Feb 14

Alaska’s Climate Change a Double Edge Sword

Nature seems to be providing new job opportunities to the residents of Alaska.  One would hope that not only more jobs, but with that, more selection in the stores.  Senator Begich wants to further develop ports to accommodate more ships since there are more open waters.    Begich warns that undersized ports won’t handle the increase in ship traffic.

Alaska’s climate change conditions mean new opportunities for shipping and a need to develop ports and harbors around the state, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich told a Homer group on Sunday.
“Oil and gas development means we will need a fleet of ships to service supplies. Our ports are undersized to handle it,” he said. Equipment like icebreakers and a greater Coast Guard presence further north are needed

 

There always seems to be some bad that comes with the good.  These are just some of the issues Alaskans are facing as the climate changes:

 

  • melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and flooding of coastal communities. Warming of oceans and melting of land-based ice increases the volume of ocean water. Loss of sea-ice cover changes habitat for arctic species and leaves coastal communities more exposed to larger waves generated by severe storms.
  • thawing permafrost, increased storm severity, and related infrastructure damage to roads, utility infrastructure, pipelines and buildings. Extremes in weather patterns, precipitation and rising sea levels will affect safe water sources in villages, and contributes to increased erosion along Alaska coasts and rivers and undermines Alaska boreal forests.
  • loss of the subsistence way of life as animal habitat and migration patterns shift and as hunting and fishing become more dangerous with changing sea and river ice. Warming streams and increased silt from melting glaciers affect fish habitat. Boreal forests advance northward and to higher elevations, displacing tundra. Invasive species compete with native vegetation. Humans, animals and plants may be exposed to new infectious diseases as habitat changes.
  • forest fires and insect infestations increasing in frequency and intensity. In the past decade, Alaska has witnessed a record loss of forests to fires and spruce bark beetles.

 

Alaskans have always needed to be prepared for anything and everything in the long winters, but now it is important to prepare for more power outages, fire, floods, and storms.  It also means that people who live off the land my not be able to continue to do things the way they always have.  It will mean a change of culture.  It means that now more than ever, Alaskans need to be preppers and ready to deal with situations they are not accustomed to managing.

Josh

The Daily Prepper News

 

“State of Alaska – Climate Change in Alaska.” State of Alaska – Climate Change in Alaska. 13 Feb. 2013

“Begich: Alaska needs to step up for leadership role in time of climate change | Homer Tribune.” Begich: Alaska needs to step up for leadership role in time of climate change | Homer Tribune. 13 Feb. 2013

 

 

Feb 07

“Emergency Communication….What Works???”

Original posting at Canadian Preppers Network

Edited and re-posted at American Preppers Radio Net

How people communicate with one another when land line phones, cell phones and the internet are at best unreliable or nonexistent, is one thing that seems to get very little attention and is wide open to speculation.
A small group trying to survive hard times (which, depending from your viewpoint seems inevitable) will need to have a plan to communicate with each other. Aside from carrier pigeons, or smoke signals, there are modern options to consider and prep for. Three most readily available are GMRS or FRS radios, CB radios, and Ham radio.


GMRS/FRS: These radios are good for short distances with little terrain interference. Used as pagers/communicators inside a building or a camp, GMRS/FRS radios offer low-cost & convenience. Small and easy to carry, GMRS/FRS radio family biggest drawback is their range. While fine as a group communications tool, they lack the ability of medium or long rage communications.

CB radios: Around for several years as an offshoot of Ham Radio,CB does not require a license and, unlike amateur radio, it may be used for business as well as personal communications. Enjoying a boom in the mid-seventies and are readily available today, CB radios are still the main short range communications choice for Truckers.
You can find CB’s fairly cheaply at yard sales and flea markets. Mandated by regulation as a low power device, the range on these radios is much greater when combined with a signal amplifier, or “Linear” Amp. It is not advocated using a linear amp, however for the most part, enforcement of the restrictions are few and often only when an illegal stations signal interferes with other communication methods. Long distance communication is possible when atmospheric conditions permit.
CB radios come in many different forms, ranging from legal 40 channel/4 watt models, to a grey-area type of “export radio”, that skirts legality by being built for ham radio use, but are easily modified for the CB band. Operating within the 10-12 Meter HF Band, CB radios need a longer antenna than UHF/VHF GMRS/FRS radios. The unregulated “outlaw” nature of CB radio often fills the airways with raucous and foul language. At times, it’s best to keep small children out of the radio shack when the CB is on.

