Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Announcing --- Our Seventh CD - "On the "Rock"-y Road"

DannyLee has finished recording his seventh CD.  We have contracted with Songcast to make this CD available for downloads through various music services including Amazon.  This process takes time and I will post a note here when the CD becomes available.  We also hope to add our previous Messianic CD's to Songcast as soon as we can.  

We have sent all of the songs to Messianic Lamb Radio so that our listeners can enjoy our new songs.  Please let us know if you hear one of our new songs and how it has blessed you.  That would be a great blessing for us as we have struggled long and hard to bring this music forward.  

I will be adding more about the songs on this CD in the near future.  


Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Hanukkah 2015!

From our house to yours!

As the darkness in our world threatens to overwhelm us, the lights of Hanukkah give us hope for a future.  We long for the Maccabees of our generation to rise up and take a stand for truth, but we hear only the garbled sounds of many discordant voices speaking nonsense.  

For these next eight days, let us push back the darkness with the lighting of our candles as we look to Elohim to guide us.  We pray for those that are struggling against the darkness around the world.  We pray for Y'srael -- the Land, the Kingdom and the People,  and the terror that threatens them even as it makes it way to every part of the world.  

There is only one way to drive out the darkness.  Yeshua gave us His plan for it.  

Here are His thoughts:  

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and be drawn to worship Elohim, the One, True God..."  (my paraphrase) of Matthew 5:16

"That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of Elohim without blemish in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation among whom you are seen as bright lights in the dark world,"   Philippians 2:15 

One of the joys of Hanukkah is the giving of gifts and we've been busy working on our own special gifts.  

DannyLee created a special gift for his grandchildren with a bedtime story about Noah and a song CD.  Listening to his wonderful voice telling the story gave us an idea for some more stories and songs that will keep him busy for quite a while.  

He's also made some special recordings for some of the special people in our lives.  They know who they are!  Keep your eyes on your mailbox.

I've been busy in my quilt-shop and have finished some things I'm pretty excited about.  I finished a jelly roll race quilt for his granddaughter and added a couple of pillows as a whim.  They go well with the story of Noah.  

This is the largest quilt I've "quilted" instead of using the "knots" technique.  It was enough work to keep me VERY warm.  

 The pillows are made using the "3-Dudes" blocks.  I've been playing with various fabrics to make XX's and OO's for a future quilt project.  

I had the print of Noah from a pillow project I did for my great-granddaughter and thought it would make a cute pillow by itself for his grandson.

 Here are the fronts and the backs of both pillows.  

(I thought I had done a better job of cropping these photos, hmm.)  

The snow falling outside makes uploading photos an "all-nighter".  
In the interest of keeping out the cold, I'm still working on my "Draftbuster" quilts.  

I wanted to make something special for the window in DannyLee's office/recording studio as a gift for him.  

I found a pattern for a quilt block called "Attic Window" and came up with this as a result.  He was thrilled with his Hanukkah gift!

 His office window went from this....

To this!  

 Here are some close-ups of the individual panels:

The pattern of the cloth is pretty repetitive and I learned what the term "fussy cutting" means to do this quilt.  I had to laugh as I'm generally pretty fussy about wasting material and try to use every scrap, but this was a gift.  

These are some big windows.  The pictures don't seem to give that perspective, but this window measures 40 inches by 52 inches.  

I had to do lots of math and measuring to figure this out.  

I believe that I've moved away from the status of being a "beginner" to the realm of "intermediate" with these latest creations.  

The snow continues to fall in the evenings, but we're staying warm and dry.  The moose keeps the dogs entertained and the wolves seem to be staying away for now.  We watch the days grow shorter with the knowledge, that this will soon come to an end and the cycle will reverse itself in a matter of weeks.  

Blessings to all those that stop by here to check up on us!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reasons To Be Thankful!

 As we settle into our winter routines, we find much to be thankful for once again.  The snow is piling up outside and the cold causes the house to creak and groan, but we're warm and dry as we sit and listen to the crackling of the fire in our woodstove.  

DannyLee has been working feverishly on the recordings of his new songs in hopes of getting them on-line soon.  Our biggest challenges are the duets as I struggle with the strength of my voice with the onslaught of the cold air and the wood smoke that sometimes manages to sneak out of the stove.  We have resolved to press into this goal until we can claim the victory over my weakness.  

