I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting Supplies in the Fall

Getting supplies here is something that takes planning. Normally, I get about 95% of my supplies and fuel during the course of the summer. This winter, we plan to spend a few months in Eagle River with my son and his wife, and without someone here to keep the fire going, having things that could be damaged by freezing needs to be kept at a minimum. Having things that need to be kept frozen needs to be kept at a minimum too because there's no guarantee temperatures will remain below freezing. So, instead of bringing home cases of meats and vegetables and filling the freezer, I only ordered a few family packs to get us by for a couple months. Said damageables - those that are left over when we leave - will go to town with us.

This plan to go to town, made ordering supplies during the summer next to impossible. I was able to order a few things, but I was reluctant to burden my boss with a bunch of shopping - she just loves to go shopping. Therefore, what I needed to do was get my supplies later and by a different avenue.

Later came yesterday, and my husband thought you all might be interested in reading about it.

Denali Flying Service flies for us frequently - fuel, transportation, and even supplies. They are a family owned business and Kirstin runs the office and does the expediting while Berry does the flying. Earlier this week, I called in my order and Berry flew it out yesterday at four in the afternoon. Earlier in the day would have been nice - to give us more time to get it all to the house, but that was the available slot.

When you all go shopping, you load your shopping cart with your goodies, pay for it at the cashier's counter then wheel it out to your car. After you drive home, it's a simple matter of carrying the handy-dandy little white shopping bags into the house and putting your purchases away. And what is under your feet all this time? Nice smooth linoleum floor in the store. Asphalt in the parking lot. Sidewalk on the way to the house. Please, keep that in mind as you read on. I didn't get the pleasure of doing my own shopping, so all things linoleum and asphalt or concrete was not for me to enjoy.

My husband and I discussed distances. We've never had a machine, ATV or snowmachine, that had a working odometer until now, so I always told everyone that it was a quarter mile from the house to the boat. It takes me about ten minutes or so to walk it and I seldom hurry. However, my husband says that our new snowmachine has a working odometer and it says that walk is about half a mile. I also googled it and I guess I've been wrong all these years. About half a mile it is.

From that point to where Berry can land the plane, is another ten or so minute walk, so that's another half mile, though that second half mile is no stroll. I had to cross a little creek. It isn't very wide, a couple steps worth is all, but I'm not one to jump across, and getting my feet wet when the water is near freezing is not a smart alternative. We have a little twelve foot, flat-bottom boat that's easy to move around, so guess what - instant bridge. My little bridge has been across that creek for about a week now - I needed to check the gravel bar to make sure it was clear of sticks and such so Berry could land safely.

Yesterday, we left the house at 3:30. Since our four-wheeler's once flat tire was flat again, we took the snowmachine down with a small sled on behind (no, there is no snow yet). At the boats, there's a hill to go down, and since my boat is still in the middle of everything, the snowmachine had to stay at the top of the hill. We walked down the hill and across the my little bridge, and then we drug the little boat across to the slough. My husband paddled down to the gravel-bar while I walked along the bank. As banks go, it was not level - maybe fifteen or twenty degrees. And all of it is littered with melon-sized rocks and smaller - prime ankle-twister territory, but none of it is loose, nor is it slippery since all the rocks are dusted with left-over river silt. Along the way is also two now high and dry sweepers - thankfully, the water was low enough to make getting past these two obstacles relatively easy. Though my husband had the easy trip, I made it to the gravel-bar before he did and at the same time Berry landed. Perfect timing - almost never happens.

After unloading the nice little white bags, boxes of vegetables, and various jugs of motor oil and cooking oil, we chatted for a few minutes, catching up on the happenings in Berry's life. New computer, face-lift time for the plane - the usual. Then he was off.

We loaded our supplies into the boat - I carried the eggs, and then it was the trip in reverse for us. Don paddled the boat and I walked. The slough is very low, but there's still a bit of current, not much since any water coming into the slough is likely filtering through the gravel up at the mouth, but enough to make paddling harder going this direction. However, Don discovered that much of the route he was taking, had, over the years, filled in, enabling him to pole as much as paddle.

Back at the beginning of that part of our journey, we unloaded the boat and carried our supplies to the little creek, then we had to drag the boat over and recreate my little bridge. At this point some things could be handed across and some things could be tossed, but there were still things that had to be carried every step of the way. Just so you know, the level of the water is eight to ten feet below normal traveling water levels so my little bridge over it's little creek is on the bottom of the river. That said, all these supplies had to be carried up the bank to where I have the boats parked for the winter. The last thing to come up was my little bridge. Have we worked hard enough yet? We're only half way home.

I brought my kiddy sled to help with this part and it was up the last hill and to the snowmachine. In my sled went boxes and heavy bags and my husband carried those items that had handles. Between the two of us we each made four trips up and down that hill and there's still a 60 lb bag of dog-food down there. I'll get it tomorrow with my kiddy sled.

Now it was the half mile trip back to the house. My husband drove - I walked, in my kiddy sled was the eggs, the ramen and creamer. The ramen was crushable, the creamer didn't have any handles to thread a bungee-cord through, and of course there was the eggs. Once I reached the house, we took a few minutes break, and then it was carting it all in. Huge sigh here. The task is done and we're all tucked in and cozy until we head to town.

Needless to say, I was too tired to do much editing, so I did a little Facebook, cooked supper in the oven, and then it was off to bed for me. Also needless to say, if I can avoid this scenario, I do. Though we almost always get some supplies in this manner, I usually do this much later so we can use the snowmachine to haul everything, including me, all the way from the plane to the house. MUCH easier.