Ham or Amateur Radio: Offers the farthest operating range, and broadest array of communication modes, from voice communication, to text, photo, video, and digital telemetry. Requiring a license to operate, ham radio is well organized and self regulated.
Ham radio is fairly cheap to get started in as there are many used radio bargains around. New ham radios cost run from hundreds, to several thousands of dollars, but with frugal shopping, one can set up a rather nice base station and talk all around the world.
Some of the best ham antennas are homemade, simple to conceal, wire antennas strung between trees. This type set up is very portable if need be, and can be setup almost anyplace. Mobile ham rigs are available that can talk all over the world… A typical ham might check into a long distance radio net during a morning commute, rag chew with regular’s everyday from Florida to Canada and make contacts from east coast to west coast hams with ease.

Choosing a way to communicate outside normal everyday methods, can be a daunting task. So much of it depends on your needs, but how you apply your limited resources, and for what return is inconsequential as long as your ability to get your message heard at a critical time can be assured. For further help in weighing options and to learn more about what choices are available, these websites can be of some help.

Original work by W4DMH refined by KI4HEE

CB/Ham and Other

Ham Radio In US

Ham Radio In US

Ham Radio In US

Ham radio in Canada

Ham radio in Canada
(C) 2009 W4DMH.com

Mar 04

The perfect storm & communications

by kl1hb

It truly seemed as if it was the beginning of the ‘end times’ at least for the United States. A category 8 hurricane was slowly working its way up the East coast wreaking havoc, with power lines down, flooding and many thousands of casualties all along its path. At the same time a record breaking number of tornadoes cut many paths of destruction in our nation’s mid-section with the states of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas Illinois and Louisiana all declaring states of emergency. Then just when there was a break in the worst summer in American history an 8.9 earthquake struck California and two nuclear reactors shut down and were in danger of having there containment buildings breached.

This outbreak of natural disasters coming just weeks after Iran and Venezuela had shut off the flow of oil to the US and the occupy wall street people had shut down ports in Baltimore, California, Oregon and Washington state. With long lines at the gas pumps and shortages in our Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 17

Middle of Alaska in the Middle of Winter Part 6

By Alaska Rose

Lifting heavy things is not so good for people although I had been doing it all my life. I guess that last bond beam was the straw that broke the camels back as far as my insides were concerned. So, I spent the end of April in the hospital having surgery to correct a few things. The doctor cleared me to go back to doing my usual stuff by the middle of June so the next day we started my daughter’s house. I started up the backhoe and took it to her building site to prepare the ground. I dug out support holes to bedrock for the large 15” x 24” x 20’ timbers we place on pilings. We filled the holes with gravel and large rocks to make a sturdy pad for each support post. Then we placed the timbers on top using the backhoe. I dug out and placed the septic tank while I had the backhoe running and handy.

We framed in her house and had it ready for the roof by the end of August. As a joke, one person suggested we just add a 3rd floor, since my daughter couldn’t make up her mind exactly how she wanted the rooms as her daughter kept wanting her room bigger and bigger. We looked over what we still had for supplies and added a small 3rd story area that became my daughters’ bedroom/bathroom and walk in closet. The fellow that has the partially build cabin volunteered to roof the house for her in exchange for her hauling his firewood he had cut along the roadway to his house, so we didn’t think of looking for someone else. He had been very negative about my family moving out here, other than my Mom, from the start. Not sure why he volunteered, although he had the kids haul all his cut firewood for him in exchange for his roofing the place. They did their part, even stacking it, although he never acknowledged their work. He fiddled around until late September, then said it was too late to do it, but a neighbor guy showed up and was sitting on the roof waiting to put the metal on, so they finally did, that day. However, he somehow managed to not put in the chimney jack and by the next day we had a foot of snow. So everyone living in the shop got to spend another winter in the shop instead of moving into the house and working on the inside during the winter. I also ended up back at the hospital for repair surgery to the repair surgery done in the Spring. The doctor didn’t realize what my usual work was, I guess.