Yesterday, we had a VERY LARGE visitor outside our house as a hungry moose foraged through one of our brush piles in search of a tasty snack.  Ari decided to be the "big dog" and tried to drive the moose away by barking frantically, but the moose wasn't impressed.  She charged Ari a couple of times half-heartedly, but Ari is fast and wary of the huge creatures.  She stays well out of range of the moose in the deep snow.  In the end, both animals opted to ignore each other and pretended to go off in search of other amusements much to our relief.  

I've been quilting in my workshop as I've finished my "Draftbuster" door quilt and then made two more "Draftbuster" window quilts for our bedroom.  

Here are the pictures of my latest projects:

bedroom window quilt

These quilts are lined with Insul-bright to keep the cold out and the warmth in.  I'm happy to report that they do just that!

All of the material used here is scrap materials bought in small packets from the thrift store.  

I used the quilting techniques I learned in the half square triangle challenge for the edges.
 The door and window quilts in the back room are quarter log cabin squares.  I used a few half square triangles in the mid-sections just for fun.  

The bottom of the quilt is filled with glass marbles and scraps of batting to hold it against the bottom of the door.  
This "Draftbuster" door quilt is double-sided and hung on a curtain rod attached to a gate hinge.  It covers the door and attaches to the wall on each side with strips of velcro.  

When the door is opened, the quilt pushes back against the wall out of the way.  It's also lined with Insul-bright.  

As soon as we hung it up, we could feel the difference in the utility room and the bathroom.  
I'm planning on another door quilt for the living room and a window quilt for DannyLee's office window.  

These are going to take me a while as I've still got some UFO's to finish (UnFinished Objects).  

Quilting will keep me busy for the winter as I keep finding plenty of new squares to try on the internet.  My only regret is that I didn't try out quilting sooner.  It's a lot of fun.  

On a different note, I've been trying out lots of new recipes for bread and meals cooked in my pressure cooker.  I've even made a meatloaf in it which was scary but tasted great.  Nothing warms the heart faster than a tasty meal as we sit inside and watch the snow fall!  

We are thankful to Elohim for HIS blessings and HIS presence as HE watches over us and our friends and families.  Our prayers are with all of you as you find your own reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving holiday.  

May Hashem bless you and keep you safe!  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

"Wacky Winter" Where??

One of the major aspects of life in Alaska is winter.  It seems like we have far more winter than any other season and if we're not talking about when it's going to be over, the talk is all about when it's going to start.  

This summer was unremarkable and most of the weather remarks we heard were about how bad this winter could be.
(Of course, everyone seems to think that anyway!)

With snow in late August and the geese heading south too, it looked like winter was going to come early.  Our Sukkot celebration started off with near blizzard winds and snow that lasted for a couple of days driving us indoors to the shelter of the woodstove.  That didn't clear away until our "season of joy" was nearly past.  

Now, here we are in late October and while the temps are hovering around freezing, most of the little snow we had is gone and every time the "weatherman" puts snow on the 10-day board, it falls off long before the day arrives.  

October 14, 2015
October 23, 2015

This was our drive to Delta Junction today.  There was frost on the trees at some places, but for the most part, not.  With all the talk of El Nino, we try to enjoy the blessing of being able to spend nice days outside adding to our woodpile.  None of us dare to believe this is going to last very long.  This is ALASKA!

With that in mind, I'm back to my quilting and here are two of my latest BFO's (Beautiful Finished Objects).  I went back to my sewing machine with the plan to take care of all my UFO's (Un-Finished Objects), but a few new ideas keep jumping in so I'm spending some of my time working on the UFO's and the rest of my time creating more UFO's in the hopes that I will have plenty of BFO's to show for it.

This is my "Draftbuster" window quilt.  I'm making a door "Draftbuster" quilt just like it, but it's still in the UFO's pile.

The style is Quarter Log Cabin squares and I made it from a bunch of scrap pieces from the thrift store.  

It's padded with Insul-Bright which is layered with aluminum foil to keep the cold out and the heat in or so one would hope!  It sticks to the window frame with velcro and we just pull it off during the short day.  

This quilt is the one I made for my Great-granddaughter.  It's all soft and cuddly made from fleece scraps.  I hope she can feel the love that went into making it for her.  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

With Yom Teruah & Yom Kippur Behind Us....

