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Trying to simmer when you want to boil

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted so bear with me these past few months have been in a word, challenging.

As many of you know Papa Fred has had a rough time since June. A staph infection almost took his life twice but here the rest of the story that more accurately explains my title to this post.

As I sit here hours from home I recall the attitudes of the ER doctors in Homer Alaska when I took him in because he was in obvious distress. Our first go round he presented with an achy knee that escalated to him literally unable to walk and not being totally coherent. I explained this to the ER docs and they told me to take him home he had a simple case of “water on the knee”. NOT! After much begging, pleading and giving a full explanation of why he was not fine and just how remote we live I was told he would be released and I was to take him home. My solution was to be the raving lunatic that comes so easily for me and I very colorfully ranted that I was through, he was their problem and I was leaving before they had me arrested for hurting someone because of THEIR ignorance. Not very eloquent I admit BUT it was effective in the matter at hand (keeping Papa Fred near medical treatment). Imagine my shock (I say this with much sarcasm) when hours later they call me to let me know he must be life flighted as his body is septic and he’s going into shock. The signs were all there yet they were initially insisting I take him home?!? Are you starting to see why I was simmering? Fast forward to Anchorage where he is flown to and receives the best care imaginable while in hospital. Amazing doctors, caring nurses and no questions go unanswered. He has his knee replacement from 26 years ago removed as that’s where the infection settled and grew then a couple weeks of iv antibiotics. He still needs 4 more weeks so they place him in a hospital affiliated “transitional care facility “. What could go wrong? I could return home and stay in contact via phone as he was in good hands right? WRONG! In my ignorance I assumed a medical facility would follow his progress and address his needs. Long story short he lost 50 pounds and had a reaction to the meds that the nurses refused to acknowledge to his physician, blood work didn’t get done as was requires and after digging I discovered nothing had been charted for 2 weeks because nothing had been done for him. After finally calling his doctors myself and bypassing the care facility Papa Fred was seen by his Infectious disease P.A. who quickly addressed ALL the issues and got things back on track.  Yep by now I’m almost to a boil but the P.A. saved the day (and his life).

2 months later he’s finally home and life is getting back to normal.   3 weeks later it all falls apart. He begins feeling ill, has an upset stomach and major back pain.  Once again we are in the ER. I won’t go into detail but will tell you I gave the ER doctors a full background on the previous months happenings and finally they do x-rays and a CT scan then promptly come in and announce to him he has cancer and is going to die. WOW. SERIOUSLY? Great bedside manner, huh! Okay so before you all get to sidetracked let me tell you after seeing the images my first reaction was “Who was stupid enough to give you a license to practice medicine and my second reaction was “are you freaking blind”? Long story short the now attending Doctor tells me he needs to get to Anchorage ASAP and may not make it there but I needed to take him myself. Upon inquiring about an air or ground ambulance I was given this excuse as to why me transporting him was my only option. Now get ready for this-you’ll have to read it twice to let it sink in. Okay are you ready? This poor excuse for a human much less a licensed practicing medical professional  tells me “Hmmm, let’s see… he’s 74 years old, on medicare and medicaid and I just cannot justify a 40 thousand dollar expense in this case”.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? My simmer is beginning to boil again but being who I am I get it under control, begin praying and set off in the dark for a 5 hour road trip with Papa Fred who’s only chance of survival is getting him the hell away from these quacks and to a hospital that will not discriminate against him because of his age or income bracket.

