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Showing posts from May, 2010
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So, Tustumena lake. On a working boat. Yes, yes I know. Doesn't seem possible. The truth is the boat had a couple of problems but they were my error rather than the boat. We need to get further off shore before using the main motor or the jet gets plugged. It also only burned 7.8 gallons per hour! Good lessons. We had planned to go back to Tustumena Glacier. Just by typing "Tustumena Glacier" I think I am doubling the amount of information on the Internet about it. I could find few pictures and no one appears to have chronicled the entire trip from Slackwater on the Kasilof River to the glacier. Alas, neither am I. Not today. For the lake turned us back. It went from flat calm like in this picture to waves crashing over the boat. Crazy. That lake is like that. It is like a switch goes off. The wind starts blowing off the glacier it gets mean fast. So we waited I cooked a chicken. Prince William Sound shrimp. I may have had a cocktail. When it got calm enough we wen…
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So, I decided to take the new interns out to sea test the boat. Did it run perfectly? No. A problem with the batteries or the starter. In fact I couldn't get it going at first. We used the kicker to power up the Kasilof into Tustumena lake. It got so shallow that we had to get out of the boat and push it off some sand. It was quite an adventure. But at least the wheels stayed on the trailer this time! I've got some things to check. I'm almost tempted to give up. But I don't know how much I will be able to use it later this summer or next summer. So I will do what needs to be done. Otherwise not much is new. It seems silly to me that I am at this stage in my life and I can't even have one toy without being broke all the time. So I have decided to make some changes to our life. It will take some time but not even a beautiful night on Tustumena could convince me that I can keep going like this. Hope all is well with everyone. This weekend promises to be beautiful weat…
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So, pigs. When times seem hard go back to what you know. I know winter isn't far away. It is amazing for me how much that thought dominates my mind in Alaska. So I found some weaner pigs. My chickens are growing. My garden and potatoes are in. The greenhouse is up. The wood is split and stacked. I will start making booze soon. The boat is almost fixed and we will test her on Thursday night. Even though I haven't been able to shake the April blues yet this year, I feel better looking at these little guys. No matter what happens, this winter I can eat a home grown pork roast. Make a loaf of bread. Cook up some of our potatoes and carrots. Open a bottle of homemade blueberry wine. Enjoy the night. I don't know why I struggle so much to be happy. I can't explain it: for all intents and purposes I have everything I ever wanted. Sometimes I have to fall back on what I know, like raising hogs. Grow pigs, grow.
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So, what a day. Some good. Some bad. Some very bad. First, I saw the doctor today. I was having some pain in places where there should be no pain. Not only is it uncomfortable but it has been worrying me. The bottom line? He can't find anything. We will wait and see. That is better than "you have cancer" or something. Second, I was incredibly proud of myself. I figured out how to put together an axle. It may not sound like much but I was proud anyways. I spent my lunch hour at the shop learning how to do it and when I came home it all just fit together like it should. The trailer hasn't been road tested yet but I feel good about it. I didn't want to borrow the money to buy the parts but it is done. The trailer and boat may be in perfect working order. That may become important for the bad news. The bad news is that it looks like my buddy Jesse is leaving to go to law school. That is bad news for me. I am glad for him. But most of the adventures I have are wi…
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So, in the spirit of changing the topic, here is a scan of our new baby. I still don't know the sex, but both J and I think it is a girl. This will be a last child for us so we are still hoping for a boy. As long as it is healthy..whatever happens I am resigned to having a house full of women for the next 18 years. J and I are still trying to figure out how to do this: where are we physically going to put her? This house isn't really big enough for a third child and the car may not hold three kids. I guess it will all just work out somehow. J and I spent part of the day yesterday at a new friends house. She is 70 and raised 12 kids. Her stories helped put things in perspective. I can't worry about the little things so much...it will all pass me by in the blink of an eye if I do. So. I will go plant potatoes now. Enjoy some home brew. Fix the boat and fill the freezers with fish. All will be well.
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So, I had hoped to show you pictures of my working boat today. Instead, a wheel fell off my trailer. Why? I cannot say. It was greased. It worked before. But let me count the blessings. First, I noticed it at a slow speed. If it had come off on the highway it could have wrecked my boat. I could have been hurt or killed. Someone else. Second, I was only a mile from home. It took me almost two hours to go that mile. I had the right jack after the tire went flat last week. So I would jack it up, stick the tire on, and move 10 feet. Stop. Jack it up, put the tire on and move 10 feet. Imagine if it had been in Homer! I got tired of moving the jack so I just held it out the window. Good lord. The structure of the trailer was rebuilt a few years ago when I tried to put new tires on it and it just collapsed. I guess I should have had the bearings done too. I really can't imagine what else will go wrong. I think with some help I can get the axle off and have the mechanic rebuild it. The…
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So, I've been frustrated the last few days. Just everything, it seems, has gone wrong. I fixed the burst pipes in the shop but when I went to turn on the hot water heater, it wouldn't come on. I put my ear next to it to listen and I got an electrical shock! So now that is FUBAR. The gaskets in the taps were all wrecked and I spend a good part of the day (unsucessfully) trying to get them to stop leaking. So when my mechanic called and said the boat was ready, I knew I needed to get out. I decided to take her out to Tustumena and sea test her. We got her out there and she wouldn't start. After some cranking she did but she promptly overheated. So I shut her down. I knew there was air in the system that I needed to get out but I couldn't get her re-started as the batteries were now dead. I couldn't get the kicker started either for a while. Of course I did and then promptly hit a rock with the propeller. Character my buddy called it. We got the boat back on the tra…
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So, I needed a few days to clear my head. I got lucky and a friend asked me to help move his commercial fishing boat from Homer to Seward. The best part? The trip was free. He needed the help and would pay the expenses. Hell yeah. Not only is he is a super cool guy but I love being on the boat. Besides it is a part of Alaska that I had never seen before. Unless you have the right boat, you will never see it. The trip took about 24 hours. We stopped a fished a little and I caught my first halibut of the year. I saw puffins, sea lions, whales (including a new calf) and amazing scenery. Whenever I go out with the guys I am always camp cook. It is just my thing. Just as it was time to cook we hit rough seas. I had never cooked in a galley with everything rocking and rolling. But it was fun. I would laugh everytime the food would go up and down and up. The Captain enjoyed the food. That night we anchored in Chugach Bay and I fell asleep to the hum of the diesel engine and the ocean. …