......Sukkot lies ahead!  

The Fall Feasts are in our thoughts all summer long as we consider how we are to observe them in this place where the fall season lasts about as long as it takes for all the leaves to turn yellow/orange/brown and fall off the trees.  We made the transition from green to bare in a week this year.  

It's not unreasonable to expect snow long before Sukkot.  We saw our first snow flurries the last week of August and although it hasn't been staying, the bite of winter cold is nipping around the edges of the wood stove's heat in the late evening/early morning hours.  

We stayed busy in August entertaining guests, cutting wood, winterizing the house, cutting wood, visiting some new (for us) parts of Alaska, cutting wood, and adding another member to our little "family.                             (Did I mention cutting wood?)   

That's Bella, our latest addition in the bottom right hand corner of the picture above with DannyLee.  She came with papers and a distinguished pedigree.  Ari and Yoshi weren't fazed a bit by her paternity and quickly established her lower rank in the household.  
She did manage to "snag" a spot on the couch for herself and her and Ari have worked out their "space" issues.  

Size is nothing in this household as Bella is 3 times Ari's weight and Ari is twice Yoshi's and the CAT RULES!!

We managed to get the wood shed full and are well on our way to filling the wood spaces in our garage.  All of the standing dead trees are marked for harvest later on in the winter.  It will be good to get back to hauling wood on our sled.  The wheelbarrow (and my back) are ready for a long vacation.  Snow makes it a lot easier to move heavier loads. 

Today we'd planned to go to Fairbanks to celebrate DannyLee's 69th birthday, but snow changed those plans before we'd even gotten out of bed.  A friend in the city called to tell us that the streets were already treacherous and several cars were in the ditch.  We opted to head south to Tok for our little celebration and avoid becoming a statistic.  We didn't want it to be a birthday to remember for all the wrong reasons.  

Our sukka is ready for the advent of Sukkot on Monday.  We pray that all of our brothers and sisters in Yeshua enjoy this last great fall feast as we intend to make the best of it for another year away from Yerushalyem.  

Hag Sameach Sukkot! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Precious Days of Summer in Alaska!

June 30, 2015
This summer has presented us with some challenges.  We have been cutting wood almost daily in an effort to fill the woodshed and the garage before the snow flies. These pictures show the progress we made in the month of June.  

Some days we feel like we're getting it done......other days....

June 30, 2015
During this month, we've seen some very, VERY smoky days and lots of up-close and personal activity by the brave and self-less firefighters that work hard to protect us from the fires that threatened to wipe us out.  

To say that we are grateful to them would be a serious understatement - we are overwhelmed with gratitude!

The fire we were most concerned with was within 4 miles of our house and many times we found ourselves "downwind" of it.  

Fortunately, the firefighters were able to contain it and eventually get it put out.  The fire was the result of a lightening strike.

Taken on July 5, 2015 at 12:33 a.m.
During the month of July, we have the pleasure of hosting several visitors through AirBnB.  This is an experiment and our first guests were from Slovenia.    We thoroughly enjoyed their visit and look forward to continuing this little experiment.  

Jurij & Petra, Filip & Katya from Slovenia
One of the complaints that our guests had about their trip was the lack of moose on the drive from Fairbanks to our home.  On our last trip, we double-checked the moose population and we can say, yes, they're still out there.  We "flashed" this one as proof.

On a final note, the fireweed is everywhere and I had to include at least one more picture of flowers as Alaska is in bloom!

Fields and Fields of Fireweed

Sunday, May 31, 2015

"April Showers Bring May Flowers...."

Our backyard
 .....except we didn't get any April showers and we've hardly gotten any "May" showers, BUT we do have FLOWERS!  

We've got flowers everywhere and they're just the beginning.  

Now if I could just figure out how to grow potatoes...........

We've been busy and no, that's not an overstatement!

We've got "projects, projects, and more projects" going on around the homestead than we've got time.  

Between working on filling up the woodshed and cleaning up the winter's mess, DannyLee's been working on his new recording studio.  He hopes to get his new songs recorded and available on-line sometime this summer.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Playing with the "kids"

Our "kids" are loving the outdoors and even Yoshi wants to come outside and play though Ari's idea of "playing" isn't exactly Yoshi's idea of fun.  Ya gotta luv 'em!

