Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cold Snap

Hello All

We had a cold snap here recently with temps as low as -38. They really didn't affect us in the house too much though we did use the upstairs wood stove a couple of nights. We usually don't use it because it gets the place too Hot. I LOVE my Kitchen Queen wood cook/heat stove http://www.woodstoves.net/queen.htm . My only regret is not getting the optional water resevoir so that we would have a better supply of hot water. Right now we leave kettles on the stove all the time. That stove keeps the place toasty warm and we only have to get up once in the night to stake it and add wood. It has a nice big oven with an 8 loaf capasity and a big fire box so you don't have to cut your logs so small. We didn't spend a whole lot of time outside just running out to get wood and such but limiting time outside.

We're looking forward to Christmas. I think this will be the first Christmas that Lisa is really into it. I'm also planning on making a big dinner and having our friends/neighbors over. My family has always had some nice Christmas traditions and it feels a bit odd this year that we are pretty much breaking all of them and starting from scratch. I will miss driving around to see the lights and going through the Valley of lights in Fain Park and seeing the gingerbread village with the train at the Prescott resort, and taking the kids to see santa at the Gateway Mall. What I will miss the most is Christmas morning with my mom and the second generation traditions like dougnuts and bagels on Christmas morning. This year there will be no lights except as my dad said the "ones in the sky". No running from one house to another or having a huge crowd at our house. It will just be a small event a quite morning with the kids and a casual dinner with a couple of close friends. They are having a Christmas play at the School tomorrow night and I am told that Santa will be there but it doesn't start until 7pm and that is our kids bed time. We probably wont make the drive in this year even though Lisa has been bugging to see Santa. I just have to keep reminding myself that while traditions like Santa, trees and gifts are all fun they are not the reason for the season. This time is really about the Christ child and the love that God showed us all, and a chance to show our love for others as God loves us.

I want to put out another big thanks to our friends family and community for thinking of us durring the holiday season. For the love that you have shown in so many ways through well wishes, cards and the gifts under the tree. We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives. I love having an eclectic group of friends with such varried opinions, ideas and interests. It is truelly the varriety that brings the spice to life. I love you all!

Sarah Sue Smith

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Out in The Cold

The temps and weather have been just crazy ranging from above freezing temps and freezing rain to -30 and all over the middle with winds bringing temps up to 1 above and then having them drop quickly by 23 degrees back down to -24 within a matter of a couple of hours. We have less than 4 hours of light now with really only maybe one good hour of actual sunshine. The rest of the time it's just skimming the horizon below the tree line. We've had some beautiful sun rises and sets that just seem to go on and on. The northern lights have also been active the past three nights with what looks to me like a bending and flexing green rainbow.

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted just heven't had too much going on. The biggest event was trying to get my car started after Thanksgiving. We spent Thanksgiving at the Manley Roadhouse with other folks from the community. It was a nice time with great food and wonderful people. The kids got to run around and play with other kids and had a great time of it. Ken got to have some guy talk and I spent most of my evening chasing after the kids trying to keep them out of trouble. We got to bring home some leftovers and that gave us lunches for three days. After Thanksgiving the temps dropped down between -20 and -30. The car sat undriven for several days and then would not start. It took two days worth of trying before we were finally able to get it up and running. We tarped it over, plugged in the heaters that we have on it to the generator and ran that for several hours, while also running a charcoal heater under it. The second day we started this at about 6:00am and the car started at about 3:00pm. The outside temps also rose to around -10 which I think helped out alot. The next day Ken went into Manley to install some upper cabinets that he made for Ms. Connie and the kids and I went to the Crafters Guild Christmas Craft Fair. I had a few Items that I put out. I didn't sell much but we had a nice time the kids got to play with other kids and I got to visit with the lovely ladies of the guild as well as the folks that came by to do some shopping. The guild has several talented members. We even had live music provided by Bea and Damaris. Dana had knit socks, Pam knit gloves and ivory jewlery made by her husband Joey. The other Bea had crochet items as well as some yummy treats. There were also scented candels and other goodies including Bekah's Candy shop. I have alot of ideas for things to have at next years event.

Ken is finding some work this winter doing a few inside remodel type jobs and just got hired on as a fill in driver for the Manley Village Express. He gets to drive the bus the next two weekends to help people get into Fairbanks to do their holiday shopping. After that he will fill in if one of the two regular drivers are unable to drive for any reason. At least it's something to bring in some income. Ken driving the bus will also be helpful if we ind ourselves needing something from the big city. The bus takes passengers from Manley Hot Springs and Minto into Fairbanks and back. They drive in Monday back Tuesday, in Thrusday back Friday and every other weekend they go in Saturday and back Sunday. It costs $20 a person each way.

Now we are getting ready for our first Alaska Christmas. We went out the other day and cut a tree. The boys did ok on the packed part of the driveway but in the fresh snow it was up to their wastes. We brought it home and let it melt off over night. The next day the kids and I decorated it as far up as we could reach, the following day I brought up a ladder and topped it off. It's a bit skimpy looking but the kids are happy with it and thats what counts. I think it has alot of character with the few spruce cones still hanging. We had to put it upstairs so it's sitting between to lines of clothes line.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dry Cabin "Plumbing"/Daily Life

  
 
Wyatt & Oak in the tub playing with cups


 We live in what is refered to as a dry cabin which means that we have no running water. Therefore we have no conventional plumbing. We actually set up the kitchen sink this summer to drain into a grey water tank but that wont work in the winter as the line going out just freezes. Heat tape would work but requires more power to run than we have available. You can see that the kids are bathing in a galvenized tub. The sink has a container with a spigot on each side for water and a conected drain going down into a bucket which must be emptied. The honey pot or thunder mugs have been set up to slide into a wooden frame with cushion seats. We made them at two levels one for the boys and one for Lisa and us big folk. Ken and I are still using the outhouse with the exception of late night calls. We also have a training potty seat upstairs and one downstairs for the boys. The one downstairs is used as a little boy urinel because Wyatt prefers to pee standing up. We just leave the lid and seat off it for him. You can kinda see it in the picture it's sitting behind the lower honey pot. Water for bathing and washing dishes is heated on the wood cookstove.

Kitchen Sink

 
Honey Pots in a Frame with cushion seats



For entertainment we watch movies usually on one of the two 7" screen dvd players. These are the kind that you mount on the back of your car seat so that the kids in the back can watch them. they are 12V and we have them hooked into a battery that sits on top of the propain stove that is currently just an added counter/cabnet space. I also have a small MP3 plyer that I hook into some little battery powered speakers so that we can dance around the house. This is of coarse when we aren't outside playing in the snow. Taking turns being pulled on the sled behind the ATC. It's all good fun, for a sled we've been using the old hood off my 69 chevy it's all good until you crash ;)


If we are feeling like a treat we'll watch a movie on the "BIG" 19" screen instead. This TV is hooked into the 6 battery bank located in the breezway. It is charged by a set of RV solar panels and or a generator. Off of this bank we run: the "BIG" TV, charge my computer, charge other baterries, and run our only electric lights wich are in the kitchen (2 LED Lights) which use a total of 5 Watts. I've asked Ken to build me a stationary bike generator so that I can help creat power durring the winter. All he needs is to find an alternator thats in good shape. Even the kids could help by pushing the petels around for fun.

"BIG" TV, VCR & DVD

RV Solar panels on front porch
6 Battery Bank inside front door

2 LED Light 2.5W each
We've been working hard gathering wood. We found a patch near the back of the property of standing dead. Ken went back and cut some and I helped by hauling the logs out on a sled. Talk about hard work, I'm even more determined now to get at least one sled dog. This week Ken is in Manley taking an ETT class which is pretty easy for him so far as he was already a nationaly certified EMT but he let his certification expire just before we left AZ. It gives him a week off from the heavy lifting ;)

 I do alot of cooking and baking though not as much as I would really like to do. I make homemade breakfast bars and or muffins once a week to eat in the mornings. Lunch is usually something simple like sandwiches and crackers. Dinner I try to make a big meal because Ken is always starving. Two of my favorites lately have been Moose roast that you could cut with a fork and Sweet and Sour Chicken. I'm hoping to start baking bread but I've been kinda lazy about it since we've had store bought sliced bread in the freezer. I need to start baking some fresh bread though to make the sandwich bread stretch. Maybe today after I wash the dishes. We'll see what other chores I can find for myself.

MOOSE ROAST

The roast I slow cooked all day on the woodstove in my dutch oven. I lowered the oven into one of the removable burners and burnt a low fire all day. I put in olive oil, a can of evaporated milk, water, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a handful of dried chopped onion, garlic and sea salt. I also added a can of sliced carrotts and some cubed potatoes.

Sweet & Sour Chicken With Fried Rice Bush Style

The Sweet and Sour chicken was an adaptation of a Betty Crocker recipe. I chopped 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts. I put in a fry pan: the chicken, olive oil, dried bell pepper (handfull), and dried chopped onion (handfull). The juice from the chicken and the olive oil plumped up the peppers and onions. Then I took a can of Pinnaple drained it set the juice aside. I mixed with the juice 2 Tbsp Cornstarch, 6 Tbsp Vinager, and 2 Tbsp of Honey. Then I added the pinnaple and sauce to the chicken and cooked a couple minutes until it was warmed and the sauce had thickened. I made with this Fried rice. I just cooked the brown rice as usual accept I added soy sauce to the water and added a can of peas before removing from the stove. I cooked 2 eggs worth of dried egg product (per container instructions) and mixed into rice after removing from heat. Vwalla Sweet and Sour chicken over fried rice Bush Style.lol...

Breakfast Bars

My breakfast bars I use a base and then I add different things to it to make different flavors. Here is my base and some suggestions for add ins. 2c rolled oats, 1c apple sauce, 3/4c milk, 1/4c honey, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 egg. Add in that I've tried that are good: Nuts, dried fruit (ex: raisins, craisins), flax seed, chia seed, chocolate chips, marshmellows, peanut butter. Some things that you can swap honey can be replaced with real maple syrup or Agave nector, Milk can be replaced with pretty much anykind of juice, you can add white or brown sugar  to taste if it's not sweet enough for you. I really like to make a fruit one with raisins, craisins, dried currents, walnuts and flax seed. I also really like a smores style one with chocolate chips, marshmellows and walnuts.

 After a long day of hard work/play, a nice hot dinner and an evening movie we're all relaxed and ready for a good nights sleep.

Wyatt/Blue, Ken, Oak/Camo













Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fairbanks trip and Halloween

WARNING: This might be a long post so grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable. :)

Chapter One: A thought while on the road
        

      The other day durring a visit our friend and neighbor Jennine made a coment "we're not friends, we're family". I thought this was a great comment as we have kind of adopted eachother into our families. For some reason this comment came into my head as we were driving and my mind took it to a whole new level. Our new community here wich includes Manley Hot Springs and Eureka has a population smaller than the number in attendance at our wedding. As I thought of it in reality the community has in effect become our new family. They have welcomed us with open arms and gone out of their way to make us comfortable and to help provide for us durring our first winter. Knowing that we could not hunt or fish until we reached our residency Joe Redington Jr (http://www.joeredington.org/) provided us with several Salmon, His wife Pam with veggies from her garden, Butch and Tannis provided a large portion of Moose meat, Art and Denise let the kids pick lettuce in their garden, and Sabi and Espen have given us Jackets, overalls and clothes for the kids. Countless others like Connie and Big John(http://www.manleyhotspringsproduce.com/csa.html) who have given Ken work and our family friendship. Mark and Jennine have been here for us in so many ways helping us build, helping cloth the kids, picking up items when they go into town etc..... Not to mention helping keep us sane just by letting us vent once in a while. Even our new out of town "family" Lori, Georgeanne(http://cloud9doula.wordpress.com/), and Susan (http://susanstevenson.com/blog/) who have helped us through our transition from counseling me prior to the move, welcoming us when we arrived, and driving the long distance to pay us a visit and spoil us with luxuries that can only come from town. Here in our village family there are cousins: people around our age that are fun to hang out with and talk to. Aunts and Uncles: That are great to be around, that you want to learn from. Grandparents: that you sit and listen to about how things used to be. Even a few of those relatives that your not quite sure about but you keep things civil knowing that because they are family their here to stay and you will see them around weather it suits you or not ;) Such a small Village is such an interesting dinamic that I can only equate to the large spread of family that I came from in Arizona. We have a strange family were devorced folks still get along and are accepted in the family in a new roll so our family is large with complicated connections, but when it comes down to it we all looked out for eachother and were always right there to help out when anyone needed it. While I miss my big family, my mom, step dad, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc...etc...etc..... I feel so fortunate to be a part of this new family who seems equally warm and welcoming. I look forward to taking my place and to the oppertunities to give back to those who have helped us in so many ways. To those of you few that might read this THANK YOU  from the bottom of my heart in which you all have a new home as well.

Chapter Two: The 3 day 2 Night Trip

Day 1: We left the house about 7:40am actually got off to a little bit of an earlier start than we had planned which was nice. We saw an entire group of Moose which was cool. The drive it's self went smooth. The kids slept most of the time so it was nice and quiet. The first stop when we got into Fairbanks was the DMV and thats when things got hairy. We had to change over the title and registration on Ken's truck. Seemed like it would be simple enough, but the title showed a lean. Even though it has been paid off for many years they had to get a lean release. Ken barrowed a phone from another guy in the lobby and called the bank in AZ. The bank tried over and over to send it via fax but it would not go through. The lady we were dealing with (who was not very nice) went to lunch. A new gal came on who was very nice she let Ken use her phone to call the bank again. They tried e-mailing it that didn't work. The lady that was working with us felt bad for the kids who by now are starving. She gave them a bunch of cheez its, which calmed them down a bit. Finally a fax got through and we were able to get out of there. We went to Sam's club had some lunch and went shopping. We went to Walmart and Woodway. We had a hard time finding the hotel passed it and ended up turning around twice trying to get in to it. We stayed at the new Best Weastern. It was very pretty and clean, the gal at the front desk was very nice. Went up to the room to find NO bath tub! I went back to the front desk and asked if we could have a room with a tub. The hotel has no bath tubs in any rooms! How are people supposed to give kids a bath. We went across the street to the Fred Meyer and got some fried chicken and took it back to our room to eat. We had a hard time getting the kids to go to bed and the boys kept falling on the slick bathroom floor. The people below us started banging on the ceiling upseyt with us because of the kids. Why they put people with kids on the top floor I'll never know. When I worked front desk I always put families on the bottom floor when I could for this very reason.

Day 2: The hotel breakfast was good. They had bisquits and gravy, waffle making station, scrambled eggs, sausage, bagels, cerial, toast, etc... We had our fill and decided to leave the trailor at the hotel (with the pramission of the staff) while we did our morning running around. We shopped at Lowe's, Homedepot, Sportsman's Wearhouse, Petco,  and Fred Meyer's were we also picked up sandwiches for lunch. We picked up the trailer then we headed to pick up the meat for Joe and Pam. On the way we started eating our sandwiches. I noticed that Lisa's lip started to swell. I took her sandwich away, her upper lip was over double in size and she started getting blotches around her mouth. I had her drink a whole bunch and watched her. We picked up the meat that they loaded with a fork lift. Lisa started to look better the blotches went away and the swelling started to go down. I read over the ingrediants in the sandwich but couldn't see anything that should have caused a reaction. We took the trailer to Ken's bosses house in North Pole were we dropped it off. Then we ran back into Fairbanks to run more errands. We went to the woodstove store to pick up some parts for our neighbors then to The Prospector to get mittens for the kids and boots for Ken. Then we went to Napa and spent over an hour. It was way past supper time and almost bed time and the kids were tired and hungry always a bad combo. When we finished there we headed back toward North Pole and stopped and ate supper at Wendy's. Then we went back to Big John Darts were we spent the night. They were very welcoming and made  us feel at home.

Day 3: John and his wife Kris fed us breakfast and visited before we loaded up and headed back to Fairbanks. On the drive in Ken noticed that the alternator was not charging. We dropped the trailor at Walmart. We went back into Napa were we spent another long time while Ken changed out the alternator. Then we went over to Alaska Fire and Safety were we got a few odds and ends and some Gloves for Ken and Mittens for me. We ran back into Woodway and then back to Walmart. We picked up a couple last minute things hooked up the trailor and headed out around 3pm stopping at Hilltop Truckstop for fuel in the truck and the gas cans. Around 8:30pm the Transmission went out in the truck about half way up ptarmagin hill. Luckily we were on the Fairbanks side of the Minto cut off so there was traffic going past heading to Minto. The first car that we stopped we asked to call my dad. The second truck offered to pull us to the turnout at the top of the hill so that we were out of the road. We stopped every car that came by and asked them to call my dad. My dad showed up to pick us up around 10pm. We left pretty much everything in the truck even the car seats and dad drove us home. We got home about 11:55pm. 

So needless to say it was not the funnest of trips, full of stress and it at times felt like we were torturing the kids. I hate pushing them to that point were their over tired or extreamly hungry. I was so glad to be home and I have NO desire to go back into Fairbanks anytime soon. Here I was hopping to have a relaxing time at the hotel getting everyone a nice bath and maybe to have a chance to get together with our Fairbanks and North Pole friends. All the time that could have been spent doing those things was spent working on vehicles or otherwise sitting in the Napa parking lot or the DMV.

The next day Ken and our neighbor Mark took the semi and pulled the truck and trailer back home. This process took from 12pm to around 8pm. Jennine and I went out looking for them at around 6:30pm when they had still not returned. We found them limping their way home Ken in the semi with the trailer behind and the truck behind the trailer with Mark in it.

Chapter Three:
HALLOWEEN









Our first Halloween in Alaska: With Ken's truck down and the meat still needing to be delivered to Joe and Pam the plan was to take the Semi in to Manley with the trailer, drop the trailer and then take the kids trick or treating. Ken had the semi running and loaded the kids car seats in it. Then he turned it off to change the anti freeze. It came time to go and the truck would not start. He pluged it in and it still would not start. We swapped the car seats back into my car and I headed out alone with the kids. The plan at that point was to meet Ken at Joe and Pam's later. I stopped at their house first and let them know what was going on. Pam drew me a map to give me an idea of what houses to hit. We ended up going to only 9 houses. Getting all three kids in and out and teking them through the snow to each house then loading them back in the car to drive to the next was a bit of a chore by myself. Next year when they can at least climb in and out on their own will be a bit easier and hopefully Ken will be with us to help out. I decided to head back to Joe and Pam's to see if Ken had made it in then I figured we could hit a few more houses. When I got there they said that Ken was still unable to start the truck so we decided to just head home. The kids had a ton of candy most of which was on the floor of my car. We got home and I cleaned out the car and dumped all their goodies on the table to sort out the hard candies and such that they don't eat yet. I could not beleive how much candy and goodies they had from just those 9 houses. We could have hit three blocks in AZ and not had that much candy. Not to mention the full size sets of Crayola markers, glow sticks and other little toys. The kids had a good time and when it comes down to it that is after all the point so overall I would say our first Village Halloween was a big sucess. It was also a big change in that you dont just grab your candy and dash you get a chance to go in and visit for a few minutes which I enjoyed.

Chapter Four: THE LOAD:  Monday Joe, Pam, Linda and Brian all came out here to pick up the meat. We loaded 3 pickups and one trailer and they had to make one more trip back out for one last pickup load full. I felt terrible that we didn't make it all the way into Manley with the meat and they had to drive all those vehicles out here then load and unload twice. It was a releif though that they finally had the meat and we weren't under as much pressure to find a way of getting it the rest of the way into town.

Chapter Five: VOTING: Tuesday was time to go in and Vote. Since I was already in Manley to take the kids trick or treating I couldn't afford to make a third after going in to vote. So, I made the most of the trip. Ken left early with my dad and Mark to head into Fairbanks to drop my dad off at the airport and do a bit of running around. The kids and I left later in the morning. We stopped first at the dump and tossed the trash into the stove. The next stop was the Washateria were I put two loads of wash into the two washing machines. Then I went up to the well and filled our jugs, then to the post office and picked up the mail and a 3T jacket and snow pants for the boys from Diane Gurtler. We went into the community hall to vote and they had all kinds of yummy things to eat, baked goods and even chillie and rolls. The kids were playing shy and it took some arm twisting to get them to even take a cookie (weird kids). Connie gave us some bags of food that had been given to her that she was passing on. Frank Gurtler came in to vote and told me to stop back by the post office so I went back in and picked up another package that I had missed. Then we went back to the washateria and picked up our wet but clean clothes and headed home.


Needless to say it was the busiest week we've had in some time that I hope to not repeat anytime soon and now we have the aftermath of all the broken vehicles to deal with. Welcome to life in the bush eh.

On another note all together please send posative thoughts and prayers toward my step dad who is experiancing a whole slew of medical issues and my grandpa Jack who is undergoing procedures for his heart.



Blessings to All, and thank you to all of our wonderful New and Old friends and family.

Sarah Sue

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Laundry Part III AKA Washateria

Taking over the Washateria
Well at this point I think the answer to the laundry issue this winter is going to be hauling the clothes in to the Washateria 16 miles down the highway in Manley Hot Springs. It's $2.00 per load to wash and another $2.00 per load to dry. I won't be drying them there just washing them. Then I'll bring them home and hang them on the line inside the house. The Washateria is in a small Atco style building that also houses the village clinic. It boasts 2 washers, 2 dryers and 2 washrooms with a shower($1 for 20min), sink and toilet. They also have Wi Fi but I haven't taken my computer in. When we go in we pretty much take the place over. I put a picnic blanket on the floor for the kids and bring snacks like muffins or homemade breakfast bars. It also gives us a chance at a hot shower which is a real treat. On the same property is also the village council building which has a small store with conveince store fare. When it's open I splurge and have a can of Dr. Pepper ($.75). I'm working on setting up a visit time along with the laundry by meeting up with Ms. Connie on the days that she goes in for her wash. My next trip in was going to be Tuesday but it snowed alot Monday night and I wasn't sure if the roads would be ok. When I went in on Friday we left the house at 7:40 am and it was -5 out. Driving in it was still pretty dark and with the headlights the entire road side was covered in sparkles from the frost it was really beautiful. Lisa said it was frost ferries. On the way home the views of the mountians covered in snow was amazing. I stoped just before the bridge at Baker Creek about 2 miles from the house. It's almost all frozen over accept on the lower side of the Beaver dam. There we little rabbit and squiral tracks in the fresh snow on top of the frozen creek. It was a nice peaceful drive home with 3 sleeping kids.
Washateria/Clinic Building


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Washroom

My dad will be making a trip to the lower 48 in November to spend time with my Grandpa who is having heart issues. The house is pretty much done accept the back porch. Will post some more pics of outside and inside shortly once the back porch is finished. The past 2 days our Cow Moose and her calf have been hanging out right around the house. I wasn't able to get pictures because my camera battery went dead and I couldn't find the charger. I finally found it this afternoon so now it's charged and ready. Hopefully it will be a regular morning visit and I can get some shots tomorrow. Heres hopin. I'm hoping my next post will be a little more exciting. We're trying to plan at least on more trip into Fairbanks but were debating on weather or not the kids and I will be going or just Ken. If we all go we'll get a hotel room for the night. Not sure what we'll do about the dogs yet though. Someone would have to let them in and out of the house. We have a long list of things that we need before we're stuck here. We didn't really get our vehicles set up with heaters and such so I think there will probably come a point were they wont start.

The boys are doing well with the potty training and were actually able to keep their undies dry away from home for 4 hours. Again, sorry this isn't a more exciting post I'm hoping that the next one will be. Hopefully it will have some nice close up shots of the Moose by the play house just outside the livingroom window. I swear the little calf was starring back in the window at the three little kids lined up standing in chairs watching them. It was great!

Blessings to All,


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Doing Laundry Part II


Before jumping into the laundry I would like to say that we had a great visit with some friends from Fairbanks on Saturday Lori and Georgeanne. They brought us a bunch of treats little things that you miss when your 160 miles from a grocery store: Oranges, cheese, pizza, pumpkins for the kids, M&M's, etc.. The kids love their pumpkins and keep carrying them around with them. Wyatt likes to give his little kisses.


Sunday we set up the kids play house that we hauled up with us from Arizona so they had a good time on the slide. The boys did really well climbing up the ladder and going down the slide. They didn't care for the tire swing though.


Lisa
         
Oak
Wyatt



Ok on to the new laundry situation. As you can imagine having the washer outside the line eventually froze inside the machine. So, we waited for it to thaw and moved it into the house. Ken set it up so that it could drain out into the grey water tank. It's plugged into the solar set up. Sounds nice huh? Having the washer inside? OH NO!! When it was outside I had the luxery of filling it with the hose. Now water must be hauled about 5-7 gallons at a time and poured into the washer. It takes about 22 gallons to fill the washer for each of 2 cycles. Thats 44 gallons and aprox 9 trips carrying a heavy container off ice cold water with the weather in bellow freezing temps and up at least one small flight of stairs. Also you have to watch it closely so that you can get it filled fast enough on the rinse cycle to it doesn't burn up the motor trying to fill the tub with no water flow through the pump. Needless to say after one load on Friday I took the other 6 loads in to the washateria in Manley Hot Springs and washed them there. I also took advantage and the kids and I had a warm shower. While it was no picnic keeping the kids entertained in the washeteria it was alot easier than hauling all that water. I'll try to limit laundry to a load a week for as long as I can haul the water. When temps get too low it will not be possible as the water will freeze comming out of the hose. At that point I guess we will be forced to use the washeteria. It's not terrible but it is about a 14 mile drive each way and then $2.00 a load to wash and $2.00 a load to dry but they don't actually get dry in one spin. I didn't dry all our loads after the first came out still damp. We have line strung upstairs and are hanging cloths there. For now I guess I'll hope that the potty training stays on track and reduces the amount of cloth diapers, peed clothes and cleaning clothes. Any tips on teaching little boys to keep their little weenies down while sitting?


Washer under the stairs

  While talking about the basics of washing clothes I thought I would mention a little about refridgeration. We have a nice fridge that we brought with us from Arizona. It was an ice maker that does cubes, crushed or filtered water. It is being used to hold canned and dry goods. It makes for a fancy pantry. Instead items are kept cool in a cooler wich is cooled using plastic juice and milk containers that are filled with water and frozen in the chest freezer. These are rotated every other day to keep things like Mayo and other dressings cool. Now that it's freezing out we will probably stop using the freezer space for the jugs and just start putting them outside.

Ken is still doing some work for John Dart on the thermal energy greenhouse that he is building. I'm not sure how much work he will have left this season, I would imagine that they will have to stop working once it gets too cold or starts to snow. Check out the website bellow. It really is interesting the greenhouse will be powered and run completely off of thermal power from the local hot spring. Growing up my goal was to work in hydroponics in the Biosphere II project so this is really interesting to me. I also included a link for the Biosphere II project.



Blessing to all and as Tiger would say "Ta Ta For Now"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bush Food

BURRRRRR!

Winter didn't creep on us it pounced. The wind has been blowing and it's been in the 30's for the high. We have been getting firewood and food gathered and stored for the winter. It's amazing how your view of food changes when you have no refrigeration and canned goods can not be stored outside due to freezing. We have switched over to a lot more dried and canned foods. We're lucky that we at least have a freezer. though next year I would really like to do some canning. That will be a learning process I'm sure you'll hear all about it. We have a lot of Salmon in the freezer thanks to Joe and Pam Redington and moose meat thanks to Butch and Tanis. Butch and Tanis took what meat they wanted off the moose mainly back strap, rump, and shoulder. The rest of the meat we stripped and made into steaks, roasts, and ground. With the locals up here nothing goes to waist any scraps not good for us to eat got bagged for feeding to the dogs. The rest of the carcass bones and bits of meat still attached went to Joe and Pam's sled dogs. Here are some pictures of us cutting up the moose meat by lamp light.
Ken Cut and I bagged

We could really use some sharper Knives

Bagged and Freezer wrapped meat

We have also been gathering berries though that is a project I intend to hit a little harder next summer. I would really like to have more berries put away than what we do especially the low bush cranberries. It's just hard for me to get into the better picking areas with the kids in tow and they get bored and want to go inside before we have many berries picked. I only have maybe a couple of days left to pick this season before they will end up covered in snow.
Lisa After Berry Picking
Lisa's Berry bucket
Putting up wood is another big project that is coming together a little slower than we would like with Ken working but we can't turn down the work while it's available. Ms Connie Foster gave us some firewood that was pieces bigger than she wanted to deal with so that was a huge help. Here is a picture of some of what we have stacked and the wood that we got from Ms Connie. The pile that we have stacked actually goes under the house also so there is a little more than it looks like but still not nearly enough.

Lisa and My Shadow Holding hands walking up the drive
The boys are doing ok with potty training as long as their naked. If their naked they usually get to the potty in time or at least they try. As soon as I put any kind of underwear on them they forget and they pee them. They know how to pull them down but It's like they just forget. They are also eating well at the table like big boys I took a little video of them eating chicken noodle soup. I had been taking some pictures when we were berry picking so when we came in for lunch I still had the camera handy and figured I'd shoot a little video. I tried to add it on here I hope it works.
Oak eating chicken noodle soup

Wyatt eating chicken noodle soup

video

Update on the house. We still have a lot of work to do inside but that's on hold so that we (Dad & Ken) can work outside before the snow hits. Dad is working on the front porch. He built the deck and Ken built the stairs. Now dad is building the roof. Dad got all moved in and started sleeping on his side a few nights ago.

I need to take some new pictures inside the kids rooms as they are a bit more organized now. I made Lisa some Tinkerbell curtains and a pillow case. Her room is developing a Tinkerbell theme. She has Tink blankets and a little canopy thing too. She would probably like an "Avatar" theme, but that might be a little trickier. I need to do a lot more work getting things organized but a lot of it is waiting on Ken to get some shelves up so that I have places to put things. Slowly but surely things are coming together.

Thank You for all your prayers and I ask that you would keep us in your prayers as Ken and I are going through a stressful time right now. We will really need to pull together and work together as a family to make it through this winter. Also we are trying to find a piece of property for my Mom and Dad-D. Please keep them in your prayers as well that they would be able to get their affairs in order so that they are able to move up here next spring/summer. I really think that it will be a good move for them. It will be a good place for m,y niece and nephew that they are raising and it would be so wonderful to have them close again I miss them so much.

Blessings my friends
Sarah Sue

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lag in Posts

Hello All,

Sorry for the long lag between posts. My computer crashed and I had to send it back to Gateway to be fixed. Thank goodness for the warenty, they had to replace the main board.

Ken's trip was a bit stressful and disapointing. He wasn't able to fit everything on so we still have our rock crawler sitting in AZ. Soon after he got home we were able to move our beds into the house. It's much warmer in the house. A few days after that we were able to start using the wood cookstove which is good because we were getting low on propain. We are slowly moving stuff into the house and trying to get stuff organized.

We also had some visitors for a couple of weeks. Olen AKA "Uncle PaPa" and his son Kevin came up to go moose hunting. They didn't have any luck but we had a nice visit and really enjoyed their company. Another friend that they met up here Brian gave us a rebit hide that we are tanning. I need to start working it.

Driveway looking outPartial view from a window upstairs

Side door
The fall colors are in full swing with the bright yellows in the trees and the many shades of red in the underbrush. These shots don't do them justice. I'm hoping to get some better ones when we go into town on Monday.

Here are some shots of the kids. The one of the boys I found them sleeping like that. They are laying across eachother with one of their teddy bears. Oak has it by the scarf with his thumb in his mouth and Wyatt has the leg in his hand with his thumb in his mouth. Lisa is wearing the hat that I crochetted for her. I made it long so it could be tucked into her jacket. The picture is a cat that Lisa drew.


The outside of the house is done with acception of the porches. Now all the work that remains is inside putting in countertops and shelves etc..etc...

Lisa's Room

Boy's Room

Our room. The door leads to a long drop.

Stairs

Dining/Living area

Kitchen & Back door

Kitchen & Front Door

Front Entry I'm standing in the double glass front door. The door on the right goes to our side, the left goes to my dad's. The door straight ahead goes out toward the outhouse.

Outside with  the addition off my dad's side. There will eventually be an addition off our side also but not anytime soon. Now we need to put on the front and back porches and steps into the lower side doors. Each side has a heating oil tank. The large freezer is in the middle and the fridge will be also. We have a fridge on ourside that you may see in pictures but it is not plugged in. It's being used as a pantry. We also need to get up the wind generators to help out with the power supply. Running all the tools has been a real drain on the battery bank. We're getting there slowly but surely. We'll be settled before long.
We went into the village on Wednesday and picked up my computer as well as a box from Ken's mom with some pj's for the kiddos. We also stopped by Joe and Pam Redington's to talk to them about hunting and fishing licences and they sent us home with several salmon and some veggies from their garden. We are so blessed to have such a supportive community. Monday we will be running into Fairbanks to have the back windsheild in my car replased and the new tires mounted. Then Tuesday Ken is supposed to be starting a 2 week job for Big John Dart if all goes well.

Well I think that gets things caught up a little I know I didn't go into alot of details but with the huge laps in time I tried to summerize. I want to try to get some pictures from our trip Monday of the changing colors. I hope that all are well and I wish many blessings for all of those who have been keeping up with us on this incredible journy. We are truelly blessed to be experiancing this land in all of it's beauty, bounty and peace.