Is Spring Really Here?

Last year we had the spring that never sprung.  It was cold and wet and nasty until finally, summer was here…then gone.  Our warmth passes so quickly.  I love winter, obviously, or I wouldn’t be able to live here.  But when it starts to warm up, it’s such a time of excitement and expectation.  It’s almost heartbreaking when it doesn’t happen as it is supposed to such as last year.  This year, it seems like Mother Nature is apologizing for last year as we are already in breakup.  The snow is melting, the sun is out, life is good!

I know it’s been a long while since I posted anything.  Mostly I have been hibernating so there’s been little of interest to write about.  I’ll try to catch you up with a few pictures.

Christmas came and went fairly quietly except for the kids got their first guns.  They are just little .22s.

Of course, there was always nights of chasing the auroras.

One of my aurora photos was used on a Denver station news program.  I was pretty excited.

We did a bit of entertaining and a lot of cooking.

Olivia’s very first home made cinnamon, raisin, yeast bread.

I also taught her how to make home made chicken noodle soup, with home made noodles.

Worked at Checkpoint Mile 101 for the Yukon Quest again.  This was my 5th year working there.  Needless to say, I love it.  I ended up staying an extra night and day after everyone left, just putting wood in the stove and playing my fiddle.  I’m going to plan on doing this every year as it was so peaceful and restful after all the commotion and lack of sleep that working there during the Quest brings.  I didn’t write about it this year but you can look back over the years in this blog to see some stories if you care to.

I did take some video of the two passes I have to cross coming home from the checkpoint.  The roads were actually very good even though in the videos, you can see they were icy.  Last year three of our members got stuck or left the road while trying to get out to the checkpoint.

12 Mile Summit

Cleary Summit

Did a bit of henna here and there.

I love doing bellies the most!

Of course, winter is a time to go visit friends, hang out, have fun, drink some beer, etc.

Here’s my Solstice centerpiece, complete with Yule Log.

While Olivia was working on her roller derby skills.

I got to hang out with pretty mushers in tuxs for the Bunny Boots and Bids fundraiser and Wine Tasting.

And of course, practiced and played my fiddle.

I don’t think I posted this video yet.  It’s how I have to unfreeze the drain.  Living in a dry cabin, having to haul all our water, makes us really conserve.  Of course, if you are only using tiny bits of water here and there through out the day, and it’s -40 outside, the water freezes before it clears the drain.  We have a grey water system which means that the water just goes straight from the kitchen sink to the gravel pad that the cabin sits on.  I have had to do this a couple of times each winter.  It’s not really a big deal but yea, at that cold of temperatures, one’s lungs do not want to inhales so you end up breathing very noisily as you can hear in this video lol.

So, onto the upcoming summer!  I have a camping, float trip down the Delta Clearwater planned for the kids and I.  I have a trip up to visit my friend Susan in Kavik River Camp planned for later in the summer.  I have a zipline adventure trip down near Talkeetna planned with my friend Lori.  And I want to take my kids back packing in the back country for the first time.  I have taken them camping lots of times but never into the back country.  There be bears out there you know.  Backpacking has almost always been my special solo adventures.  I keep them for myself.  But maybe my kids would like them for themselves as well.  Of course, you can’t forget my annual Fowl Adventure.  Chickenstock Music Festival then a visit to my friends’ Wayne and Scarlett who live off the Yukon River.  Can’t wait to see them!

Until next time my dearies.  I’ll be here.

Dry cabins

Since they are so common here in the Interior, I thought I would share the ones in our newspaper.   Actually, there aren’t that many today.  Normally there are more.

Log cabin for rent. 2 bdr + loft, Electricity + toyo heat on 2 Acre lot. $600/m + dep. …

Cozy 16×16 w/loft + great H2O. 3.2 mi Gilmore Trl. $600 w/ $400 dep + utils. No dogs/smok.

Dry cabins available $450/month. Utilities are not included.Free highspeed internet.More information at or call 455-4500.

Avail 04/01! Peaceful, Private loft style dry cabin, inc a beautiful sauna & newly constructed, never used outhouse.  Private campfire ring & bbq pit, DSL Wi-Fi, $600/m 1st, last, sec dep. Pet on app.