The days are so long now that it's never really getting dark.  I took this picture after 11:00 p.m. 

Taken on May 22, 2015 @ 11:38 p.m.

We've been enjoying some beautiful days with lots of sunshine!  Some days it seems like it's really, REALLY hot.  In fact, for us, it really is hot, but not as hot as our thermometer seems to think it is.........
May 22, 2015 @ 7:30 p.m.

We're not actually silly enough to trust this stupid thermometer.  It's got a long history of trying to fool us!

May 31, 2015
So, this is what has taken up the biggest part of our time in May! 

That might explain why DannyLee appears to be dozing among the flowers in the picture up at the top of this post.  

While this is a shared effort, he's still the only "mauler" in this family!  I just don't get it!  

We've still got a long ways to go before we're ready for winter but this is a very good start!

So, to all our friends out there, wondering what we've been up to, now you know!
Who said, "I'm not the boss?"
Come to the 'Maul"!
Note added on June 1st, 2015:  The day after I posted this, it snowed..........
We were told Delta Junction (60 miles north of us) had 4 inches on the ground.  What's not to love about Alaska?!?!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Harbingers of Spring 2015

Harbingers of Spring 2015
"Harbingers" is my word of the month.  It's one of those words that hang around on the edges of your mind.  You know what it means but when you try to think what it means, the meaning just sort of slips away from you.  This word jumped in front of me a few days ago while I was researching something on the internet.  

The word snagged on something in my brain and caused me to start looking for "harbingers".  My world is full of them.  Here's a list of some of the things that I started seeing:

1.  What says "spring" better than a robin hopping about your yard?

2.  What says "spring" louder than melting snow and mud?

3.  What says "spring" with a funnier sound than honking geese heading north overhead?

4.  What says "spring" happier than a woodshed that has more wood going in than coming out?

5.  What says "spring" with a promise when you see the rhubarb peeking their little red heads through the ground?  

6.  What says "spring" when what's falling from the sky is JUST wet!

Welcome to Springtime in Alaska!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Springtime in Alaska 2015

Springtime comes slowly to these arctic lands and the weather is completely unpredictable.  DannyLee faithfully checks the internet each day for their predictions as he tries to plan out our woodcutting efforts for the week.  No matter how carefully he checks, we still manage to be surprised - sometimes pleasantly as it was here on April 1st - NO FOOLING!  

April 1, 2015

Though we still have plenty of snow on the ground to contend with, at this time, we were starting to see some patches of ground coming through.  This is a balmy 50 degrees of warm sunshine that DannyLee is enjoying here.  It's too warm for a jacket!

As we enjoyed several days like this one, we decided that it was time to take a drive up north to Fairbanks.  While we have plenty of snow left on the ground, the farther north we went, the snow seemed to be melting away very quickly.  This is what we saw along the way:

April 9, 2015

We enjoyed a lovely drive north and temperatures in the mid to high 40's all day.  It seemed like spring was finally getting to be in control and winter was losing it's formidable grip.  The woodstove has been getting a break during the day and the wood pile has been growing slowly beyond our needs.

As we made our plans for our Shabbat and the High Shabbat of the final day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, DannyLee noted that the weather on the internet was warning of 1 to 2 inches of possible snow.  We added some extra time to our preparations to ensure that we cut enough wood for the time of rest.  

While we were out in the woods, an odd hail-like snow started to pelt us gently.  Up till then, our preparation day had been a pleasant 40 degrees with plenty of puddles to avoid.  We could see that we were in for a change.  

On Friday evening, it began to snow and snow and snow..................

April 10, 2015
This was the last picture I took before I went to bed at 2:00 a.m.  This is the heaviest snowfall we've seen all year and it just fell from the sky straight to the ground.  There wasn't any wind, no drifting, no sound, just snow falling, falling, falling.........

This is Saturday morning with 1 to 2 inches of snow if you can ever believe the "weather man"!  I can't say for sure just how much snow we actually got because it was melting while it was snowing.  DannyLee measured it at 9 to 10 inches and it snowed almost all day on Saturday. 

