A One Eared Elephant


I was on the phone to Charlie who was working up north at the time when a friend stopped by the house. He was in a very good mood and wanted to go celebrate the very first contract of his new construction company. He had invited everyone he knew that had encouraged him and helped make it happen and needed a designated driver, too. That would be me.

Charlie and I had helped out as much as we could and we were both happy for our friend. Charlie told me to go ahead and go, enjoy myself and tell him all about it later.
A lady friend was living in our basement apartment at the time, so she came along also as it was going to be an enjoyable evening out for everyone. The fact that it was around -40 degrees and heavy ice fog didn’t dim the mood of the celebrants.

I made sure we had enough warm clothing just in case of any problems with the vehicle and we headed over to the Pump House on Chena Pump Road.

This is a nice restaurant (President Reagan ate there) and most of the people invited were already waiting for us to show up. We were seated in the middle of the main dining room and the place was crowded. Just because it was a very cold night didn’t mean people didn’t go out on a Saturday night.

The food was great, drinks flowed freely and everyone was having an entertaining evening but the instigator of our group decided it was too dull. He wanted some dancing and music.

The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to extend the evening and enjoy being entertained. Finally he jumped up on the table and started telling jokes. Several people at other tables started clapping and hooting, encouraging him to greater lengths. He did a few dance steps but no one would get up on the table with him to dance.

He finally couldn’t think of any more stories or jokes to tell and decided to ask the growing audience if anyone there had ever seen a one eared elephant. No one had.

He pulled one front pocket of his jeans out and fanned the material out nicely, then started to unbutton his pants.

Several of us managed to get him down off the table and hustled out the door as management was on the phone even as we bundled him out the door.

The slap of the freezing night air hit him like an actual slap to the face as we stuffed him into his winter coat and then into the pickup. He tried to convince us he could drive but we overruled that immediately and he gave in.

The backseat was full of tools and winter gear, so all three of us had to squish together in the front seat.

I only had to pull over once for him to hurl and we were almost to my house, when the flashing red lights appeared behind us. I pulled over immediately.

The Officer was very nice, but there was a tail light out on the pickup. He got a recap of the entire evening from my passengers, he asked if he should follow us home and assist us into the house. I told him I thought we could get in the house okay, but I would appreciate him following us in the heavy ice fog with the back light out.

We made it home okay and the officer was kind enough to wait until we were in the house before he pulled away.


Improvise, darn it!

