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.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Tick-Tock - Tick-Tock

Everyone has one of those things, and many people have all kinds stashed here and there. In fact, a nice big wall clock was one of the very first things I bought when I first got married and set up housekeeping in our first place. It's a wooden frame with a white face. I took some time selecting this clock. I wanted to be able to tell the time from across the room if need be. As it so happens I do believe the old saying, 'they don't make them like they used to' holds true for this clock. Not only have I managed to hang onto it throughout all of my moves, it has kept very good time and a single C battery lasts like two or three years.

I can't say the same for some of the newer appliances in my life. I recently had to buy a new chest freezer because my old one finally gave up the ghost after over twelve years of good service to us and who knows how many years of service to the lodge before it was given to us. They were going to throw it away because the guides at the time kept overloading the poor thing and then forcing the lid closed, so it was all bent and warped and the plastic inside was all busted up. We fixed all that and it worked just fine. Our new freezer is maybe a third the size and we had to get a bigger generator to run it.

Energy efficient - I wonder if these new engineers really know what that means. In my book, 'energy efficient' means that it takes less energy to run it. Apparently that is not the case. Our little generator would run it as long as it was running, but as soon as it started to cycle, the poor little thing didn't have a chance. More often than not, the starting up of the freezer would cause the lights and TV to blink completely off. It's a good thing our computers were always run on the inverter. Plus I do believe the generator doing that messed up our battery charger too, but I'm not sure. We needed a new generator anyway, and it was a hard decision whether to get another one like we had or go bigger. Bigger meant more gas - ugh - well you know that cycle.

But I digress

Back to the clock. Last spring one of the things on my shopping list was a radio we could wire into our house battery bank (12v). A car radio was the goal but little did I know those things are EXPENSIVE!!! So I opted for a 12v boombox. It's a little thing - less than a foot wide and that's with two speakers. It gets pretty good reception too, for way out here. The only trouble is, it gets 0 reception anywhere close to the inverter (where the house batteries are), SO it sits over by the kitchen sink on the other end of the house. Not so far away as far as hearing is concerned, but way far away as far as wiring it to the battery bank, so it runs on 8 C batteries. As with most modern 'energy efficient' things these days, it doesn't take this little radio very long to burn up 8 batteries. Knowing this (but obviously not well enough) I bought what I thought was enough batteries to keep us in a few hours of audio every day until we either went to town or could order a plane of supplies, which ever happened first.

By the time I got down to the last of the batteries, I was short ONE C battery - only ONE - Gaaa. This shortage prompted us to search through every flashlight we had and dig through every dusty corner in the house in search of a single C battery that might have some life left in it. The trash was soon filled with exploded batteries and dead flashlights, and we now have several ancient flashlights in working order that hadn't been touched in years. NO C BATTERY IN THE LOT!!! Well actually there was but nothing worth saving.

So what did I do? You guessed it. At 2:37 I took that one battery out of my faithful clock and put it in the radio. I mean really out here my days are clocked by the sun or by the battery life on my computer or by the battery life on the house batteries. We never really looked at the clock anymore. I got it down twice a year to change the time when daylight savings came around and left, and she got dusted off then too. We could do with out for a little while.

BOY WAS I WRONG!!! Every morning I'd glance at the clock to see what time the dog got me up. Usually somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30. Now I get up at 2:37. My husband had the generator timed. He knows that if we start it at or after 5:00 in the evening, I'll need to top it off by the time I go to bed or at least somewhere around 11:00. Now we start the generator at 2:37, and somehow 10:00 or 11:00 never come around so we have to top off the generator around 2:37. The other day, the generator actually ran out of gas because it was only 2:37, no where near time to top it off, even though it had been dark for hours. At night, I prefer to go to bed by or near midnight, now I go to bed at 2:37. Afternoon chores like splitting wood need to happen before dark, so once again we're watching the clock in order to be out there before 5ish, but it's only 2:37. My husband now tells me I contributed to his insanity. Who knew we still looked at the clock so much? It's not something I ever noticed. What time it was never really mattered that much, not until summer when I needed to be out the door by 7:00 in the morning having finished my advertising and checking my emails.