Ari was so upset with the mess that she spent most of her day moping on the couch.  It was not a good day in her opinion at all.  She's been very happy to chase squirrels and be outside and her brief excursion in the morning turned her into a snowball.  We were happy to stay inside and enjoy watching the snow falling off the trees as it melted.  We know it won't be too long before this is all gone again and spring will renew it's efforts to be reborn.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pesach 2015

Each year Pesach comes as a new thing for us even though this is my ninth observation and DannyLee's tenth time or so.  Basically, we don't know what we're doing and there is so much anxiety that comes in trying to "get it right". This year was no exception and even though we're back to just the two of us, I still struggled with the preparations.

I think the biggest problem comes with the fact that we're trying to stay away from the old traditions of men and find our way back to the Scriptures on one hand, balanced with the very human need to establish a new set of traditions that work with the commandments given by Elohim and not against HIM.  

In the days leading up to Pesach, I went through my cabinets and considered what was leaven and what was not and removed the leaven from the house.  It was considerably easier this year as we've gotten away from a lot of convenience type foods.  In the previous years, I've had to look at packages of Rice-a-roni and other kinds of similar foods for yeast on the labels.  Now, I have none of that in the house so there was nothing to search through.

As I'm making most of our bread and baked goods at home, it was easy to gather up my yeast and baking powder.  I did enjoy working out the last few meals to use up the last loaf of bread and cookies.  It made for some interesting meals.  My final challenge was a half of a loaf of challah bread that got turned into a lovely tropical bread pudding with pineapple and coconut that we managed to eat up on preparation day.  

As we considered what was and wasn't leaven, I was stumbled this year with a new thought.  I've become a waffle aficionado (better said: addict!) and have collected several fun waffle recipes.  As I was making my Waffle Brownies, I noted that there wasn't any leaven in the recipe - no yeast, no baking powder or soda!  Hmmm.....

That led me to wonder just what makes waffles light and fluffy and I realized it's just water and hot air - steam!  That really gave me something to think about in terms of leaven.  Obviously, you're not going to get rid of either of these two things so my end thought was I won't be making waffles during the Feast of Unleavened Bread - 'nuff said!

Our Pesach celebration was decorated with snow that blew in with all the fierceness of winter though it left little to show for itself in the end. We had somewhere between one to two inches that mostly melted away by mid-day. It definitely ruined any chances of viewing the third of the blood moons, however. The cloud covering stayed solid all night.

In the end, we had a lovely meal of lamb and roasted veggies with lots of grape juice and matzah.  We spent the rest of our evening watching The Ten Commandments though I'm not sure that there's a Scripture for that.  

As we enter into the Feast of Unleavened Bread, matzah pizza is the first thing on the menu.  I think this is the part that DannyLee looks forward to the most. Now if I can just figure out how to use up all those bitter herbs............

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wood WORKing 101

DannyLee Keeping Warm in the Woodshed
Spring has finally "sprung" in Alaska!  You're looking at 50 degrees of warmth here on a bright sunny day.  Winter can be slow, however, in releasing it's icy grip on this land so we still need a fire in the woodstove at least a part of the day and through the night.  

The good news is that we don't need a big fire or a lot of wood so we're finally seeing some wood back in the woodshed. We've still got knee-deep snow on the ground so gathering wood can be quite a chore but at least it's warm enough to make it enjoyable to be outside in the sunshine.

The bad news is that it's time for the bears to wake up so being outside can be a bit more interesting than we want it to be.  Ari has been busy doing "patrols" from the time she gets outside in the morning until it gets dark.  We know she's working hard cause at night she comes in, grabs a bite to eat and whatever's left in the cat's dish and flops down on our bed to "saw" her own "logs".

While we have a nice gas-powered chainsaw to cut down dead trees, it's hard to get the thing started and to keep it going.  Add that to the unsteady footwork of mushing around in melting snow and you've got a recipe for disaster.  We like to avoid things like "disaster" so we've been doing some of our cutting with a plain ole' handsaw.  It takes a lot more effort, but what else do we have to do with our time and it's great exercise.  

The problem is that it's just too slow and we figured at our pace it was going to take us nine months to replenish our firewood for next winter and we just don't have nine months for that.  DannyLee got it in his head that he wanted an electric chainsaw that he could just plug in, turn on and run with it.  I added my own thought to that picture and saw him with extension cords wrapped every which way and back through the woods - not a pretty sight!

