Norman Wilkins 1928-2017

a bald eagle in a tree close up image

RIP Norman

Norman Wilkins lost his long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and passed away April 26, 2017 at 10:23 p.m., at Little Falls Care Center in Minnesota. In his memory, his eldest daughter Nadia Giordana worked up this Alaskan version of Mary Elizabeth Frye’s Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep:
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I’m in the long Alaskan nights;
‘Tis where my heart and soul delights.
I live in the campfire’s glow;
I am the newly fallen snow.
I soar above with eagle’s flight;
I flicker in the northern lights.
I’m there with every critter’s call;
My favorite season? It’s the fall.
I’m every hunter’s frosty breath,
And every crunchy, leafy step.
I’m in the grunt of caribou,
And in the sweeping mountain view.
Do not worry where I’ll be;
My Maker’s hand will shelter me.

Norman R. Wilkins
Loving husband, father and avid outdoorsman

Norman R. Wilkins, 89, died Wednesday, April 26th at Little Falls Care Center in Little Falls, Minnesota.

Norman was born February 1, 1928, in Marshall County Iowa, to Ivo and Ruby Wilkins.

In 1948, Norman married Ladislava (Sylvia) Kolenc. They lived, farmed and raised a family in central Iowa, then in Motley, Minnesota until 1978 when they moved to Nelchina, Alaska. His friends there often called him Rawhide. In 2005 Norman and Sylvia left Alaska and returned to Minnesota, settling in Little Falls.

Norman is survived by his wife Sylvia, and three daughters, Nadia Giordana (Chuck Kasun), Beverly Volk, and Theresa Austin; six grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; two brothers, Marion and Jerry.

He was preceded in death by a sister Virginia, a daughter Mildred, his son Paul and granddaughter Anitra Ann.

Per Norman’s request, there will be no formal funeral services. A private graveside memorial for immediate family and close friends will take place at Swan Valley cemetery in Leader, Minnesota at a later date. (Norman was laid to rest on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at Swan Valley cemetery in Motley/Leader, Minnesota.)


2 wolves

The wolves came out and showed themselves to Norman, almost as if they were saluting him.

The following is from an email Norman sent to several friends and family members in 2007 after settling back into life in Minnesota. Still missing his beloved Alaska, Norman found ways to savor and enjoy nature–or perhaps I should say, nature devised ways to reach him!

Sunday, October 12, 2007

The Wolves

Sylvia and I had business to do up in Cass County, Minnesota. Sylvia fixed a good breakfast of oatmeal. I put traveling and hunting gear in the car.

After we finished our business, we drove to some county land that is open to hunting. Sylvia set about gathering willow shoots of a size for weaving a basket. I set out to explore the area and perhaps see a squirrel. There are a lot of gray squirrels around there and some are black in color. Plus, there was a chance I might see a grouse. Early on I saw a chickadee, then a sandhill crane that was flying around as if lost from the rest of the flock. An eagle was soaring on the air currents.

After a bit, I came to a field that looked to be growing back a scattering of brush and tall grass. I stood there with my back to heavy brush, wearing blaze orange camo, just soaking up what there was to be seen.

After a few minutes, I noticed two bounding forms about a 150 yards out, coming in my direction. Clumps of willows hindered my view. At about 125 yards, they went behind willows. Shortly, a large wolf with a chunk of what looked like meat, came out in the open. I regretted having forgotten to bring my binoculars. The wolf dropped to its belly and consumed this meat, then rolled around on that area before getting to its feet and going back behind the willows. The other wolf exited out the other side of the willows.

In a little while, I saw three wolves at one time; they seemed to be playing. Then two came out on each side of the willow clump headed directly at me at a trot. They had looked my way several times, but always went back to eating or playing. Perhaps they decided to identify what it was they were looking at. When they got to about 60 yards from me, I touched off the right barrel of my 20 gauge; the shot going over their heads. The two big ones did a sharp 180 and left at a run towards the west. Wolves with a belly full of meat can’t run very fast. The other two split off, running to the north a couple hundred yards, then veered off to the east.

The fun being over, I then hunted on my way back to our parking place. Later I got to thinking about all this. I wished I had walked over to what must have been a kill site–but that would have been trespassing on someone else’s land.

