Yippee!

The little 200 square feet of shed is DONE. As my normal, until it was done did I appreciate how much room I gained. I just couldn’t see it until then.

The very last photo on the lower right, is of my friend Cheri.  She was helping me put together my big floor loom. We had to make 3 trips to the main storage unit to find all the pieces. Why can’t movers put this stuff together on one pallet? Oh no, it can’t be that simple.  But I am beyond delighted to find that both of my looms have found a new location to call home. I have been working non-stop unloading the big storage unit and bringing the stuff to the shed.  Once inside, its a major re-organization in process. The bulk is my yarns and the equipment for this, but I must have a place for my RV stuff too.

I know, I know, I should have painted the inside walls before I moved in. The dry wall needs to be painted. I was just too excited about moving in that I put that off. Well, everyone that’s been inside – “Melinda, why haven’t your painted?”  So it shall be, but not until I’ve finished loading and reorganizing…probably in August. The responses though of those seeing my shed, or as some have said my weaving cottage.. is WOW!   I put down a cork flooring, which gives a nice ‘give-like’ feeling. Its far better than cold hard cement. I sealed the cement floor before laying the cork, so no moisture will work up thru the cement.  Insulated walls are primo, as I discovered on a few of our hot days here.  It was delightfully cool in there.

The last thing painted on the exterior, was the door.  The color is called “prague blue”, but depending on the light of the day is may appear as dark blue, spruce green or even as black.  Very interesting color.  I had no say on what the color of the shed could be painted, unfortunately. It is what it is. And I’ve added a screen door.

So having this wonderful weaving studio once again will be like going on vacation from my road trips. As I’m not done traveling. George, my builder, also built me a desk inside my Lazy Daze. In the area in which my small floor loom had resided, is now a wonderful desk. Am loving the new space, so am re-organzing some of the cabinets inside my rig. That will always be a work in process.

So will continue working inside the shed, so I plan to get both looms dressed before I hit the road. The big Fireside loom will get my Horoscope Weaving project – there are 12 colors and combinations that relate to my own personal horoscope. More details as I work on that one. And the small floor loom (my Baby Wolf) will get some kitchen towels. Instead of trying to figure out colors for that, I am going to do black and white towels in shadow weave – gives them a 3D affect.  Soon, will get started on both. Yippee!!!

Why?

Had an easy trip eastward from Yuma, then southward. I have friends from Chimacum that winter down in the area near Ajo, so wanted to see where they are. Ajo is not pronounced as “A Jo” as it looks, nor is it “Ah Jo”. It is “Ah Ho”.  Ajo is a small, small town out in the middle of nowhere. It does have a post office, grocery store, even a gas station so it is quite doable for these parts.  My friends tho, are further south, up in a high desert surrounded by mountains. It is high end boondocking if I have ever found.  No hook-ups whatsoever. One needs solar, as the generator is definitely frowned upon, in fact they will ask you to leave. Perfect! Smiling here.  The area is haven to folks from the Northwest, it seems, with a few flashes of Alaskans stirring the pot. One odd bird from Miami is known, but wow what an interesting mix of people.  It is a huge private park, the price is right, as they provide: 4 separate bath houses (toilets/showers); 4 dump stations;  water is accessible, laundry & a clubhouse are available. The views posted upon are from this park.  Ruth has been hiking with new friends, and I have been riding my bike – a nice challenge over non-paved roads, with inclines that make the muscles burn to its core. Loving it!

Wildlife seen here are wild burros, jack rabbits, bunny rabbits, lizards, birds. When it gets warmer we’ve been told to expect rattlesnakes, scorpions and other reptiles.

I experienced one of the real joys of being a full timer… a long soaking hot shower. Not powerful spray, but this gal did not care. It was awesome… one of the signs in the shower said “Watch for rattlesnakes” – oh yeah?  Will let’s just hope that’s after I leave… I don’t really have a problem with snakes, but don’t want to experience them in a shower.