SO, I did a bit of research and came up with this battery-powered Black and Decker chainsaw.  It's not too big, in fact, it's almost a bit too small knowing what I know now.  This pile in the picture below is 20 minutes of cutting up logs for splitting.  

One Battery Charge of Output
What I cut is the logs that are leaning up against the wall in the top picture. We had kept these aside for the purpose of testing out the B&D. They're almost a bit too big of a job for this little guy and in the future I would opt to use the Poulon for logs this big.  It did prove itself out though and I'm sure it will work great on our smaller stuff.   

The lithium battery takes about 5 hours to fully charge (from empty) and you get about 20 minutes of cutting power.  The good news is that I can recharge it in our rig from the solar panels so it's not going to cost us extra to run it.  The bad news is it's so easy to use that the 20 minutes of cutting that pile of logs didn't even make me tired.  (And YES! I cut that entire pile by myself with DannyLee wrestling the logs onto the "horse" and holding them down for me.)

Bottom Line:  Now I've got a bit more free time to concentrate on our preparations for Pesach!  


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pesach Preparations 2015

"March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."

Yes, you're seeing a very COLD day in Alaska.  This is one of the coldest temperatures that we've seen all winter.  This was taken on March 15, 2015.  DannyLee said that the thermometer was pegged at -50 degrees when he got up.  (He always gets up earlier than I do, but I stay up much later!)  

I have to say that our thermometer is wildly inaccurate but since it only goes down to -60, it's anyone's guess as to the real temperature.  It wouldn't have been such a big deal if we hadn't run out of firewood back in February.  Thankfully, we still have lots of pellets for the pellet stove and this cold snap was pretty brief.  It lasted only a few days and we were able to squeak through with the little wood we had on hand and some quick cuts during the daytime when it warmed up a bit.  

March brought us cold weather, a trip to the roof and the celebration of Purim.  We don't actually put much thought into Purim since it isn't a commanded feast and we don't have children.  It's just not that much fun when there's just two adults and DannyLee would have to dress up as Mordecai AND Haman AND the King and I'm sure he wouldn't go for that.  

More importantly, the celebration of Purim serves as a reminder to us that Pesach is coming and the time of preparation is at hand.  This we take very seriously as this feast seems to set the tone for all of our observances throughout the rest of the year.  We fear that if we get lazy or lax here, it will cause us to get even lazier as time goes on.

Our preparations are a bit more complicated here in the Interior as we have to go to Fairbanks in order to buy our lamb and our matza.  The Fred Myer stores and oftentimes, Safeway have lamb in small quantities throughout the year.  We never know, however, if those quantities will cover the demand as there is a Jewish community in Fairbanks.  

We thought it might be better to go sooner rather than later in order to secure the provisions that we would need to prepare our feast.  Our efforts were rewarded with a case of matza and a beautiful lamb roast. My mouth is watering already as I think of how good it's going to taste. I'm not sure why we don't have lamb more often, but then I remember the cost.  At over $5.00 a pound, it's more like an investment than a food item.  

We drove to Fairbanks on a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the high 30's/low 40's.  It's always an exhausting trip as we try to do ALL of our shopping as fast as we can in order to get back on the road home as soon as possible.  DannyLee usually does all of the driving while I watch the road for patches of ice and straying moose.  We saw plenty of ice, but thankfully, our prayers were answered and the moose stayed away from the road.  

One bonus of going to Fairbanks is that we always treat ourselves to a nice lunch somewhere on the way.  On this day, we stopped at a little diner in North Pole.  As we were parking, I happened to look to my right to see this beautiful sight - two of our favorite flags flying proudly in front of the diner!  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

HONEY!!! What's That?!?!?

The Chimney for Our Woodstove!
Today was supposed to be a very busy day of collecting firewood and preparing for an incoming cold front that is supposed to bring us temps around 25 below.  We got out there on what started out as a lovely 38 degree day intent on restocking our always dwindling wood supply.  Things started off really well...............

Then, everything changed.  The sky suddenly grew dark.  The wind picked up and snow came blowing sideways through our little forest!

Wait a minute!!  Where did that come from?  We went from a lovely, sunny 38 degree day to a near white-out blizzard condition in a matter of minutes.  Huh?