So long for now,


Bearded man in doorway of old cabin

Excerpt from a 1997 letter – Nelchina, Alaska

Bearded man in doorway of old cabin

Norman Wilkins at an old cabin

…More has happened since I started the letter, this will fill you in to date.

About a week after the bear hunt, I took the Suzuki to the Ballanger pass trail head for a sight-seeing get-in-the-mountains trip.

Within two miles on the trail, I was seeing lots of caribou. Some of the mountain slopes had groups of several hundred animals, with many groups like that in sight. (Later I heard that a local old-timer bush pilot estimated 10,000 caribou.) I took a picture of a small bunch close to me and slowly drove down the trail, giving them all the time they needed to cross in front of me. At the top of the pass on the other side—the same view, ‘boo’ everywhere.

I shut off the machine, sat on it, took more pictures, and simply absorbed the sights and sounds. Large bulls, small bulls, yearlings, cows, calves (many at 30-100 yards), were eating, lying down, chewing their cuds, resting. The animal smell, their scent, urine and belching was strong in the air.

Aware that I was there, they largely ignored me, or so it seemed. Few made eye contact. Some cows were making a rapid, grunt-like sound. With luck, I caught a cow doing this; directly, a calf came running to her and began to nurse, butting very hard with its head in the process.

The day was beautiful, warm, sunny, some breeze. Experiencing all of this within yards of me was very moving. I felt lucky and fortunate to have been a witness.

Later, a friend said, “I wish you would have had my camcorder with you.”

Yes, it would have made an outstanding film.

—From a 1997 letter written by Norman Wilkins, Nelchina, Alaska

From a 1996 letter written by Norman Wilkins

the cabin

The cabin sits on a ridge overlooking Scooter Lake at Nelchina, Alaska

As I write this a light fog lifts off the lake and a gentle air moves it to the west. From my seat at the kitchen table, I look out on a beautiful, calm and serene part of the world. I set my coffee cup down quietly so as not to break the silence. Suddenly I hear yawns; then shortly, the slap of feet on the way to the bathroom. Then Sylvia says, “Ooh! Look there, spruce hens—four of them!” Another day gets a kick start and we are glad to be part of it.

September 5th a close friend drowned while on a hunting trip. He was trying to get a line across the Maclaren River so they could get hunting equipment across. He and his brother planned to hunt for bull moose. He was 45 years old. Sure wish he was stalking a big bull moose this morning.

Sylvia picked many gallons of currants, blueberries and rose hips. No cranberries this year. We have some cabbage, cauliflower, onions and potatoes in the garden yet. A cold front is supposed to be coming down from the north.

An acquaintance from Minnesota stopped by a couple of weeks ago on his way home. We visited for a couple of hours. He had seen a bull moose cross the highway a few miles west of here. When this fellow continued on his trip, I went down to Allen’s with the bull moose story. He, Cal and I drove over there, spread out, still hunting. Allen came on big moose tracks, saw the bull, determined that it had legal brow tines and shot it.

I tweaked my left knee 6 weeks ago. If I have it looked at, it won’t be until after hunting season. It doesn’t get better or worse, so it will hang in there a while yet.

We have enough meat for ourselves. I would shoot a caribou so the uncle of the friend who drowned could have some meat. He is housebound and can’t hunt anymore.

Last Saturday I went on a day trip hunting sheep, mostly to keep my mind occupied. I went to the old “Zigzag” house; it’s burned down now. Two trails leave from there. I took the one going over North Pass. My ATV negotiated the mud holes. The dry summer and fall helped in that respect. Once over the pass, an occasional parka squirrel scurried down the trail ahead of me. They were so roly-poly they shook as they ran.

The trail goes down a creek on the other side with quite a bit of ice. Here I watch closely for I had heard that a miner had put a ‘Cat’ trail in on the mountain side in order to get around the gorge. The miner did a good job. Just at the lower end of the gorge, Willow Creek comes in on the right. It is virtually treeless!

Many years ago when I was here, a couple of brothers I knew were ‘glassing’ the sheep on the mountains at the end of the valley. They couldn’t determine any legal rams from this distance. Since they saw the sheep first, I suggested I wait till they were well up the valley before I started. Either the rams weren’t legal or were inaccessible because I didn’t hear shots and these two were gone when I got back out of the valley.

