Monday, June 4, 2018
Yesterday was almost entirely devoted to finished getting the cabin in shape, but hurray!! it's cleaner than it has been in years! Here's the same counter as yesterday, with all the stuff sorted, organized, and put back away:
Saturday, June 2, 2018
I've already started to become confused about what day of the week it is. It always happens, but it usually doesn't happen in the first couple of days. I unpacked (yay!) The cabin cleaning continues. The floor under the sink counter and under the bunk has been mopped and it's a different cabin! And as I write this, I'm looking at the counter directly under the sink AND the floor under that. I'm not sure I could stop myself from pulling out that overflowing shelf of stuff and imposing some order.
The second day is usually much easier - and correspondingly less gratifying - than the first. Here is the summary of day 2 tasks: 1. Get the cabin ready. That's about it. But it entails: 1. Pull off and fold up or otherwise reuse the towels and plastic bags that were used to cover the pots and pans, dishes and utensils, and everything else we didn't want to think about varmits skittering over. 2. Wash what dishes I must 3. Pull everything off of every counter and shelf, including the shelf paper, to try to start the summer mouse/lemming-poop free. (Yeah, this will end up taking more than one day.) 4. Replace the paper on 16 shelves, then restock them with the food that was left on them over the winter, plus the food that was removed and stored in plastic bins over the winter 5. Sweep and mop that floor 6. Bake the bread I started yesterday 7. Post yesterday's blog Optional items: 1. Go to town to get milk for my tea and butter for the bread when it comes out of the oven. Mmmmm. Detail: I love a soothing cup of tea. But, well, if it's black tea, then I love it only if it also has milk and honey in it. I left some of those little packets of half and half to see how they would hold up over the winter. The answer is: no. They seemed like little blocks of soft cheese. I tried them anyway - maybe they would melt in the hot tea? Again, the answer is: no. Note to self: stock up on powdered creamer so I have it at the beginning of next season. I'm pretty good about cleaning off the food shelves and replacing the shelf paper every spring, but it's so dang tedious. And, it turns out that if I leave sugar accessible to the critters, I can expect to find a pile of ... uh, processed sugar. Bleah! That must have triggered a total war on mouse detritus. For example, I've found myself extending the mopping from the middle of the room, all the way back to the walls. I think it's been about 10 or 30 years since I've done that. It leads to a lot of sorting and ultimately, some additional garbage.The other thing, though, that I didn't anticipate is that inside my cabin, it takes hours and hours for a mopped floor to dry. Everything already takes a little longer here and is harder to accomplish, but to add all that time drying... So, what better way to use the drying time than to head into town for cream and butter. I had parked the truck out of the way of the tide about a mile away so I strapped Ollie into his orange vest and we walked to the truck, with me (and apparently not Ollie), keeping a careful eye on the sky. I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that the tundra is wet this year and Monsen Creek is substantial. Wet tundra means there's been rain which I think bodes well for our water barrels, and our washdown system, and for fishing weather. And it makes the tundra fires less likely. We made it to the truck with eagles just flying away from us. Got the cream and the butter, then headed over to the canopy truck to look for a new protective vest I ordered for Ollie, called a Coyote Vest. I climbed through all the packages, found my knee boots and the rope I usually use for pulling down the stairs... but the vest must still be at the post office. We just parked the truck on the high ground and came back down the beach with the groceries, once again running the Eagle Gauntlet with Ollie.
Friday, June 1, 2018
The first day in is always one of the busiest days of the season. Departure day is just about as busy and really, they’re both kind of sad. I come up early with just me and the dogs for the solitude, but the first day, when there’s so much to do, it sometimes just feels like loneliness. (The last day is also sad, but then it’s because so much of my heart and soul has been anchored in the tundra and mud, it hurts to extricate it for departure.) This year, the loneliness of arrival felt more difficult because of changes, and maybe, because of accumulated changes. However, it’s important to remember the rest of it. I spent a little time with Chris (a star member of last year’s crew) and two new crew members (Noah and Phil) for a few days before leaving for the season and found myself getting really excited about this year’s crew. We’ll have a lot of new people this year, but I think they will rise to the challenge, whatever it is. Starting again – the first day in is one of the busiest days of the season. There are a bunch of things that MUST be done if I’m to sleep in the cabin on the first night. I’m going to try to remember to make a short list at the start of each blog so I can pull it out and make it into an operating manual for future crew members. 1. Pull down the stairs 2. Unboard my cabin (doors and windows) 3. Hook up the propane 4. Prepare the composting toilet 5. Get my bunk ready 6. Park the truck up and out of the tide 7. Set up the drinking water 8. Find trustworthy water for the dogs 9. Bring up luggage 10. Oh, and floss and brush Some of the more optional things are: 1. Feed the dogs and keep Ollie from becoming eagle food 2. Feed myself 3. Empty the mudroom 4. Change the sheet that has been used as a runway if not a nest for legions of lemmings over the winter. Not to mention that they’re filthy from holding my unwashed body last season 5. Hang out the bedding (it smells so good when it comes in) 6. Open the crew cabin to get stuff I need 7. Move the generator and the capstan winch from the middle of the cabin floor 8. Start cleaning up the winter’s accumulation of... well, let’s just call it “dust,” knowing that everything tends to be bigger in Alaska. 9. Take pictures and start the blog Here are the day’s details: The dogs and I and all the luggage (including a crate of eggs – go Alaska Airlines and Pen Air!) made it into King Salmon intact! We had a few errands to run on the way to the cabins. First the bank (since it’s in King Salmon), then SeaMar Naknek (can’t start the season without a Captain Jack tide book),