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.



Sylvia returns, Norman insulates the remote cabin

a pile of firewood

Plenty of firewood

Sunday, November 1, 1981—Sylvia called. It’s been a while since we talked over the phone.

Monday, November 2, 1981—Sylvia called to give me her plane arrival time.

Tuesday, November 3, 1981—went to Anchorage to pick up Sylvia. James went along and Jeff stopped at the lodge to visit.

Wednesday, November 4, 1981—we got some shopping done before we went out to Nelchina. The road was slippery all the way home.

Friday, November 6, 1981—cut up stove wood, built two dog houses, Rusty and I took the pickup to the wood lot and got one load. It’s a nice day this morning, -5°.

Saturday, November 7, 1981—cut and hauled a load of wood, split and stacked it, some other chores too. Of course, I’ve got the dogs to take care of every day. Went to Tolsona Lodge for the Polack party. They Monday,

November 16, 1981—it was -25°. Got up early and loaded the gear and the snowmobile on the truck and drove to the Eleven-Mile Trail on the Lake Louise Road. Jackie and Ken came twice and Jackie drove their truck back to her home.

We unloaded my truck and trailer at Jan’s on Lake Louise Road. Ken and I then drove the snow machines and sleds to the end of the seismic trail, which was about six miles. Then we broke out our own trail to my cabin. We hung up a few times, especially on one steep hill. It was a heck of a time to get up to the top of that. It was getting towards dark and I felt the pressure of finding the cabin. I go in the general direction that I think the cabin is. Ken was breaking trail for me and I was pulling a real heavy load on my sled behind the machine. We broke out into a more open place and I recognized it and knew exactly where the cabin was. I tried to holler at Ken to catch his attention. He got to be about a hundred yards away from me before he stopped and I waved him over and pointed towards where the cabin would be and he started breaking trail in that direction. We got there just as it was getting dark.

Sure glad to have plenty of wood split an the cabin up. We were so grateful to have hot water to make coffee, get warm and I had Chili to thaw out so we could have something to eat. We were very hungry. We ate the first batch of chili. I could tell Ken was really hungry yet and I could use some more. The next package of chili filled us up. He thought it was a really nice cabin. The evening temperature was running -12° to -15°. Did a few things in the cabin and built a trap carrier for the snow machine. Today was a pretty day and it also had kind of a rainbow in the sky. Very unusual.

Tuesday, November 17, 1981—it was -10°. After breakfast, we got ready and I went with Ken halfway to the end of the seismic trail to make sure he got headed out on the trail with no problems. We said our good-byes and he went out to the road. His wife was to pick him up and take him home. I headed back to the cabin. When I got to the upper end of Blue Lake, I set two marten traps and I got a ptarmigan for supper.

Wednesday, November 18, 1981—Rested all day.

Thursday, November 19, 1981—it was -18° when I woke up and it was cloudy with some ice fog. I found I was really stiff and sore today. I got a slow start. I got out on the trapline and made an otter set and some fox and marten sets south and west of Blue Lake. Saw a few ptarmigan tracks and rabbit tracks but no spruce hens. Nothing much near here, only moose and caribou tracks and some marten and fox. Went hunting for bait, didn’t get anything. Ice fog setting in this evening and it’s -15° tonight. I could see the seismic trail from a high hill west of Blue Lake. I must tell Ken that would make a landmark to follow. Not enough snow for good snowmobiling, it’s really rough.

Friday, November 20, 1981—it was -20°. Slept late, need the rest. Lots of frost in the snowmobile gas, I suppose because of the foggy nights. Broke another trap trail to the north, then east, then south, then back home. Set four marten and otter. No fox bait with me. Saw fox and marten tracks and some caribou, otter and moose. Saw a beautiful small lake today. It was really nice out there. It’s -15° at dark. Fixed supper, read and rested. The Coleman lantern lights the cabin in the evening and I cook on the airtight stove. (A type of wood burning stove.) It’s a medium sized airtight. It’s a really nice stove for a remote cabin like this. I’ve got a big firewood pile that I put up last spring just before snow left. I’ll do that again this coming spring so that I’ll have dry wood to use through the winter.