I left the ATV and walked slowly, favoring my knee and an old body. At each rise I paused to look over everything ahead, each side and everything to the rear. Safety in grizzly country is being aware. Plus, I was watching for sheep. When I was about a mile and a half from a cabin that I knew was here, it came into view as I crested another rise. Then it was just a matter of holding my course over a few more rises and I was there.

Built of shiplap pine on spruce pole framing, covered with 30 wt. tar paper many, many years ago, it had withstood the ravages of time remarkably well. As I came closer I noticed the door was unlatched and gently swinging on puffs of air movement. It stands on a low mound just at the foot of a steep, rocky entrance to another valley extension. I didn’t immediately enter the cabin.

Savoring being there, I took my time and walked around it, looking at the caribou horns, moose horns, some bottles, glass jars, etc. I glassed for sheep once again, but I know I won’t shoot one today for I won’t be able to pack it out.

Always interested in rock formations, a quartz outcrop caught my eye. Catalog this in my mind as a place to prospect.

Finally, I’ve completely circled the cabin. It has no window. When I finally do go inside, I mentally measure it to be 8’ x 12’ with plenty of head room. The shiplap has shrunk until cracks show and is rotted in places at the  bottom so  squirrels can run in and out.  Some tar paper has blown off and it  would be wet in a rain.

Someone has brought in an iron cot and a 10” x 12” x 20” sheet metal stove. There is only willow for stove wood; the elevation here is 4300 feet. There was a shelf with a pint bottle half full of apricot brandy and a crude table nailed up against the west wall. I had heard that 20 years ago, the floor was covered with hides. They are gone; bare dirt remains.

A different-looking 30-gallon drum with a lid on it stands at the foot of the cot. Lifting the lid, I see a sleeping bag. I don’t dig around in the drum, for it’s not mine to dig in.

Going  back outside, I  look around some more,  look for sheep also—no luck. Then I pick another route back to the mouth of Willow Creek. My legs are tired and will be more so. I found a caribou horn on the way out. God, how I like to look and see things when I’m out like that. A motion out of the corner of my eye turned out to be an eagle landing on Sharp Peak, a nearby mountain.

Back at the parked ATV, I dig out the other half of my sandwich, eat it and a cookie. Thus fueled up, I drove the 9 miles back out to trail’s head.


Summer ’84, finishing the house, visitors from Italy

unfinished log home

Finishing the log home took all summer and into the fall

Sunday, April 15, 1984—cloudy, then sunny, 15° to 40°. Sylvia and I started on our house, Dan B. came and helped. We got 41 feet of wall up. Tom, Lisa, Jim, Mary, Lee and Bob S. and Margaret visited.

Monday, April 16, 1984—partly cloudy and windy, 10° to 32°. Lots of phone calls and business. Dan helped and we got the rest of the east wall and the south wall up. Picture window is longer than planned, the header is short. Jim and Mary have a longer log and offered it to us.

Thursday, April 19, 1984—mostly cloudy all day, we got quite a bit of the plates on the logs. Allen Farmer stopped a couple of minutes. Coyotes were howling.

Monday, April 23, 1984—cloudy, then sunny, 42°. It’s light outside at 3 a.m. Geese and swans are flying. Finished rafters. Allen, Dan, Ron, and, Blake came over and we put the rest of the rafters up in an hour and a half. Jim and Mary stopped in. Everyone stayed to have supper with us.

Tuesday, April 24, 1984—Sunny, 12° to 50°. Allen helped put eight feet of roof on. George Roberson helped for a while and Sylvia and I put four feet of roof on in the evening.

Wednesday, April 25, 1984—partly cloudy, 10° to 40°. Dan helped in late morning and again in late evening. Sheeting and Purlins are on now. Swans are flying, saw a robin, bears are coming out of Dens in the mountains.

Saturday, April 28, 1984—sunny, 26° to 51°. Geese and swans still going through valley. Dan saw two griz on Nelchina River. Ermine visited us, he has turned brown. Sylvia and I put rafter blocks in and got steel ready. Dan got here with screws at 6:00 p.m. Tom helped and we got 11 sheets on the roof. Went to KROA for supper.

Monday, April 30, 1984—cloudy, 25° to 46°. Sylvia and I got some more steel on roof. Andy brought chimney liners. Dan Billman came to help but it was too windy. George R. visited. Went to KROA with Andy and got home late. Hoffmans had left milk and eggs.

