Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stori: I don't think we are in Kansas anymore

This state has to be the most backward place to live in. I don't mean backwards in the sense of my husband's home state of Kentucky and it's "hill folk". It's backwards in the sense that if you took a normal daily Alaskan conversation and had it in the lower 48, you would get looked at kinda funny. For example, getting Paige ready in the morning to catch the bus. "Paige, you had better put a hat on honey, it's kinda chilly out there. It's -20 below." Or in the case of this morning, "Paige, don't worry about wearing your winter gear today, just take it with you. It's plenty warm outside." The temperature this morning at 6:25 a.m. when this conversation was taking place was 13 degrees Fahrenheit. Now how nuts does some one have to be to consider 13 degrees "plenty warm"?

These past couple weeks my husband has been busting butt to clear trees and get firewood in. We have two oil burning Toyo monitor stoves in the house, but with the cost of heating fuel, we heat our house with a wood stove. We usually have about 4 fires a day when it's colder. Since it's so warm out right now, we'll probably only burn one and the cabin logs will hold enough residual heat to keep us cozy. We had a really ugly cold spell last month and it used up more of our wood reserve than we had budgeted for. 3 weeks of -40 to -60 below weather tends to make you burn a couple extra fires, go figure.

We built our house right next to a slow moving slough, which is a like a wide slow shallow creek in the lower 48. Our slough, except in a couple hot spots, freezes solid in the winter. Marc runs his snow machine up and down it to collect dead standing spruce. When you drop a tree for firewood, you cut off all the branches and buck up the pole (cut into stove length sections). After the log is bucked up, once a week we split logs with a splitting maul. This is usually Marc's and Paige's Sunday chore. Marc splits and Paige hauls and stacks the firewood on our big porch. Marc has cleared some serious trees this past couple weeks and had all the boughs as trash to dispose of. So here's the backwards part, I have a spruce bough fire burning outside my house, on the ice. These bonfires are hot and huge and we still don't have to worry about it melting enough of the slough ice to be dangerous. Most sane people would never stand on a frozen creek and start a huge bonfire without worry of falling in. But then again, most people aren't standing on 3 solid feet of ice either.

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