We Have A House!

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We’ve spent the last few days building, building, building our tiny house!

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This will be our official home until we are done with the cabin. It’s a 10 x 10 backyard shed, so we’ll be living in less than 100 sq feet for at least a year. It feels so good to accomplish something!

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Up, Up, Down, Up

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Seems like life out here is just a roller coaster of ups and downs each day.

Ronan got into the porcupine for the third time, so after the dogs treed it we shot it with our .22 and I butchered and cooked it for the dogs (porcupines have no season and no bag limit here). Ronan and Link were very happy to have it for dinner.

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We’ve also been slowly working on our studio. We have one wall up and another nearly complete.

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We met more cabin owners over the weekend and they helped us get a lot of our stuff up the bluff in their awesome 6 wheeler, which was way easier than our carry/trailer/4 wheeler plan. They also invited us to a beach barbecue, and out to see their cabin to get some ideas. It has been nice to meet some of the people who own cabins back in that area and pick their brains about cabin plans and living up there full time. So far we’ve gotten every reaction to our plan from “that’s awesome” to “you guys are crazy”.

And for the down….

A bear tore up our camp!

We think he went after the tent first and tore it all up, then went after the rest of our gear. He didn’t actually get to much food other than an entire giant unopened bag of skittles. We must have scared him off coming into camp because there wasn’t to much damage. We are really good about burning garbage, washing dishes and keeping our food put up but we must have missed something this time around.

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Gotta love the claw marks in our tent screens. We went through and duct-taped all the holes to try and keep the mosquitoes out, then threw a tarp over the whole thing to keep out the rain. The bear did miss the air mattress though, so we didn’t have to sleep on the ground! He also chewed on but didn’t puncture our bear spray (we carry this spray).

We should be able to finish the studio in the next few days, and we’ll be getting our last load of stuff for awhile from town today! Hopefully the bear stays away from our place as long as we are around with the dogs working on stuff. We left the dogs tied up while we went to town today instead of taking them with us like we normally do.

Lots of ups and one very interesting down lately, but we are enjoying all of the challenges that Alaska brings!

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Breaking Ground

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We finally broke ground this week! Kyle’s dad Keith came out this week and helped us start on our ‘temporary’ studio shed shelter. It’s just a little 10 x 10 that we will be living in until the cabin is built, which probably means it will be home for at least a year. We really went small with the temporary shelter to save money, and it will certainly be interesting squeezing ourselves into that space after living in our average sized house in Washington.

First the guys widened our driveway so we could get all the materials to the little clearing we had picked to build the studio in. It gets plenty of sunshine which will be great for our solar plans.

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There are a few trees we will take out to get more sunlight, but it was nice to start with a space that was already mostly set and open! We thought it would take us hours to clear the moss and rotted logs out before we could start building, but Keith told us to use our little Craftsman chainsaw as a sod cutter to make things easier for us.

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It made things go so much faster, and we finished clearing the ground in under 2 hours! Then we were on to the foundation and leveling of the area. I promise I did actually help with this project, I’m just always taking pictures so I never end up in any!

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Then onto the actual floor and insulation!

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And of course because we don’t have any electricity Kyle used the chain saw to cut all the floorboards that needed it! Tomorrow we’ll be working on framing out the rest of the studio, then adding insulation and the roof over the next week. We expect rain late next week so hopefully we will finish it all by then!

Of course our week wasn’t all work and no play, Keith and Kyle went for a paddle around the lake and Kyle tried fishing a little bit. Got a few bites but didn’t catch anything unfortunately.

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And here’s a bonus picture of Ronan looking very suspicious about our chainsaw use:

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We Did Want Adventure…

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And boy did we get our adventure!

Yesterday we decided we needed to take the truck on the beach in order to get building materials to our property. We didn’t even make it to the beach before we noticed a clicking coming from our rear driver’s side tire. After looking at it a bit and calling our dad’s, we took some weight off to see if that would help. It continued to click so my dad suggested looking for a rock in the hub cap. Lo and behold, when we took off the hub cap we realized that tire was loose too! Unfortunately we’d taken the tire iron to camp to work on the 4 wheeler and forgotten to bring it back to the truck. Luckily some people had come to the park and gave Kyle a ride back to their house to borrow theirs, and we tightened all the tires. Yup, the front were loose as well! After saying goodbye to them we ran into another gentleman who owns a cabin in the area and he lent us his for the trip down the beach in case we needed to change a tire out there.

And then we were finally off!

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Aaaaand…. We only made it about 3 miles before we hit one of the sink holes that this beach is known for. One tire in mud and three on sand, pretty much the worst case scenario for being stuck off road.

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As we dug out clay and mud more kept seeping in and we got well and truly stuck, sinking up to our axles and high centering the truck on a rock. Luckily it was still light out at 10 pm when we started digging, but we were working against a 21 foot tide that could potentially take out our truck. At midnight, after I started crying (I’m going to blame that on pregnancy hormones) we decided to leave the truck and walk back to the 4 wheeler so we could at least go back to camp and feed the dogs. We were just hoping that the truck would not be to damaged by the tide and we’d come back in the morning to try again.

Just as we were getting ready to go, another cabin owner showed up! At midnight! With a big truck and all the tools needed to get us out!

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Seeing that big light come down the beach felt like the best thing that had ever happened to us! The cabin owner spent another two hours digging and towing us out (we were really that stuck) and invited us to follow him back to his cabin just up the beach from us to spend the night. We followed exactly where he drove the entire time and didn’t get stuck again!

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The next morning we unloaded the truck at our beach access and tried again, this time we made the entire 14 miles without getting stuck anywhere! Whew! We also realized driving back that the hole we had dug ourselves out of was completely gone! The tide would have ruined our truck for sure. So we headed into town to get all the equipment we should have had the first time we tried the beach, and now we’ll be loading the truck and driving out again tonight. I think we learned quite a bit yesterday, and this time will be way better prepared!

Below are the items we purchased on the recommendation of our neighbor:

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Progress!

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I feel like we’ve actually accomplished something and made progress in the past few days. After Kyle spoke with another gentleman with a cabin up in this area we gave up on finding our markers for now. He had been coming up to his cabin for 10 years and never found his property markers!

So… we used the plat map, paced off the distance and decided if we went in right in the middle there was no way we could accidentally be on someone else’s property. Which brings us to:

We have a driveway now!

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This tool was immensely helpful in clearing the brush:

It didn’t look like much when we started, but we can get the 4 wheeler all the way to the clearing that we want to put our shed up in. We also roughed out where we would be putting chickens and rabbits.

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We also bought a .22 for hunting small game, so now we can get that porcupine (and probably feed it to the dogs, they are eating a LOT).

Other good things that have happened in the last few days: Kyle met a lady who is giving us a free greenhouse and some plants to get our garden started, the dogs scared a grizzly and a moose out of camp, and today the tide leveled the beach out so driving the truck out to our access should be easier now!

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Ronan found himself a huge bone, and Link found a nest of spruce grouse eggs!

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Now to get our shed supplies up there and start building!

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