Monday, May 7, 1984—sunny, 22° to 59°. Went to Wasilla and Anchorage for chimney blocks and upstairs windows. Got back at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 17, 1984—sunny and breezy for a while, 24° to 60°. Went to Glennallen, put thimble in chimney and lay three blocks. Finished siding and trim on east end of house. Caribou are in velvet. A large amount of ice went down Nelchina River.

Wednesday, May 23, 1984—34° to 68°. Sunny, some wind and rain clouds towards evening. Went to KROA, had supper there and visited. Put up seven chimney blocks—almost to attic now. Laid 15 blocks for plenum at the stove in basement.

Tuesday, May 29, 1984—32° to 40s. Partly cloudy, windy afternoon. Cut out the window holes for basement. I start work every morning at 5:00 a.m. and eat breakfast at 6:00 a.m. We usually have company about 9:00 a.m., have coffee and visit a while, then back to work. Doesn’t always work out that way.

Tuesday, June 5, 1984—38° to 60°. Mostly sunny. Put up more ceiling, lowered floor down on plenum. Started raining in evening. Visited Tom to talk about land contract. Wednesday, June 6, 1984—37° to 50°. Raining this morning, cloudy all day. Put in both upstairs windows and more ceiling. Jim and Mary Odden visited in evening.

Wednesday, June 13, 1984—40° to high 50s. Put in the rest of window frames except picture window. Jim and Mary took us to Glennallen to a meeting.

Wednesday, June 27, 1984—40° to 48°. Rainy morning, cloudy all day. Still putting up pine paneling in the house.

Tuesday, July 3, 1984—40° to 50°. Cloudy and hard rain, some hail—still raining this evening. Lightning and thunder. Worked on kitchen and floor upstairs.

Friday, July 6, 1984—46° to 60s. Mostly sunny, some rain last night. Framed wall and chimney upstairs. Helped Bob and Kahren a little bit. Had a salmon supper with them.

Wednesday, July 11, 1984—40° to 58° and mostly sunny. Did more finish work in the house. Lots of visitors. Nadia called, visitors from Italy will be here tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, July 12, 1984—44° to 55°. Mostly sunny, some rain showers at night. Went to Anchorage to meet plane. Ivo, Franca and Mac from Italy will visit for a few days. Borrowed Dan Billman’s van to bring them out here to our house.

Monday, July 16, 1984—40° to 50°. Partly cloudy, rainy and windy in the evening. Took Ivo, Mac and Franca to plane in Anchorage. Check prices on some things for the house, got back home in evening.

Tuesday, July 24, 1984—44° to 65°. Very nice day. Bob built cabinets in the house.

Sunday, July 29, 1984—45° to 55° and mostly sunny today. Put up beams in house. Started pantry shelves. Visited Lucky and Mary, Allen and kids were there.

Monday, August 13, 1984—28° to 60°. Some light frost, sunny day. Went to lawyer and did some shopping for other people and us. Light quake, 5.7. There is a fire on our side of Nelchina River near Botley Creek.

Monday, September 10, 1984—31° to 50° and sunny. James put vinyl in the house and Bob hauled gravel.

Tuesday, September 11, 1984—29° to 50° and sunny. Bob Rudbeck and I put Formica on the countertops.



Norman buys new snowgo


Norman buys a new Polaris snowmobile

Thursday, March 15, 1984—sunny, 6° to 30°. Went to Anchorage, bought new Polaris long track snowgo and did some other shopping. Picked up a rug stored at Andy Boyle’s and discussed insulating house. Andy estimates $2200.

Monday, March 19, 1984—sunny, -3° to 30°. Allen Farmer and I ran his Botley Creek trapline. He had five marten. I brought back a dozen burls. Helped Allen lay out a truss rafter and ate supper there.

Thursday, March 29, 1984—partly cloudy to sunny, 10° to 30°. Jim and Mary Odden, Darrel Gerry and I went to Green Acres. Jim and Mary will camp and stake a remote parcel beside ours on Old Boot Lake. Darrel and I did some work on our parcels and helped Jim and Mary some. Had a great time.

Sunday, April 1, 1984—sunny and windy, 20° to 38°. Sylvia helped scoop snow off basement and then went to Glennallen to do laundry. I came to trap cabin. Saw herd Caribou and moose, no new traps on some of Harry’s line, otter sign and new beaver lodge west of springs. Eight inches of overflow on Blue Lake—got stuck, got out easy, everything okay at cabin.

