a 4 wheeler or snow machine, she could store it inside if she wished

.      Roman brought down a bundle of roughcut 2x4s he had bought very cheaply in town, and we used them as nailer boards across the poles to fasten the metal roofing to.

      I asked Rose where they were getting their firewood from.  She said they had a permit to get a certain amount from the old firebreak she had cut years before along the bottom of her property.  We decided I would go down with her and Kara in the morning and cut firewood while the guys roofed the woodshed

.      The next morning, we headed down the hill on a road she had built when she first bought the property.  Once we got to the end of it, the firebreak was obvious.  She had done quite a job with the old dozer.  We cut and loaded firewood all morning until shortly before noon.  Then Kara had to go change and open the shack.  We had both pickups overloaded and a very large pile ready to haul.  So we all went up the hill with the pickup loads.

      The guys were just coming off the roof and Roman asked if we had any ridge cap around.  None of us did, so he cut a sheet of roofing into thirds the long way and bowed it over the ridge and screwed it on.  It looked pretty darn good to me.  We unloaded the firewood and went back for more.  Noah and Thad came with us and Roman started on the rest of the ridge caps he was making.  The rest of the wood we had cut was loaded and back up and unloaded in record time.  The pile of wood getting pitched in through the door was looking good, but I knew as soon as it was actually stacked, it wasn’t all that much wood.

      We dragged the rest of the poles we had stacked for building, inside.  Kara had some chunks of old rug out back, so we put the rug down first,  and laid a double row of poles out to put the cut firewood on to keep it off the ground. Then started stacking firewood.  The woodshed was large enough for about 2 years worth of firewood, so it was going to take quite a while to make any good showing on filling it up.  We had more cut down  and ready to cut to lengths, but it could wait a while.  Like tomorrow or maybe another day

.    Rose and I thought we should go build a shed for Will and Shari next, then take turns cutting wood for each place.  After their shed, we could fix one up by the new cabin for Roman and his sons.  This could be the summer of the woodshed.  It was certainly something we all needed done.

      The next morning, we loaded some peeled logs for uprights and headed over to Will and Shari’s.  They were surprised to see us as they had not made it over yesterday.  Shari was having a very hard time with her morning sickness and Will didn’t want to leave her.  We could understand that and hoped she got over that part sooner rather than later on.

      Will showed us where he would like a woodshed to be and we got started.  We were getting this down to a science on laying out and building.  Soon we had the first post up and then another with a brace between them.  Then one at an angle and the first corner was up and stabilizing the whole thing a bit.  10 ft. x 24 ft. seemed a good size as they already had a smaller shed.  So we went ahead and made this one a single shed type building.  They could always add another side on it later, like mine was and have more room.

  This place, being an older established site, had a good supply of discarded and salvaged materials out back, like any good Alaskan home.  So we went scrounging for nailer boards and roofing and found both.  Will took his little 4 wheeler ATV and trailer over and loaded all the stuff and brought it back.  Shari managed to fix a nice lunch for everyone although she was still pretty green around the edges herself and didn’t eat. 

     By late afternoon, we had a nice woodshed for them, now all they needed was wood to fill it.  Will had been cutting and filling the old shed, so they were doing well.  If he got that shed filled and this one, he would have a large margin for bad weather or illness, not being able to go cut wood for a while.

      We headed back to Rose and Kara’s to drop off the items we had brought from there.  Then Noah took me home.  He went back to help his Dad and brother on the cabin, I had work to catch up on here at home.

      Late that evening, I heard a vehicle pull in.  It didn’t sound like Noah, so I went to check and here came Roman pulling his new trailer.  But he had made sides for it and it was loaded with logs.  He pulled over near my woodshed and his sons jumped out and started unloading.  He came over and asked how I was doing and I said “Fine, but I thought everyone else needed firewood more than I do.”

    He said “Yes, they all need it, and they each got a load tonight.  I found a guy down near the river clearing his plot of ground and planning on burning all these nice trees.  So the boys and I made him a deal.  We will haul away all the trees for him so he don’t have to burn them.”     

    “What?  He was going to burn them?  Doesn’t he think he is going to need firewood?”    Roman nodded and replied “No, he plans on only burning oil or propane and not smelly wood.”

    Oh my, another one of those guys.  Just what we needed in the area although he is supplying us with firewood.  Although, as I check this load of wood, I notice it is almost all spruce and in 8 foot lengths.  I think these would be best peeled and used for building.  I mention this to Roman and he said he had thought so also, and that is why I got the load of spruce when most of the others got birch, except Rose.  She also got a load of spruce.     