I have managed to weave since arriving here, another joy of mine.  Please note Tucker, one of my two felines, on my loom in the above pictures. He loves to sleep on “his hammock” and eyes me when I come near. I had a battle royal with him yesterday, when I would get up to rewind bobbins, he would get up on my handwoven section and would have to be kicked off. Repeatedly.  So now, I throw my bench pad over it to protect it, even for a few short minutes.  Tomorrow, he will have to find another place to rest, as the project is coming off the loom. Yippee!

Last night, Ruth & I went to a jam session over at the community center. About a dozen guitars (acoustic, bass, electric, & a slide), one mandolin, two fiddlers, spoons, and a string bass. It was quite an enjoyable mix of music. My foot was tapping away…  They don’t practice together, just whoever shows up and they have fun making music. Just lucky enough to learn about it, so we went.  Tonight is a dance at the clubhouse, I may be parked just shy of a mile from the clubhouse, but it is pitch black out here and I got to tell you, I get lost in the daytime. Creosote bushes all look alike – day or night. Laughing here. There are no other real identifiers to find one’s way.  Oh, I guess I could use the magnificent stars in the sky… no, I think I will just stay home.

Ah summer flux

The Boys

Summer is still showing itself, but we are starting to get a bit of variety on the temps. From the scalding 90+ temps to chilly 52ºF morning. Quite a swing in temps. But what a relief too.

More dance classes are scheduled after Coho Days. Starting will be Cha-Cha, Rumba and Salsa classes. So that will fill those Fridays, that’s for sure.  I was actually surprised everyone wanted to continue the dances into August. In a very transit place, many start heading South after Coho Days. But we will take what we can get, I think.

In the midst of all this, I am dealing with my medical boards, regular doctor appointment, getting base plate on my car. The baseplate was suppose to go on today, but when I got over there, they decided they needed two days vs one to do this plus the wiring. I absolutely lucked out on a deal on getting a tow package from a local fella. The RV place checked it out today, said its in excellent condition. I got a steal!  The package I bought for $200 included the tow bar, all the cables, Guardian Shield, even a Brake Master. Altho the latter needs to be replaced, a huge savings for me.

In addition to all of the above… I made reservations, something I don’t normally do, but I will be damned if I will back out with some excuse this time. I’m heading to the beach.  I can’t wait!  But its later on this month, so need to bide my time.

Just a quickie note.

Summer stretches

Ah what a busy summer… dances continues, music keeps flowing and I don’t have much to talk about. That’s odd.  Well, let me think about this for a second… I’ve been doing alot of online searching for towing options. Yes, I’ve decided to tow my car when I leave this Fall. Have quizzed many of the folks here at the park as well. So to start, I ordered a baseplate for my car. It is occupying space in my car until next week, when I get it installed, as its too heavy for me to get in or out of the car. The rest will fall into place soon.

While doing all that research, I re-started dabbling in genealogy once again. Its been awhile since I did that.. find it just as addicting as before.

The VA process is active now. Am awaiting the actual appointment for the medical boards. Got the letter, just need the phone call and I will be heading in – hoping its not in Seattle, but on this side of the pond.  In the meantime, I am following up on consults for a variety of things that need to be checked. Getting it all done, so I will be free to go this Fall. Yippee!!

Let’s see… oh, I have finally decided to rip up the carpet in the rear of my rig and put down new carpet vs putting down laminate. Carpet is a better insulator and these floors get cold in the winter. Got some excellent tips on quality sources in this region. So will be acting on that soon.  Am thinking of taking my loom out of the rig and making a work station instead. Not absolutely positive on this yet, but am leaning toward it.

So the summer is flying by me right now. Probably a good thing, but I wish I could escape to some remote location to hibernate, regroup.  Oh but it will happen, just not as soon as I would like.  Best get all this done now, so I can go play.

Coho Days, here at Evergreen Coho SKP park, starts the 1st and will last for one week. Tons of activities, raffles, crafts, parades, feasts, you name it and its happening. Plus live music coming in a week from Saturday.  This place is hopping and its booked solid. This is my first time being here for it.  Normally, I’m still in Alaska this time of the year.  So it should be fun.