Monday, April 2, 1984—skiff of snow last night, sunny day, 20° to 30°. Went east to headwater lake of Old Man Creek. Did lots of exploring, built marten and mink boxes and added extension chains to traps. Saw cow moose and calf, lots of small birds near Big Spring. Windy in the evening.

Tuesday, April 3, 1984—snow showers, partly cloudy, 10° to 30°. Went to Judd Lake and explored country there. Put up five traps and one marten pole. Cut diamond willow. (Diamond willow is used for carving and making craft objects. The irregularity of shape and color in the grain adds to its appeal.) Explored, build cubby, placed more traps, improved trail—killed a porcupine (Sylvia uses the quills in crafts and Joe and Morey eat them). Saw a fox den on Judd Lake seismic trail south.

Wednesday, April 4, 1984—sunny, 10° to 35°. Up early, worked all morning getting ready to leave cabin and close it up. Ran lots of Harry’s line (with permission), picked up some more of his traps and hauled all three of sleds out and gear. Snow is soft. Visited Darrel at KROA.

Early ’84, trapping and pickin’

man with gray beard playing guitar

Henry Johnson from Nelchina Lodge

Sunday, January 1, 1984—snowing, 5° to 0°. Zoe, James, and Becky visited. Sally came over and we all went to KROA.

Monday, January 2, 1984—some sun, nice day, 4° to 20°. Loaded the snowgo and went to Dinty Bush’s then left to run the trapline. Saw marten track at Blue Lake and the track of a traveling Wolf family near ravine on the trapline.

Wednesday, January 4, 1984—snow last night, and today strong winds, 10° to 20°. I sewed griz rip in my sleeping bag, mixed marten bait, chinked some more in cabin.

Thursday, January 5, 1984—cloudy, 0° to 23°. Nothing on the line, made two marten sets. Saw tracks of two fox. A lot of people are staking at Loon Lake subdivision. Visited KROA, and Henry and Sally—Jim and Mary were there.

Saturday, January 7, 1984—sunny, -10° to -5°. Went to Glennallen. Couldn’t get wolf urine. Sewed lure, bait bags at Patti Billman’s (Dan is in Hawaii). Helped Allen Farmer butcher a road kill moose.

Thursday, January 12, 1984—warm and windy, light snow, 34°. Loaded snowgo and went to Dinty Bush’s, then left for the cabin. Made rat sets on Rat Lake. Saw marten, fox and lynx tracks. Nothing in traps. Emergency repair trap sled.

Friday, January 13, 1984—warm today and cloudy. Made fox set for this lake. Checked marten set and made another marten set. Explored for, and cut some new trail. Nailed some more mink and marten boxes.

Sunday, January 15, 1984—beautiful day. Remade all sets plus three new fox/coyote sets. Got a cross fox, marten and two rats. Left one rat set, skinned fox.

Monday, January 23, 1984—bright sun, -30° to -20°. Walked to wood lot, four trees blown down.

Tuesday, January 24, 1984—bright sun, clear sky and cold. -40° to -30°. Trimmed the four downed trees in the wood lot, cut into logs and piled them.

Wednesday, January 25, 1984—sunny and clear, -49° to -35°. Cut trap trail south, then west to next ridge.

Monday, January 30, 1984—cloudy, 10° to 18°. Ground 88 packages of moose meat at Allen F.’s. Visited with Sally, Darrel, Tom, Jim, and Mary for a while. Harry Billum was killed this day. I will miss him, he was a fine trapper.

Friday, February 3, 1984—it was -5° all day with light snow. Eight inches of snow on the trail to cabin. Made one fox set and one snare for lynx—remade most of the rest. Trouble getting up hill at Blue Lake. Got one marten south of cabin.

Saturday, February 4, 1984—0° to 16°. Cloudy, three inches of snow last night, sunshine this afternoon. Put up radio antenna, works well. Skinned marten and cleaned snow off roof again.

Sunday, February 5, 1984—partly cloudy, nice day, -5° to 7°. Made marten set and put up pole for another. Checked snowgo, cleaned snow off outhouse, and set snare for wolf.