Back in Anchorage….Again. a flurry of doctors, nurses and lab techs. A couple of angry doctors? Wait not anger, frustration. By now I’m having to take deep breaths and calm down. Why do they keep asking me why I signed him out “against medical advice? Why I insisted on transferring him by private vehicle? Wait, What. Sudden realization. That poor excuse for a doctor had told them I signed him out against their advice and insisted on driving him myself. His discharge papers soon dispelled that lie. Now I have a full medical team working at an accurate assessment and course of treatment. I’m close to falling apart, I’m tired from lack of sleep, food and stress but I have angels working overtime and the leader of the pack is called Dr.Rojas. I will never be able to thank him enough for his diligence in getting the care Papa Fred needed. Dr.Rojas sent us to Seattle and I’ll leave it at that until my next post. The adventures continue…

Adventures around every corner

In the state of Alaska wild game and fish is never wasted. If an animal is hit, a poacher caught or for any reason there is fresh meat or fish it is not wasted but given to residents to consume.

Last night just before 9 pm I got a call from the state troopers. They had a Moose available and did I want it? Yes! Of course I wanted it so I got the directions and called our dear friends Dan and  Robin to ask if they could “claim” it for us as we would not meet the 30 minute window to arrive on scene. Dan of course was out the door and gone before I could say thank you. Dear hubby, Cati and I loaded the tools needed to Field dress a Moose and in the Argo we went to head to the road. All was going well until we reached the bridge to cross the creek. Ah oh, only half a bridge left. Dear hubby gets out and looks over the situation and like our brains do on many occasions we both got a great idea, the creek narrows just above there and there’s fallen logs so why not “jump” over there? Okay realistically my mind  Was thinking “lack of a safe crossing will not stop me from hundreds of pounds of meat” so with a whoosh of my mom cape, the crunch of the willows I must drive through and the sounds of the meat grinder dancing through my head I attempted to cross the minor abyss standing between me and meat. Like a boss the little green giant navigated through the rough crossing and we were off.
Finally arriving at the truck, a mile until we reach a real road, 6 miles to the turn off the troopers said to take and only a 1/4 mile hike to the prize…..right!   The first of the instructions were spot on, the 1/4 mile hike not so correct. It was more like a mile through a gravel pit, over a couple of hills and down a draw next to a huge water hole but we were there and The prize was a huge cow Moose. The reason she was available is she decided a hiker was a great punching bag. Sad, but that’s what momma Moose do when they have babies. Poor guy going for a hike felt terrible he had to protect himself and after seeing her 2 orphan babies I felt bad too but her death would not be in vain, she will feed several families. 

Our friends son Brandon is awesome. Yes, I will admit I am envious of his knowledge and he came to help get it field dressed and hauled in for which I’m eternally grateful for. Yes, we could of managed but watching him quarter that Moose I learned so much. I’m no rookie to field dressing deer and antelope but Moose is a totally different creature due to its size but he made it look simple and I will say I am much more prepared for the next one due to his instruction. My back also is thankful for he and his son bringing wheelers and a meat wagon to haul it out. Alright if I were a man that meat wagon would cause me to have a serious man crush on him. (Snicker) I wish I would of gotten pics of it as it’s incredible! 

By the time we got back to Dan and Robins house it was 12:30 a.m. and I was cold, wet so I left Cati and the men to hang and wash off the meat. I went inside and visited with Robin until finally at 2:30 the guys were all visited out and it was time to head home. 

The first thing that happened when I pulled out of the driveway onto the road is a Moose jumped out, close call but I didn’t hit it. Thank heavens as I was about Moosed out for the night. We turned onto the trail to head to the Argo parking area and when we got there another Moose was standing by the Argo and then another! I thought I was hallucinating! They of course spooked and trotted away but one was curious and kept inching back towards us, Cati was a little nervous and that girl jumped in the Argo faster than I have ever seen her move. 

1:00 a.m.

3:30 a.m.

We finally arrived home around 3:30 a.m. Bed never looked so good!

Our adventure will reap the reward of meat for the freezer, jerky and we will of course share with our friends. It’s was great spending time with hubby and Cati building another memory that will be passed on for generations I hope. I am thankful for so many things but mostly that we and our friends all made it home safely. That is the best blessing of all. 