The garden did pretty good this Summer, also. Alison and I had built another greenhouse, a bit sturdier and in a more protected area from wind than the first one. This one had 2”x4” framework and the top was again the PVC pipe set into drilled holes in a ridgepole and into holes in the top plate of the side walls. It worked very well. Due to my being back in the hospital at the wrong time, I didn’t get it disassembled and the snow wrecked it.
As soon as the weather warmed enough in the Spring, we started work on the inside of my daughters’ house. Insulating with fiberglas batts, then a foil faced foam board thermal break then taping the seams of that and adding a good heavy duty plastic vapor barrier and taping all seams and nail holes. Electrical boxes were caulked around and sealed to keep ice from forming on outside walls from moisture going through in winter. None of us care for sheetrock, and couldn’t afford good paneling, so the houses are paneled in CDX plywood. We lightly sand the surface to smooth it down some and get rid of most of the stamped markings. Then several coats of satin polyurethane gives a nice soft finish. When doing the roof, we use thicker fiberglas batts and the foil faced foam board, and vapor barrier as in the walls, then do the walls and place the vapor barrier over the hanging part from the ceiling. This way no moisture can get up into the ceiling to form ice during the winter. It only takes a pinprick through the vapor barrier to cause ice buildup in the walls and ceiling. In the winter, as you drive in residential areas of town, you can tell homes that have a problem. In cold weather, every wall stud shows on the frost on the outside walls and usually there will be ice dams along the eaves on the roof. The ice dams are from a hot roof and the heat melts the snow on the roof, but as it runs off, it hits the cold once it is past the wall and freezes, building up and backing up under the shingles on the roof to cause damage. Icicles may look cool in pictures, but they are not something you want to see hanging in quantities from your roof.

Even though we have a ridgepole type ceiling and the roof is directly overhead, these roofs are still cold roofs and don’t ice up in winter. Over the rafters, I placed Tyvek to hold the fiberglas batts from fluffing out and touching the roof, then a 1 inch spacer board to hold the Tyvek in place over each rafter, then roughcut nailer boards across the rafters to fasten the sheets of metal roofing to. So the roofing material is over 2 inches from the insulation. In very cold weather, the air circulates through that 2 inch space very well. There is no wasted space in any of these buildings and all materials are utilized to the optimum. The rafters crisscross over the ridge beam and are nailed firmly together over the top and to the ridge beam, also. The fiberglas insulation is over the whole works, so it all makes a very good thermal break and the foil faced foam board makes the thermal break complete. This looks very nice in the finished buildings and helps in even the smaller buildings to feel roomy and not claustrophobic. I think part of so called cabin fever is folks living in a small dark space. The houses built here are light inside and give the appearance of space. Plus going outside a while almost every day helps, also. Nothing like fresh air to clear the cobwebs.

Feb 01

Middle of Alaska in the Middle of Winter Part 5

By Alaska Rose

To say I was not a happy person to be moved halfway through senior year of high school with no advance notice even is putting it mildly. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t know how to ride a horse. We had cattle on the coast, but they were fairly gentle and could herd them on foot. Not so these range cattle in the high desert. Now I was expected to be an overnight cowboy? Well, Daddy had been disappointed before, he was about to be, again.

I was born 9 months and 2 weeks after Pearl Harbor. Daddy was going to war to hunt people and was going to leave a male heir behind just in case. Well, he didn’t get to go hunting as his job was declared necessary to the war effort. In those days the frames of planes was made of the straight grain Spruce from the Oregon coast which was what my Father supplied. Me not turning out to be a boy was the final insult and my Mom did it on purpose according to him. He never quite forgave any of us, Uncle Sam, Mom or me. One night when he was at it again at me about Mom being so inconsiderate as to have a girl instead of a boy, I informed him that the male determines the sex of the child. Ooooboy, just about caused my own demise on that one. Lucky for me, he was roaring drunk and couldn’t catch me. However, I never heard any more about it, the rest of his life. A little knowledge can get a kid in lots of trouble. Not having good sense about when to use that knowledge, even more so.