Monday, February 6, 1984—bright sun, -5° to 4°. Chris R. flew Dan B. to Hole Lake and we visited for a while in the afternoon. I’ll get an early start tomorrow to go out. Put one conibear on pole and made another marten box set farther on trail.

Tuesday, February 7, 1984—sunny day, -10° to -7°. Up early, remade most sets on way out to road. Had to leave small sled half way out. Much deeper snow and many drifts, stuck in snow many times. Flat tire on truck. Stopped and visited Cora at Junction and KROA.

Wednesday, February 8, 1984—sunny day, -16° to -4°. Cleaned snow from cabin and woodshed roofs and bedded the dogs. Visited Henry and Sally, Sam, and Jim and Mary. Put belt on Patti Billman’s spinning wheel.

Thursday, February 9, 1984—beautiful day, -20° to -5°. Went to see Jim and Mary Odden. We each got a nice pile of wood out to their place and then home with ours after a nice Mexican supper. Lots of neighbors were at the supper and “pickin” after.



A fine buffalo hunt

two men with buffalo head

Darrell Gerry and Norman Wilkins with buffalo head at Nelchina

Thursday, September 15, 1983—28° to 38°, some snow. Skinned the moose Blake got, went to Anchorage, visited Connie and Andy until time to pick up Sylvia at the airport (Sylvia her sister Frances, Nadia and Darrell have just returned from three weeks visiting relatives overseas). Got home at 4:00 a.m.

Thursday, September 22, 1983—cloudy and rain, got to Delta one hour before daylight. Napped one hour, ate breakfast, went to Scott and Barney Hollembeck farm. Good hunting! I shot four crane, Scott and Darrel each got one. Slept in Delta.

We heard that Bob Abel shot and killed Jack (don’t know his last name). Jack was Bob’s best friend and he had a 5- year-old son.

Sunday, October 16, 1983—cloudy, 15° to 20°. Got gear and truck ready to go buffalo hunting. Tried to saw stove wood, bar on saw failed.

Monday, October 17, 1983—cloudy, 20°. Darrel and I went to Delta and checked in with Fish and Game and started getting permission from farmers to hunt buffalo. Stayed at Cherokee II. The buffalo tramp down and eat the farmers’ grain crops.

Tuesday, October 18, 1983—hunted all day and got permission from more farmers to hunt on their land. Staying at the Silver Fox with Dan and Slick. Al has brought his wife Wendy and two boys from Pennsylvania to live here. Met lots of new people. Didn’t see any bison.

Wednesday, October 19, 1983—still snowing here, 0° to 20°. Later it cleared up. We each shot a crane. Darrell probably would’ve gotten another one but his firing pin broke. Got a nice bull bison after a long exciting chase. It was -10° below zero and dark while we dressed it out. Back to the Silver Fox at 2:00 a.m.

Thursday, October 20, 1983—gave some bison meat to friends here. Checked out with Fish and Game, got home after dark. Had a supper of buffalo hump.

Friday, October 21, 1983—partly cloudy, warm, 30°. Friends came to see bison and take pictures. Hung meat in Schmidt’s basement and had supper there.

Saturday, October 22, 1983—partly cloudy, 15° to 25°. Darrel and I took the buffalo cape and hide to get it tanned. Dan came and invited us to their place in the evening. Jim Odden’s folks are visiting from Wisconsin.



Drove to lower 48 to attend Beverly’s wedding

hands, wedding rings

Beverly and Kevin were married August 20, 1983

Tuesday, August 9, 1983—up early for the trip to the lower 48 for the wedding. Stopped at Schmidt’s and Darrel’s. Picked up two hitchhikers at Haines Junction. Made it to Whitehorse and slept a little.

Wednesday, August 10, 1983—truck is gobbling oil!! Saw some nice Burl tables and Burwash. Picked up a hitcher, “Bill” at Watson Lake. Lots of road work, saw a coyote. Napped at Fort St. John, and got to Dawson Creek at 6:00 a.m. Left Bill.

Thursday, August 11, 1983—good roads, made it to Regina about 5:00 a.m. Some rain.

Friday, August 12 1983—hot, 90° and winds 30 to 40 MPH. thru Manitoba. Got to Paul and Ruth’s at 10:00 p.m. and to bed at 12 o’clock.