12X16 dry log cabin w/porch in Fox, $450 + sec. dep. elect. fuel propane. Absolutely Alaskan Real Estate Services, …

1 mi to UAF. Like New, 16×20, 2 story, clean, spacious. Carpet, quality kitchen, very warm, no H2O.  $600 + util. No pets. Avail. 5/1
Cozy 288sf furn. cabin on Chena Ridge. Ideal for 1, WATER, septic heat, elec, all incld. No smk/pets $600+
12×16 Dry Log Cabin, covered porch, 2349 #2 Steese in Fox, $450 elec & fuel, Absolutely Alaskan Real Estate …

Dry cabin w/ loft & access to shower in Chena Marina, close to bus route. $400/m + util.
Dry, near UAF $450. New win /lam flr/monitor 2575 Wecota, Dakota Cab #1
New 2bd carport, outhouse, carry water. NO SMOKING inside or outside! Farmers Loop, $600/mo.
1 mi to UAF. Like New, 16×20, 2 story, clean, spacious. Carpet, quality kitchen, very warm, no H2O. Must …

Water, water, everywhere.

A friend of mine just told me what she was paying to get her water from a local laundry mat.  She thought the Water Wagon was just for bulk water.  So, I thought I would make a post about how we get our water and snapped some photos when we went to get water this week.

While you can take showers at the laundry mats in town, they are expensive.  Also, I just don’t like showering in a place that the general public also showers.  I would do it if I needed to but my own little shower set up works quite well.

25 cents filled up the 4 jugs we brought.

Or you can go a short distance from town to the Fox Spring.  It’s free.  The state regularly tests it.  This picture is a few years old.  Now the structure is enclosed on 3 sides instead of just covered.

Look out, I’m back online.

Well, getting internet even the small distance I am from town, proved to be quite a pissy deal.  It ended up costing $300 to get started.  But, here I am, happy to be back.   I have only one piece of advice, GCI does not know their ass from a whole in the ground.

The cabin is coming along nicely now.  I’m still working on it and still sending more stuff that the kids “had to have” to storage.  By the time it warms up enough to have bon fire parties out in the the yard, I’ll have it fixed up enough to want to present it to the general public lol.

Here’s the kitchen, with the “water heater” on the stove.  It actually heats up enough for showers or dishes in just a few minutes so not as unhandy as I originally thought it would be.  Hmmm, that little window shelf sure wants to stay cluttered.  It’s just too handy.  I have several crystals hanging in my window that throws a million beautiful rainbows over the living room every afternoon.

The outhouse has been updated with a lamp, clock radio, hand sanitizer, drawers, and Christmas lights on the outside.  I had the plunger put out there for a conversation piece and though I have removed it now, it still gives me a giggle.  Now, I just need to find some blue foam to replace the foam rubber seat that’s in there.  Actually, the temperatures are warm enough now to be able to just use the regular seat, but it still would mean a cold ass awakening every time one sat down.

My Easter munchkins.

Last week it warmed up enough for almost all the snow to melt, then yesterday, it snowed several inches.  It’s melting again and breakup is officially here.  In a week or so, green should be showing up on the mountain I look out at from my front window.  A few nights ago I sat here in my living room and watched a nice display of the northern lights.  I wish I knew how to take pictures of them.  But I’ll get it figured out by next winter for sure.

Showers and moose trottings.

We are well moved into the cabin now though I am still working on making it a home and moving stuff from old house into storage.  It takes a long time when trying to work and move everything without a truck.  We have been able to get everything on the top of the car and inside so far.  I am pretty proud of my shower enclosure and think it looks pretty cute as well.

Before the shower set up, this tub made a handy bath.  Wish I had a galvanized tub.

Stand in the tub, tuck the shower curtains in, turn on the nice warm water.  This enclosure also is where the porta potty is kept…  It’s nice that the tub is portable and can sit out on the porch when not in use or doubles as a dirty clothes hamper.

The copper tubing was a piece I found at the transfer site.

A few days ago I was standing at my kitchen sink washing dishes when a moose trotted passed my window right in front of me.  It about gave me a heart attack!  Here is a picture of a moose at the end of our driveway where it meets the road.

Going offline

The cabin has no phone jack.  It’s going to be at least next payday until I can get the money to get one put in.  So until then, I will only be able to get online during my lunch break at work.  That kind of sucks but it is ok.  In the long run, the big picture, etc. it’s a good thing.  I have too much work to do to spend much time online anyways.