Charlie & Me, Sketch

I wake up at 2 am to a freezing cold house. What the heck? We just had fuel oil delivered and what can I do now?
I jump out of bed and check the lights. Yes, we still have power, so that isn’t the problem. I pull on a winter coat, some mittens, a heavy hat and head downstairs to see what is wrong with the furnace.
Two weeks ago, I took and passed a State of Alaska Boiler Operators test so according to them, I was a qualified Boiler Operator and our furnace is a hot water baseboard heater. I should be able to figure this out. I can do it.
I look at the large black lump in the corner of the basement. It doesn’t make a sound although at least the circulating pumps still have to rapidly cooling water moving through the pipes. If not for that, I would already have a worse problem as it is a balmy 56 degrees below zero outside.
I click the reset button which usually fixes everything. Nothing. I click it a few more times in frustration and because kicking a many hundred pound chunk of cooling iron is really hard on toes. Yes, that was my first attempt at repair. Quit laughing.
Finally desperation sets in. Yesterday was Sunday. My husband is hundreds of miles away working on the Slope. I don’t want to think about what a furnace repair man would charge to come out in this temperature at this time of day.
Finally the shivering gets bad enough and I am worried about the water pipes and baseboard water lines so I stop acting like an idiot and start thinking. I pull the burner unit out of the furnace. Yes, it leaves a good sized opening. I shine my light around the inside of the firebox. Just maybe there is hope.
I manage to drag a 100 pound propane bottle over to the furnace from the garage. I put the weed burner on the bottle and fire it off. After I adjust the flame down a bit, I stick the flame into the opening left into the firebox and find the balance center to keep it going without it flopping out on the floor and burning down the house. Yes, that would warm the house up, but there are limits.
I stay by the furnace for an hour or so, to make sure it really is going to work and the pipes have started feeling warm, both the lines from the furnace and the return lines. Soon I can even feel a bit of warmth seeping through all the layers of clothes I have piled on. My breath is no longer making a cloud in front of my face and my nose has thawed quite well.
I check the thermostat and the temperature has started inching up a bit. I gently lower the flame a bit more on the weed burner, I don’t want to end up making steam and blowing the house up, either.
I fasten the weed burner to the furnace with stovepipe wire and go back upstairs to bed. I don’t think I slept much as I really was worried I was either going to burn or blow the place up. I wait until 8 a.m. and call a furnace repair man someone had recommended to me.
As soon as he heard I was Charlie’s wife, he almost hung up on me. He thought I was the other one. Then he said I didn’t sound like ——-. I said no, my name is Rosalyn. Then he became friendly and asked how he could help.
I told him the furnace had stopped during the night and he immediately had visions of a frozen up house and the mess associated with that at the temperatures we were having.
He must have broken a few speed limits getting there and was surprised when he walked in and the house was not really cold, just a bit cooler than most people keep their homes.
When he saw the weed burner set up, he scratched his head and asked whatever made me think of that. Desperation, pure and simple.
He repaired the electrodes and the furnace worked fine with no frozen pipes at all. Charlie called that night to see how I was doing. It was my first winter by myself in this house. I told him about the furnace, a moment of silence then laughter. “I knew you could handle my kids. I never expected you to have to deal with something like this, also. Wait until I tell the guys about this one.”
Just one more reason why I loved him so much. He was always proud of me and let me know it.

The Beginning – chapter 29

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.

