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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Here and Gone...

Well there's good news and bad. We got a puppy, Mackenzie River/husky cross, so of course had to name him Mac. We haven't had a puppy, or litter of puppies, for maybe twenty years. Most of our dogs are adult rescues, so this one is a treat.

The bad news is my old leader, Jabba apparently developed acute pancreatitis and died. The vet did his best, but he never fully woke up after the surgery. At least we were able to bring him home before he passed, so that's something I guess.
Jabba in his prime, He was a natural leader, one of the best I've been lucky enough to have.

Jabba leading the team home. I had hoped he'd be able to train the new pup this winter when the pup was old enough to run with the team, but I guess some things aren't meant to be.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Grandpa was a carpenter...

Well not exactly, he was a cabinet maker, but still, like the John Prine song goes, he was "level on the level and shaved even every door." When I was a young kid, my family moved in with the grandparents so my mom could take care of them. While Grandma was fine with it, my Grandpa not so much, having two wild indians like my brother and I running around probably wasn't high on his retirement plans. But we coexisted as a blended family for almost ten years before he died. He had a wood shop in the basement and would spend most of his time down there working on his projects. I don't know if he made stuff to sell or it was just to get away from us but he did a lot of wood working in his time. After he passed, his son (my uncle) came over and cleaned the shop out, taking whatever he wanted. Most of the power tools and a lot of the hand tools disappeared but he did leave some stuff that eventually wound up here with me.
Theses are the tools I remember getting from him. Probably the most used has been  the brace and bit. When we first built the cabin, there was no power, so I hand drilled a couple of hundred holes in the logs to drive the spikes into. It still works great. The scissors are kind of interesting, not sure what he used them for, cutting patterns maybe, they're real heavy duty.
These were some of his projects. Apparently one his things was to glue different types of wood together and carve them into shape on his wood lathe. My brother sent these up to me when he moved from the midwest to Florida.
This was the one thing gramps made that I always liked. I remember playing with the ship in a bottle when I was a little kid and my mom telling me to be careful and not break it (Google: impossible bottle). It's a good thing she kept an eye on me or it probably wouldn't be here today.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Hail, All Hail...

Had a heck of a thunderstorm last evening, it dropped almost an inch of hail, some of the bigger ones were three quarter of an inch around, maybe not big by midwest standards, but probably the biggest I've seen up here.
The hail storm lasted for almost an hour, one of the longest we've had.

Here's the May weather summary from the Alaska Climate Center.

Mean monthly temperature was 53.3°F, which was 3.9°F above normal. The observed maximum temperature was 82°F on the 10th of the month, the minimum temperature was 27°F on the 1st. The total monthly precipitation was 0.5", which was 0.1" below normal.

This was the first monthly above normal temperature we've had since last fall. While it wasn't a record cold winter, could've used some global warming in Jan/Feb.

Monday, June 8, 2020

More Firewood...

After the crews cut down the dead trees along the power line (All spruced up 5/22/20), I was telling my friend Bill about it and how there were more dead trees to drop, some pretty close to the house. He mentioned that his neighbors nephew worked on one of the crews and dropped trees as a side  job. Bill had hired him and seemed pleased with his work, so I called and asked him to come over when he had time and check it out. He came over the other day and took down four trees near the house and garage. I helped him out and learned a little about how the professionals do it. Every tree went just where it was supposed to, so now all I have to do buck them up, split and stack it. Too much fun!

While I've dropped lots of trees, they didn't always go where I wanted them to, so it was worth it to get help on the ones close in. This spruce measured 95 ft. from stump to top, so could easily have hit the house.

Still splitting the trees that were dropped earlier, so I know what I'll be doing most of the summer!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

All Split Up...

Well not exactly all, but starting to make a dent in all the wood that was bucked up from that giant double spruce tree that the power line crew cut down.

After hauling several loads up from the power line, been splitting it with the hydraulic splitter.

Seems like a lot, but that's just from a portion of the smaller tree. Likely will have 3-4 times that much when finished splitting the bigger tree. Just last week I was worrying about not having enough wood for the winter, well not so much now. But I did get out a couple of times on the 850T, it ran great and gas leak's fixed, so that was pretty good too.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

April Weather Summary...