Breaking up is hard to do

It’s that time of year. Spring has sprung, the days are getting longer and temps are climbing. Soon the snow and ice will give way to water and mud-yes breakup is here in Alaska. I can’t say that I’ll miss the snow as it’s been a long winter but the mud brings an entirely different world to our little cabin in the woods. Ah but the green will return and long days of sunshine will mean fishing, gardening and preparing for  another winter. I’m actually excited to see how the little green giant will do in the breakup because she sure can tear through the snow and ice now!​

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I will try to catch you all up on the happening here. It’s been a flurry of activity with numerous spring storms, furniture building, garden plans and of course planning for the Spring thaw means trying to figure out where we will build pens to keep the critters out of the mud. The girls and I have stayed busy with our projects while the fellas have worked hard at getting wood in. You’ll see some of our trash to treasure projects in the pics below-

Kitchen cupboard we still need to build doors for
Completed kitchen table
The latest project a sofa big enough for all the kids

The babies are getting big and it’s almost time to start round two of the kidding season. Little Hope has grown a lot since my last post and thinks she is the queen of the farm. A few mournful bellers finds goats and humans alike heeding her call. Yes she has become quite accustomed to getting attention when she wants it. 

I was enjoying doing live feeds on periscope but that came to a halt when PETA complained we were eating animals-boo hoo. I was permanently banned from periscope for showing how to clean a turkey. No worries, I’ll still teach what I can but from now on it will be here where it’s safe. Sad that one groups opinions can keep the rest of the world from seeing what they choose to see.

The turkey that got me banned from periscope. The entire meal cooked by Cati who at 12 years old has mastered wood stove cooking. It was delicious!

Went to town the other day and seen my friend Mossy. She’s such a beautiful soul you really must check out her website and if an Alaska vacation is in the future she has lodging available. I always feel so content when I’m at her place overlooking Kachemak bay. Here’s the website, go see for yourself! Seasidealaska.com 

My friends Jamie and Leighann at Carolinaprepper.com sent us another package of love the other day. You really must check out their Thrive freeze dried foods. Click on the link above and you’ll find not only good but gifts for the entire family. With Easter coming I can’t think of a better gift than a basket full of the freeze dried fruits (raspberries are to die for) cheese-yes! freeze dried cheese I guarantee your kids will love and for those college students longing for moms homemade soup try their instant soup packs as they are truly amazing. Tell them Off Grid Mom sent you!

My sissy Cathy and hubby Paul are planning a trip here in early summer. I can’t wait! Our elves will get to reunite with their elf cousins and no telling what kind of mischief they will find to get into. If you look closely in the videos above you’ll see that I’m not the only one having fun in the Argo they too were enjoying playing in the snow. 

The bears are coming out of hibernation now so it’s back to checking on critters through out the night but the geese are great watch dogs. There is one drawback to geese, during their breeding season which has already began the males get aggressive. Never try to tinkle if they are in the vacinity. Bare backsides are a target-trust me. Enough said you can use your imagination but I will tell you this, I discovered I can leap small buildings in a single bound!

Well time to get the day started. I leave you with pics as is my norm and pray you have a blessed day.

Caleb throwing snowballs for Missy the wonder dog
Cami the wild child never misses anything. She was pointing at a Moose but couldn’t get a clear pic of it.
Kids sporting new coats from auntie Cathy-of course they are camo-my favorite color!
Hope “insisting” on a kiss from Cati
Morning egg gathering-chicken, duck, turkey and the giant is a goose egg
Caleb sure is proud of his Mossberg he got for his 14th birthday

Mommas saying those 4 letter words again

Today was quite the day. My vocabulary consisted of many 4 letter words. Yes, momma had a trash mouth-well at least to her fellow Alaskans that were also tired of the weather. 

Snow, that word was repeated so many times today it is permanently imbedded in my brain. You see the thing is the white stuff just kept coming. Non stop! Big flakes, little flakes, sideways and straight down! 

Cold, from 17 above to 7 below and every degree of cold inbetween. It’s February in Alaska yet the thermometer is behaving like it is January. Ha! The nerve!