Chapter 29
The temperature keeps dropping and by the next afternoon, it is -40. We have the wood stove going in the barn for the goats. It won’t keep the whole building as warm as the house, but we just want to keep it above zero or so., so the goats don’t suffer. We keep water on the stove also to give them liquid water to drink at least twice a day.
I have the windows open from the house to the sun porch to keep the chicken coop a bit warmer than usual. The vent holes in the walls between the house and the coop are also all wide open. The chickens aren’t dumb and are staying up near the vents. There is only 1 or 2 eggs a day now and they roll down the chute from the nest boxes onto a tray on the sun porch.
The transplanted lettuce is still producing but growing very slowly at these temperatures and I still have a few tomatoes ripening on the sad looking plants. I sprout a few seeds to add to the lettuce and onion pickings and a few celery leaves once in a while for a small salad each for us. I give the chickens some of the sprouts now and then, also.
I will try to enlarge my winter growing area on the sun porch this coming summer. It will be worth it. Rose does the same thing on her porch and shares with Kara.
When Noah goes out to check on the goats, I hear a shot. Then Noah is bursting through the door and he is ashen faced and collapses on the floor
I have my handgun out in my hand but still seated on the couch when another figure bursts through the door. He is bundled in furs but I can see the white on his face that means frostbite and it looks like he has a bad case of it. As I look closer, I see it is Royal. Of all the people to survive the quake and weather in Fairbanks, why did it have to be him? Somehow he missed Will and Shari’s place on his way by and stumbled into mine, instead. But Noah is hit. As I start to bend down to check, Royal waves his gun at me and tells me to stay still or join him. I ask him why he is doing this and why did he act as though his sons were still alive. Wrong thing to say. He goes into screaming mode and waving the gun around. In his rambling diatribe, he confesses to having rigged the accident that killed Shari’s parents so his son could have their money. Then they couldn’t find Shari to arrange an accident for her. But since they found her in the wilds of Alaska, they figured she could disappear and be presumed dead in short order. Maybe after wild animals had chewed her up enough to not show how she died.
While he is yelling, I see Noah open his eyes and look at me. At least he is still alive. As Royal goes on about what an ungrateful wife she was, I slowly raise my handgun beside my leg. Somehow he and his buddies had learned that Shari had been staying here after Rod and Rob were killed. In his mind, he thought she and I were in on it together. So I was going to have to pay. By this time the warmth of the house was starting to thaw his flesh and he was clawing at his face trying to get the pain to stop. His breathing is raspy also, as though he had frosted his lungs a bit. He was so intent on revenge that he didn’t cover his face and breathe through the fur.
As I am about to put him out of his misery, the door swings open yet again and Jeremy slides in behind Royal. He grabs him by some pressure point in his neck and Royal drops like a stone. As Royal goes down, I am on my knees beside Noah. I ask if he can talk and he says yes, he can, he is just nicked, he thinks.
By this time, Jeremy has Royal trussed up and unarmed. He offers to set him outside so we don’t have to look at him, but I just can’t bring myself to let him freeze that way. I was willing to shoot him earlier but this seems a bit cold blooded. Jeremy shrugs and says he knows it is cruel, but look at the man. He is so frozen already he will lose his face and probably parts of feet and hands, maybe other parts we can’t see and don’t want to see. It may be kinder to let him never regain consciousness. I guess he has a point there.
We pull off Noahs parka and shirt to see that he really was only nicked but not a good looking nick. The flesh was swollen around it on his side over his ribs. I took his fur parka outdoors and rubbed snow in the blood on the fur. It froze and came off pretty well. I hung the parka out on the entryway porch to air some. I would shake it out more later to get any other blood off it, I hoped
. Jeremy had Noah patched up pretty well when I went back in. He had recognized Royal as he skied by. Royal had not seen him. So he followed along a bit behind, trying to figure out what Royal was going to do. He was sorry he didn’t get here in time to stop Noah from getting shot.
Royal was coming around by then, so Jeremy said he would take him along with him unless we wanted to keep him. I certainly didn’t and neither did Noah. So the 2 men left. Royal was still screaming at Jeremy as they went out the door. I don’t think I want to know what is going to happen next. Noah is still a little woozy from the shock of being shot. So he stretches out on the couch. I cover him with a large quilt I have handy and he dozes off to sleep.
When he wakes up a bit later, he is flushed and doesn’t look or feel too good. I take the bandage off his side and it does not look good. I sponge him off and give him some aspirin to lower his fever
. I find some of my homemade medicines and also some essential oils. The oils should help get rid of infection. I have him turn so I can drop the oil directly on the wound. I place peppermint oil directly on it, then thieves oil around it and then on it. After a bit, the redness and swelling go down, around the furrow on his side. I fix some hot tea for him and sweeten it a bit and he sips it. His color is getting better, so I help him get comfortable and he dozes back off to sleep. I gear up and go check on the goats. They are doing fine and I stoke up their stove in there, then close it down enough to keep burning but not too much. The barn feels pretty good compared to outdoors. The goats seem content so I close up and latch all the doors and window shutters.
I grab an armload of firewood as I go back to the house. Make each trip out in this count. I feed the chickens and give them fresh water.
When I am done with the animal chores, I start a pot of soup going on the stove. It will be easier for Noah to sip some if he continues not feeling very well or even if he feels fine.
Noah wakes up as the soup is ready and he looks much better. I put more oils on his side and he barely flinches as I rub it around the wound. He tells me he probably would not have been shot except he didn’t want to let Royal come in with no warning. He also didn’t want to turn his back on him to come in ahead of him. Royal got the jump on him as he came out of the barn and was fastening the door. He certainly had to start paying more attention to what was around, even in these temperatures. This was no longer our comfortable old life. Even one slip up could be the end for any one of us.
As he sips his mug of soup, he looks at me oddly and then says “You were just going to shoot him, weren’t you?”
“Well, yeah, I wasn’t going to let him do any more damage to the man I love. Bad enough he hurt you at all.” Then I kissed him on the forehead. He grabbed my hand and tugged me closer. So I kissed him on the mouth. Much better.

