Rain & Wind, No Snow

10997192_10205510551896631_704764242660814815_nToday, as the East Coast is digging out from a BIG winter storm, we sit in our part of Alaska with no snow on the ground, strong winds and mostly temperatures above freezing. Another warmer than ” normal” winter.

I cannot say I miss blizzards, below zero windchill, or trying to safely move through heavy snows.

My soul does miss the quiet we usually have with the snows. I miss the peace that seems to come with the snows. The sense, even if it is false, that the “world” isn’t going to creep into your sphere while the new snows are around. The sun that makes things sparkle.

With the winds comes less need for the generator to run, as the wind turbines meet all our power needs. The rains are biting and such we are making up for the lack of moisture we have been battling the last few years. I am already sick of the cloudy weather, but it is not freezing much so there are trade offs.

I have been listening with an extra “ear” towards one of our wind turbines the last week or so. It is making an extra loud hum that the others do not, and I do remember. Something to keep watching and hoping it does not mean a bearing or something else is going out.

Also it doesn’t seem to feather like I think it should be.

On top of all of this one of the other turbines is making the switching system go nuts with lots of clicking. I thought it might be due to the high winds forcing the battery charge level too high, but even after turning the brakes on that turbine and letting that the battery charge level down it starts doing it again once I take the brake off of it. For now it is shut down and a call will be made to my renewable ‘guru’ on possible thoughts.

Don’t let anyone tell you, as they are selling you, any renewable energy system that it is maintenance “free”. Thank heavens we knew better, and I am not a head in the clouds kind of person.

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Overlooking the River, and Out To the Mountains

This week has been filled with a number of tasks that for many are probably not a ‘big deal’, but to me they are the foundation of skills I must either remind myself I have or must learn to be able to survive at our place here in bush Alaska.

Getting spark plugs pulled-burned out until replacements arrive, getting cold circulation pumps going-with oiled gas in the air intake area,  securing heavy tank loads with chain and a come-along, making sure equipment is plugged in long enough to warm for starting in our below freezing weather, knowing just how far you can take a 500+ gal tank up in the air-tilting it down so you can gravity feed the tanks…..all without either getting hurt, spilling fuel all over or damaging something. On top of all of this happening, with the everything being coated in ice due to earlier freezing rain, you are trying to stay warm while it rains and freezes MORE.  Lots of little tasks that added up to a win for me, and reminding me I should be capable to accomplish much of this.

Now after working several days to get things secure for a cold snap, down to single digits or less, that should roll in tonight I can sit at our bay window that looks out to the “front” yard….miles of river just steps away and a mountain range some 20 miles or so away that is made up of active (steaming almost daily) volcanoes.

While the critters dream and snore on occasion I can watch the winter sun travel the last hour or two out towards the bay and then finally setting. When asked why I do not “pack it in” and return to a life in the big city, filled with restaurants, live theater, and a much easier life, this is why. The beauty. The peace. The quiet. The wildlife. The wonder of rural Alaska!!

If the cold does roll in overnight and tomorrow is too cold to do more than the most critical chores I will probably catch up on some bread baking, more planning for the plant seeding that much start soon and some much needed paperwork.

Some Good, Some Not So

This weekend, although most times there,is little need to pay attention to what day it is this time of year, has been one of mixed successes.

As much as you might plan to accomplish something grief has a way of showing up to disrupt plans. I could not get past lots of memories and feeling totally unable to think clearly, the most frustrating aspect for me, for one full day this weekend. This is unusual for me as I push had to not allow myself to just ‘wallow’ in tears or sadness.

Thank heavens by the end of the weekend my mood had turned around. Seeing the snow capped mountains a mere 20 miles or so away, the river still running freely, a smattering of sun peaking out of clouds and miles of beauty my soul can do nothing but heal a little more

Coming Home

It has been right at three months, although I try hard NOT to count the days, since I lost my  spouse. The death was unexpected, immediate and a total shock. Having now come home from being ‘out’ for the holidays,the tough part of starting to really pick up the pieces of our lives and mold them into some type of life for myself needs to start in earnest.

There has really been little chance to shut down and just ‘grieve’ as we have businesses to keep going, although they are mostly seasonal and this  is the time of year when it is more planning than doing.  Too many things, from making sure there is power to critters needs, call on me daily for attention so succumbing to any type of inaction just cannot happen without a risk of actual harm coming about.

Almost each day, it seems, brings some new task I must learn more about to have things run smoothly or even at all.  Yesterday it was dealing with routers that run our Internet system. I was finally able to work things around to get all of our systems up so I can communicate with the ‘world’.  The day before it was helping to get a kinked and broken propane line  repaired. Learning what it took to flare the end of the copper tubing once the kink was cut out so the fitting could be connected again, and  get propane running into the house, enabling cooking to happen once again. Today seems to be going well enough, so far, that I am getting a break although I can see a possible issue with the solar (panels) tracker. I will need to reach out to my “renewable power guru” via email and pictures to tackle another day. Oh the havoc a 100+ mph wind can cause, especially when you are not there to take precautions.

At this point I am going to stick with the chore of sorting a months worth of mail and working on a planting schedule for the season coming up.