Saturday, November 21, 1981—it got warmer. I made a short trail. There are no fresh tracks of any kind, so I put up insulation in the ceiling of the cabin. It only took 2 ½ hours, but it sure made a difference in the wood it takes to keep the cabin warm. I sharpened my knives here at the cabin too. It’s -10° this evening.

Sunday, November 22, 1981—it was -10° in the morning and 0° at noon. Very bright and sunny, no wind. Measured the ice on the cabin lake. It’s 13 inches with 4 inches of snow on top. I made two sets on the ridge back of the cabin. No new game or fur tracks anywhere. It was really nice all day, but it looks like snow clouds 20-30 miles to the north by east, I can see some really nice peaks from in the higher ridges. This country right through here has little high places. When you get up on them, it’s about 2700 elevation and often times, you get a real nice view. It helps keep track of where you are in the country too, once you learn what it looks like. The cabin stays lots warmer now and heats with less wood since I insulated the ceiling. It’s -10° this evening.

Monday, November 23, 1981—it’s 5° above zero with a light dust of snow falling overnight. It was 8° at noon. I ran both lines today—no fur. Did see a cow and calf moose though. It seems to be much warmer. There is a lot of overflow and water that comes up through the ice and soaks the snow. Plan to go out to the road tomorrow.


Masks were frozen to our faces

Thermometer showing temp over 40 below zero

We stopped every couple miles to look at one another’s face, checking for frostbite.

Thursday, January 10, 1980—we got up for an early start—it was -30°. I had bad feelings about this trip. I thought it was way too cold to go, but Tim really wanted to go. He wanted to get those metal bunks and bring them back to the lodge here. Hooked on to the trailer, loaded up the snowmobiles and sleds and went to Lake Louise. Unloaded the snow machines and checked the temperature there at the lodge and it was -45°. We got the machines started and went down the lake—it’s maybe 20 miles or so to his mother’s cabin on Tyone Lake.

We stopped every couple of miles to look at one another’s face, checking for frostbite. We had masks over our faces, but frost would still get through. We got to Tim’s mother’s cabin and my machine wasn’t running right, seemed like there was still something wrong with the carburetor. When we got there, there was a little bit of daylight left so we went out looking for wood to use as fuel, but there was nothing but scrub, black spruce—it’s very small. We found all the dead trees we could find from 6 to 8 feet tall. Got those up to the cabin and cut it up into stove wood and started to build a fire in the stove. This is a tiny, tin stove. Lo and behold, the stove is two thirds full of ashes. We dug the ashes out so there was some room and got a fire started.

We didn’t have very much light in there and we took turns sitting in front of the fire to thaw the masks off of our faces. We both have beards and our masks were frozen to our faces. By the time we got our masks off, it was warming up a little in there. We put a kettle on the stove and thawed out some beans for supper—tried to make a pot of coffee too. We ate the beans and cut up wood for the night, we were glad for that.

We banked up the cabin with snow the best we could. Still, it was so cold in there that even later in the evening, we could sit back four feet and blow at the stove and see our breath. There is no insulation, it’s just boards. In an effort to try and stay warm after we ate, we crawled in our sleeping bags. It was cold all night and we had a hard time getting any sleep.

Friday, January 11, 1980—(found out later that it had stayed -38° to -40° all night and we think that farther down at the lower elevation where we had been, it was probably even colder.) The snow machines were really cold the next morning. We fixed a good, big breakfast and I went out and took the carburetor off of my machine and brought it inside. That’s a cold job with bare hands. I took the carburetor all apart and there was some ice in it—got it dry and put it back on. Then we loaded up our gear and those bunks and started out. I got a few white spots on my face from the frost, but we got back up to Lake Louise and to the lodge where we had our vehicles parked. We got things loaded up and got warm in the lodge and went back to Nelchina.