Trip. Not a trip like an excursion one would take but as in to trip, stumble and yes another 4 letter word-FALL. That is exactly what I did today. Fall. Fall over unseen or imagined objects hidden by the snow. Objects that would TRIP me. 

I certainly hope we don’t end up with that other dreaded 4 letter word coming out of my mouth or out of the sky anytime soon. You know which word that is. Alright, I will be brazen and say it. Close your eyes and quit reading if your faint at heart because mommas mouth is about to spew the worst word ever uttered in February in Alaska……..RAIN. Might as well scream it from the mountain top as that would definitely be the icing on the cake right now or just the ice-no matter it is Alaska and if you don’t like the 4 letter words well let’s just not mention the big W-oh let’s live life recklessly. Wind Wind wind. Ah oh…too much?

It was quite the day though, actually quite the week. The snow is piling up now with several inches and sometimes feet at a time falling for the last week I guess old man winter has finally returned to his home and brought with him the typical weather that we had missed for the last several years. I am thankful the ice isn’t as bad as years past and there is a subtle beauty in the white blanket that has enveloped my little world. 

I did get a few pics in black and white that turned out amazing. Purely accidental I might add but intriguing I think.

Complain as I do I do admit I love winter. The snow always makes me feel energized when the big flakes fall softly to the ground and at night when it’s clear the slightest bit of light seems to magically bring it to life with its twinkling, shimmering and often even a glow as it reflects light back upon itself. Yes, snow seems to have a life of its own.

I do hope the coming days are clear though as the aurora forecast is for a good display even this far south. Perhaps by chance I may finally get a single picture of this amazing site. 

Life in Alaska is not for the faint at heart but it is a wonderful life. Finding humor, poetry, solace and grace in every breath is a sign that life is good. I pray no matter where you are your heart sings with joy as mine does.

And then there’s HOPE

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted and I want to fill you in on what’s been happening. First of all I have been laid up with an injury-that keeps getting reinjured. I had a bad fall that took my knee out-looks like it’s a chipped and bruised bone but of course letting heal just couldn’t happen, like a sore thumb it kept getting bumped. Cross your fingers it’s almost healed then yesterday I took the pad of my left ring finger off deep enough to shoot blood across the yard with every heartbeat. Ok I’ll admit that one was actually pretty cool in a sadistic kind of way. 

There’s some really cool news coming but for now I’m gonna just give you all the boring updates and make you wait but first here is a hint big brown eyes. 

The weather has been on and off meaning it’s winter then poof it rains then a coating of snow predicted and we end up with a foot. That was actually pretty cool. Took Papa Fred to town where it rained all day, when we got back to the parking area it wasn’t raining it had snowed-a foot and was still snowing! Of course we loaded into the little green giant and we were off. About halfway home I said to Fred sitting in the back that I swear this little machine was saying “weeeeeeeee all the way home” he cleared his throat and said “um, I hate to tell you but the voice in your head saying weeee is your own…..out loud” okay so I was enjoying playing in the snow. That little machine is more fun than 30 barrels of monkeys!

Ok hint number 2: it’s soft and furry….I know it’s killing you isn’t it! Hee hee 

For those of you who haven’t gotten the periscope app I wish you would join. It’s so much fun doing these live videos-here’s the link Periscope. ​I’m not talking to myself on the video I’m answering messages by followers lol. 

