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January 15, 2011;

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The wind has died down finally! We live at the bottom end of the Matanuska Valley and very close to the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet so sometimes we get a little wind. The normal is a late fall wind storm and an early spring blow. This season has been harsh to say the least. We had our first wind in September and another by mid October. These were followed by a bad one right behind Thanksgiving that lasted 5 days and now we just finished a 4 day blow this morning. When I say 'blow' i am talking about three to 5 days of sustained wind around 25 - 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 75 - 80 mph. When you think along those lines you may see why I am concerned that we are having twice the number of these down slope winds these days. Along with having to batten everything down tight if the weather goes cold like it did the last day and a half of this latest storm it is really hard to heat a house. You would be surprised at the drafts you discover when your home is being buffeted for 4 days by winds up to 75 mph and an ambient air temp of -10* F. I think that will do for my complaints against the wind at this time.

I had to go into town today to get a new set of scags for the skies on the snowmachine. In case you don't speak snow mobile, scags are the carbon steel blades on the bottom of the skies that enable you to steer on hard snow or ice. It looks like I may be headed to the cabin on Tuesday because Nancy wants to come out on Thursday. I make the trip in a day or so ahead of her and take care of the all important fire building and thawing of the building. The place actually is frozen when I first arrive each winter and it takes about 36 hours to get it warm. Once you hit 70 inside and the logs warm up you are good to go but that first night can be a little nippy. After I get things warm she flies into the air strip down at Skwentna and I go there and pick up her and our dog Boss. The ride back can get pretty interesting with two people and a 90 pound German Shepherd on the snowmachine but we all make the 10 mile trip to the cabin in one piece. When we are both there we generally get some work done. I have been plinking away at the ceiling for two winters and may get it done this year. I am pasting a picture here so you can see the roof design.


The interior ceiling is really big with 5 sections between the main log beams that run end to end. I have been closing it all up using 3.5" X 8' long planks and of course they are all squared and cut by hand. if you ever did a plank floor you have the idea, tight seams and staggered lengths on your planking so you have at least three boards between every butt joint. By the time I am done I will have used over 420 1 X 4 X 8 planks and have made over 1000 cuts. When you figure that there are three finish nails at every point where the planks cover a roof rafter there were also a whole bunch of nails driven in to hang all those boards. The good news is it looks really cool. The problem with having this place is that it is like having a job that is sitting 80 miles off the road system waiting for you to come there and work. it is nice to go out on the lake and fish now and then but I'm not much of a lake fishing guy. The creek that flows from the lake offers some good salmon fishing but hitting it right is a problem. The only way to know if there are a bunch of fish at the mouth is to run down there and that is a 5.5 mile trip one way. I drive our boat about 1500 miles each year and don't need any extra miles or hours at the helm so running to the 'mouth' isn't a lot of fun unless I get there and find fish rolling and flopping everywhere. If I go and don't hit fish it's kinda a let down. that may sound like musings from an ungrateful sort who is spoiled by having such a place at his disposal and gripping about the details. Alaska is a great place but it is big and hard to get around once you leave those roads. After you get out in the bush you tend not to make unnecessary trips because tempting a break down or any other trouble when you are at least 70 miles from a road and often without cell phone service is for the foolish or inexperienced. I like to play things safe and manage at least one really bad situation every year.

With the trip coming up next week I'll have a chance to get this years near disaster out of the way so I can get on with the next 11 months without worry. Thinking on tying some flies but with the first run of salmon so far away I will wait a while to start.

That's all for now,


Updated 03-20-2011 at 12:10 PM by Ard



  1. mcnerney's Avatar
    Ard: That sure is a nice looking cabin you have built, you should be proud even though it is a lot of work!

    Updated 03-19-2011 at 10:46 PM by mcnerney
  2. fyshstykr's Avatar
    Ard, will you eventually skirt the bottom? or is that a "No-no"? Just thinking that would make it a little easier to heat up the place.