Now, my husband has brought my alarm clock into the living room and enthroned it in front of the TV. sanity has returned to our lives. It's 5:53 in the evening, not 2:37 hahahaha

So - how many times do you look at the clock? Do you know? I certainly didn't.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Decisions Decisions

Recently I was asked what it takes to live out here, especially with children. It got me to thinking; I've been asked before in one form or another. Other related comments mostly reflect astonishment that I live this kind of life and that I raised my kids out here.

What did I come out here with? My husband was already out here; he'd been working out here for two summers already, but he wasn't making enough along with my job in town, to pay the rent, utilities and buy food. I came out here with two dogs, two cats, two boys and a whole plane (bush plane - little) full of bags of clothes. That's it. I left behind so much. Everything else was stuffed in a storage compartment, and eventually nearly all of that was donated to the local charity.

When we first moved out here, my kids were six and nine. My biggest worry was school. Gad!!! Sure, I graduated from high school, I even had four years of college under my belt, though no degree, but what did I know about teaching? Especially my youngest. I didn't have a clue on how to teach him how to read and yet I was/am an avid reader. I was so lucky the school system had it all figured out for me.

Outside of schooling, I really didn't give the move much thought. I mean our ancestors moved their families hundreds of thousands of miles (by horse-drawn wagon) from civilization. What I did was not nearly so dangerous. They had to worry about Indians and starvation or freezing. All I had to worry about was possibly a bear.

We were caretakers our first winter out here. Part of our arrangement was groceries once a month. Our worst trouble was hauling in firewood. We didn't have a snowmachine until later in the winter when we could borrow one.

During the summers way back then my husband was the bread-winner. He worked as a fishing guide, and he was very good at it. Somehow, (I have yet to figure out how) he had all the different fish's habits down pat and could take you to whatever you wanted every day. I was the one to stay at home and raise the kids (and keep them alive so-to-speak).

Nowadays, my life is different and yet very much the same. Now, with a little creative trading, we own the property we live on. Now we live in a house the four of us built ourselves - part of the lumber came from a cabin we tore down for a friend who wanted it gone, part came from lumber we milled ourselves with a chainsaw, the rest, like the plywood and insulation, we had to buy and freight out here.

Now it's my paycheck that brings home the bread so-to-speak. I work summers at a fishing lodge where I have worked for over ten years now. When our government decided to require us to have insurance to cover our guests, we could no longer be self employed so my husband no longer guides. Our boys have grown up and now they are both married. I even have a grandson now; he's eight now. My how time flies.

Now, oddly enough, we have a satellite dish hanging on the side of our little house. Boy, it took me a while to get used to that, but because of that, now I am a published author, I have three blogs, and I'm well known on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Let me tell you, I certainly did NOT see THAT in my future way back when. hahahaha But it will be a long time before it pays for itself.

Here in this neck of the woods, there are several lodges. To the best of my knowledge, they all hire every summer. If you want to make a living year around, that's a little harder, but there's always someone who maybe needs some firewood cut or their roof shoveled when the snow gets deep. If you happen to be mechanically inclined, there's boat motors to work on or snowmachines. However, a good-paying summer job, with a little modest smart shopping, it's possible to be comfortable for the rest of the year.

Finding a home might not be so easy, but you could find somewhere out here to live. I'm trying to buy a small Bed and Breakfast see here, but I'm way short on funds, and because of my seasonal job, banks won't lend me a dime. You'd have to check local listings, but I'm sure there's plots of land with and without cabins all across the state. What remains to be seen is if they are within reach of work. Then again, there is always live-in work and take your summer loot to town, stock up on winter supplies and then go home.