Thursday, July 26, 2007

Down the (battened) hatch

The outhouse is leaning. To the right. Well, I guess it depends if you're in it or if you're just looking at it, as to which way it's leaning. We used leftover logs to make a faux front so, you know, it would look classy, but I'm afraid it's going topple over at any given moment. I moved 'jacking up the loo' to the top of our priority list because, well, I know everyone loves a good 'my-outhouse-fell-over-story' but I just can't have it.
It's one of the perils of living with no water. Of course, it was a choice we made last summer while building. We considered putting in a septic tank but with permafrost just eight inches from the surface, it would have been a nightmare. Plus, I feel more like a true Alaskan having to 'rough it' a little more. Waterless cabins are a dime a dozen here. And making the weekly trip to the water wagon to fill our big 200-gallon tank and five-gallon jugs, is always a trip I look forward to. You never know who you'll see or what gossip you'll overhear. It's kind of like standing around the water cooler in an office, but with much, much more water.
This morning Sam's finishing up canning the fish while I am supposed to be writing three articles due on Friday. Our friends Eric and Becky went to Chitina to get their fish just one day after we left. By the time they got there Sunday, the river had risen three feet, the charter guys pulled their boats from the water and Eric was left sweeping along the shore. He got three salmon. So Sam and I and our kooky pal Steve will divide up our fish so that we all have enough for the winter. It's a bloody long drive to get skunked, but I guess they had a good time anyway camping and being with family.
This weekend a group of about 12 of us are heading to the Anderson Bluegrass Festival. It's a couple hours south of here and neither Sam nor I have been before. Besides the music, camping, friends and beer, I'm excited to see all the people who waited in line in March for the free-land frenzy. For the those who don't remember, the town of Anderson gave away 26 plots of land to try and ramp up interest in the town a little. I went and covered it for the AP and people were lined up from all over the place days before the actual giveaway. Folks from Florida, Oregon,, people were phoning the town hall from across Canada, Europe and India. It was nuts. The catch? You have to build on your free land within two years. With such short summers, that can be difficult. So, I'll wander over to the new Anderson suburb to see the progress.
After we get back from Anderson, fellow copy editor Richard and I will pack up our rucksacks and head to the White Mountains for three days. Our first day will be a 16-mile (24km) hike to Moose Creek Cabin where we'll spend the night before hiking out eight on the second day and eight on Wednesday. We both have to work on Wednesday night but I have a feeling we might be nodding off at our desks.
I felt a shift in the air a couple days ago. Winter is definitely close.


Anonymous said...

Hey Jill,
Our outhouse just became unuseable. We're having a septic system installed (no permafrost on this side of Whitehorse) and the operator pushed a tree into outhouse causing it to spin around. It's no longer over the hole. Visits to the hole now are a lot more challenging requiring some balancing skills and are much less private! Hopefully he finishes the thing soon. We're also getting water too! Four years with no plumbing and in a few short weeks it could all be a memory. Although I do have some hesitation about losing that roughing it element. Keeping an ice hole open in the lake all winter we not be missed though.

Anonymous said...

Still looks like a classy outhouse even if it is leaning to your right or Sam's left - depends on whether you're sitting or standing I guess.

Will you get the chance to sell the Anderson follow-up story/photos to AP?

AKbushbaby said...

Hmmm. An interesting visual... I don't feel so bad, now! Unless, of course, ours actually tips and then, well, it could get very ugly, very fast. Congrats on the water and septic. I can imagine because you guys have more dogs that keeping them fed and watered from the lake was hard work. I only have 10 so the 50-gallon pickle barrels work just fine for now. Good to hear from you. See you in Fairbanks in Feb?

dogsled_stacie said...

Jill - love your blog! And that is one nice outhouse. I'm currently building one and I think I'll copy that design! :)

Tamra, septic - wow! Do you guys have power out there now?

Anonymous said...

hi jilly loved your outhouse picture have you and sam been in there together.especially the faux front.please send some pictures. love gran.

P said...

Ha! Your outhouse is way cuter than mine. No, really--check out my blog and you'll see. I still think we need to jack it up on wheels, though.

(If you're wondering what random stranger is commenting on your blog, I found subarctic mama's blog after googling "fairbanks mama blog" and she had your blog linked, long-winded explanation)