Netshed II

July 20th, 2019

My net shed is woefully full of junk and the siding need replacement.  I’ve stockpiled lumber that I cut on Mitkof Island and it’s taking up the space that I need to fix up old boats.  Time to roll up my sleeves……

Harry never threw away anything and neither have I.  Here are a good three dozen handles, mostly broken leaning up in a corner and occasionally avalanching onto the floor.

If this was an urban setting, I’d be accused of being a bag lady but when you live on an island, you just might need that bent nail.  One hundred years of junk collecting here.

Here is the future boat museum and the boat Jim Stromdahl, our former harbormaster, gave me.  His father rescued it and it is believed to be a Davis boat–made by a multigenerational family in Metlakatla.   Beyond is the sail rig for my one of my two fairings. And lots, lots more!

My-oh-my…. My bins on the left–a castaway by Seattle Ship Supply–house untold treasurers and obscure others.  An obtrusive lumber pile blocks egress through to the dock–this is the new siding–old growth Alaska Yellow Cedar…….  Sometimes it takes me hours to find a necessary tool.

Before I left for my NPS Centennial speaking tour, my house-sitter and self-professed carpenter began removing the siding–TRUE-X Construction–and made it about 20’….

I accomplished the other half within 6 hours and I’m nearing 73.  This is a board & batten technique and thank goodness–no part of the building was completely level, or equal in proportions so I could make up slight differences and window spacing by staggering boards covering the seams with battens.

The instruction to TRUE-X Construction was to build ‘as-is’ and for a reason.  These windows slid sideways so they could be opened in hummingbird season.  He nailed them shut–idiot!  I found dozens of dead hummingbirds….   TRUE-X Construction in the first three months of house-sitting sunk three boats and burned the sauna roof off.  I’ll post a blog on this experience next to hopefully prevent someone else from making the same mistake……

Here’s the weathered face with all the patches.  The placards from my two tugboats adorn the building.  The Winimac sunk in 1991 which you can learn about here and the Katahdin is back in Seattle getting much needed repairs after almost 20 years here in Alaska.

Much of the board bottoms have rotted exposing the structural beams.  Not good.

I slowly work my way around:  remove old board, nails, measure, cut, paint, install, over and over.  My total time for the entire building is about 30 hours.  Here I’m in the home stretch.

I’ve rebuilt the windows to match the other side.  Harry, the former owner put larger windows without divided lights which were obscured by the open doors anyway.  This will look better (a full window package follows).

The last old siding has been removed and I found the window sill was 1″ out of level–not by settling, but by initial instillation.  The window height will be 29″, the width 32-1/2″ and centered.  The trim/battens hides all seams.

Three large piles of old siding begin to grow, but at least they’re outside the building.  Meanwhile, the pile inside diminishes.  Lots of ladders to trip over.  Every board has a dozen nails….  Tread carefully.

My boardwalk, now 10 years old is seamless with the flooring.  I’ll replace all windows and build a descent workbench and then install some proper carpentry tools.  Everything runs off my generator, solar or my future microhydro system.

The final product–on the dock side of the shed.   It is one continuous surface from the edge of the dock to my front door for transporting more stuff up to the house.  An under-dock piping system transfers diesel fuel directly to a 500 storage tank.  Slick!   Door fasteners secure in both open and closed position.  Windows are open and the hummers find their way out.  Perhaps a new roof is next.  This will last another 100 years.  Stay tuned!  (The House-sitter from Hell is next!).

Return to Kupreanof–2019

May 4th, 2019

After leaving the Tetons–spectacular Spring weather here on the road up to Jenny Lake–my old haunting grounds–it’s back to Seattle to get the Alaska homestead back up to snuff.

I stop for 5 days in Seattle to the new Ranger Doug’s Intergalactic Headquarters and install a new ladder to our mezzanine.  I put the trailer to ‘bed’ and store the Sequoia.   The Katahdin is only 1/4 mile distant so I can walk over to the boat yard (Thomas Boat Repair–a fantastic wooden boat repair yard) to inspect the damage of 16 years in Alaska.  Not bad actually so it’s onward and upward with repairs.

The stern took the brunt of dampness but the excellent construction of this boat in 1899 (with Port Orford cedar stern counter) saved this vessel….again.  We’ll insert graving pieces and install new covering boards and rebuild the bulwarks again.  No problem for John Thomas Boat Repair.

Here a new knee will be installed, then the decks again will be rebuilt and the steering rams re-installed.  She’ll be ready for her 120th birthday this fall!