Back on Topic.

When Mom sold her house, I had bought 2 container units, 20’ long, and a friend hauled them over and dumped them at her place. My sister and her daughters went over and packed and stuffed those container units to the -inth degree. The friend owned a shipping company and came back, picked up the units and hauled them to Seattle and got them on a barge to Seward, Alaska, where they were placed on the train to Fairbanks. I hired a trucker to haul them out here, from Fairbanks and he dropped them off up near where I had lived the first summer in my tent. They got here in December and we had to rush like mad to get them unloaded and all into the house, mostly upstairs, since we were still working downstairs and didn’t want the stuff to freeze any more than it may have getting here.

We pretty much finished up the downstairs interior on Mom’s house by Spring. Even better, I had gotten a generator and some power tools, so the finish work on Mom’s house was not all chainsaw work. A woman internet friend had decided to move to Alaska and was staying with us over in the partially finished cabin. So we decided to just move on down to Mom’s house, since she still wasn’t doing well enough to be living on her own. I slowly weaned her off of a lot of the meds assorted doctors in Oregon had her on. I don’t think any of them paid attention to what the others were giving her. I found a pretty good doctor in Fairbanks and got her in to see him. He picked out the 3 she really needed, on the meds and we pitched the rest. By the time she got to see him, she had about 6 she was taking that I wasn’t sure about. I also didn’t want to cause more problems by taking them all away at one time and too quickly.

The internet friend decided she was not cut out for remote living and moved to town. She was in bad health, and needed lots of meds, also. I couldn’t afford to keep her in meds, so she got a job in town and stayed for several years. She moved back to Florida last year to be near her kids and take care of some inherited property. I hope that works out for her.

Mom’s health continued to improve and I continued to do stuff on the property. I had started gardening the first Spring before I even got my tent up. I dozed the willows, birch and alder off a nice area and Alison and I built a greenhouse out of PVC pipe and plastic. It was shaped like a quonset hut and I had tilled the dirt before we built it over the area. It was about 20 x 30 feet and I used document clamps to hold the plastic to the PVC pipe. The edges were held down with rebar rods driven into the ground so the wind wouldn’t take the whole thing away. I should have glued all the joints of the pipe, but wasn’t sure that was where I wanted the greenhouse to be forever. I had to repair the greenhouse often that summer. But the ground did produce pretty good. When I dozed off the brush, the ground was still frozen solid so all the roots snapped off at ground level. It was a real job tilling that ground. Alison and I took turns each trip out, one unpacking the load and the other tilling on the garden. We had planted early stuff to transplant in the greenhouse as soon as we got it built, so as soon as there was any rows halfway ready to plant, I was planting. Alison gave me some extra plants she had started in her greenhouse so I also had nice tomato and pepper plants.

I started a small shop building below Mom’s house in August. It was a 2 story 16’ x 24’ building. Built on the same pattern as Mom’s house. Each floor was one large room on the shop. On Mom’s only the top floor is one large room. Using a bond beam as a ridgepole and crisscrossing the rafters over it makes a large open area and no wasted space. I have a hard time with trusses. They leave such a large roofed over area unfit for any use except maybe some storage on limited scale. On these small 2 story buildings, by making the sidewalls on the upper floor 4 or 6 feet high, it keeps the house looking good, not top heavy, and makes a lot of room for everything you want to put in the area. On the shop, I put the roof bond beam across the short direction instead of the standard way of the long measure. Then I put 2 4×4 foot windows on the south facing wall. This opens up the whole upstairs to lots of light. There are 3 small 2×2 foot opening windows under the eaves on each side for cross ventilation in summer. One large and one small window on the north facing wall upstairs. By October 6th, my daughter, her 2 youngest teenagers and a friend had moved into the little shop with their 8 cats and 2 dogs. It was a bit crowded. We started their house the following Summer.