Close up of stained glass fishes

Close up of stained glass fishes

Wanted to show the fishes in the above photo. A friend of mine, worked all winter making the stained glass fishes in her shed here at Evergreen Coho. They are now laid into her patio. Its a large oval with a center grey tiles for a table to sit.  Very creative. The flowing line is a copper strip.  Nice job Sheri!

Murphy’s Law

Yesterday before the storm moved in

Not sure why Murphy likes to make an appearance in my life… does he think life is too easy for me, or am I too happy or something?  Folks wonder how I can be so darn flexible… its because Murphy keeps reminding me to not take anything for granted by setting up roadblocks – beautiful curve balls.

The night before my friend was to leave to head for Palmer – with all my boxes… she informed me that her old beater truck died last week – no mention of this until the night she was due to pick up the boxes. Not even sure if its fixable… plus a discovery all 4 tires on the inside of the tires – were in such bad shape, not one would have survived the trip. And they were only concerned about not having 4 wheel drive? Minor issue considering what they have since found out. This is so foreign to me… when one has a need for wheels under their feet – one takes care of that vehicle… you don’t ignore issues, you keep it running smooth as silk and you keep up on maintaining it – not waiting for things to happen.

So… instantly back to square one. How do I get the boxes back to Palmer? My friend Cheri offered up her van and herself, but her hubby, John, put the kibosh on that.  And.. trying to find someone that would be driving back… would be so iffy at this time of the year, its not even funny. So what to do…

Well, I am forced to pay shipping. Its going on the barge to Anchorage. A friend will pick it up in Anchorage and haul it out to Palmer, a wee bit cheaper then paying a shipper to get it to Palmer.  I am seriously bummed that I have this added expense. It was one thing to pay the gas for my friend to take it, its another thing to move it via barge.  Now am awaiting the address to where its to be shipped.  For those in the lower 48 with cheap gas prices, trust me – the prices in Alaska are still well above $3, some places still over $4/gallon. But it would have been cheaper to pay the gas then ship it.

And now… winter has arrived.  Its been snowing all days… beautiful as can be, but it has put a halt to my re-loading my rig.  Knew this would happen… just knew it.

Murphy – go away!!!

Hello 2015!

Greetings and all that jazz!

New Year came in like a lamb for me. Went off to bed early without so much as a cheer. Hey! What do you expect when you only have 2 cats to talk with…

Norm, my oldest cat at 12

I seriously believe my boys are just as ready as I am to get back on the road.  They are fighting more, restless and under foot more then normal.  They still won’t drink the water here, even tho I have found a source of well water – that I am loving having access to vs the city water. But… they won’t even drink that. Frustrating…  Their fighting is again triggered by something outside their domain.  Its Tucker that fights whoever is outside the window, but now realize that Norm sneaks up behind Tucker to see what is going on. It surprises Tucker, who growls at Norm then bam… I have another week of hissy fits. Norm is having nightmares too.  I would not have thought cats could have them, but Norm is.  Crazy stuff.

Its entirely possible that they are reacting to me hustling around here. I’m not idling sitting around reading a book. So no lap time, no extra scratches behind the ears… I will attempt to alter this and see if I can see an improvement.

I am very focused at the moment, going paperless on a ton of genealogical sources.  I can’t carry this in my rig, but need the data to continue my research.  I have bags and bags of loose paper heading to the recycle bin each day.  I have found some interesting stuff that I either didn’t remember having or have totally forgotten. Its all being processed and put in its pile (I have a few piles sitting around, aiming for different people).  I think by the end of this week, I will have mastered the critical parts of this… the rest will just have to stay in storage. My Mom’s research in particular.  I have taken photos of all her scrapbooks, etc. She had placed all the family data into archival data storage – its impressive what she did before she lost her eyesight to diabetes. I need to preserve all that.