   The trailer load is probably close to 3 cords and the load in the pickup is just under a cord, since he has a heavy duty 1 ton beefed up a lot.  He said it really speeded up the wood getting as this was all cut and piled already, he and the boys had just loaded it and delivered.     

  About then, I remembered my bread in the oven and ran to check.  Sure enough, the bread looked golden brown and the cinnamon rolls were just ready to pull out and serve.  Evidently, the guys thought so too, as there was a tap on the door and I yelled come in, as I pulled them out onto the counter.

      There is just something about the odor of fresh out of the oven cinnamon rolls that acts like an irresistible attractant to noses.  The guys file in sniffing the air as they head to the counter.  I turn the pan over and dump the rolls onto a cookie sheet.  Plates, forks and butter on the counter and soon the guys are contently scorching their mouths on molten hot sugar/cinnamon and bread.  I fill glasses with cold water and set them close to each man.  These guys appreciate fresh rolls.    One of these days I will make an extra special potato recipe I sometimes make when I have a lot of time and supplies on hand.  These are just regular bread dough recipe

.      I put one on a paper towel and go to check on the chicks and greenhouse.  I go to the greenhouse first and open the end doors for fresh air to move through the building.  It is warm enough even all night, to leave it open.  I set my roll down, as for me they are still a bit too warm to eat and go check on the plants to see if I need to water in the morning.  I pull a few weeds in amoung the plants and start back to the house.  Then remember the roll I left by the other door so go back for it but can’t find it, the paper towel is there, so a Jay must have sneaked in and grabbed it.  I was busy long enough the Jay could have taken the whole thing off.  Maybe the guys have left one for me in the house.    When I go back in, they are all sitting around the table looking relaxed and very full.  Yes, they did leave me one on the cookie sheet.  I eat it and they are almost asleep in their seats

.  It has been a long hard few days for them and they need the rest, but would be more comfortable on the couch.  I suggest this and they seem to rouse a bit and then stumble over to the couch.  I tell them, if they want, they can spend the night in the little old cabin Will and Shari had stayed in a while back and Noah has his camper in the yard.  They nod sleepily and head out the door to use the cabin and camper.  I clean up a bit and head for bed.

    I am up early so start a good sized breakfast as the pickup and trailer are still in my yard.  I have potatoes frying and bear ham cooking in the oven and eggs ready to fry when the first signs of life show up at the cabin.  Then Roman and Thad come out the door and pound on Noah’s door.  He comes out looking very good indeed.  I meet them at the door and ask how they like their eggs.  Roman says I am a goddess and his sons agree.  I figure the rolls were probably their evening meal yesterday so they must be starving this morning and have cooked quantities to match.  I put the slices of buttered bread on the griddle and fix their eggs, just as the bear ham comes out of the oven.  The food is dished up and on the table as they come over and sit at the table.  I tried my hand at making a pot of coffee and they each drank a cup, but no one asked for seconds.  Coffee is something I need to practice on, I guess.  I drink tea or chocolate, so it has not been a priority.

    They do justice to the food, though.  As hard as they have been working, it is no wonder.  After breakfast, they are going back to see if the guy has any more trees to clear off.  After he builds, he will probably spend a fortune planting trees to replace what he cut down and have to wait all his life for them to grow big enough to matter

.      I grab some of the toasted bread slices in a paper towel and head over to the old cabin to make sure I have it clean and ready for the next house guests that need a place to stay.  The guys had folded up the used sheets and placed them near the door and made the bed with clean sheets from the shelf by the bed.  What thoughtful guys, they had very good mothers.

    I take the sheets over to the washer which is set up outside for the summer and start the little generator.  I fill the washer with buckets of water and the sheets and while it washes, bring out my laundry, also.  By the time this load is done, I have the start of weeding on this corner of the garden and after hanging the sheets, put in my work clothes.  I weed some more in the garden and run the tiller around between the rows.  The potatoes need hilling, so I start on that.  As I hang the load of work clothes and have my sheets and underwear in the last load, the guys pull in yet again, with another load.  They unload and ask if they bring laundry, if I would do it for them?  I say sure, once in a while I can do that.  Another load now and then won’t make any difference.  Noah heads to his camper and brings out a bag of laundry.  My load is ready to add the next buckets of water for rinse, and then his will go in.  Now that I have the water from the spring, I can do extras.  Since we haven’t had rain in a while, my rainwater system would have ran out quite a while back, but I keep refilling the tank for showers from the spring

.      They have already hauled loads to each of the other places again, before bringing me another load of spruce.  I plan on setting up the sawhorses and getting out the drawknife and peeling most of these for building projects.  I think there are enough.  Maybe a small barn.  Hmmmm, more projects

.    They think maybe there will be at least one more load per place tomorrow and then not much else from down the road, but this is an amazing amount of wood in a very short time.  I better go help Rose and Kara cut theirs to length, if they are using it for firewood.