The Beginning – chapter 27

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.

Chapter 27
By the end of October, we all realize winter has really come to stay. I just hope we have an early spring to offset it. Everyone out here is hunkered in and keeping busy doing the usual things done all winter anyway. I guess something like the whole world pretty much ending, won’t really affect us much until spring. The shock is there, but not really sinking in for us. Once everyone is out of fuel and some food items, then it will start hitting and sinking in
. If it had been spring or summer and easy for the town folk to just hike out here, it would have been much different. Now, it is delayed a bit and maybe soaking in a small amount at a time. No internet, no radio except short wave and few of those left to listen to, also. We have to remember to be alert to anyone showing up with the intent to take what we have, but so far, nothing has happened like that. I am afraid we will become too complacent and be sorry later.
I start setting a trapline starting from the hill across a small gully from my place. I keep checking the snares around the old gut pile, but the ravens, jays and small animals have really been working on it. I only have a few traps and snares, so make a very small trapline I can check often.
I have limited success and move my line a bit farther north. I want to keep as many animals around as possible for the future, also. Pal is nice and helpful in harness, dragging my small sled when we do the trapline. I snowshoe the trails, he pulls along behind me. I carry my rifle when I go, in case I need it. I have a piece of duct tape over the barrel and one on the stock to replace it with if I have to fire it. The tape keeps snow and debris out of the barrel. Traveling on snowshoes is a good way to fall often and it is best to not have to clean the gun after each fall before being able to use it. Even snow coming off branches overhead can clog a barrel, besides going down the back of an unsuspecting neck. Noah comes along sometimes so he can learn how to trap and how to take care of the animals once they are harvested.
On days it has snowed quite a bit, he is handy breaking trails. We have both gotten much better on the snowshoes and now will be able to hike over to see Rose and Kara any time we want to. We are doing quite well at keeping the house fire banked enough to be gone several hours without the house freezing up.
In the evenings, we skin and stretch the hides and then work on softening and tanning the hides from previous days work.
Soon, we have enough to start making some hats, mitts and the baby bunting I want to make for Shari. So I start out by laying out skins and drawing on the skin side with a piece of charred wood from the stove. Once I have the pattern the way I want it, I hold the hide so I won’t cut fur as well as skin and cut out the pieces with a razor knife. I have a large box of dental floss I use for skin sewing. It is the best for that. The needles I have are hide sewing needles, with 3 sides at the point, so they slice through the leather.
The bunting goes together quite fast and I use some tanned strips of leather I have to make the ties to fasten it together. We plan on taking it over in the next few days sometime, if the weather holds around zero and not snowing hard.
When we get around the next day, it is fairly clear and no wind, so we decide just to do it today. We hurry through caring for the animals and gear up with the snowshoes. Pal is so used to the harness and sled pulling, he is standing by the sled as we come out the door. So we take him also.
The walk over doesn’t take very long and we are congratulating ourselves on how great we are doing on the snowshoes. Pal suddenly growls and tries to lunge in front of me. The sled holds him back some and almost knocks me down. A large wolf breaks cover right in front of us, heading straight for Pal. Noah has his handgun out and firing before the wolf has a chance to even touch Pal, but I was afraid he would get bit and grabbed his harness trying to hold him.
Pal finally settles down as he sees the wolf is no longer a threat. We load the carcass on the sled and Pal is happy to drag the wolf the rest of the way. I will boil the carcass up for chicken feed, they do not mind where the protein comes from. I do the same with most of the animals we trap. I try to waste nothing. I think by boiling it, maybe the chickens won’t get the taste for raw flesh and peck on each other. Also maybe head off any type of disease.
