Thursday, December 31, 2009

Appliance Joy

Appliances and joy do not seem to be related words. Over the past few months I have been accumulating building supplies where I found them cheap. If one waits and watches without the immediate need to buy there are fantastic deals out there. Many prices are way down in the slow economy, like 50% of 2006 prices. One of my favorite sources is a non-profit organization that gets construction donations from all over, much of it surplus or NOS (new old stock). Mom and I walked into their outlet a week ago and an appliance distribution warehouse had donated appliances... NOS, in the box appliances. We are a year from needing appliances up north, and I figured on checking here and there for decent used stuff. Standing in the outlet with stars in her eyes Mom reasoned we might be better off with new since there would hopefully be less repair problem in the remote of Alaska. (I think she has other motives but knows how to reason with me ;-). The result is we have new refrigerator, drier, washing machine, & microwave stuffed in the garage. We got it all for about what we paid for our house refrigerator five years ago! We also had a small used freezer donated to the cause. The only appliance we lack is a stove/oven. I feel like the Lord is bringing lots of pieces together without us even trying. Early in this adventure I prayed that if we were making a mistake or out of His will we would hit roadblocks or some other clear indication we were to put the brakes on. With the exception of some property negotiations where the seller was disingenuous the opposite has happened throughout. It is like He is greasing the way. We have a lot of logistical difficulty ahead and in light of these events I am resting and watching for how Sovereignty will work out the details. It's actually fun.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

From Fireweed to Firearms

Alaska has the largest percentage of people owning firearms in the nation. No application is needed to buy and no permits necessary if you want to carry a concealed handgun. In other words they deem irresponsibility to be abnormal. I wonder if it is coincidence that AK also has about the lowest crime rate in the nation? That is quite a contrast to the lower 48 flavor that gun lovers are extreme or nut cases and resultant pressure to restrict and regulate guns, and now even ammunition in California. In AK if you do not own a gun you may be the one considered abnormal. Nearly every rural home I have been in has a rifle or shotgun prominently in view. Kids learn gun safety at a very young age. Walmart, K-mart, and Fred Meyer all sell shoulder arms and handguns over the counter. Sporting goods shops even market toward girls and women. This picture was taken in a Fred Meyer. I have to confess I have never seen a pink stock before. Don't faint but mom was saying she might like to have one of those pink rifles for Christmas next year. I might have an Alaskan woman on my hands.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


They call this plant fireweed and it is how the locals follow summer. The blossoms begin at the bottom and open successively higher as summer progresses. When the blossoms reach the top of the plant there are about three weeks of summer left. They make a beautiful picture with green spruce trees and snow blotched valley for a backdrop. Found this pix on the web. Click to view full size. It's worth a click.

When we mention building in Alaska we usually get one of several reactions. Winters? Mosquitoes? I have heard the interior has quite a mosquito problem for part of summer. I endured a mosquito onslaught while tent camping in Siberia for two weeks, and nights were torture. But on our trips to southeast I don't think I've see a dozen mosquitoes in seven years. In fact I can hardly recall seeing any bugs other than a spider web here or there.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sweet Sorrow

After our Monday departure from Texas Jayden told his mom he shouldn't go to school that day because every time he thought about us leaving he wanted to cry. Gracie tried to console him by saying we were only at Mercy's, and would be back the next day. Somehow her mind felt most comfortable with that explanation.

We fondly remember things like the first morning when grandkids quietly came into the bedroom and whispered at us until we awoke so they could crawl in bed with us. Or hiding with Norah and Gracie until Jay gave up looking for us. Or teaching Jay how to shoot the nail-gun and seeing the wonder in his face when he made that first shot. I bet he is the only kid in his class to have used one. For me all the grandchild interaction gives the work and sacrifice of raising our own family added meaning. I really miss those little twerps!

Many thanks to Adam and Jamie for the improvements to guest room. Very comfortable.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Texas in passing

We arrived in Texas on schedule after what I thought was a little trouble with the truck. I couldn't be sure. Various efforts to troubleshoot a problem showed nothing. So after 7 days pestering grandkids and various other constructive pursuits we headed home about 4:30 Monday morning with a sendoff committee of one... Jayden, who was suppose to be asleep. A storm front moved in during the night and we departed in wind, cold, and rain. The temp all across Texas that day stayed at 34˚. We hit fog and then a snowstorm in El Paso... big flakes coming down thick. Snow compacted on the bottom of our windshield as the wipers tried to clear it. I wondered whether to get a motel or continue west. I didn't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere on snowy roads. A quick call to a motel in New Mexico revealed cold but no snow there so we pressed on. The next morning we learned El Paso had three inches of snow. We just beat that weather or we would have been stuck until the snow melted. Monday we detoured to Tombstone, AZ for some sight-seeing. The place is a historical tourist trap, but I actually enjoyed the town and would love to go back again. We pulled into 2530 about 6:30 PM to a chilly house and the first act was to turn on the heater. Good to be back home.