Jan 17

Middle of Alaska in the Middle of Winter Part 4

By Alaska Rose

My Mom still lived in Oregon at that time, but her health was not good. So she sold her house and sent me the money to build her a house here on my property. She wanted a house large enough to hold most of her possessions and it was her money, so that is what she got. The initial building is 32’ x 40’. She didn’t have enough for a full upstairs and I only had enough money to buy half the studs needed, so I built the upstairs sidewalls only 4 feet high. The ridge beam is 12’ above the floor, so it gives a good pitch and the short part is built in book shelves along both side walls. My 6’7” grandson does have a small problem if he don’t duck while looking for a book, but most others never do.
The building project started in May and Mom moved up just before Thanksgiving that Winter. She and I stayed in the partially finished house since this one was not finished enough for her to live in. It was warm inside in both houses as I kept a stove going all winter so we could do the inside finish work. Both the guys knew my Mom and liked her, so helped a lot on framing in and doing a lot of the work, especially after I fell through between the floor joists in the one corner that was almost 6 feet above ground and rearranged my ribs. The one fellow donated 30 days to helping build Mom’s house. The other one worked for wages. He had never built anything in his life except to assemble a shelf unit, prefab, from a box.
I heard nothing but bellyaching about using my own designs and not having blueprints. I had built a small guest cabin, started the first winter I stayed out here. It was built with as much salvage materials and rough cut lumber as I could scrounge up. All chainsaw construction> I didn’t have a generator yet and no battery powered tools. I did get pretty handy with the chainsaw though and even made all the plywood cuts with it, besides the studs, etc. I had still thought we were going to be a Guide/Outfitters setup to make extra income. The guest cabin would house the hunters and if they brought any family, they could all stay in it.
So much for doing my own thinking. The one fellow was now out of a wife and money, his health was so bad he couldn’t get a regular job, so he moved into the guest cabin. It is only 16’ x 20’ and was not built for winter occupancy. It has a ¾ loft and a circular staircase I made. I don’t think that was one of my better designs, but it is still in use. The other fellow was off doing his own thing, Still is. He occasionally brings a girlfriend to spend some time in his remote half finished cabin.
I did take a couple of free classes at the University in Fairbanks on Arctic building, so it isn’t exactly like I hadn’t a clue and just started pounding nails. I also have a whole section in my library of books on building, plumbing, wiring and assorted other skills. There are a lot of free classes and books available to anyone that looks for them, on assorted skills for living anywhere. I was lucky enough (or not, depending on point of view) to grow up living like people did in the late 1800’s. If we didn’t grow it or kill it, we didn’t eat and if we broke something, no matter what, we had to repair it. Until halfway through my senior year in high school, we lived 8 miles from the highway on a dirt road needing 4 wheel drive to mange most of the time. No electricity, no phone, no radio, no TV, pretty much like I live now. Now, I do have a generator and propane lights plumbed into the house with copper tubing so seldom need the kerosene lamps although I do like my old Aladdin lamp that gives off a lovely bright light, no pressure required and has a preformed mantle. I used to haul water in a bucket from the creek out back, I now haul drinking water in 5 gallon buckets and 15 gallon polydrums from town. We had an outhouse quite a ways from the house, back then, I still have an outhouse, but did plumb the house as I built since it is easier to do it while building instead of retro fitting. We use a “honey bucket” system in the winter so it isn’t as bad as in the “olde days”. Mom had to spade the 2 huge gardens we had then, by hand each Spring and hoe the whole thing to keep weeds down. I have a couple of rototillers and do my gardens that way and till between the rows during the Summer so I only have to weed in the row itself. I also have a greenhouse and a sun porch for early starting and sometimes manage to winter over a few things or extend the growing season a bit. Mom and I used to poach a deer now and then when we needed meat. We raised cattle, but that was the profit and you don’t eat profit. So I had never cooked beef until after I got married. Halfway through my senior year in high school, my Dad traded the coast property for a large cattle ranch in eastern Oregon and we were expected to become overnight cowboys. Oh yeah, lots of fun.