Next task, is to get another sale set up and run it… it will be one of two big sales I definitely want to do. I have only a few furniture items left to head out the door, a box of old, old books have found a home too, but they are still sitting by the door. As a trade for some Henley rain gear, a guy brought me 8 pints of fresh packed salmon (sockeye & coho) – wow!  Overly generous… but he bought my Weber Water-based Smoker Grill back at the first sale and  he thinks I gave it to him too cheaply. Not! So he keeps coming back with salmon. I am not complaining!!!  Another gal, who bought most of my canning jars, pots and equipment for canning brought back some homemade chutney, salsa and tomato sauce to me. Yum!    And I have made my traditional batch of vanilla extract and have given this out to those coming to my sale. Its still a huge hit…and the word has spread because of it. As many have asked if I’m having another sale and ask about the vanilla. Of course, I am now out of vanilla extract once again. But will give the recipe out to those that ask.

I think I would be pushing it to get out of here at the end of January.  I need to do some more organizing – attempting to get rid of the miscellaneous junk that always collects in one’s home. Then to continue to reload my rig. Do I want to get carpet laid before I load it up??? Or laminate?  Or wait on this a bit longer? Then will call to set up an appointment with a moving company.  A few have suggested Graebel Moving Company… any feedback from my followers of this blog?  Send them onto me.

And a surprise of all surprises showed itself this weekend.  Do you remember me expressing my frustration with Alaska Permanent Dividend, how I would need to hire a lawyer to prove my proof was indeed proof?  Well…. drumroll….  the State deposited my Dividend on December 18th into my account. Shocking!  Absolutely floored the heck out of me.  I have not gotten the refund since 2011, I am just stunned by this, but am so relieved.  Then in another twist of mega proportions… are you sitting down…. the IRS sent me a refund of $1700 for the 2012 taxes they have been harassing me about since October. They had been claiming I owed them. I paid them in October, but continued to get threatening letters up to 2 days before I got the refund check.  I don’t believe the IRS knows its arse from… well, you get the drift. Laughing here.

Eagles

My trip to Juneau to activate my Verizon phone calmed the itch to move on.  The longest I have ever stayed in one spot was last December/January when I was in northern Florida.  My stay here in Haines is a week shy of that lengthy visit with friends.  The trip down on the ferry… was a sleepy one. Arriving there at 3 in the o’dark thirty in the morning, got off the ship and attempted to snooze in the ferry terminal.  Re-boarded a different ferry at 7 am, headed back to Haines. Gorgeous, gorgeous trip, but no pictures, as my camera was dead… oh hum…  Saw whales, crystal clear skies, seas had a bit of a bounce but all was well.  The mountains were stunning!

Can not find my charger for my regular camera… Oh I so wish I had it today.  The Eagle Festival happened this week minus the eagles. Weird but true. First time ever that thousands of eagles did not descend on Haines.  Most blame it on the warm weather, but seriously haven’t they had warm weather on any other year?   Today’s photos were taken up on Mile 19 of the Haines Highway, north of Haines.  They had 2 young eagles to be released today.

Not much snow

The little mountains east of the Chilkat River.  Not much snow to speak of, but its only just beginning to freeze in Haines… and its been clear since it colder.

Nature’s best art

Looking up Chilkat River 

Local tribe dancing for eagles

Orca dance

Looking west across Chilkat River
And then the sun dropped behind the mountains… the chill factor and making it darker added dimensions most picture taking public frowned at, as the eagles had not been released yet.  It being juvenile eagles – they are dark, no white bald head or tail feathers.  I completely missed the first eagle, these two images are of the second juvenile eagle.

Juvenile eagle sitting on table just as he began to lift off

In flight, but a lousy picture

But what a thrilling sight to see both of the birds take flight.  Both eagles had been burned and they recovered in Anchorage at the Bird center there. Alaska Air Lines flew them free to Haines to be released back into the wild.  They apparently had been burned from landing on high powered electrical lines.  Once they molted and grew new feathers, all was ready for them to be released.

For those that do not see eagles often, I’m sure today was a special day.  There were eagles in trees, out on the river fishing on the late run of salmon. So there were plenty to admire.  For me though… I’ve seen far more congregate in places I have lived over the years.  Nonetheless… it was such a gorgeous day, it really did not matter that the numbers were quite low.  