We are settling in well.  My daughter has determined that since she has learned to change the bag in the porta potty, she can freely use it.  That’s fine with me.  I don’t mind. My son is not yet comfortable with the outhouse or the porta potty but likes that I let him pee in the woods.  Lol what’s a cabin without a little bit of yellow snow off in the trees?

Last night it was clear out for the first time.  I spent a serene hour sitting in my living room with the lights out looking out to the stars.  Wish I had a glass of wine to enjoy the stars with.  When the northern lights are out, we’ll have a fantastic view.  I’ve decided to not put drapes up in the living room/kitchen.  We have such big windows in there.  It’s actually an adjustment to live without curtains, something I never considered.  I spend quite a bit of time in a tshirt and underwear around the house and have to remind myself that I don’t have to dash past the windows lol.  I have heavy drapes for the bedroom to keep it warm in the winter and the 24 hours of sunlight out in the summer.  It’s not spring yet but our light is returning at a very fast rate.   Last night I left the drape next to my bed open a bit so I could look out and up but didn’t see any auroras.

It’s 15 above zero right now.  It’s supposed to be 10-25 below tonight and back up into the teens tomorrow.  We are getting there.

Sunrise is at 7:16 AM AKST and sunset is 6:45 PM AKST so fairly “normal” division.  Tomorrow will be 6 minutes 44 seconds longer.   Then of course, daylight savings time will hit tomorrow and screw us all up.  I really wish they would do away with that nonsense like Arizona.

My daughter will now be going to the same school that I moved my son to earlier this year.  It is a sweet little country school and we can’t wait for her to be there as well.  They have worked magic for my son.  My daughter loves school and can’t wait to go skiing for PE class.  Ice skating if you remember, didn’t work out so well (broke her arm.)  They also have a community garden there during the summer.  Best thing though, the bus will pick them up at the end of our driveway!  So, until next time my dear friends, keep well, keep warm.


Living Waterless

Yesterday I rented a waterless cabin and will be moving in next week.  Living waterless is fairly common in the interior of Alaska.  Fairbanks is set up to accomodate “cabin dwellers” with showers in the laundry mats and bulk water stations in several locations around town.  Having and keeping running water and unfrozen septic in the arctic, is expensive.

I don’t plan on showering at the laundry mat as I think it will be a fairly easy thing to contrive a simple shower set up at home.  The biggest expense seems to be a galvanized wash tub to stand in.  Oh but I have several large rubbermaid totes, perhaps I can use one of those.  See, there is a learning curve, but I have good “tires” (thanks Mom and Dad).

The cabin I rented is currently occupied.  I stopped by to ask the current tennent if he would be interested in selling me his water jugs.  Actually, he wasn’t there but his girlfriend was.  She said there is a definate possibility that he would be interested in that.  I left my number.  I hope he calls.

I didn’t get a look in the outhouse but I am hoping for two things, that since it it getting pretty far in to the winter, I wont have to deal with someone else’s poopcicle, and that I can find a handy supply of blue foam board.  Blue foam is your best friend at _40.  It feels warm and keeps your butt from freezing to the seat.  You probably don’t care to see a picture of that…

I am currently peddling as fast as I can and have finally had to admit to myself that I am not only not able to get ahead, but am loosing ground.  With two kids and one income, there is only so much that can be cut from the budget.  I finally figured out that I am supposed to suck it up and do what I have to do in order to get what I want here, my OWN little cabin in the woods.  I had been putting off this decision when a friend posted a quote on facebook that spoke to me, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas A. Edison.   So here I am, sucking it up and biting the bullet and all those other cliches that are cliches because they are true.

Stay tuned for our upcoming adventures.

This blog isn’t called “Alaska, the Madness” for nothing.

Contemplating and studying for my future waterless cabin status, I have been doing some reading. As living waterless is a fairly common condition in the Interior of Alaska, I am posting this mostly for my Texan friends’ reading enjoyment. It was a fun read anyways.

” Plumbing isn’t an inalienable right here, in Alaska. I think a certain amount of privation is understood, even expected, (possibly even bragged about a little)…”

” A hole is just so basic, isn’t it? So straight-forward and maintainable. Anyone can dig one. Cheaper than connecting to city sewer, even if it was available, which it was not. The only maintenance I could foresee was sweeping out leaves or snow. I didn’t have to scour the bowl. I didn’t have to mop the floor. No one expected much from an outhouse, and already everyone thought ours was deluxe. Later, I would be regularly reminding myself of how deluxe it was while sprinting down the trail to it on cold mornings.”