Jan 13

Middle of Alaska in the Middle of Winter Part 3

by Alaska Rose

Middle of Alaska in the Middle of Winter Part 3

The best laid plans oft go awry. My plans sure did and they weren’t all that well laid to start with I guess.
Supposedly, 2 of my fellow guides were going to kick in and this was going to be a group project with everyone having part ownership in it. They were also going to show up in Fairbanks by April to help me pack and move. They did each sell their own homes in their respective States and that is as far as it went. One seemed to invest in dot.com stocks and assorted other great get rich quick schemes and the other invested in a new wife and as soon as the money was gone, so was she. They showed up July 3rd, 2 days before I had to have my house with 35 years of accumulated stuff empty and turned over to the new owner. Lucky for me, a long time friend helped from the time she first found out, and an internet friend, paid his own way up to work his butt off for the little bit of time he got to spend here. Between the 3 of us and a hitchhiker we acquired, we got it mostly done. Alison, John and Tom E. were the best help a person could find. We set up tents for them along with mine (a circus tent wannabe I found at Sam’s Club). My tent I had set up in May, was a brilliant red and yellow creation. I placed pallets, covered them in plywood and nailed the tent corners to that. The tent was 3 rooms and I had room to store my electronic stuff. Computer, no service, radio, no signals, tape player, no batteries. Well, we did get batteries finally that fit the tape player.

Just before John and Tom E. arrived, we found a pile of 3” x 12” x 16’ bridge decking being removed from one of the bridges along the way out from town. Alison and I asked and were given permission to salvage, so we spent part of each trip making one more short trip hauling timbers. One load for me on the way out here, and one load for her, dropped off at her house on the way in to get more of my stuff. This site was only 7 miles from this property, so sure was nice getting those.

She and I immediately quit building the rough log building for storage, dug out a bank and leveled it a bit with the backhoe and started building a storage shed using the timbers stacked on edge for the walls. We leveled the ground and had 3 walls built on the first day we worked on it. That shed is still doing it’s job. I later added a floor in it. John got here the night after we got the 3 back/sidewalls up and started on the front wall. On one of our trips hauling stuff from town, we found a hitchhiker sitting on top a pile of belongings by the road. We offered him a ride at least as far as this place, he accepted. We managed to pile his load on top our load and bungee corded it all on. We offered him dinner if he would help us unload the extremely heavy load we were hauling, he accepted and worked well with us. We had another tent, so he set it up and moved in.

He had been planning on traveling up the Dalton Highway to Chandalar Shelf and spending a winter on his own out there. He had a small handgun and a little bit of food and a hammer and some nails, in his gear. He started building an outhouse by one of the building sites I had dozed out the year before. It was the first thing he had ever built. It is still standing even.

We did have a bear try to hibernate under it one winter. It hadn’t been used, the bear dug a hole down under it and pulled a pile of National Geographic magazines we had stored up in the top area and a bag of dog food and a jug of water. I guess he thought he was set for the winter, racy reading material, (all the animal photos) crunchy snacks and water. What more could a bear ask for? Probably not to get shot by one of the guys. I prepared the hams like pit roasted pig, covering in spinach instead of whatever type leaves they use in Hawaii. Then we slow roasted and it was falling apart by the time it was served. The people all thought it was pig and loved it, no leftovers even. I never told them where it was shot at. Thought it might ruin some appetites.

The guy that invested in dot.coms had been given a lot of building materials by the company he had worked for and hauled them up plus buying more along the way. He started building and had good plans for the place, but never proceeded beyond the first floor and no actual roof, just the floor for the upstairs and covered it in tarps then plastic membrane. Built to Lower 48 standards, it forms mold inside the walls and is a mold haven. Too many holes in the vapor barrier and when he actually lived in it, the ice would form in the ceiling all winter, then leak indoors while it thawed in the spring. He hasn’t spent a winter in it in quite a while. I finally made him sign a lease so he couldn’t claim adverse possession in Court on it. I am not putting anyone’s name on the title that didn’t contribute a good portion of the initial purchase price so I could actually buy materials and build myself a house.
I stayed in that partially built house, part of the first winter, while there was no insulation in it at all and burned about 5 cords of wood in less than a month trying to keep it warm enough not to freeze to death in there. I finally went to town and bought a drip heater and a couple barrels of diesel to help keep it warm. I used a 44 mag to drill a hole in the floor to put the copper tubing out to the barrel on a frame I had. Finally he sent some money up to the other guy and when he got time, he brought out some insulation and I got busy insulating but no vapor barrier at that time which was another mistake. But I had no money and wasn’t spending any on his project and not about to freeze in that place.

