the animal's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Viktor K
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Viktor K »

Happy you found a love interest up there! Will be rooting for you all each update

Frugalchicos
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Wow, pretty cool catching up with your journal. You had a few months full of events. I wish you the best with your home and your girlfriend!

Cheepnis
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Cheepnis »

A work relationship? I knew you're adventurous, but that's truly the final frontier! Hahaha, kidding around. I'm in full agreement with 2B1S, you've taken this bull by the horns and got it done. Nice job!

SavingWithBabies
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by SavingWithBabies »

I'm happy you found a gf after reading what you've written about in the past with the ratio up there and all that stuff! Beautiful photos. My kids particularly liked the dog photos.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Thanks for the nice comments everyone! They are much appreciated.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I just read your journal from start to finish over the last few days and it is incredibly inspiring. It actually motivated me to start an account here and participate more in the ERE community. I also share your love of backpacking and outdoor adventures, though mine are no longer quite as epic as some of those you've described here.

Congratulations on your new relationship and best of luck as you continue work on the new house. There is something incredibly gratifying about living in and interacting with something you've designed and built on your own. I grew up in a log cabin that my dad built. It wasn't quite at the level of Proenneke's cabin, but it remains a source of pride for him and provides a welcome relief from life in the city.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

@WRC- Thank you very much for your kind words. There is something to be said to be living in an environment that you have built and have the skills to maintain/create. I'm glad and honored to have served as an inspiration as I have enjoyed reading the beginning of your journal.

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Finished up the forestry work about a week ago and have been working on the cabin since getting back. The gf has been helping out each day so we've been able to make some steady progress. In the past week, we sheathed the remaining portion of the roof, put the rear soffit up, installed door/windows and got the metal sheeting on the roof. It's getting really close to move in stage. I also bought a woodstove today. I was able to get a good deal on an old Blaze King Princess for $500. I won't have to worry about ever getting too cold as this thing puts out serious heat and is designed for homes at least 5x the size of my own. I had a newer edition of the same stove when I was at the cabin in the Arctic and really enjoyed that setup. It's nice to have some continuity. My biggest priorities now are getting the piping in for the woodstove and my solar panels mounted on the roof. After that I'll start on the ceiling and add my roof insulation. Slowly but surely...

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel »

I don't know much about woodstoves, but can't you just... put less wood in it?

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Yes I'm not really worried about the size. I had the same model in a 144 sq ft cabin. This cabin is nearly double that, albeit a bit better insulated. It just means I'll have less wood and I keep the flue mostly shut. I had a couple nights in the past where I started a fire before bed and fell asleep before closing the flue and woke up to a very, very warm house. Opening the door solved the trick. I have friends who also have a stove in the same size cabin nearby and they just keep small fires throughout most of the winter and then alternate every other day in the shoulder season. Stoves that are specifically designed for smaller buildings are impractical and not really designed for everyday use.

Alphaville
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Alphaville »

wow that stove is massive lol

won’t closing the flue partially give you an inefficient burn + creosote in the chimney? yes it lasts a long time that way but it’s less efficient.

i used to heat up 600sqft with a small stove, burning hot daily, flue fully open, but in the morning only.

i don’t like burning at night due to co poisoning risk and other dangers.

then again, you’re in alaska, so i can’t compute.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

From my understanding and past use, any fires are started with the flue wide open and once it's engaged and burning for a little while then the flue can be adjusted to whatever temperature is desired. I'm not sure what the efficiency of this is but I do remember reading that in the owner's manual years ago. Anyways, I'm not concerned. It gets very cold here. It sounds like it's different elsewhere as here once winter hits, there will be a fire going continuously unless I'm gone for an extended period.

mooretrees
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by mooretrees »

We have a smaller Blaze King stove and love it. I love being about to adjust it with a knob once a good fire is going.

So much progress here! Your place is really starting to look like a home. So cool. Move in day is around the corner.

Also, it's really neat to hear about all your outdoor adventures and the new gf and super beautiful dog. Life seems pretty sweet right now.

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jennypenny
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by jennypenny »

The house looks great! I'm so happy for you.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Nearing the depths of winter in Alaska. Daylight has now dropped below 6 hours per day with the sun setting by 3:30 pm. As I write this, temps are at -20 F. November has been cold, with the beginning of the month seeing record cold temps for the time period, of -30 F. 2 weeks ago we had a daily snowfall record for the month where a storm dropped 15" of snow. A white winter wonderland allowing for more ease of travel and plenty of outdoor fun.

Things have slowly progressed on the house. I installed the deck, woodstove/chimney, flooring and ceiling. They gave me stair stringers that are far too steep, which is another matter of annoyance that I've added to my list of gripes with the company supplying materials, but I will be able to get some elsewhere to get a proper set of stairs in shortly. All that's left is the electrical work and closing up the walls. I've been procrastinating the electrical. I've gotten some good advice and have the resources to complete it, but it is not my strong suit and I am not overly confident so I keep putting it off. I'm just setting up a breaker box, connecting it to my inverter and setting up about a dozen outlets. Nothing overly complex but still intimidating for me. I've been living with my gf so i don't really feel a strong sense of urgency. But I would like to have the place finished up by the end of the year and able to move in, as I like that area far more than where she is located.

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I don't have a picture of the completed deck, but this is pretty close and was right before I finished.