     When I mention this, Roman says he thinks Rose is peeling hers, if so, he will help her and that Thad is cutting Kara’s up for her.  Okay, so I will work on mine.

      The laundry is ready for rinse, so I add the water and it goes back to rinsing.  We talk a little bit and then the guys head back over to work on the cabin.  Roman was working on Rose’s backhoe and asked if he could dig an outhouse hole for the cabin, so that was his project for the evening.  The washer quits and I turn off the generator and hang the clothes

.      I hill the rest of the potatoes and go inside to rest and figure what I am going to fix for dinner.  The bear has just about been used up.  It has certainly been handy to have on hand or I would have been feeding everyone vegetarian meals

.      I see an Arctic hare in the garden and grab the .22.  Maybe dinner won’t be a problem.  I get a head shot and go pick up dinner and skin and clean it.  I think maybe stir fry with rice would be good, so debone the hare and put the meat to soak in some cold water with a bit of baking soda in it.  There are probably enough pea pods ready to pick in the garden and I have onions to slice thin.  After picking the peas, and cleaning them, I drain the meat and make a marinade of soy sauce, ginger and garlic to soak it in until time to cook.  I have it cut into small bite sized slices and put it and the marinade in a ziplock type baggie.

      I tack the hide to the wall inside the woodshed to dry

.    Will and Shari pull in as I am starting a pot of rice.  So I add another cupful to the pot.  Then Roman, Thad and Noah show up, so I pull out a bigger pot and add more rice and water.  I can add more sliced onion to the stir fry.  I slice the pea pods smaller than usual, too.  Maybe make lots of sauce.

      They are all still out on the yard talking and the rice has come to a boil and been turned down, the pan is sizzling for the stir fry and I need to figure a bit more to add to it all.  I find one of the last heads of cabbage from the ones I bought in the early Spring.  The outer leaves are shriveled, but the heart is still firm and good, so I slice it thin and add to the pile for the stir fry.  I add the meat and stir it quickly and pull over to the side, then add the vegetables and stir some more, then set the pan off the stove a minute while adding some more soy sauce and cornstarch to the marinade left in the baggie.  I put the pan back over the heat and add the sauce, stirring continuously.  It thickens up nicely and I add a bit more water, not supposed to be that thick.  I set the pot of rice on the counter and the pan of stir fry,  then start dishing it up like an assembly line as they come in the door.  Since there is limited topping, I dish it up.  A pile of rice and the stir fry on top, with soy sauce and sliced ginger on the table and chopsticks in a glass also, if they prefer.  I dig out a tube of wasabi paste and put it on the table, also.

      Everyone seems to be enjoying it, even Shari and she was surprised.  I think it is mostly that she didn’t have to smell it cooking before trying to eat it.  She is careful to not overdo and eats a small amount, waits a bit and a little bit more.  I had fixed her a small plate full, anyway.  I think everyone thinks it is chicken.  Oh well, not going to say anything now.  Never mentioned bear, why mention little cute bunny.  No one has mentioned any religious reasons not to eat any so other than that, I won’t volunteer what they are eating here

.      Shari wants to get some chickens like I have.  She enjoys fresh eggs and was used to having them at home.  I think it may be too late in the season to find chicks, but suggest they try the feed stores in town when they go in next time.

      I would like to build a small barn and maybe have a couple of goats and maybe some rabbits, but not sure how much I could grow, for feed for them and if I have to buy it all, that probably won’t save much money. 

     Roman says Rose is thinking of the same thing, maybe having a couple of goats to have milk to make cheese.  He says she has a problem killing something after she has raised it.  Sort of strange for a hunter, but she says she has to look at game animals as steaks, roasts and burger, then she can shoot them.  But something she has cuddled and held as cute little babies is another story.  Well, I can see that.  I have some of the chicks I have been raising that are so friendly and cute and come snuggle next to me when I sit on the step.  I really doubt if I could kill one of them very easily, either.  A good thing I want them for eggs.  Grouse and Ptarmigan will be my chicken dinners.