After we get to the driveway to Rose and Kara’s, we decide to stop there just in case Will and Shari are there for the baby. It is a good thing we do, as they are. Jeremy is watching their place for them and they are staying at Rose’s. Shari is very uncomfortable and totally ready for this to be over with. She is still helping out and even does some hiking up and down the hill to Kara’s. She is in very good condition, so it should be an easy birth, I hope.
While we are visiting, she gets up every few minutes and walks around. Rose and I look at each other and she nods. We think Shari’s wish is about to be granted. She loves the little bunting and shows me some of the other things she has on hand for the baby. Most are at home, but enough here to see her through a couple of days. I made the bunting big enough it will probably last the whole winter as the baby grows. The outside fur is marten and the inside fur is Arctic hare. The baby should need no other cover except in extreme cold. They can carry B B wherever they go without worrying it will get too cold.\
As Shari paces through the kitchen her water breaks. She has not realized she is in labor. She cleans herself up and apologizes for the mess as we mop. We are laughing by now and tell her soon she will see what the Bubble Bump actually is, or B B as we have been calling it.
She continues pacing, after the contraction is over. This is the best thing she can do, so we all walk with her and talk. We tell jokes and keep her laughing which really isn’t too good in a contraction, so we have to pay attention. Rose has a bed set up in the office that used to be her Mom’s room. Everything else is cleared out and it has a bed and a chair in the room. She used a filing cabinet as a small dresser so it wouldn’t take up much space but give Shari a place to keep clothes.
For a first baby, this one seems to be in a hurry. Shari finally decides she has walked as much as she can, so we let Will help her into bed and prepare her for giving birth. They have a pad on the bed to make it easier to clean up later. There is a tote set up with a pad and soft blankets in it to place the baby in. Everyone scrubs up very well and puts on long sleeved shirts over whatever they are wearing. Rose has some masks used for painting and we use them over our noses and mouths. We look like a comedy routine for backwoods childbirth. There is water heated on the wood stove, although I never figured why boiling water was always called for, no one scalds anything during a birth.
Soon most of us stay out in the living room. Kara and I talk about how we are going to keep our woodsheds filled, after there is no gas for chainsaws. We all have swedesaws, so it looks like we will start cutting each summer as soon as possible to fill the area emptied over the winter and still try to keep at least 2 years ahead.
It seems like only a short time later, but probably not, to Shari, when we hear the sound only a newborn makes and a soft thud of Will hitting the floor. He lasted longer than I thought he would, when he was already green looking when they went in the bedroom. Soon, the first cry is joined by a 2nd cry. Oh my, sounds like twins. I should have made 2 buntings. Of course, it only takes a little while to make one and I can use this one as a pattern.
When Rose comes out, she looks almost as bad as Will. No one had expected twins. Shari says they are common in her family and her ex was actually a distant cousin. She had twin siblings also, but only one had survived to adulthood. Then he was killed in Iraq.
The new twins were fraternal, a boy and a girl. I guess that is one way to help repopulate the world, have them in groups. I was never one of those women that ooohed and aaaahed over babies, but these 2 were special babies and they seemed to bring out the latent maternal streak I never knew I had. Shari was tired but in good spirits and happy when we finally started home.
We were away a bit longer than I planned when we left that morning. I was certainly glad the weather was not very cold, only around zero. When we get home, the houses are both cool but not cold, so it doesn’t take long to have the fires going again, warming them up. The wolf is brought in to thaw and skin. Noah offers to do that while I cut out another bunting. It is very late by the time I have it done. Noah was already gone for the night, to the cabin. He had his meals with me and helped out around the place during the days, but nights he stayed over there. He only built a fire in the evening to take the main cold off the cabin and let it die out during the night. He didn’t want to cut into my stock of firewood too much. We had enough for 2 houses for the winter, but did not want to use it all. Whenever he went along on the trapline, he picked up dead wood along the way and loaded the sled Pal pulled.