Saturday, August 13, 1983—went to the dairy barn on our farm. Saw Rodney and Rose, Kenny and Eva, Tony, Harold and Lorraine. Drove on down to Minneapolis to Beverly and Kevin’s. Darrell and Nadia and Laura were there—very hot.

Wednesday, August 17, 1983—Paul and Stevie helped us sort out our things in the chicken house (we’re using it for storage). Went to Bridget Shequen’s place to get some of our things. Visited some people and walked over the farm. Stayed at Paul and Ruth’s.

Friday, August 19, 1983—Hot today. Called Theresa. Went to grooms dinner last night and my sister Virginia and her husband, Don Wink are to come over this evening. They are here from Cedar Rapids Iowa for the wedding.

Saturday, August 20, 1983—got ready for the wedding. Good weather, beautiful wedding, then reception and dance. Everyone had a good time. Went to Ivan and Mary Lou Boulton’s for a party—got home (Nadia’s) at 2:00 a.m.

Sunday, August 21, 1983—up at 6:00 a.m., went to Holiday Inn to have breakfast with Don and Virginia, then it rained. In the afternoon we went to Ivan and Mary Lou’s and Beverly opened presents. Rain quit, then went to Theresa and Earl’s for a barbecued steak supper and it rained again in the evening.

Thursday, August 25, 1983—went to the farm, talked to Borders and came back to Paul’s. Loaded truck for trip back to Alaska.

Friday, August 26, 1983—left Paul and Ruth’s about 8:30 a.m. (Sylvia is staying for a longer visit to go to Europe with her sister Frances and Nadia) Did some shopping, and got to Regina at 9:30 p.m. Got to Saskatoon about 12:30 and napped till 4:00 a.m. Had one rain shower.

Saturday, August 27, 1983—oats are fence post high in the fields around here. Some farmers harvest far into the night. Saw a red fox this morning. Nice sunny day, made Dawson Creek at 6:00 p.m. One rain shower.

Sunday, August 28, 1983—nice dawn, sunny day. Perhaps two dozen porcupines live and dead on the road to Watson Lake. One cross fox, one large black bear. Got to Watson Lake at 9:00 a.m. and got to Whitehorse at 3:00 p.m.

Monday, August 29, 1983—got home about 7:00 a.m. Good to be here. Everything here is okay. Did a few things and visited some people.

Summer ’83, building of log home begins

man sawing logs

Norman sanding logs for the home. Logs will be used upright rather than horizontal to allow for easier construction and water runoff.

Saturday, May 28, 1983—Tom and Lee D. came and we tried to survey property line. Made a pack to go to cabin to assess bear damage. Dan flew me out and stayed the night. Bear tore mattress, sleeping bag and cushion. He rubbed four trees leaving blonde hair. He dug the ground up at my old gas cache. (For some reason, bears are attracted to the odor of gasoline.)

Sunday, May 29, 1983—partly cloudy, warm, windy and 69°. Hiked with Dan to his plane on Blue Lake. He left and I came back and built shutters for the trap cabin windows. Hunted griz a while. Griz has rubbed hair seven feet up on trees. Observed a pair of swans and two pair of breeding ducks on my lake.

Monday, May 30, 1983—sunny, then rain, sunny again and 69°. Dug a hole and built outhouse. Built pole floor for porch and set chopping block in ground. Looked for bear at Hole Lake. Saw beaver swimming and the loons are back. Dan came in late in the evening.

Tuesday, May 31, 1983—raining when we got up but soon quit—then we flew to Snowshoe Lake. I came home and did a few things here. We went to visit Allen and Roxanne. Lucky stopped at our place later and picked up his transit.

Wednesday June 8, 1983—partly cloudy, calm and 40° to 50°. Blake gave me a 16 foot log for a stringer in our house. (We started last month stockpiling logs we will use to build a full-sized cabin.) Sylvia went to Glennallen with Margaret and I cut brush on the road to our property. Pulled a car stuck in loose gravel alongside the highway and got it back on the asphalt.

Monday, June 13, 1983—started digging basement, put some gravel on lane. Frost and 30°. Sunny breezy day, bugs are bad. Sylvia still sick. Earthquake tremor at 9:50 p.m.

Tuesday, June 14, 1983—sunny and a strong breeze. Dug down to the frost on the basement and started on the outhouse. Prepared Bob Schmidt’s site for his garage with the Cat. Danny brought Cat power take off from Anchorage. Bob Able got home from jail..

