Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Great Hot Tub Caper

When I bought my home in Willow, one of the selling points was a hot tub room. Now, I never had a hot tub in the house, but I loved the one I had in Maryland on my back deck. I sat out there every night. I saw more stars, meteors, comets and one light display I can't describe or say what it was. Anyway, I had some great times in that hot tub. So, having one in Alaska should be great too!
 The room has a very large window facing where the northern lights dance. The walls are covered in tongue and groove paneling. It's a very cool room. BUT! I've discovered having a hot tub in the house is not my cup of tea. First, despite the fan and windows that open to let out steam, it makes the house damp. When you get out, water is on the floor and regardless of how much you dry off, water is carried through the house. And I didn't care for the smell. So I decided to get rid of the hot tub. That turned out to be tough. The only way to remove it was through the window! I'm not kidding.
So, first I tried to sell it. No takers, even with a really low price. Then I tried giving it away. Everybody wanted it, but when they'd come look at it, knew it would be too hard to move. It does weigh over 800 pounds. Finally, the fourth person I asked said yes and we can do it with no problem.
They used a method called cribbing.
 I never heard of it, but when I saw what they did, knew I had seen it before on houses that were moved. Dad and three teenagers did all the work. It was amazing. A few days before the move, they cribbed the tub as high as the window.

On moving day, my handyman and his assistant took out the big window. Then the family went to work. They built the crib up outside, moved the tub halfway thru the window, moved the blocks from the inside out and pushed the tub the rest of the way through. Then they lowered it on the trailer. Really, it was amazing and done so quickly! As they drove away, the handymen replaced the window. Now to clean the floor and move in my furniture. This is going to be my bedroom.  Can't wait to watch the northern lights this winter.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pansies, petunias, blue skies

When the sun shines in Alaska in the summer it is as close to heaven as I can imagine. The breeze is cool, the air is clean and life is perfect! The first shot is the view from the back dog lot. The fireweed is blooming, the greenhouse tomatoes are very happy, and swallowtail butterflies are everywhere!

I have two flower containers under the windows of the house. They have pansies and petunias in them. Can't fail with these flowers.

Love the sky reflections.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It's July already!

Summer solstice came and went and suddenly, it's July. Tomorrow will be the 4th of July celebration in Willow. We have a parade, which I'll walk in with the Willow Dog Mushers Association---always a lot of fun. Then there is the community picnic behind the community center. Seems like everyone is in town for these two events. WDMA also holds a pet costume contest. It's a hoot. We've yet to have a dog win the grand prize, but have had an alpaca and a duck!
I have finished work with the census. My contract was up and the next phase involved going back to homes that refused to respond. Honestly, I didn't want to do that. Not sure why people have this grudge against the census considering it is mandated in our constitution to have it. I guess some people just don't like the gov't. for anything. To them I would have to say, fine--then don't use the roads, or the schools or medicare or social security or collect unemployment and here in Alaska---give up your PFD. My last day of work I had two unpleasant encounters with people. I tried really hard not to be intrusive and respect that I was on private property. One man said the last guy to come by was rude, so he wouldn't answer. Then one lady, in the same area, refused because the last guy was a jerk to her. Both were talking about the same guy. Well, I'm not that guy, but OK. Now, someone else will have to deal with them and it won't be fun. The good part for me was learning some of the back roads in my community. Meeting some really nice people and seeing some wildlife. I wonder if I'll do it again in 10 years.

So, this week I spent doing something entirely different. My neighbor Sue has a daughter, Teresa, and she is a horse trainer.Dark Horse Alaska  This past week she sponsored a clinic for riders and their horses with Kathleen Lindley, an expert trainer from Outside. Kathleen Lindley  Oh my gosh, what an interesting week. I grew up with my grandfather's race horses, but I have never owned one. Just never had the time to devote to one or the money it costs to keep one. I sure love them though, so this was pretty cool. I video taped each student and gave them a dvd of their hour lesson to review later. I learned so much and realized how much dogs and horses are so different to train. Watching Kathleen work a big, young horse and getting him to behave in ways his owner couldn't---not that the owner was bad, but Kathleen had the touch!-- was quite enlightening. I highly recommend Kathleen's clinic's if you ride and want to learn more about your horse and yourself.
Kathleen (left), Biscuit and Annie
This morning I had breakfast with Sue, Teresa and Kathleen before the two ladies headed to Fairbanks and another clinic.  What a nice time and a nice new friend.

So, today was a quiet day. Going to the PO, doing laundry, cleaning the dog yard. Good thing I cut the grass when I got home last night as it rained again today. We've had a lot of rain. I've been volunteering at the State Park this year since their budget was cut. Last weekend was the start of combat fishing for King salmon. Well, this week they closed the river. Not enough fish to allow anglers to get one. What a bummer. But, it also meant I didn't have to be down in the ticket booth last night. And, despite being chilly and rainy today, my greenhouse is like a sauna. The tomatoes are doing great!!! I have only picked one cherry tomato from a plant, but there are plenty more ripening on the vine.

The inside walls are dripping with humidity and the plants love it. Even with temps outside in the 60's, the plants inside are very happy and toasty warm.

After playing with the tomatoes---I have to use a small paintbrush and pollinate them--I went to see how the dogs were doing. Imagine my surprise to find them all on the back deck waiting to go inside for dinner. I tried to get another group shot of the magnificent seven. People ask me how I manage to get such cute shots of so many dogs. Well, patience is a virtue for sure. But, what you don't see are all the bad shots I take too. I'm not completely happy with the ones I got today, but they still make me smile.

Chena behind the fireweed.

Everyone is there, but what a pose!(left)

Spirit is yawning and Nahanni seems to have found something under the steps.(right)

Now Rosie is bored! And Fritter is no where to be seen again!

Is Nahanni asleep? And where is Fritter? 
The best I could get is below. We'll try again another day.

             Fritter walking, front row-Chena, Rosie, Nahanni, Pearl; back row- Maggie and Spirit.

And while I was out, I grabbed a few shots of the dwarf fireweed next to the back door. Can't believe it's blooming already. Well, it will be a few weeks before it tops out, then 6 weeks till winter. HA!

And the parting shot, taken in the parking lot of Fred's---wonder which Iditarod finisher this is!!?? Cool plate!!