The puppies from the dog Roman and Thad brought out were big enough now to start simple training and Noah wanted to get 2 of them. He thought they and Pal could be a small working team and be a big help on hauling things. So 2 days later when we went back over to deliver the new bunting, we brought home 2 rowdy puppies. Pal was not amused. He did a good job teaching them not to chase the cats, although the cats did a fair bit of training on their own. He also let them know outdoors was for the bathroom. I think he housebroke them himself.
I made very small harnesses out of scrap rope pieces and when he was harnessed up, they also were harnessed up. At first, they ran along beside him and wanted to play. He nipped them into staying behind him. I started tying them to each side of the sled, so they would stay back and soon they thought of it as play and trotted along nicely or walked along depending on what Pal was doing. They even learned Gee and Haw and Stop. I baked some dog treats and would give them and Pal a treat each time the pups did well. I think bribery is underated.
The first trip we made over to Rose’s with the 2 pups in their harnesses, everyone was surprised and amazed we had trained them so well so quickly. However, Pal was the real trainer of pups. When the rest of the puppies came tumbling out to see them, Pal soon set them straight, and they all sat very quietly around our team. Roman and Thad decided they wanted to train the ones they had left and see if the mother was used to a harness, also. She looked like a sled dog should. Rose had some old harnesses she had picked up at the Transfer Station several years ago, so the guys decided to try it out. They went down and got the harnesses and found one that fit the female.
She stood still to be harnessed so they knew she was familiar with it. Rose also had some skis under the shop building that she had picked up, the same way. She said anyone wanting to try skijoring could give them a try if they figured out a way to fasten the skis as they had no bindings on them.
We needed to make some harnesses and tug lines if we wanted to learn how to run dogs. I guess this would give us all something to learn and do in winters now. That would be the time of year that it is easiest to travel in Alaska. No bugs and the ground is solid and so is the water. Well, unless there is overflow or a current under the snow on ice making an open lead.
If we started using dogs, we would need to also start making sleds. I know some of the sled makers use the small black spruce found only in permafrost areas for the frames as they are so fine grained they are extremely strong and flexible when crafted. I think the caribou skin from the caribou Al gave us, will need to be tanned and made into harnesses. The lower legs can be made into boots, and maybe I should see about making boots from the lower legs of the last 2 bears we got, also.
I will have to keep boots in mind each time we are skinning, now, so we can shape the hides right and not have to do so much sewing. Will and Shari were ready to go home with the twins. They were so happy to have 2 buntings now, Shari cried a bit and laughed, saying she was so happy. They were still using the little 6 wheel ATV and bundled babies and Shari in it so they were like a cocoon. After they left, we headed back home, also.
Roman and Thad loaded up our sled with some of the cans of food they stocked up on during the summer. They said that was Noahs, anyway and since he was eating at my place, it would help on food supplies. They didn’t want to overload our little team, so let me know there was also a couple bags of rice here for us, and more flour and sugar. I was surprised but it would be nice having even more supplies on hand.
I think this stuff should be stored in the cabin Noah is staying in. If there were ever a house fire, I would like to know we had supplies somewhere else to depend on, and maybe some in the ice house. I still had several empty totes and a few barrels with lids we could store food in and keep rodents and larger animals out. When I talk it over with Noah, he agrees, so when we get home we start filling totes and barrels in the ice house first and a few items in the cabin.
