Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Running (to get) Water

We have a beautiful sunny day on Sunday!  Quite appropriate, huh?
We moved a whole lot of snow, because it had snowed at least 6 inches Friday & Saturday.
I still can't believe how much snow is out there.
We must have at least a foot of snow out there...

The sun stays to the South now.  That photo above is facing South, and was taken at around 2:30 PM, so it's not sunset...  At least we know in a couple of months, the days will start getting longer again...

Jeff was given some ground moose meat the end of last week.  I used a pound of it to make Sour Cream Noodle Bake on Sunday.  The meat was very dark (moose is very lean).  I couldn't even tell you how it tastes, because it was in a casserole.  But I liked the dish.  Maybe we'll use some of the meat to make moose burgers, and we will really be able to taste it then.

the view from the kitchen sink

We like to watch "Living Alaska" and "Buying Alaska".
It really bothers me when they look out the kitchen window and say, "Now that's Alaska!" when it's just a view of trees.
If a big huge mountain view was outside my window, yes I would say that.
But not just because there's a forest back there...

it was nice to see a sky with color!
I'm not saying it's not pretty, just look at that...

One of the things that a lot of people asked me before I moved up here was if we would have running water.

Yes, we have running water!
The property has a well, but unfortunately, it's non-potable water.
That means don't drink it. 
There's too many particles in the water to be safe.
Luckily it's just fine for things like laundry, dishes, showers, toilets.
But for drinking, we have to run and get water.  And when you want to do things like make pasta, you are aware of just how much water you go through.
On Sunday we ran and got water.

The well we get drinking water from is close to the house, probably about 7 minutes away.  
But the road is not maintained and oh my gosh you don't want to be going on that road in a vehicle that's low to the ground!

The well isn't locked, but I really wanted to get there during the daylight (I wasn't aware that we still had 5 gallons left).  These photos were taken around 5:45PM.

We took all the containers out of the Jeep and placed on the ground, with the lids off.

The water is free, but you have to pay for the pump.  We easily fill up our containers for $1.  Jeff also put another $1 in the machine for the next user.  When we got water a month ago, there were 4 quarters in the machine, so he was paying it forward.

Unfortunately the hose shut-off is not near the end of the hose.  When it came time to fill up that one gallon jug you see in the Jeep, I handled the shut-off and Jeff held the containers.

It's not a difficult job, but I can see how this could get old quick.  
Especially when it's cold or bad weather out.
I'm hoping to eventually live somewhere with potable running water, that we don't have to run and get!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

10-24-2014 - The Glenn Highway

I hope you never get bored of landscape photos, because I never get bored of the views.  Here are some from our trip home from Anchorage:

bad attempt at getting a photo of an Alaskan field

There have been swans in this little lake every time we have driven past it.
This time, there was only one, and it was constantly diving for food.
See that little white spot?  That's him...

Stopped at the viewing area for the Matanuska Glacier, this is looking West, where the sum was setting.

The Matanuska Glacier

Also the Matanuska Glacier, but taken from a different location, just past Caribou Creek

The first time we drove out to Glennallen we wondered what these polls were.
We now know that they are for the days when it's so foggy or snowy that you need help staying on the road.
This part of the road, just west of Eureka, is a high spot, without the protection of mountains.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A trip to Anchorage

Jeff had an industry trade show / conference to attend in Anchorage this week, so we got a nice 3-day / 2-night trip.  We had just been to the valley to grocery shop a week and a half prior, so it wasn't a necessary shopping trip, but I did take advantage of the opportunity...

There was an Army convoy headed East as we headed West.

The first day we went out walking around downtown near the hotel in just our sweatshirts.  It was sunny, in the 40's, and no wind.  Such a nice evening.

Jeff got a much needed haircut.  There's a real-life barber downtown Anchorage.
This 72-year-old German fellow did a great job,
and Jeff didn't even have to tell him what kind of hair cut he needed.
Dinner was at the Anchorage Hard Rock Cafe.
Interestingly enough, it's in the same building as the restaurant
where we had dinner on the first night of our honeymoon.  
Then we went as saw Fury.  Good movie.  Gory war movie, but good movie.

