Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wherever did June go?

Busy busy is the name of the game this past month.

G & I have spent nearly every non-raining hour outside clearing the trees and brush from the acre around the cabin. Then hauling and stacking the piles far enough away from the cabin not to be a fire hazard. We're planning to use the majority of the spruce to fence in our square, eventually....

I've also been dedicating a big chunk of time to (re)designing the two side porches so we can finally finish the cabin roof. With multiple ways to complete the project, it was just a matter of figuring out the most efficient use of materials, logical completion (i.e. the way BOTH of us agree on - no small feat) and splitting up the project into discrete portions where the necessary materials could all fit in a single pickup load and still have a safe and viable product until we can come back and finish the next stage. In tandem with that, I've also been designing the 16x16 larder we're planning to add onto the back/north side of the cabin to house our DC freezer and long term dry goods. The 7x7 pantry inside is great and holds a bunch, but we just need more room to securely store 6-12 months of food plus all the food preparation and storage paraphernalia... you'd be surprised how much space canning equipment actually takes up!

I've also been slowly working on finishing up the kitchen so we have a more fully-functional cooking area. No easy task since our local home improvement mega mart never seems to have the off-grid LPG range we want in stock. They have the huge model, or the standing pilot model, or the AC glow-bar ignition models... but not the small piezo/electronic ignition model.... grrrrrrr. The model we want is under $400 if we pick it up in the store, but nearly double if we have it ordered and shipped.... grrrrrr. For the extra cash, we could actually buy the really nice model we truly want with the 9v ignition (no AC required at all, not even for the oven). But the kitchen work is a bit of bother since I was recently asked to be a quest writer for one of the blogs I routinely follow (MyFoodStorageCookbook) while the author, Megan, is on maternity leave. It is very difficult cook (and to write cooking articles) without the use of a proper kitchen and all the gadgetry, but that's sort of the whole point to food-storage and related "prepper" blogs isn't it?!!

G & our friend, Paul, pulled Sonja's back axle and replaced the bearings and seals. Upon further inspection during that ordeal, it seems the demise of our rear brakes was greatly exaggerated... lucky for us, it looks like a good cleaning is all that is really needed and the current shoes and springs are perfectly serviceable. We're still looking at permanently welding some of the front suspension and steering systems, and replacing bushings, etc; but the short-term spot welds seem to be holding. Continuous off-road driving in extreme weather conditions is not for the faint of heart or the weak of construction! In any case, G felt that it was safe enough to (finally) head into Fairbanks for a supply run as long as we didn't drive too hard or heavy.


So we had a big run up to town to load up on food (***fresh*** food) and lumber. Lucky for us, our friends Darrel and Linda put us up while we were in town and babysat Ripley while we ran errands. It's awesome to have great friends who let you bathe, feed you real food, and love on your hyper 125lb poochie while you're away. And true to my usual form... I did make a full load of groceries and a full load of lumber ALL fit in the bed of the truck despite anyone's doubts ;)  And Sonja made it home just fine with no mechanical issues; she wasn't even too overly-burdened. The best part... we could also finally drive her right to the cabin for off-loading since most of the trail and driveway has dried out --- HOORAY!


So, we'll be spending all our non-rainy hours the next couple of weeks building the porches, and all the rainy hours inside cooking and food-storage blogging... and hopefully getting more odds & ends completed in the kitchen and electrical system :)

12 comments:

Annnightflyer said...

I have always heard if you want something up there it has to be shipped in and it is expensive,so sad but coming from port or border I would guess so with all the paperwork.Hubby and I have found a place and will be(hopefully) signing papers to it. Its all we could find for the price and setup.I'm glad to hear from you and know you are alright.I love your blog girl!

JEff said...

Love reading all about u guys

Anonymous said...

Just as a thought for your canning and only once in a while use food storage stuff. Having a small storage shed or cold storage area that you can store all your jars/lids/caners while not in use is a wonderful way to free up living space. Keeping the old unusable canning lids flipped over upside down (so you know which are old vs new) will keep your jars clean while they are stored out side. Helps when you need to bring them in and use them. Washing goes so much quicker than if they are stored with out lids for dust, bugs, etc to get into... Just a thought. With the cold storage you can keep some of your food safe too as well. Burry a small building in dirt to keep the temp constant even in our climate.

Wash.

Cortez said...

I look forward to your blog post. I am your neighbor. I am looking forward to building a place of my own.

Thanks for keeping up with your blog.

Rob

Connie said...

I sooooo enjoy reading your blog with the updates on the homestead and on Ripley ;) How's G's allergies?

take care,
Connie

Plickety Cat said...

Now that the spruce have stopped pollinating, G's allergies have greatly improved. As long as he wears a long-sleeved shirt and gloves when we're hauling brush, he doesn't get the rashes from the bark or sap or whatever caused that other funky skin irritation. So now all we have to watch for is either of us getting a histamine reaction from being skeeter-bit too badly. No amount of clothing seems to help with that, since the mosquitoes up here are used to piercing moose-hide, so what's a measly bit of denim?? Liberal amounts of DEET is our only salvation ;)

Plickety Cat said...

Hey Rob, are you guys still over in Saudi? Will you be able to come State-side for a visit at least? We'll still be here when you do get here in any case ;)

Anonymous said...

Have you had any more trouble with your doors or windows not opening? have you had to adjust the jacks you all installed under the house?

Plickety Cat said...

We haven't had any issues with the doors and windows after it warmed up. The windows were simply frozen shut with condensed water vapor (a direct-vent heater instead of ventless should help with that)and the doors I believe were a combination of frozen condensation, moisture swelling the inner jamb as it was being driven toward the exterior, and the extreme temperature variance between the interior and exterior of the door itself.

We've only had a teeny bit of settling to the SW corner (less than 1/4 degree)and haven't needed to adjust any of the jacks since we first got the weight of the completed cabin up on the sill beams. So far, so good!!

Jeff said...

I'm very new at this way of communication. I've tried emailing you to see if I could help you with your stove problem. I'm driving to Alaska on my dream vacation. After reading and enjoying your blog I just couldn't wait any longer to go see Alaska for myself. If I can help by providing the shipping and handeling, please let me know in the next couple of days. I would love to assist you in your way of life. It's my dream too.

Annnightflyer said...

Wanted to stop by and say hi and send some warmth your way(God knows we got to much here)!!!!

Plickety Cat said...

Hey Wash - somehow your comment got stuck invisibly in "pending".

We will be building the sheds, plus a proper larder, eventually so I can store all that stuff outside. Ideally, anything that doesn't need to stay inside, in temp-control, will not be in here cluttering up my living space :D

But you know how the homestead construction goes... always umpteen million projects on the "to do" list. ROFL

Good tip on storing the canning jars. I'm planning to build sturdy storage flats/crates for them out of hardboard/lumber because the cardboard flats doesn't stand up to the mice very well. I normally keep my rings on dowel hooks so I'm not messing around with screwing them on and off and don't have to worry about them crusting on (hate that!!).