Most of the cans are freeze dried storage foods, so they were very light and there was a lot of them. I was surprised how many they sent over and our tiny team pulled so well. Noah was in the habit of using a large backpack every time we left the house, with some survival gear in it in case we got caught out in bad weather. He now pulled out a small box of chocolate candy.
He placed it in my hands and said, “You know I love you, don’t you?”
Now that was a surprise, the candy as well as the declaration. I knew we got along very well and he made my insides mush every time he looked at me, but love? Well, yeah, when he wasn’t in a room, it felt empty and I looked forward to seeing him every day. We worked well together and neither of us treated the other as anything but a partner in our jobs and chores. The thought of not having him around hurt to think about, so I think that probably means I love him too.
I am still staring at the box of chocolates in my hands and he is probably thinking I am really strange. I look up into his eyes and he has the most loving look in his eyes that I have ever seen in my life. Oh those eyes. They have been my downfall from the first day I met him.
Still looking into his eyes, I slowly reach up and give him a soft kiss. The next instant, I am in a bear hug and the breath almost out of me from the steel bands around me as he is kissing me. He suddenly steps back and even maybe blushes a little bit.
“I better not do that or we won’t be stopping any time soon,” he says and heads on out the door to the little cabin.
Well, this has certainly been quite a day. I set the box of chocolates on the table and stoke the fire. I think I will go to bed a bit earlier this evening and maybe do a lot of thinking.
I have never considered getting married again. The first time was enough to sour a person on that institution for life. However, right now, if Noah asked me, I would say Yes in a heartbeat. What an idea. Who would perform the ceremony and where would it be registered? Does he want a family or will the pets be enough family for us? Wow, he hasn’t asked and I am already planning a future together. So much for going to bed early. Now the thoughts going through my head are making it impossible to sleep.
After tossing and turning a while, I get up and light a small propane light. I pull out some of the furs we have tanned and start a Trapper hat. I am not sure who it will be for, so add a piece of elastic in back so it can fit anyone. This is from the first fox caught on the old gut pile. I use some of the leather I had on hand and lined it with Arctic hare fur. Hmmm, maybe I should make some to use as Christmas gifts this year.
Pretty soon there is a small tap at the door. Pal isn’t growling, so I open the door. It is Noah. He comes in and sits down across from me.
“Can’t sleep either? I am sorry if I am the reason and I hope I didn’t mess up our relationship by speaking too soon,” he said.
“Well, it was a surprise but a most pleasant one. I have had some thoughts on the subject for a while, but didn’t have a clue you did, also.”
A slow smile spreads across his face as he leans toward me. “Really? You really have? You sure fooled me.”
We sit and talk for an hour or so, then he lightly kisses me on the forehead and heads back out the door. I again stoke up the fire and go to bed. This time, I fall asleep almost as soon as I hit the pillow. We have decided nothing, and didn’t even talk about where we were heading. But it feels okay and it feels right. We will take one day at a time and see where it leads.
I was afraid we would be awkward with each other, the next morning, but no, it was more relaxed and felt like we had known each other forever. Our days fell into routine and we enjoyed each others company very much. We managed to work through any problem that arose without any yelling, name calling or sarcasm.
As Thanksgiving Day approached, we decided on what we would contribute to the dinner being planned over on Rose’s place. The actual dinner would be at Kara’s as her house was set up better to serve and eat dinner for large groups.
I had a supply of dried sweet potatoes and would make a casserole to take. Also some rolls and maybe a pie or two. Depending on what we could put on the sled easily to pull over without mashing or spilling. We packed some of the fresh eggs in a container so if any broke, they wouldn’t mess up the backpack, and Noah would carry them over.