The next day, while Jeff was going to seminars and shaking down the trade show people for free stuff, I went shopping.

This little guy was shopping too.  Do you see the dog on the platform cart?
He was buying a very large screen TV.
Or maybe his human was buying it.  The dog didn't have a purse or pockets
in which to keep his preferred method of payment, so it was probably the human who bought it.
Surprisingly, they did not buy an RCA.
While at Costco I also saw a snow skirt in action.  No picture, but trust me that it was actually cute.  It was about knee length and she was wearing tights with it.

It seemed like each day got a little bit breezier than the last.  Day Two we walked about 3 or 4 blocks to go to lunch at the Glacier Brewhouse. While it was a bit too nippy for a coat-less walk, it was worth it.  I had the Thai Chicken Brick Oven Pizza and it was awesome!  "Rotisserie Chicken, toasted peanuts, pickled cucumbers, bean sprouts, tomato, fresh cilantro, Thai chili sauce"

Glacier Brewhouse menu
Just outside the Alaska Railroad terminal.  Unfortunately the gift shop was closed.
In Winter their gift shop is only open on Friday & Saturday...
These guys were in the lobby of the hotel.  
Jeff's last day at the event was a half day, so we headed out of town and went grocery shopping at the Eagle River Fred Meyer.

milk is much more reasonable in the valley than by where we live.
$3/gallon price difference.

wishing I had bought this stuff.
Took the picture to send to Mom - do you guys carry this in your store?

Well, this is a whole 'nother definition of "going grocery shopping"...
Fred Meyer has everything, not just groceries.
It also has a much better grocery section than Super WalMart,
so if you need to do some one-stop shopping, this is the place.
And this is Mt. McKinley (or Denali, if you don't want to sound like a tourist),
from just outside the Fred Meyer at Eagle River.
Mt. McKinley is a good 120 miles from Eagle River.
It's heavily edited because the mountain was so close in color to the sky.
All in all it was a good trip to the city.  Stay tuned for some photos from the Glenn Highway...

Friday, October 24, 2014

10-24-14: More snow & a trip to the post office

Hey, surprise!  It snowed today.  Still snowing, actually, and there's three inches accumulated on the porch rail.

I'm trying to find out if this is normal.  Normal for it to snow most days.  In October.  According to this website*, there wasn't snow cover in Glennallen until November in 2013, and a very small amount of October snow in 2012.  Good to know.  *FYI - looks like this website doesn't like Chrome.  Worked fine in Internet Explorer.

As you can see, it was such a snowy, dreary day, the whole landscape looked like it was in black and white.

But I am a sucker for snow that sticks to the trees!

The whole point of going in to town was to mail a package and get the mail.

Glennallen Post Office building
It's a rather large building for the size of community.  It's at least three times the size of the post office in Amboy IL, which is a town of 2500 people.  

ramp entrance to the post office
This is a common material for the entrances to buildings.  This grating allows snow, small rocks, etc to fall through.  Probably results in shoveling the walk a lot less...

There's a good 2-3 feet of space below the grating.
Not only did we have mail; we had packages to pick up!  2 boxes from Amazon plus a box from Mom & Dad.  In fact...

a 2-part jacket, the way it was packaged up and sent to us.
For those of you who know my parents, take a look at that picture of the jacket.  That's how it came out of the box.  Tell me who you think packaged it up and why.  Thanks!

And one last question.  Before we moved, when I was looking for Alaska living blogs to read about what it was like up here, some of my favorite posts were about the towns.  Did you like this post, boring as it may have been, about the post office?  What kinds of things do you want to see posts about up here?  There's only so many posts I can write that start out with "It's snowing again..."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's been going on lately, plus more snow pictures

10-15-2014 - trees on the very west of our lot
 What's been going on?  Not much.
10-15-2014 - looking East down the road from our house
 I've been keeping busy with laundry, dishes, meals, etc.
10-21-2014 - our backyard
 I've also been watching entirely too much TV.  Gotta get out of that habit.  Gotta not be in a winter rut...
10-21-2014 - the roof of the garage
 For anyone wondering how much snow we have, that picture up there is the roof of the garage.  That's the chimney sticking out of the top, hoping that helps give some perspective.  I don't know how "deep" the snow is.  But if I were to walk in the parts of the property that are untouched, the snow would go at least up my ankle, if not higher.  I have not walked outside of the paths we already have made.
10-21-2014 - across the street to the south
We had more snow yesterday.  Really dry, light powder.  An inch or so, probably.  It was so easy to move.  Not shovel, move.  I literally just put the shovel on the ground and pushed it from one side of the driveway to the other.  So much easier than wet snow.

