We are back! Back with a big announcement: a new addition was added to our family in November: little Baby Girl!
We are over the moon spending time with her and watching her grow. Our winter has been filled with lots of baby snuggles and a few indoor projects. Our goal was to get the cabin dried-in and move-in ready before her due date. We wanted a safe and warm place to welcome her home and we met our goal! --Thank goodness she arrived late, though! The snow quickly followed.
Since our last update in October, we have accomplished many details on the cabin. Drywalling, electrical, plumbing, appliances, tongue-and-groove ceiling, ceiling fan, soft water install, chopping wood, metal roof installation, misc woodworking and many many continuing projects. We moved into the cabin at the end of October once Pete finalized the bathroom basics, made a timber bed frame, and got the kitchen roughed-in. We were still living off-grid at this point. How did we do it? We did it by using the wood stove as our heat source, propane to power the cook range & hot water, and the generator to power up a battery bank & the cabin simultaneously. The batteries gave us power throughout the night when we used limited energy. Though it's possible to live like this, it requires a lot of management and maintenance. As mentioned in the previous post, we had begun the process of getting on the grid with the local electric company.
Before the frost set in, Pete fell a couple more trees, cleared brush and installed a meter base near the front of the property for the electric company to install their plotted pole. The electric company came over the Thanksgiving weekend and ran electricity from across the street to our property. Pete then connected the meter base to the cabin with temporary cables. Together we flipped the switch on the panel and just like that, we were on the grid in early December! Electricity is a fabulous convenience that makes cabin living with a newborn much easier. Once the ground is thawed, we will bury the cables to the cabin and run additional buried cables to the future house.
The blue metal roof was also installed before the snow arrived. It was a cold and rainy fall day. A friend stopped by to help for the afternoon. This was a dangerous project and the only one that Pete couldn't do alone. Working on a steep slippery metal roof with extremely sharp metal edges, the boys tacked down the roof in about 4 hours. I love our blue roof!
Recently, Pete installed an electrical water softener. It's very different from the normal water softener systems you see in many homes which usually require large tanks and a constant supply of salt. Pete simply formed two coils by winding the two flexible copper ribbon cables around the main water line coming into the cabin then connected power to the control unit. This device works by creating large electromagnetic pulses using the capacitive effect between the two coils. The water flowing through the pipe between the coils becomes part of the dielectric which exposes all of the ions in the water to the large, high frequency back and forth pulses. This breaks apart the calcium and magnesium (lime scale) molecules which cause water to become "hard". In a typical water softener system, the lime scale is removed from the water through a process called ion exchange which simply replaces the calcium-magnesium ions with sodium ions. These systems physically remove the calcium and magnesium from the water and replaces them with salt, while our system does not alter the water composition. It is the spiney shape of the lime scale molecules which cause them to cling to things and cause build up on fixtures, staining sinks and showers, and also prevents soap from working as well. So by merely changing the shape of the molecules we can get all the same benefits of the large salt-based systems in a much simpler and easier to install package which requires virtually no maintenance. We have been very happy with the performance of this device and can clearly feel a difference in the water. However, this is only the first stage in what will become a much more complicated water treatment system. We still need to deal with the iron, which has begun staining the shower, toilet, and our clothes, and also need a system for reliably removing the arsenic before we will be able to safely drink the water.
It has been a cozy winter here at the cabin. The local moose come and go all over the property. This hasn't been a good winter so far to view the Northern Lights, though we are hopeful to see some in February. The snow here is so light and fluffy. It doesn't blow and drift like in the Midwest. And just like the unusual summer, the recent winter weather has set some record lows. We have been in a below-zero cold snap since the new year. We've also experienced some winter challenges with getting the truck stuck (my mighty Subaru pulled it out of the mud and snow twice!), generator pull cord breaking, the 4-wheeler working off and on, the vehicles having a difficult time in the cold, no dry & warm garage to store cars, no dry wood and continuing on other cabin projects, but we have met each challenge with a sustainable solution and continue with our successes! The dark Alaskan winter days haven't bothered us one bit! The shortest day of the year in December gave us about 5 hours of sunlight. The shorter days are in our rear view as the days get longer and longer. We keep busy with our daughter, cabin goals and future homestead plans. Onward!
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!
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