Haines

On a mental note of hitting the road once again, all those last minute things that should have been done, are now in motion. One of the big ones this time for me, was to take a critical look at what I have not used, may have thought I would use, but have not in 2 years. All is now out of my rig.  One of which was my non-electric Nissan slow cooker. What a surprise to open it up and find… liquified peaches… pits included. Gads,  I don’t even have a memory of getting peaches or of having opened the Nissan pot since I got the thing.  Pot got super cleaned… Only fleeting odors crossed my nose this whole time, and when I did smell something – I thought the cats had done something.  Sorry Tucker & Norm for getting the blame. So yes, the pot holds things very well… whether heat or chill or smells…

Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River are favorite places to visit.  If the salmon are jumping up river – the bears are soon to follow.  This year, they are late, that is the bears.  No earthly idea why, as the salmon have been running pretty good this year. But just in the last few days… sightings of bears have increased greatly.

The other night, Cheri & I went out to watch the bears.  Saw one grizzly – a blond one – across the Chilkoot River from us. He/she looked squarely at us and I wondered if they could hear me telling Cheri to stop.  No picture, the bear gave us one more glance and re-entered the tall grasses. The river is quite high, so am not surprised now, that the bears haven’t been seen much. They don’t want to expend the energy to swim when they rather be fishing and filling there bellies with quality protein.  But this will soon change.

Chilkoot River meets the Chilkoot Lake

Smokey- hazy evening on Chilkoot Lake

Wild Celery

For years, I have watched the natives pick wild celery to eat.  This plant can easily grow to over 8 feet tall in our long summer days.  But its not a plant to tangle with unless you know how.  The stalks and leaves have short nettle like… not quite thorns… but they work themselves right into your skin and fester. Just a nuisance.  But the natives peel these off and enjoy the inside of the stalk. Yes, it tastes just like celery!

Fly fisherman
Story of the sow with triplets – I’ve known her thru 2 sets
Evening on the Chilkoot River

As we drove along the river, so very slowly hoping to see another bear or two, we just enjoyed the peace of it all.  I love to watch fly fishermen… the ones that do it right are awesome to watch and its a talent that I wish I had.  I can’t get the correct wrist action behind it. So am content to just watch on the sidelines.  This river is a fly fisherman haven…

Close-up of weir
Weir 

Bears L-O-V-E to fish at the weir. Its easy, easy pickings!  The guy that counts the fish daily, doesn’t like to be disturbed by the bears (or by curious 2 legged kind either).  He has to be constantly alert for bears…  loud shots over the bears keeps most of them at bay. For the ones that don’t heed that, the counter guy runs!!!  The stories the weir can produce would fill several books!

Unique display along side road

Can’t upload anymore photos… will tell more on this last picture later. And will post more too, later. When I can get a decent signal. Right now, I’m blocked by big Class A’s.

Lazy times continue

Pavilion to access email


My self-imposed down time here, just south of Glacier National Park, has been a welcome change of pace for me.  The lack of cell and very limited internet has only been missed a couple of times. I thought I would miss it more… but am ok with it.

Wildlife has been fun to watch. Bull elk made a showing last night, but earlier had seen a a Mom elk and her baby. Too far away to get pictures, but great thru the binoculars.  Also, moose around here are so much smaller than our moose in Alaska. Its hard to explain the differences, but they are smaller.  Now I have heard, but have not seen that a grizzly sow and cubs have been cleaning out the grease in the fire pits for the RVer’s back in the woods.  Not too many birds tho.

So I’m quite the attraction at this park due to my license tag.  I would say 90% of the people passing thru here are heading to Alaska from Montana.  They thought they would get into Glacier National Park before heading north, only to discover it “might” open by June 28th, if lucky.  When they hear I’m heading north, but not from Montana – the questions start.  So have had lots of ongoing conversations about the trip north, what to see, etc, and a few more curious about the Lazy Daze.

My sis-in-law is not joining me on the trip to Alaska, due to changed plans.  But with a surprising twist, another friend is.  Lois, one of my Alaskan friends, who I have known since my years working at University of California Medical Center in San Francisco.  She is visiting someone in Spokane, where I will pick her up.  So the trip to north of Seattle has been canceled until I come back down in late summer/early Fall.   You know… I can’t plan these twists and turns, but I’m always amazed how things work out.