Fortunately, all of this happened right at the point we were hauling our last load of firewood into the garage.  The "PLAN" was for DannyLee to bring some wood into the house and we would be ready to bed down for the evening.  Best made plans...............

Now, I've been having some strange problems with the woodstove. When the winds pick up late at night, smoke has been blowing back down the chimney, through the stove and into the house.  This isn't fun! So I asked DannyLee to take a look up at the chimney before he came in the house.  He comes in with a strange report.  He says, "The chimney looks like it's kind of tilted over or something."  This can't be good!

As I'm walking past the dining room window, I just happened to glance out at the raging storm outside.  EEEEKKKK!!!!  The picture above is what I see.  Not a happy moment!  Somehow, we managed to go from "kind of tilted over" to "laying on the ground" in the time it took me to go to the bathroom.  Hmmmmm..............

Well, there wasn't much to be done about that at this point.  Neither of us is all that keen about climbing up on our roof.  It especially wasn't going to happen in the middle of a raging snowstorm.  So, I start to make supper.............

It wasn't too long before I realized that the stove had run out of propane and my roast turkey and veggies was sitting in a lukewarm oven doing nothing.  Now this might be the point where we could have a fit or get really upset or maybe even angry.

Nah..........it was just time for a different menu.  There was no way that I was going to make my Darling head out into a storm to change out the propane tank.  I'm not that inflexible or limited in my cooking options.  The roast turkey and veggies went into the crockpot.  The pellet stove is working diligently to keep us warm for now and the storm has passed.

Tomorrow is a new day!

Psa 118:24  This is the day יהוה has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Life Without Water...Firewood...Internet....?

Fairbanks 2015
What do you do when you turn on the faucet and nothing comes out?  

Melting snow
That's not a question that most of us want to face and especially not when there simply isn't a clear answer or anyone to call.  Cold and ice are an inescapable part of life in Alaska and many parts of the lower 48 it seems this winter.  The hardest part for us is that there isn't anyone to call up here where we're at so it's up to us resolve a problem like this.  

The good news is that we did prepare for such an event and we made it through 15 days without tap water using our stored up water and melted snow to meet our basic needs.  It was a challenge and we made it through.  After 15 days, DannyLee prayed for our pump to start working again, turned it on and it did.  I wish life was always so simple.

What do you do when you still have several months of winter left and there isn't any firewood left?

"Chili" Waffles
This was another challenge that we won't say surprised us.  The mounds of firewood that we mauled/hauled and burned in the first few months of winter kept us guessing as to whether we were going to make it to the end of the winter or not.  

Every week, DannyLee came up with a new estimate as to how long the wood was going to hold out.  Every week, we watched our stockpile dwindle and finally we had to face up to the fact that it was going to take a lot more effort to get through the entire winter with heat from our woodstove.  We still have plenty of wood pellets for the pellet stove but firewood was going to have to be gathered.  

It was time for us to drag out the chain saw and test out our skills at getting it started.  Fortunately, we've been able to handle this challenge too and it's been empowering to learn that we're not entirely helpless.

Even Yoshi has some challenges to face!
What do you do when you turn on the computer and there's no internet access?  

The funny thing is that of all these questions, the last one is the one that was basically the most difficult to face.  The death of my laptop was disheartening.  The death of our internet access was frightening. 

We use it for everything - banking, shopping, entertainment and our Torah studies.  Not having internet access left us to wonder what weather was heading our way and unable to manage our bills.  

The sad thing was that our internet access appears to have been randomly cut off by the provider as they make an effort to stop serving their Alaskan customers.  This is all based on rumor and piecemeal information but they simply said they couldn't help us and left it up to us to find new service.    

We searched out our options for new internet service but with no phone lines, an internet-less local cell tower and limited satelite options, the search was painful.  This challenge was going to cost us.

The Table Runner I made for my Mom's Birthday
It was time to be creative!
Making "scrapple" cider vinegar

I took a break from my quilting to make this table runner for my Mom.  The fabric is a batik that I had brought back from Thailand many years ago.

I'm also working on my bone broth and learning to make apple cider vinegar.  These kinds of things are fun and useful ways to fill up the time not being used on the internet.  Cooking and sewing are keeping me busy and DannyLee continues to work on his music.  
Ari's new friend Gulliver

In the end, a week without internet was rough but we made it and life goes on!