The Roof Project, phase one: Getting the stuff in.

The cabin still does not have a real roof on it. It’s plywood covered with tarps. Works okay, got through two winters just fine, but it’s time to get some real actual roofing on the place!

As usual, getting the materials on site is half the fun. I’m using sheet metal panels for low maintenance, no moss growth, and letting the snow slide as easily as possible. All good, but bundles of shingles would sure be a lot easier to transport! This stuff is heavy, must not get bent, and has sharp edges ready to cut your hands or viciously attack the nice paint on the panel next to it.

The panels are twelve feet long, and flexible. Pretty much impossible for one person to carry, so the portage to the river to use the canoes didn’t have much appeal. That leaves the wheeler, overland. The wheeler trailer is about 4 feet long. Hmmmm.

Here is my solution, a “fifth wheel” style rig. I built a framework for the panels and attached it at the front end directly to the rear rack on the wheeler. I used a single point of attachment, lashed with rope, so it would be free to pivot. The rest of the framework rests on the trailer.

The fifth wheel rig.


Rear view before loading.

I got some friends to help me get the panels off the truck. (Thanks, Christie and Francine, and thanks to my brother Jim for helping me get them ON the truck) . Then the moment of truth – would the thing work like I thought, and could Frankie ( the wheeler) pull it?

Piling the panels on Frankie’s back.

Yes, of course he could!


Go, Frankie, Go!

It was hard to drive this rig and film at the same time, so I couldn’t get the most fun parts, like the Hi-Ho Silver wheelie up the slough bank, or the tight corners in the woods, but here we are crossing the river:

Success! All the panels survived the trip. Now if it will just quit raining I can start roofing.

Made it! All panels intact and at the cabin.


It’s August, fall is here.

Actually I see the very first signs of fall about July first. A yellow leaf here, a red leaf there, where before was only green and more green.? Nothing much, but the message is pretty clear.

By mid-August there is a lot of color in the undergrowth and the trees are just starting to show signs of changing.

White birch trunks in the morning sun on the trail

My Commute: White Birches glow in the morning sun on the trail.


We had so much snowpack in the mountains this year, the river has been pretty much bank-full all of June and now? well into July. Fast, loud, and an oddly attractive grey-green color that doesn’t come through in photographs very well.

Talkeetna River, high water

The River: As River.??????? Photo by Elf

Daily entertainment is looking for new logjams, old ones swept away, and comparing the water level to yesterday.

If I am away for any length of time, the web provides a substitute which is highly informative, if not nearly as engaging. The Alaska River Forecast Center provides an ongoing record of the river level, along with its predicted behavior for the near future. This I can translate into whether or not my wheeler can make it under the bridge, and what channels will have water in them.

The River: By the Numbers


Fourth of July in Talkeetna

We don’t usually have town-sponsored fireworks for the fourth of July, for the same reason we don’t have drive-in movie theaters. It doesn’t get dark. We save the big guns for the winter time. Of course that doesn’t? stop people from buying enough explosives on their own to re-enact the Battle of the Bulge. Between one and two A.M. is about as dark as it’s gonna get, and the celebration is on. Nothing centralized, just skirmishes all over town and down by the river, blue smoke drifting over green water in the twilight. Not a good night for dogs.

During what I like to call high summer, we very often get that wonderful effect of low evening light (from the north) with a backdrop of grey sky. It’s just plain delicious. This scene was downtown Talkeetna on the evening of the fourth, around 11 pm:


Fourth of July in Talkeetna Alaska

Talkeetna, Fourth of July, 11 P.M.

Cloud show

Is there a meteorologist in the house? I find the behavior of thunderstorms in south central Alaska puzzling. It’s as if they are adapted to a northern climate, just like the animals. I grew up in New Jersey, and have spent time in many other parts of the lower 48, where thunderstorms occur. And they occur when it is hot. Like 85 or 90 or 100 degrees hot. Now around here, if a thunderstorm was waiting around for those temperatures, it would be waiting a long time. Apparently realizing this, they go ahead and happen at 60 or 70, figuring that’s as close as they are ever going to get. We had one today – thunder, lightning, hail, the whole works. Maximum recorded temperature: 72. If any of you reading this live in the southlands, when was the last time you got up in the morning, saw that is was heading to be over 70 degrees, and thought “Oh Boy, we’re in for a thunderstorm this afternoon”?

Also we never used to get thunderstorms. Ever. Even as recently as 20 years ago, there just weren’t any. Now we get them on a somewhat regular basis. I know this is due to climate change, but it still isn’t getting THAT warm. They must be adapting.

This afternoon, THE mountain was hidden by clouds, but the sky put on quite a show to compensate.

Even Denali is dwarfed by these cloudmountains.

Birches turning their silver side in a rush of wind. It's coming!

The sky at slow boil over the airport.




Solstice. Already?

Every year it’s like this. Solstice comes WAY too soon. It’s a very significant thing around here, because it means now the days are getting shorter. But, But…summer just started, for crapsake! It reminds of the time I was in grade school: First day of summer vacation! Yeehaw! Endless summer stretching to infinity. I went with my friend’s family to a mall for a shopping trip. Not that I cared a bit for was just exciting to go someplace, and have it not be school. On a weekday! I will never forget ( it’s been 50 years) pulling in to the parking lot of the store and seeing the enormous banner over the entrance –


I hope there is a special place in hell for those people.

So here we are, just getting warmed up, things are finally green and blooming and flowing and singing …and the days are getting shorter.

Northern sky at midnight, crossing the bridge. Let the midnight special...

For some more information on solstices and daylight, visit my much-neglected other site:?

Here is my view of the walkway at 12:15 A.M. While the waters aren’t exactly troubled, they are very high, fast and cold, with entire trees floating by as if they have decided to find a new home and are in a hurry about it. It is another one of those simple pleasures to have a fine bridge to get across.

First part of the "road" home, crossing the Talkeetna River.