As is typical, the month of July has been near non-stop hustle and bustle!
The long list of projects we had made up over the long winter has been dwindling with great satisfaction. It’s hard to appreciate all the progress we’ve made when it seems the work is never finished, but come this winter we’ll undoubtedly recognize the increased efficiency with which our little homestead now operates. Even though it has been a wet summer, we still have managed to make progress while still enjoying the Alaskan summer.
The second half of the month brought us a break from the cool, overcast and rainy days we’d been having. Overall, it has been a much cooler summer than we have previously experienced here. We even saw a couple nights in July where it dipped into the upper 40°s. The cool nights have caused the garden to grow much slower than the past couple years. Just now, at the end of July, we are seeing our first pumpkins start to form on the plants that have been out since the last frost at the end of May.
Because of the cool and damp weather we delayed putting our meat chickens out in the pasture for a week or two. We were wondering if the cold and wet was the reason we lost so many of them last year, or maybe it was the global bird flu problem. We don’t know for sure, but so far we have had much better luck with them this year, with the exception of that pesky ermine who decided to return after a two year hiatus. He was able to snatch up three of them one night out of the Egg-cono Lodge when they were about three weeks old. A hawk must’ve heard the good news of free food and came to help finish off the leftovers which the ermine had left strewn about outside the coop. Thinking he would return for more, Pete set a trap and also placed a plastic owl on a post for good luck. We still have not caught him in the trap, but we have also not had any more issues with him, so we’ll give credit to the decoy plastic owl. Since then, the weather has dried up and we decided it best to get the broiler chickens onto some fresh grass so we moved them all into their roving chicken tractors a couple weeks ago and fortunately have not had any more issues.
Since we were anticipating more chicken problems like we had last year, we ordered a second batch which showed up around the 10th of July. They spent their first week and a half under a heat lamp inside our shop building where we knew they’d be safe from any predators or weather scenarios. Then, Pete was able to get the new pig barn/chicken coop finished up enough to provide a wire-enclosed space for them to move into. The security of this new space was put to the test almost immediately. For the first three nights after the young chicks were moved out there we saw the hawk just on the other side of the wire mesh. I could almost see his mouth watering as he circled the coop vying for a way in. Pete would then run outside and scare him off. We also found tracks of what we presume to be the ermine just outside of the wire mesh. Maybe him and the hawk have some sort of deal worked out? Regardless, we have not lost a single chick in this new space and that gives us a lot of confidence and peace of mind.
Our little home also got a big improvement in the last week of the month when we made some upgrades to our water system. Pete rented an excavator and dug up our water line. He cut the pipe and routed it to our new shop which we built last fall, then ran a pipe back from the shop and then to our cabin. After that he moved all of our water treatment and pressure system components out of the cabin and installed them in the shop. Not only do we now have running water in the shop for the bathroom and sink, but we freed up a lot of space inside the cabin by getting the pressure tank, water softener, and iron filter out of the way. In a tiny 16’X20’ home, those things were taking up some seriously precious floor space! Then, to make things even better, we got rid of our not-so-reliable tankless water heater and replaced it with a 30 gallon tank heater. It takes up more space than the on-demand water heater did, but the peace of mind that comes with knowing there will always be hot water when you turn on the faucet is oh so worth it!
That big project did not go without it’s frustrations though. The water table has risen probably three feet since we initially installed the well and buried the line in 2019. This caused the pit to constantly fill back in with mud and water as Pete was digging with the excavator. After digging and digging and finally finding the buried water line, he only had a couple of minutes to climb down in the hole and make the connections before mud would slide in and cover everything back up. This wasn’t enough time and after several laps running from the excavator down to the bottom of the pit and back again, we decided we needed more helping hands. Pete called up “Two Dudes and an Excavator” (E&M Excavating) and within 48 hours we had our water line all connected and working again.
Aside from homestead projects, Wild North Design has been staying quite busy as well. We’ve been doing many custom orders for some awesome customers! We love making signs for other small businesses and makers, and also custom pieces for art lovers who have their own ideas for things they’d like. It’s such a blessing to have our new shop space available for all the paint and epoxy work we’ve been doing. After all, there’s only so much one can do on their kitchen table in a tiny home! The shop is a major upgrade!
We hope everyone is doing well and finding ways to beat the heat this summer. If it gets to be too much, you can always visit Alaska where we haven’t been above 75°F yet! Thanks for reading!
Hello, I am Melissa, owner of Wild North Design. Recently, my husband and I decided to pick up and move to Alaska. This dream has been a couple years in the making and we are enjoying the journey so far. We love to learn and make all kinds of things. From wood craft, to painting, to vehicles, landscaping, building, exploring...we love it all! We are finding out that Alaska is a great fit for our restless minds and bodies! Excited for what the future holds for our expanding family!
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies