Monday, May 31, 2010


Reflection - Raising A Family Blog - Stage of Life - Stage of Life - Rewards for Life's Journey > Stage - Raising a Family > Posts

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Following in the foot steps.

We got an interesting phone call from John the other day.  Seems like the our son is following in the foot steps of his parents when it comes to taking a calculated risk!  He is jumping off!!  As some know and as still others may not, our son has been set in the physical sense, to take on a role in the Alaska Division of Forestry.  He has certifications, passed physical agility requirements, has made some connections.  Yet he has been a little weary of making the effort to proceed forward.  Worried about whether or not he would get full time work with the forestry, how it would affect his already good paying full time job, where it would put him with his life, etc, has all been on this poor boys mind, clouding his senses and future visions.

That all may well have changed the other day whether he meant it to or not.  It seems that in one day, John both quit his day job, and landed a job with the Division of Forestry!  'Jump off Johnny' ordered his gear a few weeks back, and after receiving it and trying it on thought he 'fit the suit'.  I guess this stirred something in the boy.  After getting no response from his contacts with Central Emergency Services,  he got frustrated and decided to go out to the forestry department.  He spoke to one of the guys he had dealt with in the past and found out that unknown to him until now, his Red card....not to be mistaken for a Green card....had expired.  The guy found out that he had his gear and Red card and told him that now he has a job with the Division of Forestry, but needed to retake his physical agility test to get his Red card re-certified.  This is where John about lost hope.

You see, last year he was fit, had trained.....was in the best shape of his life!  But being out of school, he has learned how weight seems to find you, it is easier to let that shape your in, lose itself and essentially he has let himself go, thinking he once again had life by the b@!!s.  But in fact, life once again proved to have him by the b@!!s, a revelation that seems to continually present itself to him since he has become independent!  His guy told him right there in the same breath as "you have a job" that he would meet John at the high school the next day to do his agility test.  John freaked because the agility test is a 2 mile run with 60 pounds of equipment on his back in under 20 minutes.  As I have stated before, I do this daily....what is the big deal! (hee hee)  As it turned out, they only made him run a mile and a half in 10 minutes....something I also do daily (wink)....with no equipment on his back.  John amazed himself and the head honcho, as he came in just under time and passed...again!

So here we sit, waiting to see what the new week will bring.  He apparently gave his 2 week notice to work, but was told that they don't like to let people finish out their time when they quit.  Not sure what is up with that, but I guess a few words sometimes speak oodles about a company and where the appreciation of hard and diligent work lies.  We are pretty amazed with his decision to just jump off like he did.  Apparently he was surprised to find out that a kid not much older than he, was out there working the other day and explained to John all that he had done with the Division the past year, and that he has kept on full time.  All of that worry on our sons part was needless, but understood.  Say a prayer for the boy, but it is looking like he is well on his way!

We  had a great visit with our friends Ted and Patty.  They got to see much of the peninsula as well as a good sense of the southeast pan handle during their cruise up here.  I included a few pics to instill a tiny little bit, of the activity we enjoyed with them.  Meantime, last week showed to be the week that many of the cow moose began dropping their calves.  Maryann spotted "all legs" as she put it, wandering through the property yesterday, so it seems like we may have a brood here again this year!

A night at the races!

Ted and Patty!

On a lighter note, Maryann finally got a piece of mind for those walks she likes to do with the dog(s).  She has no problem carrying a bear gun, however she is a little apprehensive of the recoil.  As she says, 'she doesn't want to be thrown backwards 18 feet'.  I think she got that idea from the way pops wobbled like a weeble  after he shot it for the first time last year!  In his defense, I had hot loads in the chamber (snicker).  She says when she is with me that she is confident that I have the hand cannon department under control.  So for those times she is walking without me, or has the need to feel self reliant in the face of adversity,  we got her some bear mace!  Proudly displayed by 'Buddy' the bear, our resident bear buddy!!  

 Funny story.  We took Ted and Patty to the glacier in Seward after picking them up from the boat terminal last week.  As we walked the still snow covered trail to the glacier, a couple...not from around here...walked past Maryann and commented to her, "look, she is wearing sandal's in the snow....and what's with that fire extinguisher....?"  I guess that is what you get from city folk who don't understand the essence of self preservation in grizzly bear territory!

Thanks for the kudos on the 'well tutorial' Doug!  It is interesting to appreciate the strife we go through to get our water.  Coincidentally, it is still like being in another world around here with our divine water.  Thanks to everyone who posts comments.  It is nice to hear from viewers, and such.  As of late, our site has begun to be plagued by spammers and people trying to sell their crap, via the comment section.  Apparently this is an ongoing issue with Blogger.  From now on I will moderate comments to weed out the crap and post the good, but always welcome anyone to long as it's good! lol  In regards to the last post, I am sorry for anyone who has no clue.  This site is a creative outlet.  As well, it is an outlet for expression.  And sometimes, even I need to vent.  Sadly, there are those in this world who can easily talk smack behind peoples backs but have no self dignity to muster up the sense to speak the truth of their minds, to another.  Yet, they will go on like everything is hunky dory.  Well, it aint!  For years, I have watched you walk all over my wifes feelings like they are an expendable pile of nothing to you.   I know in your heart that is not true....they do mean something to you, yet you are afraid of addressing them.  There is no love lost here mind you.  You are still family, even though you try to deny that to yourself and us.  When your ready to talk and open have our number.  Until then, quit dragging our name through the mud unless you intend to say it to us yourself!  It is only a descent and human thing to do.  We are human.  For those who are still lost as the book!  Oh it will be in the book.  It will all be in the book!!

With the sun rising at 4:45AM and setting at 11:30PM.....we are on the prowl here in the great land!  Nite!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn....SAY WHAT!?

Greg's going to vent so if you are cleared fear not.....if you are the offender, and I think you know who you are, you have this coming.

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the family, friends, and otherwise who graced us with the chance to see them during our visit in April.  We realize that not everybody got to see us as long as they may have wanted to.  And we realize that some didn't get to see us at all....some because of time and scheduling...and some because they are the ones who decided NOT to be there when we were visiting.  Unfortunately, time is often little and money to stay a little longer more difficult to come by.  But, we do what we can and love the fact that we were welcomed by 99.98% of whom we wanted to see.  We loved the chance to see everyone who we could, and are sorry for those who CHOSE not to be around so that we could conveniently not see them.

But I have to say this one thing.  Family is family.  There is no reasonable excuse of why family could or would choose to be absent when they know their loved one will be in town.  I mean, it is not like we get down to see family once a month.  In fact I think most would understand because it has been made obvious that not everybody has the ways nor the means to come up here to visit.  We all have our own lives and cannot always drop on a dime to accommodate others.  But where I come don't shit on family.  So a heartfelt gratitude to those who were there....and to those who CHOSE not to be there, the loss was truly yours.  How can anybody feel upset that they didn't get to see a family member who didn't want to see them in the first place.  Life is short and you aren't getting any younger.  Your misguided interpretations only hurt yourself and steal your chance to be loved.

Oh, we could have visited and still stayed the night at a there is really no reason there in that crap, there!  Sorry you feel pissed on.  It hurts us more than it angers us, so if your intention was to deliver pain to your did it....again!  Congratulations.  It seems like a lifetime of pain and punishment for what or why, we know not.  Truth is that you are the one that hurts and instead of figuring out why you hurt so much, it is easier to take it out on someone else, even if it is your immediate family for Pete's sake.  The two of us band together, most especially in a shit storm.  So, if it is meant for her, than it rains on me as well.  The thing of it is that you fail to see is that I will be her umbrella, and she will be my shelter.  Oh we still love you despite the way you have chosen to disown us. 
Forgive them for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Signs of summer.

Today, it became very apparent to us that spring is officially here.  Love winter, but really elated to welcome the summer months!  Exciting times, so much so that it is hard to sleep.  Like this walk on the beach at 9:30PM the other night.  Working outdoors late into the evening, with no worries about coming in for the night.  Staying up until midnight just because you are too charged to sleep, as has been the norm of late, and the list of events goes on.   There is so much to do and just enjoy so much daylight that it seems almost pointless to sleep.  You actually have an amazing amount of zap from so much daylight!  Currently the sun is rising at 5:37AM and setting at 10:26PM.

Today the ice on the lake completely turned!  It actually happened so fast I could not keep track as shown in  the pics below.
 In the spirit of the failed 'snow cam' during a plow run over winter, I got this cool shot on the lake yesterday with the patented 'ice cam' real time!

With a thin layer of ice lingering yesterday and this pic showing the ice rapidly receding this morning,
by tonight during post, the lake is 96% ice free!  We actually sat out on the deck when the westerly sea breeze kicked in this afternoon, and watched as the breeze blow the current under the ice.  It's westward movement disintegrated the ice that remained before our eyes.  We love the snowy, icy meadow that replaces the lake in the long winter months, but the movement of the water, the life within it's bounds during the summer  months in by far the event of the season.  A ripple in still water! 
This rock tossed on the morning ice, was sunken history a couple of hours later.
With a scream from an eagle on the fly, this lone feather found it's winters home embedded within the ice.   
Seska is seriously debating upon retrieving that rock mentioned above.  For the record, she decided 
 better of it!
Notice the rigidity of the tail and the forward appearance of momentum in Cherokee's butt....  The thought going through his mind here is, "I walked on it without getting wet 2 months ago...?"  Yes, he thought he had it figured out until his ass end broke though the thin ice and his instinct to bolt kicked in!
Not sure here, but I believe her tongue is stuck to the ice....
 There's that whole rigidity/rear momentum thing going on again!  Another one breaks the ice!  These guys seriously had their intelect tested with this whole thawing issue!
Mind you, within hours these dogs would have been swimming rather than, ah...falling through ice!  The current arrivals are as follows:  We started seeing Terns on the far side of the lake the day before yesterday.  There was only a small section for them to feed in.  This morning a family of ducks arrived and swam north shore most of the day.  Tonight a loon was spotted diving in the shallows.  it is just too exciting!
We got to enjoy Maryann's new patio pit Saturday night.  Reduced from a granite lined fire ring that entertained 8 foot high bon fires in the Sierra's, we are old, empty nesters now with this hot little portable fire pit!  Smores not included.  It is going to be a very nice way to enjoy the cool summer nights.

Moose droppings!  Unbelievable how such  an immensely stoic animal  can have such a proportionately small discharge!  The moose love the trails which I cut on the property last summer....alot.  This is visibly apparent by the many piles of petite poops found throughout the trail system.
This ice shelve hanging off the bluff on our beach walk the other night appears to be small.  However, it was actually about the size of a small house roof....thank goodness for zoom!  All in all the arrival of summer is now in full swing.  With the days getting longer and the energy of life around us becoming so much more apparent, we are like giddy little kids these days.  A good portion of this weekend was spent on yard chores here at home.
 At first impression, it looks as though a piece of a satellite fell out of the sky and landed in our yard.  However, it is the toppled remains of an era.  The old analog antenna that we never used yet was a fixture on our roof came down today!  Believe it or not, since we here on the peninsula are still getting most channels through translators, while most of the country find these old antennas obsolete, many Alaskans still are able to use them!  Had some Alaskans seen this, I would have been chastised for not taking this to some.....

We also celebrated the anticipated arrival of all of the friendly little bats that invade the compound every single summer since we landed!  You can recollect that segment of our lives on this link.
Kenai Alaska or Bust: Eviction, conviction and.....taxes?
Again, we bolstered our defenses to fend off the cute little bastards by sealing more potential holes, and running a reinforced venting grate down the entire front eve vents which have become increasingly compromised each summer.  PETA would insist they are good little creatures....and any other time I may be convinced of this.  However, PETA is not the ones living with these things pooping up our attic, creeping around our house at night, rendering themselves 'play toys' for the dogs during their misguided daytime blindness as they fall out of the sky onto the lawn.  Yes, we are really trying to keep their eviction in process here.  Maryann said it best today; ever since we got together it seems our destiny and fate is to have to deal with bats every spring and summer.  First the cabin in Arnold, then the cabin in Dorrington, and now in Alaska.  Oye!  Summer's here and the time is right....!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

They testing missles here?

Some would call it a disaster.  I think of it as collateral damage, or, the price you pay for good water!  If you compare these first two pics with the last one from the last post, you will notice that the one thing missing is the old well head.  Woo-hoo, man!  The last chapter in the saga of the well that stank, happened today.  It wasn't slated to take place until I had more time to dig it in June, but as chance would have it, the opportunity presented itself to get the final segment of the well saga, done today.

For those who may have just tuned in or stumbled across this let me explain.  Since we bought this place back in June of 2007, the one thing that plagued us, quite literally since the day we walked in the door, was the water.  With us coming from a community that had clean mountain water from the Stanislaus River, we moved here to this yellow colored, repugnant smelling, clothes staining, make your hair feel like you swam in a swamp, God forbid you get thirsty, deplorable water, straight from our nastified well.  When the test was done on the well during escrow, everything checked out ok.  That is the only test, which tested the flow rate only, barely scraped by.  No quality tests are really required for escrow.  The flow rate was extremely low, but in accordance to Alaska Real Estate requirements, they did what they came out to do and gave it their stamp of approval.  But not without a little guess work, and possibly a little tainted reporting.  But hey, it is easy to screw the guy moving here from out of state because by the time he finds out about half of what is wrong, it won't be anyone's problem but the poor sap himself anymore!  Yes, all of this will be in full detail.... in the book.  When it comes out, buy it!

So for almost three years we did all we could do, which there wasn't much we could do, to stomach this aquatic adventure.  We even got screwed by the Culligan man!
Kenai Alaska or Bust: November 2009
The bottom line was that it was a crap shoot to drill a new well.  We may get better water.....we may not.  But the odds were put across as really good that we would considering the geographical location and the fact that people near us have been blessed at 100 feet.

 But throughout all of this and so much more, we prevailed, and now after all the stink, foulness, betrayal, misinformation and follies, we have been truly blessed with a new well.  As mentioned in the last post, we hit fresh clean water at 98 feet.  We were temporarily hooked up until I found the time in June to dig the trench for the permanent line to connect the water line into the house from the old well, to the new well.  The opportunity came along much sooner though out of nowhere during the past week, to get a mini excavator out here to do the job for a minimal cost.  So who wouldn't jump on it!?

When all was done and said, the hole was big enough to bury a car at 10 feet down.  Mind you, hard Alaskan winters will freeze 10 feet into the earth.  The top foot or so has thawed already, and we hit ice down to about 3 to 4 feet.....was a mild winter!  Once past the ice it was smooth diggin.  The well company came out Saturday morning to pull the pump so we could do the dig.  Saturday afternoon the dig was done, and by early Saturday evening the well people were out again to set the pitless in the new shaft, and connect the house water supply line over to the new pitless.  What is a pitless?  I figured you would ask that, and it is a good thing I have an answer.

Wells 101:
The pitless is a fitting that is installed into the metal well shaft wall, 10 feet down, and acts as a 90 degree elbow that slips onto the water line that comes up the well from the pump, which is set, in our case, at 98 feet down.  Confused?  Due to the risk of freezing through winter, the water line has to be buried 10 feet down.  Thus, the water being pumped up from the bottom of the well, 98 feet, has to cross over to the house line as well at least 10 feet down.  Since you theoretically can't connect anything in a metal shaft 8 inches in diameter....there would be no room to work in a shaft that small, the pitless is designed to be a slip on style fitting.  A connector pipe.... 10 feet used to slip the fittings together in the inside of the shaft....10 feet down.  A little clearer now?

The pitless that sits down inside the well shaft!

 Remember as couple of paragraphs back how I mentioned that we had a super low water flow rate.  Look at the first it to get a good look...  See where the screwdriver is pointing?  Notice how you can see where the adjoining fitting never lined up with the hole but in fact left about 2/3's of the hole blocked from the opposite fitting....restricting the water flow....  Bingo!  Yes, years ago when the pump was replaced by the original owner, the pitless never slid together properly.  It not only restricted the flow to the house wasting electricity every time the pump came on, but the excess water would just spray back into the well from the gap between the fittings.  So, every time the pump kicked on we essentially were losing valuable pressure, precious water, and, get this.  The way a well is set up physiologically speaking, the constant aeration of the water spraying back into the well caused years of oxidization thus contaminating the well, and creating not only bacteria build up, but helped contribute to the excessive iron that was ever so present in the water.  A vicious cycle, if you would.

Looks reminiscent of a bunch of state highway workers standing around while the gal in the hole works...

John and I ponder....what more can you do!  Before Jeanette arrived it was I down in the 10 foot hole, digging out the old pitless for her to tap into.  It is cold, wet and dank down there.  Hard to shake the feeling of entrapment.  Just focus and get done so you can get out! 

After the new line was connected and the new pitless placed into the new shaft, the old shaft is cut at the bottom of the hole, to be back filled as the hole is filled.  This is it, no more old well!  The bummer of it is that I wanted to drop a sealed 'time capsule' down the old shaft before it was buried.  But, the project came together so fast that I never had the time to make a time capsule.  No ceremony took place.....just the simple and uneventful burial of our old nemesis.

Jeanette cuts the old shaft at the bottom of the hole.

 Going up?  The only way in and out of the hole safely without causing the sides to sluff and cave.  The bucket of the backhoe was the way Jeanette and I went in....and the way we came out....

 With all of that said, the job is done.  Now we just have to re-seed the lawn in the area that was dug out, and replace all of the damaged decking on the walks from all of the equipment and machinery.  After the hole was buried Saturday evening, they came back This morning to drop the pump back in, connect the pump shaft to the pitless, and wire in the pump.  It is a done deal. 

The weather has been great!  This weekend got up to 48 degrees, and sunshine all the way.  The lake is starting to thaw finally!

The birds are starting to arrive now.  Seagulls returned two weeks ago, and while we were in Anchorage for an overnight Thursday night, we went out to Potter Marsh and witnessed the returning geese, and even saw a beaver cruising the waters surface.  Was so cool!  We cant wait for the Tundra Swans to return, and are anticipating the arrival of our Loons on the lake!   It is so exciting having the annual migratory return of so many species after being absent all winter long.  It is like old friends coming home!  Speaking of old friends, we are going to have our friends Ted and Patty visiting in a few weeks!  They will be doing a cruise through the inside passage, southeast Alaska, and over to Seward, where they will visit here for several days and then fly out of Anchorage to head back to California.  I leave you with this magnificent photo of Mt Redoubt blowing off some steam across the bay, last weekend as we saw it coming back from town to get the mail.  It is so beautiful here and we so love it!  It will never get old.