So… where to put the stuff riding in my passenger seat.  That is the challenge at hand, as Lois needs the seat…  I will figure it out…

In the meantime, I officially hate my blinds!!!  Especially the one in the kitchen and the one bathroom – this will change this summer, hopefully. But what a pain in the a__ to clean!  I have targeted one space each day I’ve been here to clean thoroughly from top to baseboard and everything in between.  Now, the last thing to do is the floor and I wanted to share what I have been using for the last couple of years.  I bought my source at Mountain Market in Haines but I see you can order it from a variety of places, such as on Amazon : Biokleen-Bac-out-Floor-Cleaner.  This is so very safe with kids, pets, even yourself.  Spray it on, wipe with a soft cloth. No rinsing. My 32 oz bottle is finally at 1/2 full after 2 years and I use it all the time.  You don’t use much.  The floor cleaner works on vinyl, laminate, tiles – to name a few.  Awesome product!  Love no chemicals…   I have not yet tried the bathroom cleaner or the laundry soap, but I understand they are great too.

I plan to hang in the mountains until I have to pick up Lois.  But am leaving my little mountain haven soon, its been nice here.  Very quiet, great sleeping, great people, a great place to regroup.

Busy playing

Time sure flies when one is having fun!  It hasn’t all been play, but I’d say even the work has been fascinating.  Its been fantastic seeing everyone, catching up with the latest news. One of the nephews owns a pizza joint in town – its the best pizza I’ve had since Oklahoma City.  Hope to snatch another before I leave town. Home cooked meals have been awesome too.  I now wish I could stay the whole summer… well, that will have to be another time.

Easter bunny loose in PA

My two sis-in-laws have been working steady on their Mother’s house   My favorite ex-Mother-in-law, Ginny, was a collector of fascinating goodies… considering she had never moved and had lived in the same house for over 60 years – it was only natural that things found in the home, in some unlikely places, even in likely places would keep gathering…  I was impressed with how much they had done… A sale is coming up in May of the contents, even the house will be up for sale.  Lots of wonderful memories in this house.

Salt & Pepper shakers

I helped Ginny acquire some of these salt and pepper shakers in our travels. Not one set is the same. And the picture above only shows a small fraction of them.  Most of the heirlooms have been passed out to the families here, but there’s more then enough to fill the house for the pending sale.  Some of the unique finds in the house – all in their original boxes – glass breast pump, hair clippers, Rockwell plates, board games, and lots of lace doilies. There are hundreds upon hundreds of books – some real classics!!! Many quite old, all well read over and over.

PLANS GONE HAYWIRE, but not quite

As many knew, this winter was for me to see friends and family. I did accomplish that – exceeded all expectations on how much fun that would be. The other planned event was to head up to Nova Scotia this Spring. Not necessarily the best choice now… but who knew they would be hit with one of the worst winters on record. I’m thinking a Fall trip would be better to head up there, so will plan to come back.

I originally had no plans to return to Alaska this summer. It would have been my first summer out in over 20 years. Alas… the pending sale of my home put me in a wishy-washy state of mind. You see last summer, between working the Camp Host job, I worked non-stop on my storage trying to find all that I needed to satisfy the court. I did not complete the task then, but it will all be due when we close on the house. So… I decided yesterday to just go, get the work down, deliver it and it won’t matter when the house sells.  

So I am scrambling to get all the pieces in place.  The big one was to get reservations, as the quickest way up is via the Alaska Marine Highway from Prince Rupert, BC. Next big one, is to get a health certificate for my cats that is less than 30 days old when I board that ferry. Rabies is the main thing that needs to be done.  Its rather controversy on whether one Health Certificate is really needed to cross the border.  Going up, I am always told to have it – no one has ever requested to see it. Coming down… no need, just have a current rabies.  So I “think” if I stop to see one of my friends in Indiana, as I head westward, I could get this and be safe.  Time will tell.

When I leave here, I will enjoy the road once again. After Minnesota – no known friends or family. Regroup in Washington before I head north.  Some 3000 plus miles will be covered soon. Looking forward to it, but I’m not leaving yet.  Stay tuned…