Tuesday, May 25, 2010


We set out this time to get the holes positioned and dug for the bunk house. Neither Pat or I have ever built anything from the ground up so each stage requires a lot of discussion and figuring. Thank goodness Pat is good at visualizing each step just by reading instructions and I am good at working things out as things develop. It makes it easy to work with each other on these fiddly tasks. We located the four corners using batterboards and a carpenters angle and dug the holes for the footings. The ground is about 6" moss and organics and then from there on down it is clay. The first couple inches is soft clay, then you hit a good 6" layer of frozen clay that you have to chip away at with a pick axe to get through, we refer to this as "ice dirt". Once through this layer it is easy digging once again.Pat successfully removed 4 of the 10 metal post buried around the basement, no easy task.

The basement roof collapsed, thanks to Pat beating the tar out of it. Lots of wood will be able to be reused for future projects.

Oh, and Pat found a was to keep his beer cold, see last post.

Beer Cooler

Dick Proenneke Style

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tough Day at the Office

I helped out on a field trip to the beach today,three classes of 4th and 5th graders. My job was to build/tend to the fire and cook s'mores. The highlight was Larry Kaniut joined us to share a few bear stories. I figured it was a good opportunity to get my book signed and snap a cheesy photo.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Expect nothing and you could be pleasantly surprised. That is our new take on the land. We went down last weekend expecting nothing and we were happy to see that the road had dried considerably. Still mushy in spots but a huge improvement to what we had encountered before. We still could not drive in but Pat used old wheelchair wheels to make what we refer to as the Randy Shaw. Genius.
We built a temporary structure just to keep our stuff and ourselves dry. We tried two different versions and went with this one.
The basement got worked also. Got most of the floor boards off and started on the beams. It was a tough job, but enjoyed by all. We met the neighbors who informed us that there was once a cabin atop that basement and they tore it down when they sold it to the people we bought it from. I think that they burned the cabin in the fire pit. It is FULL of glass, metal, stove elements, wiring and so many nails and screws you would think you were at the hardware store.
Garbage was cleaned up and is ready for the exchange (dump) when we can get the truck in to haul it.

We had a beautiful couple days and feel really good about our progress.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I have some new work in the 100x100 show @ the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage.

Friday, May 7, 2010


We had a great time at Ira Glass. This is a late post but definitely worth mentioning. It was nice to be in the company of 2000 like minded Alaskans.


Last weekend was a learning experience. As you may recall we attempted a trip to the land the last weekend in March, it was a bust, too much snow. We figured that enough time had past and that all the snow would be gone so we drove down last weekend May 1. We were right! All the snow was gone, but where did all that water from the melting snow go? Into the top soil. It was a nasty mess, mud, mud, mud. This mud is insane. You step in it once and it is firm, step on it twice and you are 6 inches in. I liken it to cornstarch mixed with water. Firm under pressure then turning to liquid, nasty stuff.

We invited some people to come down if they wanted to help, Joe & Carlee and Jerry & Kathy Dowling took us up on the offer and met us on Brown's Lake Rd. Jerry was the first to arrive and informed us that he couldn't make it down our road, too muddy and they were in their RV. We got there and tried to drive down the road, got 20 feet and stopped, stuck. Pat pushed us out back to BLR, no further attempts were made. The mud was so soft that any attempts to drive further would probably destroy the road for the rest of the year. The Dowling's decided to go rent a movie and crank up the generator in a campground, but Joe, Carlee, Pat and myself decided to walk in and see what we could do.

We picked up broken glass, chopped a few trees down (chopped because our brand new chainsaw would not start) and got a few boards off the basement before it started sleeting. Movie sleet. Heavy rain/snow mix that soaked us. Time to go home.

What we learned:
Don't invite people when you don't know what you are getting yourself into.
Don't expect anything.
Put up some sort of shelter, no matter how primitive, as soon as we arrive.
Don't load the truck to the brim with "land stuff" if you aren't sure that you will be able to get said items TO the land.
Cheeseburger Doritos are gross.