Jan 10

Middle of Alaska in the Middle of Winter Part 2

by Alaska Rose

Middle of Alaska in the Middle of Winter Part 2

That first winter, there was officially 145 inches of snow and out in the swamp we were living in, it got down to minus 82 degrees. It actually officially got down to minus 81 degrees at Prospect, Alaska. Twenty years later, the official snowfall record was again broken and we had 147 inches of snow.
I was not a fan of Interior Alaska by the end of the first winter here. I was not a fan of the Toad I was married to either, but hung in there for another 5 years. I had been raised to believe that once married, it was for life. However, if I had stayed married much longer to the Toad, one of us would had a shortened life span. He could talk a good game on hunting, and living out of town, but the reality was so far from the truth, that it didn’t even have passing acquaintance.

True to form, we didn’t even do divorce the usual way. He went back to Oregon, I stayed in Alaska.
I worked at the hospital in town a while, then was offered a job on a small gold mining operation. Yay. I also liked the guy offering the job, so the hospital got notice and I got another job.

I loved the remote mining camp and also loved the owner. A year later we got married. For once, I got it right and he was a real Prince. We had a very good life together and enjoyed most of the same type of living. Not in town, although his house had became part of town. Towns have a habit of expanding and we planned on selling and moving a lot farther out. He had a heart attack on his way to work one morning and never got to see a day of his dream or retirement.

I did some mining, worked as a hunting and a fishing guide and some taxidermy work. I painted a couple of murals and some portraits and did some wildlife paintings. I also took a course in metalsmithing and became a pretty good goldsmith.

I made some bad decisions which no one here wants or needs to know about or read, this is a family forum.

Ten years passed.

I bought this place by mortgaging my house as payment for it, then sold the mortgage to someone that wanted the house. So there I was, a nice 80 acre piece of property almost 70 miles from town. Not a road or building of any sort on it.

I got my old dozer that was a Mothers Day gift from my husband hauled to the site and a few days later, the old backhoe I had bought since his death. I really started from scratch on the building here. I had too start a driveway where the State D.O.T. approved a driveway access. Over 2200 feet of highway frontage, some fairly level and straight stretch of highway, but no, he approved my access right through a steep gravel cutbank onto the only permafrost corner of my whole property.

There was no way to get the dozer close enough to the highway to fuel it, so I was busy hauling diesel in 5 gallon cans and then climbing the dozer and dumping them in. Lots of fun, especially when it is wet. I wallowed out enough trees and brush for the ground to start thawing and got approval to use a couple of sections of old mining pipe I had, 23 inch diameter, for the culvert. It was not a pretty job, but I got a driveway cut onto the property and the start of access to the rest of it.

I was knocking over trees by the dozen ahead of the dozer when I saw the tops of a bunch of trees directly in front of me. Dang, a bluff I hadn’t noticed. That could have been not funny at all. So I stopped on that piece of access road and went the other way along a section of old roadbed and then cut down the hill again, but watching for treetops this time. The hillside is in a series or steps down towards the small river below . I found a couple of good building spots so started leveling them a bit. The roadway was very rough yet at this stage and I wish I had something to actually grade it with, to smooth and level it, but driving over it a lot will help on that.

So my poor pickup got used as a compactor on the road, trying to firm it up as much as possible this first autumn. I also hauled out loads of stuff from town, to leave unattended over the winter. I hauled loads of free pallets to set everything up off the ground on. Then covered in plastic sheeting and tarps. Not the most secure in the world, but it had to do at the time.

Then I headed down the Yukon on my last full season of hunting guide for the guide I worked for. Almost 2 months later, I made it back and the new driveway was already snowed in so right on to town for my last winter in town.

Jan 08

Middle of Alaska in the middle of the Winter Part 1

by Alaska Rose

When I was a kid, I certainly never once said to myself, “Self, by the time I am an old lady, I want to be living out in the middle of Alaska.” Well, I probably can not be considered a lady but I am old. the alternative doesn’t thrill me, so here I am.
How I got here involves marrying a Toad, dragging my feet and doing some kicking and screaming along the way, but eventually we ended up living in Alaska.

