Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Summer Solstice 2014!

I know, I know, we've been horrible about posting this year... but we are still alive and are still here on our homestead.

To be honest, this has really not been our year(s) -- mechanical issues, hydrologic issues, meterologic issues, fiscal issues, injury issues and family health issues abound.  Bad luck and hard circumstances are so pervasive that I'm almost to the point of watching for swarms of locusts, raining frogs, rivers of blood and similar Apocalyptic portents. I have no idea what Karmic balance we're paying off, but it must have been a doozie.

So, we've been having some issues with the diff case leaking on the big truck for a while. We replaced the seals, but it still seems to be leaking somewhere. The driveshaft fell out of her in the middle of winter, but we did eventually get that fixed. Unfortunately, with the diff case issues, we're leary of driving her long distances or hauling/towing anything heavy... so that puts a major kink in all our projects. Of course, she's now stuck hub-deep in a bog in our driveway that is too deep and wide to safely extract her, so she's really out of commission until it STOPS RAINING and the ground dries out a bit.

We still have the little truck, but we're being very careful not to get her stuck anywhere, etc etc. And she's only a 1/2 ton short-bed so it's not like we can do any major hauling/towing with her anyway. She's almost too small to make it worth the gas and extra maintenance taking her into Fairbanks for supplies.

One of the rear driveshafts went out on the ATV and it took forever to get the right parts and tools by mail to actually get her fixed. I seriously HATE manufacturers who have little proprietary bits that require their little special tools that they only sell to their licensed mechanics & dealers... requires some creativity, but we worked around that problem, so HA!  But, that left us having to transport stuff by hand/foot in the sled from the little truck at the top of the driveway, nearly a half-mile back to house since the little truck can't handle bad trail and the big truck is stuck blocking the driveway anyway. Dragging 5-gallon jugs of water and fuel in a sled through the boggy mud in the rain really sucks... a week's worth of supplies ends up being a 5-mile trudge with a 100+ lbs in the sled.

And all this leads to many many injuries... wrenched knees, twisted ankles, and seized backs. Add that to me falling down the stairs in the dark and breaking my foot and G falling down several times and messing up his back & knee on the ice this winter... OUCH!  We could handle the physical labor or the sucking quagmire, but not the physical labor in/through the sucking quagmire!!

We also determined that a wet spot we thought was just boggy is actually a seasonal creek after trying to cut the trail around the mud pit it's causing. There is actually moving/running water on both sides of the bog as far as our property line... so we're going to need to figure out some way for the driveway to cross it, either with a bridge or culvert system. Great.

Large portions of the turf are floating again this spring, including all around the cabin. I don't know what changed with the geology/hydrology, but it was major enough to crack & sink a couple of piers frost heaving this winter and with the water issues this spring it's causing major foundation problems. Looks like we're going to have to replace the concrete pads & piers (evidentally NOT able to provide adequate tensile strength at our extreme temps) with stacked railroad ties in a skid/pier combo that are even wider to help displace even more weight. Jacking up and blocking the cabin to do pier replacement is going to be so much fun... of course it has to STOP RAINING and dry out first since the whole yard is a bouyant carpet that we can't risk punching through.

And, the evil insects... the evil evil evil evil insects. Despite treating for mosquitoes and carpenter ants, both are out in full glory again this year. I've evidentally had some sort of critical exposure to the mosquitoes, because I know have a total allergic/histamine reaction after being eaten alive and have to come in and take Benadryl... which knocks me on my ass for the rest of the day. So, yeah, even with Bt and mega-DEET, I'm usually only good for 10-20 minutes outside before I'm withering like a spooked horse and unable to breathe. We're going to have to put more drastic (i.e. expensive) mosquito control measures in soon. The carpenter ants are really bad, and we found them trying to nest in the cabin walls... so it looks like I'm forced to use the seriously deadly poisons even though I'd really like to avoid using those whenever possible.

So, there you go. We really haven't gotten anything done because we're delayed by either lack of materials, malfunctioning vehicle, weather, geology, or the similar delay of a project that needs to get done before we can do others... ARG!!!!  And the stress of the breakages, delays, financial pinch, our injuries/health issues, and our family's health and personal problems is really taking it's toll. My insomnia and panic attacks are back in a major way, and G's not doing much better. Unless we want to spend the summer/year medicated (or in the nuthatch) we'll have to figure something out to solve/alleviate some of the issues that fits time, money and physical/technical constraints. Maybe if we just focus all our efforts on one single thing.....

