My husband flew off tonight to California to visit his 93 year old mother. I'll be joining him in a few days and then we'll hitch a ride with in-laws Carol and Dave up to Walker Pass to resume our Pacific Crest Trail journey north. I'll be on the trail with him for about 7 weeks, hoping to get as far North as Burney Falls.
The summer so far has been fantastic. The weather is warm but not excessively hot with temps mainly in the 60s and 70s. We've been spending lots of time out at Agony Acres or Flatland, working on house building and deconstructing an abandoned mobile home, respectively. The mosquitoes have been enjoying the occasional bloodbath and my biceps are appreciating the workout.
I cleared out some willows with the chainsaw to make room for the "orchard", planting 6 apple trees and a dozen raspberry plants to complement the 18 Saskatoon serviceberries and rhubarb. Paul and Ben assembled and lifted 3 sets of rafters up on the beams and cut more birch to peel and use for the remaining rafters. My shoulders are still aching from the log peeling done to a beautiful birch log that is the center support in the cabin.
On Flatland, the tedious taking apart is continuing. I've been unscrewing the aluminum panels and windows to strip the old trailer down to its bones and sinew. There is no fat or muscle on a trailer- just 2x2s and a thin band of fiberglas insulation held in by the thinnest plywood paneling known to man. It's obviously going to be continued in the Fall, but at least by stripping about 1/2 of the panels, it looks manageable. I can sit in the shade swatting mosquitoes and look North towards White Mountains and the valleys leading that way and pretend that I'm not still in a junkyard.
In our yard, we managed to plant 4 types of tomatoes, cabbage, chard, kale, a pepper plant, herbs, lettuce and cantaloupe. We also made a potato tower- google it. I'll let you know how successful it is. Some of the plants I bought from the Farmer's Market last weekend. I'm glad its starting up. I never get out of there fast- lots of people to visit and stuff to buy. Oh, and did I mention some flowers? But not many this year- I'm turning my yard into a victory garden, assuming Ben remembers to water it.
We sold the old bakery we owned in Haines. It was bittersweet because the bakery was one of the first buildings on Ft. Seward, built in 1906. But time ravaged it and the new owners have their work cut out for them. Paul estimated repairs at $100,000 minimum because it needed a whole new interior and wood tongue and groove siding repair on the outside. The new owners, Sean and Heather are visionaries though and plan to turn it into a distillery. The location is great and our tradeoff (besides cash) is knowing that young people are there with plans to add to the Haines economy.
Ben went down to close the deal for us. He hadn't been back to Haines since he was 10 (and he's now 28) and fell in love with it, just as I did when I first went there. I think he might go back someday. We still own the quonset hut where we lived for 4 years and have owned for 30. His trip was memorable- spotting 4 bears and numerous other wildlife. He arrived home on Wednesday and by Thursday the road was closed north of Haines Junction due to flooding and road damage. Just in time.
Our dinner discussion was living like a 3rd World Country- commonplace in Alaska. Most of the world now lives with running water, more than one room and access to mass transportation. Not here. Especially for those who are students or who have entry jobs in the service industry. If it weren't for the beauty of the land, wide open spaces and the friendly people, why Alaska would be just another ghetto, at least by some criterion.
I was rehired as a Intervention District coach by the state next year. More to come. In the meantime, check out the link on the side for my trail journal about the distance hike. Maybe 700 miles this summer. Maybe more.