Tuesday, June 21, 1983—up early, Bob Able went with me to Anchorage to get septic tank, et cetera. Nice trip—got all our shopping done. Mostly nice weather, got unloaded in the evening. Charlie T. stopped to visit about land.

Monday, June 27, 1983—light rain all day. Bob Rudbeck and Dan Billman helped with basement walls. Sylvia and Bob Able helped all day. Jerry and Nick helped later. We have all but 20 feet of walls up now. Put up mailbox today.

Tuesday, June 28, 1983—Bob, Jerry, and Nick Rudbeck and Denny Griffith helped finish basement walls and put floor Joists on. Dan Billman brought my ladder and helped put beams up. Beautiful day, happy tonight. Had supper with them at KROA campground. Tom and Lisa brought a cake and we made out a money receipt.

Thursday, June 30, 1983—spread gravel in the lane and finished tar coating on basement. Shored up the walls of basement from the inside. Tom brought receipt for his down payment on parcel of land. Visited Lucky and Mary.

Monday, July 4, 1983—worked on logs for a while, then went to Billman’s place for a picnic—had a good time. Visited Hoffmans in the evening.

Tuesday, July 5, 1883—Dan flew Bob, Karn, Jerry, Betty, Dana and Nick Rudbeck, and Sylvia and me to Kianna Creek to fish king salmon. Nick and Kahren caught fish. Sylvia, Jerry, Dana and Nick lost several. Worked on sawmill in the evening and got water at Bob Schmidt’s.

Wednesday, July 6, 1983—Dan B. and Vern B. and wife borrowed hip boots and fish pole. Bob Rudbeck borrowed two pressure canners. Lucky, Sylvia and I got 33 House logs and some lumber sawed. Had supper at Blake and Jackie’s. Bob Able was shooting in the night. Shot two holes in his van.

Tuesday, July 12, 1983—still rainy. 5.7 earthquake at 6:00 a.m. Went to Dan’s, made several phone calls. Hauled the rest of house logs to mill. Hauled two big loads of firewood to our place. Visited Smayda’s about land business.

Friday, July 15, 1983—did odd jobs around the building site. Sanded two sill logs. Back filled rest of basement. George Shaffer brought 45 sheets of ½ inch plywood—very nice plywood. Paid him $360. Visited Lucky and Mary. Saturday, July 16, 1983—sunny day, got nine sill logs on. Took Mike, the dog, over to show him his home to be. Helped Bob Schmidt run some cement.

Friday, July 22, 1983—Bob Able was on a rampage. Lucky, Blake and I unloaded the lumber and I drove the truck back to Anchorage and rode home with Dan Billman.

Saturday, July 23, 1983—rainy day. Hauled Bob Able and his things to Sutton. Picked up Bob Schmidt’s lumber at Homesteaders Hardware in Big Lake.

Tuesday, July 26, 1983—Henry went back to the mine, Doug is staying with us. Bob, Kahren and Dana helped with the logs, got 29 sanded today. Dan and Patti brought us a phone message from Nadia this afternoon (we don’t have a telephone).

Wednesday, July 27, 1983—perfect weather, though hot. Bob and Kahren helped sand logs. Have 105 done now. Doug put log oil on some of the basement studs. Bob and Kahren treated us to pizza at KROA.

Sunday, July 31, 1983—a little rain, but mostly sunny. Finished sanding the logs. We have sawed 143 logs. Re-piled some lumber.

Wednesday, August 3, 1983—beautiful day, put two sill logs on and half the floor. Move the stairs to basement. Helped Bob Schmidt for a while. Measured the distance to Lake—383 feet.

Saturday, August 6, 1983—covered the house floor with plastic and bolted stairs to floor joist. Worked at drain field for septic system. Got three sections of pipe in. Went to KROA to see Darrel Gerry.

Sunday, August 7, 1983—finished fourth section drain field. Secured tarps on lumber. Drove pins in Cat track. Moved dogs to new place, got truck ready for a trip. Allen F. and Blake just discovered more log gone. Dan B. stopped and paid share on truck rental.

Monday, August 8, 1983—finished securing things at the building site and finished getting the truck ready. Went to KROA, Hoffman’s, and Jim and Mary Odden’s to check their place. We are going “outside”. Daughter, Beverly is getting married.