On Friday, I take the Columbia from Bellingham to my hometown of Kupreanof–which lies just west of the old City of Petersburg (now a Burough).  We’re the smallest incorporated city in Alaska with just 23 citizens.  It’s suffered with 22 all winter but now I’m back……

En route, one of the prettiest parts of the trip–the Bella Bella light house.  The weather is perfect for the whole trip–I’m homesick and who wouldn’t be.

Dinner on the Columbia, with white tablecloths and waiters is a thing of the past.  The State of Alaska DOT, in their infinite wisdom, has cut 80% of the ferry budget and there are no planned ferries past the end of October.  Sad day for true Alaskans–but what can you expect with Republican oil money siphoned out of the state.  Alaskans refuse to tax themselves for essential services and the entire SE transportation system is being shut down after 60 years.  Yet, TARP money continues to build new ferries (and Aleutian major airports) and meanwhile the two new fast-ferries (Fairweather and Chinega) are being sold after only 10 years of service.   Go figure…..

So here is home after a winter of complete closure (the piano is still in tune!).   Here, I’m rebuilding each raised garden bed–this one for sugar-snap peas.  Today, I did the bed beyond with another pea variety.   One day at a time.

Put out the rain barrels under all the eaves of the house and greenhouse.  Hummingbird feeders are up (they’re just arriving), all electrical/generation systems are up and running (after a day of replumbing), all Yahama’s and Toyotas started within seconds.  Boats are all on line–rebuilding the out-haul with a new pulley.  Woodshed is full and looking forward to another wonderful Alaskan summer.

Driving home tonight from Petersburgs took this shot of the new Munson and the “homestead.”  Light rain intermittent today.

My bench on the point looking out to Devil’s Thumb and the Stikine Icefields.  Great to be back home!     Stay tuned……






Winter Respite

April 14th, 2019

Arrived late December in JH and this what greeted me.  A view from the front porch.  Not long ago, this Ridgeline was virgin territory but Jackson Hole is getting divided up especially among the wealthy.  I built my cabin in the mid-1970s with a chain saw and a horse.

This view never changes.  The North Face of the Grand Teton is one of the great alpine ascents in America.  I climbed this with Craig McKibben in 1968–a jolly good time we had.  About 6 years later, Roger Johnson and I did the North Ridge (the skyline on the right).  In 1967 Roger and I did the complete Exum Ridge, named after Glenn Exum who did the first ascent.

Snake River Overlook is the location where Ansel Adams took his famous photograph and is a balm for sore eyes.  Left to right are Buck Mt., Wister, Static Peak, New Perce, Cloudveil Dome, South Teton, Middle Teton Teepee Spire (named after Frederick Teepee who died there in 1925), Grand Teton, Teewinot and on the right border is Symmetry Spire behind the tree.   The Snake River cuts river terraces through the “Hole” and has for eons.

While the Parks are closed due to the Government Shutdown, the mice will place and I catch this fellow lighting off his drone at Snake River Overlook.  I step in and take issue and suggest (ranger-style) a better location.  What folly to shut down our parks, yet keep the DOI oil leasing office open……true story.

….and it’s clearly marked.

There is nothing like a hike up the Butte above my house with commanding views of  Jackson Hole.  This winter was one of the heaviest snow years I can recall–perhaps since 1972.

The view toward Sheep Mountain which the locals call Sleeping Indian.  I once climbed the belly-button.  My uncle, David Abercrombie owned a 3000 acre ranch just to the left of this mountain called the Gros Ventre Ranch.  His brand was the A Lazy D which I now own.  The Jackson Hole Elk Reserve is at the very bottom and has recently become controversial with chronic wasting disease making inroads in Wyoming.

Of course, I must get a ski run in–it’s only been 10 years.  With good friends at Targhee Ski Resort–a 45 minute drive from Jackson and worth the effort.  Powder here is exquisite.  The Tetons have a reversed profile from the west.

After, it’s dinner and friendship…..and a warm fire.

Dornan’s Bar in Moose hosts a hootenanny or however you spell it much of the year.  Bill Briggs hasn’t missed a night in 60 years and continues to be a bit of local color.  He made the first ski descent of the Grand Teton nearly 50 years ago.  He’s hell on wheels with a banjo or autoharp too.  Catch him at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson any Sunday evening.  Thanks, Bill for all the years of music and interesting conversations.  It’s on to Tucson and Northern Arizona for the rest of the winter.