Well, I'm really not much for whining and being negative; but I figured you guys might be worried about us. Plus, maybe someone will benefit from a little wisdom/insight about the kinds of things that can go wrong at all once and the major kinks it can put in the plans :D

13 comments:

Amanda Pope said...

Oh my such aggravation. Well I hope things work out better for the rest of the year.I wanted to tell you we ended up buying a place in Alabama,thats where I'm from.We have had mosquitoes eating us up too and OMG the ticks are horroriable too.I started a new blog Misty Pines Homestead,I started it a yesterday I think so if you want to take a lookie,Orion is on there and some snow( like you really want to see that LOL) but I started a very small garden to see what will grow here.But anyway hop on over.

Amanda Pope said...

Yep we know what you're feeling,hubstead couldn't find a job (now he has one) but not before we had our lights turned off.And what we walked into with this place was enough to gag a maggot.Had to do a lot of cleaning. Like to of froze to death this winter.And a full size bed does not hold two fat people and a dog!

John said...

Sorry about all the problems you are having, especially the medical ones. Sometimes, I run into problems that can be real annoying or otherwise but, I look at it as things happen and I try to have a better outlook and describe them as an obstacle that needs to be moved. It could be helpful if you post more and have your online friends give you support. Anyway, hope to see more posts coming. Your posts helps many and encourages others. Take care.

Kathy said...

Hi, stranger! Glad to see a post from you - you probably don't know but you've been the inspiration for our blog so it was glad to see you surface again.

Ruth has been keeping me updated on you guys but I didn't know you were having that rough of a year. I look forward to reading the post that says the truck is unstuck and fixed, the mosquitos and ants are gone, and the driveway and foundation are built above the water. :-)

We are Alaska bound and I am writing from British Columbia. We will be in Tok by the beginning of July and will be there for 2 months. Will we be close enough for a visit?

Wendy McEntire said...

So we are not the only ones.....:) I hear you on all sides. Between jerry's medical issues, and then me tearing up my hand. Then the truck has been broke down twice just this summer, and still needs some work. THE RAIN! My van is back down to being parked about 4 miles from the house, as the puddles are too deep,too sloppy to get it through!
Hopefully things will start looking up for all of us! Looking forward to more posts!

Guido Lyons said...

Love your Blog! Glad to know that you guys are still alive and kicking!!! I really enjoyed living vicariously through you and your Alaska adventure.

Plickety Cat said...

Hey everyone - thanks for the support and well-wishes. It's still raining... it will be dry and sunny for a day or so, just long enough for things to start firming up, and then we get another storm. SIGH

Kathy - Tok is a bit far; but if we can get into Fairbanks, we may be able to hook up with you guys mid-way in Delta Junction during one of our supply trips when we head to Delta Meats to fill the freezer. Stay in touch and we'll try to work something out ;)

Anonymous said...

Hope you can post more often, even when it is things you find a bit PITA ;-)

I was just checking in to see how you we enjoy learning so much from you.

Let's hope the second half of the year goes smoother!

sail-dive said...

Really good to hear from you folks again. We spent two months traveling thru Alaska and Canada this summer. The weather was nearly perfect for us. Very few mosquitoes as well. We had a great time.

Amanda Pope said...

Hey still here back online.My goodness what a year huh?We got our homestead going and when you get a chance take a look.Hope you guys are going strong up there and I've missed everyone!

Amanda Pope said...

Hey just wanted to drop by and say miss talking to ya! Everything here has worked out so good and hope you can take a look.We have gotten settled down into the house and have been working our tails off.Can't wait to see more pictures of your place!!!! Hope you get back online soon.

Jeremy and Jenny said...

Hope your well, Just wanted to wish you a happy holiday from Colorado!

Debbie Schreib said...

have you left Alaska? I have followed your blog for a long time. I've had it saved for ages. I see that you never post any longer. I wish you well, but want to know if I should not follow any longer?