We did move to Southeastern Alaska first and I actually liked it there. It is very similar to the Oregon coast without so many people. If a person is willing to work at it, it is fairly easy to grow or harvest from the land and sea plenty to live on and live very well. I had a very nice small garden behind the house we finally rented after living for months in a 2 bedroom trailer in a very crowded trailer park with another family and a couple of spare adults thrown in to keep it crowded. Dumb me, I thought when we found a house to move to, that the others would stay in the trailer. Ha. No such luck, they tagged along. At least in the house we had more room and a lovely view of the entire Bay. I started up a small at home taxidermy business and tanned some bear hides in the utility room, using my dryer as a tumbler, lol. I had made a few friends and we were doing so well I should have realized the Toad couldn’t handle that. He hated not being able to pack up in the middle of the night and moving on. An island just don’t support that life style very well.

The next thing I knew, he had quit his good job, talked to a stranger about Fairbanks and bought a pickup sight unseen from a dealer on another island and booked us on the Ferry to leave in a week.

The pickup finally showed up on another Ferry, a bucket of rust and large payments, not exactly what it had been touted as. Oh well, we didn’t have time to argue, he was loading and we were going.

When we landed at Haines and the start of the highway north to Interior Alaska, we found that the windshield wipers didn’t work. Of course it was raining, so I tied a piece of fish line from one wiper, through the old wing windows out the other side wing window and to the other wiper and across to the first wiper. I was the wiper motor for several hundred miles through rain, sleet and later, snow. That sure doesn’t make a person in a very good mood by the time they can finally stop that.

We got to the Fairbabnks area in the first week of October and it was already winter. All the horror stories I had heard about the frozen north were true. Damn. A couple of weeks later I got to experience my first earthquake. I thought some jerk had run a semi through our dinky trailer we were back to living in. About that time the radio announcer yelled and then informed us that was quite a shaker.

That winter broke a couple of records. One for snow and one for cold, although they both have been broken again, since then. We were living in another trailer out near Badger Slough with no running vehicle and the Toad out of work. Moose are too big to poach easily to live on, and I didn’t klnow any of the folks near us and whether or not they would turn me in, if I tried that, anyway. It was too demeaning to the Toad to hitchhike to town and beg for food stamps and then to buy groceries with them, so I got to do it. I didn’t have any Arctic or even plain winter gear. I wore moccasins stuffed with cardboard insole and newspaper layers, then all the socks I could manage and a couple of pairs of pants and as many T shirts, sweaters and overcoats as I could move in with a scarf wrapped around my face and neck and a stocking cap on my head. I looked like those cartoons of kids all bundled up and unable to move. Then I got to go see if anyone would give me a ride the 8 miles to town.

At that time, no one passed up someone walking in the winter. It could mean they would die if left along the road, so I always got a ride. But the vehicles were few and far between. By the end of the winter, I had shoveled such a good pathway around the whole trailer that a large truck could have driven around it. Oh yeah, we also were in another 2 bedroom trailer with yet another extra family and 1 extra adult living with the Toad and I and our 2 pollywogs. The poor little kids didn’t have winter gear either, so I painted some pictures of natives on velvet and sold them to someone that felt sorry for me and bought all I had. It was just enough money to make sure my kids didn’t freeze while waiting for the school bus or at recess. School was never closed due to weather.

So I shoveled any time I got the urge to thin out the population of the trailer, starting with the Toad. By the end of winter, I had frozen the bottoms of me feet rather badly and sat crying in the bathtub full of lukewarm water while they thawed. The bottoms then became large water blisters and I had to pretty much crawl until my feet healed up. They are very cold sensitive and I still have to watch out for damaging them again.

Okay, I am not sure if this is what a Blog is supposed too be, but figured so many wonder how I came to live here, I thought I would give a fairly condensed version of the events leading to me living out here in the middle of nowhere.

Dec 25

(No title)

Merry ChristMass to all!

Casey in Alaska

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