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 :)