When I took Jeff to work this morning I saw that there was really awesome frozen fog on the trees.  BUT it was still dark out (yep, still dark at 8AM), so no pictures.  Eventually I'm going to have to just start driving around when I think that the light is right looking for pictures to take.

But not today.  Busy today.  Hopefully the busy-ness will result in some good pictures/posts soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shopping Trip!

We received our car on Thursday!  Yeay!  I had forgotten how smooth the car is, but after the Jeep, it's a nice change.

Since we got the car, and it's been three weeks since an actual shopping trip, it was time.  So we headed off to Palmer and Wasilla.

Good grief was it time for a trip to go shopping.  I was so excited!  When you take away something, the thought of it becomes just so exciting!  Here you don't go to the store for something to do, because there's not really much of a store (don't quote me on that, because as winter sets in, I just might do that).  But when we lived in Wisconsin, I was going to the store multiple times a week.  And spending money.

So it was just really exciting to walk in to Target (last time I'd been to Target was September 15.  Almost a month without it.  I was going through withdrawals...)  I had a 5% off card, some gift cards as a going away present from people at work (Thanks Kippers!), and I get another 5% off when I use my Target card.  So I was ready!

What I want to know is, do you guys already have Christmas stuff at your stores?
October 11, and already Christmas stuff...

After doing some damage at Target, we headed off to get some winter gear.  Jeff had heard about a place called All Seasons Clothing Company.  It kind of reminded me of the clothing section at Farm & Fleet.  We both got winter coats, I got boots, and we got a few other things.  Good thing Columbia was 15% off, but it was still an expensive trip.  Hopefully what we got there will last multiple seasons before needing to be replaced...

One thing I saw there that I've never seen before...

It's a snow skirt.  Seriously.  Made of what your snowmobile suit or coat would be made of.  There was another style, longer than this one, that would be about ankle length on me.  I asked the sales associate, and she said that a lot of women wear them.  That way you can just zip it off when you get where you're headed, and it doesn't involve taking off pants.  She said she has one.  It's just not something I would have ever thought of...

Since it was such a big shopping weekend, we stayed the night.  FYI - If it's Friday/Saturday night and you're looking for a hotel to party in, stay at the Grand View.  They have a "lounge" on the lower level.  We were on the 3rd floor.  And the noise kept us up.  Oh, but that's okay, because the bed was just so horrible that there was no good sleep to be had at that place anyway.  

So, you know, keep that in mind.

Another thing to keep in mind is that restaurants run out of ingredients.  At IHOP I ordered this turkey sandwich that has a berry spread on it (mmm, Thanksgiving-y), but there were out of the spread.  No thanks, I guess I'll have an omelette....

Moving right along...

Next stop was WalMart.  What does your WalMart look like?

Is there a good view when you walk out off WalMart?

Don't mind me, WalMart guests, I'm just checking out the mountains...

There was fun stuff to see inside the Palmer Fred Meyer store...
huge veggies on display.
Oh, can't tell how big they are?  Let me just give you a frame of reference....

How's that?  See how big it is?  Can you just imagine the recipe that calls for one carrot?
"Do you think I really need this much carrot in this cake?"

Click the picture to make it bigger.  Info from the farmer who grew those veggies.

And apparently you can guy huge pumpkins at the store.  Only $80.
It had been a long weekend, and was time to head back home.  First, a stop at the gas pump.
$3.73 a gallon for unleaded.  What are your prices?

It was really a long, tiring weekend.  It will get easier as we learn what's best to order online and have delivered.  And be bought some items that are a one-time-only purchase.  So hopefully next trip to the valley won't be quite so exhausting...

And a few last shots - views on the way home...

quick little stop on the side of the road