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.

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