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We made a few trips to a recent burn outside of town to load up on firewood. We got about 2 cords for myself and an additional ~5 that we have up for sale. The standard going rate around here is $300/cord. That increases as the winter carries on. No sales yet, but we have no problem waiting. We had ideas of accumulating more, but travel conditions made it too hazardous to get to the site.

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Last week we skied out to a remote cabin in the White Mountains (AK) with my friend and his dog team. There is a great network of log cabins in that area that are located in some pristine areas and have the basics for enjoyment. Each cabin has big bunkbeds (some lofts), a kitchen table, kitchen counter, woodstove, propane cook stove and all the necessary tools like axe, saw, shovel etc. It's the same area I visited for my winter bike trip I took 2 years ago (mentioned some pages ago).

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I went on a winter moose hunt with some friends in mid Oct. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground but we were unable to find any tracks. We did have some fun walking over frozen spruce bogs and beaver inhabited sloughs. A week or so later the gf and I went on a caribou hunt. I took a chance and went to an area where there was somewhat low likelihood in exchange for no other people. We saw nothing but had a nice hike and enjoyed a dip in a nearby hot spring.

This week we went ~100 miles out of town to look for caribou. There is a winter hunt in the area who's quota gets filled quickly if the caribou are hanging around the road. They are far more spread out this year so people have only been having success sporadically. The gf and I took our chances and drove out to an area in the mountains above treeline. We were able to see a few bands from the road. However, after a short ski out, we determined the caribou were too high up to be worth chasing so we sat and watched for a while, hoping they'd move to a more favorable position. No such luck and we slowly made our way home. Not long after, the gf spotted a group of 4 uphill and about 500 yds off the road. I slammed the brakes, grabbed my rifle and headed up hill. Thankfully, there were some trees to provide cover for the stalk. The group was feeding and didn't pay me much mind. I got to about 100 yds, watched one in the scope and waited until it turned broadside. I fired and it took a few steps before going down. The others milled about but were uncertain what happened. I found another in my sight and soon had her down as well. The others ran off and I had filled my tags. A couple hours of processing later, I dragged the meat, hides and heads back to the car just after sunset (I normally would leave the head but the local fish and game office is collecting parts of the jaw). What a fun experience! (The gf got a bit too cold and didn't enjoy it as much...)

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We have a couple more trips planned before the holidays. Next week we are going to ski out to a remote hot springs and then the week following Thanksgiving we will be spending a few days at a cabin in a national park up here. Both well off the road. I am very much looking forward to them!

As of now December will involve travelling elsewhere. I'm visiting my dad in Texas to start, heading to Miami for my sisters wedding, then going to Mexico with the GF for a couple weeks before going to Chicago to stay with my mom for the holidays. We will take the standard precautions and do not plan on heading out to public places outside of airports during our travels. At the moment my gf is more concerned than I am. Perhaps I am being too Pollyannaish, time shall tell.

Thanks for reading, hope everyone is well and healthy!

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wolf
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by wolf »

Thanks for posting! Wow, beatiful pictures of the landscape. Hope you are well and healthy too.

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Ego
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Ego »

Spectacular!

Pilot.
Hunter.
Backwoods cabin builder.
Girlfriend.
Incredibly fit.
Forester.
Periodic Adventurer.

All done from scratch. Nice work.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Thanks Wolf and Ego! Still plenty to learn but things are certainly coming together on multiple fronts.


I neglected to mention that I have been participating in an EMT course through the borough (aka county) EMS council. The course has been going for the past 8 weeks and culminates with a test this Saturday. Unfortunately, it has been somewhat of a disappointing experience. Due to the pandemic, it is a hybrid course with skills on Saturdays and lectures via zoom 2 nights a week. As such, there has been far less practice than would be found during normal times and the instructor leaves much to be desired. I'm not sure what I was expecting but there also wasn't as much new material as I thought there'd be compared to something like a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). Knowing what I'd know now, I would have just stuck with the WFR training. I find WFR to be better because it gets you out of the box of the institution and bureaucracy. Much of what is taught is what is detailed in the standing orders, which govern what medics can and cannot do, that I believe is designed for liability purposes. I don't care about that and am interested in what the best means of care is when things go wrong. That said, I am the only person not in the course not affiliated with a fire dept so I guess they just teach to the audience. Oh well. I guess I'm just a little surprised there isn't more thought of this in a place like AK where paramedics and medical facilities are often a long way away.

I have also been taking Spanish lessons via Preply 2-3 times/week and have been practicing regularly for about a month now. My gf speaks fluent Spanish so I have been able to get in lots of practice. I had 11 years of Spanish during school but never advanced further than something like upper intermediate stage. It's been fun so far and I have been practicing with flashcards for vocab, speaking with my girlfriend and listening to Spanish speaking podcasts. As of now, the goal is fluency or pretty close to it.

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C40
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by C40 »

SWEET HOUSE. I want to build a house like that

Scott 2
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Scott 2 »

Looking back through the last couple pages, I am extremely impressed with the life you've built over the last couple years. Very few could pull it off. I certainly could not. It's awesome.

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Ego
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Ego »

Will you take the National Registry exam? If so,...
https://www.nols.edu/en/coursefinder/co ... nals-WUMP/

One if the two instructors for my EMT course was excellent but the material was just not as interesting as the WFR scenarios. My cert just expired.

How will you use the EMT? I have a feeling it is going to be interesting.

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