Here's the weather summary for April. The average temperature for the month was 30.5° which was 2.0° below normal. The high was 54° on the 15th while the low was -5° on the 8th. Total precipitation was 1.3" which was 1.0" above normal. Snowfall totaled 8" and the end of the month depth was 12". Summary from NWS with the UAF GI climate chart.

Friday, May 22, 2020

All Spruced Up...

Well not exactly, down is more likely. The spruce bark beetle infestation that hit southern Alaska a while back has apparently made it's way here. We have several large spruce that died over the winter and needed to be removed. Since a couple were near the power line, we called the local electric service and they came out and dropped them.

While they did a good job dropping the trees, they still had to be bucked up and hauled away, so that's my job.

This was a pretty impressive tree; it was kind of sad to see it go.

The logs were so big you could only get three at a time into the bucket.  But they also dropped some small birch that apparently were in the way, so used them to fill the load. Lots of firewood!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Social Distancing...

Saw some funny signs for the so-called social distancing that we're supposed to do to avoid close contact with the Covid virus.

Apparently this is being used in parts of Canada as an official information sign.

This one is from a restaurant in Chicago. Trubisky is the Bear's quarterback, who had a less than stellar performance last year.

This was posted on another blog, it didn't say where it was from.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Spring has sprung...

Last week there was still a foot of snow on the ground and it got below freezing every morning, so it hardly seemed like spring. This week it's been getting up to near sixty, the snow's mostly gone, and the mosquitos are coming out, a sure sign of spring!

The road is already dry and all the water's running in the ditches. Most years this would still be a muddy mess with the snowmelt runoff going down the road. But thanks to my neighbor, who got his track Bobcat going and cleared all the hard packed snow off the road, the water's where it belongs.

Just cleared the snow off the upper dog yard a couple of weeks ago (previous post) and now it's dry enough to move them up to their summer spot. They seem very happy to get out of the muddy part of the  yard.

The old Ski Doo is getting a new magneto, throttle cable, and pull start rope. As soon as that's done, it's back to working on the 650 Guzzi. Fortunately the 850T is ready to go for a ride, maybe tomorrow?

Friday, April 24, 2020


After the last dog run, it's time to haul in firewood. While some years it's a fairly leisurely job. this year was a race to haul wood before the trails were too soft.
Cut down a bunch of standing dead spruce next to the dog trail. With the snow near 3 ft deep. had to snowshoe to chain saw the trees. Wanted to get them last year when there was less snow, but the trail melted out too soon.

Not a huge load of firewood but had to hurry to get it home before the trail got too soft in the near fifty degree weather.

Jack Black likes this weather just fine, now he can sit on the water tank, get an occasional drink, and keep an eye on everything.
Scraping off the upper dog yard before the mud arrives, then we'll move the dogs here when it starts to dry out. The Russians have a name for this time, Rasputitsa, the season of mud. Up here we just call it breakup, the shloppy time between winter and spring.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Last Dog Run?

The forecast for the coming week is temps in the forties and mixed rain and snow, so maybe yesterday's run will end the season. Here's a few pics, no real story, just another dog run.
Heading down the trail, it was a beautiful day to run dogs.

Taking a break after the turn for home.

Heading up to the ridge and the climb back to the dog yard. Here's where I get to work, kicking (pedaling) along side the sled, encouraging them with an occasional "let's go boys, almost there!" Sometimes I throw in "and girl" so Missy doesn't feel left out, but she never seems to notice. Not sure if it helps, but keeps me busy and warms me up on the cold days.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

April's fool...

Well April's here and it finally quit snowing... it turned to rain today! But was able to get out yesterday with the dogs before the rain started, so that's something I guess. I'll just keep running them until the weather finally gets too warm, so maybe that makes me the fool?
The pond near the creek crossing has started to fill with overflow, a sure sign of spring.

Here's the weather summary for March. The average temperature for the month was 8.8° which was 2.6° below normal. The high was 38° on the 26th while the low was -41° on the 5th. Total precipitation was 1.6" which was 1.3" above normal. Snowfall totaled 27.5" and the end of the month depth was 32". Updated summary with the UAF GI climate chart.