Summer has come after only a few hours of spring. Seems like it went from snow-covered and 20F to squishy and 50F overnight. Despite a fluke snowstorm last Friday, our temps are consistently above freezing already so the Summer Project Rush is on!
Friends of ours are moving back to the L48 and we've adopted their kitty, Jackson. He is such a little lover and already knew us from our many visits, so he's fitting into our household like a champ! Unfortunately, Ripley is having difficulties adapting to a new sibling and having to share Mom & Dad's affection and attention. We're hoping her bitchiness is temporary and she'll come to accept Jax without any serious damage occuring. In the meantime, they seem to have reached detente... the upstairs is primarily his and the downstairs is primarily hers, but all food is apparently Ripley's (at least she thinks so!).
When we were in Fairbanks in March, no one had any gardening stuff in stock since it was still winter; and we haven't been able to get back up since due to a leaky transfer case. We aren't planning another trip up for a couple of weeks, so it looks like we'll be limited to only a few fast maturing crops or having to get garden starts from a nursery ($$$$). Our gardening plans for this year may need to be postponed (AGAIN). But at least we know to stock up on supplies before fall so we can get our early start next spring... including seed potatoes, onion sets and garlic sets which are painfully difficult to get up here (must be certified disease-free, preferably Alaska-grown) and impossible to find for spring planting even though nothing overwinters here so fall planting them is not an option.
Once we do some minor repairs to the truck's transfer case, we'll definitely have to get cracking on the firewood. Luckily, there is plenty of logs available free-for-the-hauling at the new airport project site. We just need both the truck and the trail to be in good shape to go get them. With a week or two of dedicated effort and a multitude of trips back and forth to Manley, we should be able to put up enough for this year and maybe even get a head start on next year's... in any case, I want to make sure we have so much seasoning wood bucked, split and stacked that we don't have to play "find the deadites" when it's below freezing again!
We're hoping to get the siding up on the cabin, and the two decks enclosed and screened. With extremely good fortune and good weather, we may even be able to get all the trim done and get everything painted (outside). Finishing the drywall and painting on the inside is still a ways off since the outdoor projects take priority during our short summer... I might be able to get the interior work done during the winter, but G-man would die with his asthma and allergies :(
NOTE TO FUTURE AK HOMESTEADERS -- consider interior wall surfaces that do not require extensive sanding and finishing (like ply or plank) if one or more members of the household have congestive/pulmonary issues!! The money you save getting cheaper drywall isn't worth the hassle and continual delays (unless you actually enjoy staring at unfinished sheetrock for years - ROFL).
We're also hoping to finishing clearing the home acre and get the primary fence up. Since this is an actual containment fence for Ripley, the fence has to be solid and strong... so a jackleg fence is out this time. That leaves deadhedge and wattle fencing, so we're debating which would actually be the fastest to build and strong/solid enough to keep the beast in! I think we've settled on deadhedging for the perimeter fence, piling all the spruce brush from the clearing roughly a foot thick and 4 feet high between two upright poles we pound into the ground every few feet. I'll save the prettier, and more time consuming, woven wattle for the inner fence around the garden.