One of THOSE Days…

Lovley Day
Today seems to have been one of THOSE days. I have been under the weather for about two weeks, so when I woke up feeling half human, I thought I would get caught up on a couple of things around here.
I plowed road, one trip around and the Ford plow truck died in Kara’s yard. I took the Toyota home, got it stuck in my yard, pulled it out with the Cheve, went back up later to check their fire and Ford started, so plowed another trip around and some in my yard, and got the plow stuck.
I started to pull it out with the Cheve and noticed the canopy about a foot farther back than it supposed to be. I had pulled Toyota from the front, so pulled the Ford from the back and canopy went about halfway back on, plus all the snow on the roof came over windshield.
I left the Ford and drove up and turned around in my driveway and slammed on brakes coming back down the hill and got the canopy on far enough I could load firewood on tailgate (Could get it open, canopy not sitting on it now) unloaded firewood in the house and porch to rebuild stock out there. Then I came in and took a nap.

I’m in Love


I’m in love. The first time we spent the night together, I thought it might be a passing fancy, but now I am positive it is true love. That warm feeling inside when ever I think about our time together, the longing to be together again, missing spending more time in our own little cocoon of warmth and happiness. This is the stuff of dreams.
With the onset of winter, here in Alaska, just thinking about all those cold nights we will be spending together makes me feel happy inside. Even my cats love you. Every time I see them snuggled up on you, it makes me smile. Yes, this is love.
I make sure every night when I turn on the generator, that I smooth out all the little wrinkles from your surface. An electric blanket has to be treated with care.

Almost the Edge of Nowhere


Almost the Edge of Nowhere
After my husband died, I finally decided I had enough of living in town. I grew up off grid and wanted to go back to it.
I sold the house and bought a parcel of ground 50 miles beyond power/phone/mail delivery systems. FedEx and UPS do not deliver out here, no matter what their ads say.
I lived in a tent the first summer here, while building driveways and building pads with my Mothers Day present, from many years before, an old military surplus dozer.
With grizzly bears and black bears wandering around I slept very lightly that summer. I also planted a garden on top the hill above my tent. By putting pallets on the ground and plywood on them under the tent, I stayed nice and dry and never had a problem with water in the tent during the late summer storms.
A now ex-boyfriend built the first floor of a supposed to be 2 story house, ignoring all advice on building in a northern climate and we moved into it during a snowstorm. He soon left for the Lower 48 and I tried to keep from freezing to death in an uninsulated shed he called a house. He sent some money up to a friend in town to buy some insulation, finally, and the fellow brought it out and dumped it.
I spent the next 12 hours insulating the walls and ceiling and putting some plastic over it for vapor barrier, but didn’t have enough. Ice started building up in the walls and ceiling at a pretty good rate over the ice already there from heat indoors without a vapor barrier and insulation, earlier on. Water would freeze on the table near the heater. I expected to freeze every time I went to sleep. Waking up was an adventure.
It was a lovely winter.

Guys, Gotta Love ’em, Can’t Just Shoot ’em – Part Two

Me Woodshed

Okay, it has been suggested I would actually like to BE a guy. Uh, wrong. I really like being female and can only think of 2 reasons that I ever might have considered that guys have an edge. One is fairly obvious, giving birth. Guys certainly get the easy part of procreation. My second reason is just a little bit different and seems to hit the worst when I am working outdoors in mosquito weather or in the middle of minus 40 degrees and still no bathroom in sight. The very thought of having to undress almost half my body for either the mosquitoes to attack or frostbite to threaten sometimes does give just a twinge of envy. Other than that, no way, I like being female.
The lack of an extruded appendage has not hampered my career, whether it be mining, operating heavy equipment, building a house or cutting firewood. I can do any or all of those things and it never has made a difference. I have seen where that same appendage could be a liability when someone got hit wrong. I’ve never had to worry about that.
I am even trying to learn to be just a bit helpless once in a while and accept help.
Of course the main thing I would love to accept help on, housework, is never an option. No one ever comes by and says, “Oh, that is such a hard job. How about I step in and give you a hand?”
Oh yeah, I hate housework. You do the dishes, you make the beds and 6 months later, you have to do them all over again. With all the new technology, a self cleaning house would be wonderful. Of course, it would have to be an off-grid self cleaning house, since I don’t have electricity or running water.
I do like to cook. I also like to eat well. The best way to assure consistent good eating is to learn to be a good cook. Most things in my life, I have learned because I always have more time than money. My Mom collected dolls, so when I moved to Alaska, she wanted authentic Alaskan dolls. I priced them and went home and made her a whole family of Alaskan dolls. I want a picture on the wall, I draw or paint one. I want a home in the woods, I build one. You are only limited by your imagination. Mine has always been in overdrive.