Last hint: she’s bigger than a goat alright I’m terrible at this here’s a pic.This is Hope our new little calf. Now here’s the story of how she came to be. My dear friend Mossy Kilcher from Seaside Farms got that flu bug that is going around. Her momma cow calved and the calf just wasn’t doing well and poor Mossy was run ragged. The original plan was to nurse it back to health and return it to it’s momma but Mossy being the sweetheart she has offered to let us keep her. I don’t think Mossy knows how much this means to all of us. We have been longing for a cow but never dreamt we would have one at this time. I would still return her if she wanted her back as this is such a beautiful little heifer but am proud to have her here too. Now those of you wanting to visit Alaska really must visit Mossy’s farm. She has cabins for rent and she’s Seaside at Kachemak bay. Go take a look at her website and drop her an email. Encourage her to start blogging and periscoping live. The woman is awesome and the stories of growing up on the homestead are enthralling. Yes, I admire Mossy as she is a woman who has worn many hats, is talented beyond belief (you should here her sing)and still keeps learning and growing everyday.  See her at www.seasidealaska.com.

Well that’s the latest folks and sorry it’s a short one but busy busy for sure. Until next time-God Bless❤ Papa Freds car parked at the trail head covered in snow

Welcome to 2017

It’s been awhile since I posted and I must apologize but the end of 2016 was everything but uneventful. With the holidays, new baby goats making their appearance and burning the candle at both ends I ended up over doing and getting ill. I believe I am on the mend now so let’s catch up on what December 2016 was like.

New babies! Lots of new babies 7 so far including our little house goat. Dancer was being picked on and not accepted by the other goats so now I have a house goat. Complete with diapers and bottles I once again am doing the baby thing-I truly believed my diaper days were done!

Christmas was hectic in our household due to the arrivals of babies but thanks to my sissy Cathy and her husband Paul it was a Merry Christmas for sure. A tree was not on the priority list as we were so busy taking care of critters in bitter cold temps but as is Cathy’s norm she saved the day and sent us the cutest little tree with battery operated lights. The kids loved it and I loved the gift she sent to dear hubby and I. Being the thoughtful person she is and knowing me like she does only Cathy could find a gift that could make me shed tears of happiness. 3 beautiful mugs with photos I took here of our family, the kids and my favorite view. They are so lovely and treasured I hate to use them for fear of breakage. Notice the cute Christmas tree and snowmen tablecloths-Cathy sent those too to brighten our little cabin during the dark December days.

Yes December was a crazy month. Cold, bitter cold with negative temps then snow and instead of a white Christmas it warmed up and rained. Yuck! I learning to despise rain. I like the cold and snow, not the dangerous negative temps mind you as it’s so hard on our animals but the temps cold enough to give us the picturesque snowfalls that make my heart soar. 

January is coming in like a lamb so far. No snow in the near forecast and mild temps in the teens and 20’s. Daylight is returning very quickly and in about 8 weeks we will see the sun setting at 10pm. I’m looking forward to the return of the long days as that means gardening and fishing! I will miss the spectacular sunsets though and the snow glistening in the moonlight.

I can’t remember if I posted about our new additions to the “family”. We acquired a pair of Chinese geese and the kids named them Claude and Claudette. I call them honkers and honker the second because they are very vocal. They are nice to have around and even though they appear to be tough and mean with their displays they are really quite sweet.

The wolves are still around but we’ve yet to get a chance to find them in the cross hairs. Caleb was getting water at the spring and spotted one but only had his pistol so couldn’t get a shot. Here’s a footprint (excuse the grubby hand he was wearing his greasy work gloves) 

Once again insomnia is my friend and I’m not the only one suffering from it, apparently we have a rooster who can’t sleep either as it’s 3 a.m. And the crazy bird is up crowing. 

Well folks not much else to talk about as it’s not really exciting this time of year but I hope you all enjoy the pictures and a glimpse of our lives. I’ll post more later when we video a cool gift sent to us by our friends at The Last Stand. If your curious go check them out and get a sneak peak at what we will be doing! www.laststands.com

Have a blessed day and see y’all soon. Oh and don’t forget to get the periscope app on your smart phone so you can join us on our live feeds. Our user names are Off Grid Mom and off grid K for the kids!

Loading up at the truck for the ride home

Let the holiday preps begin!

This week has been a flurry of activity. Feathers literally flying as we prepare our birds and assisted others in dressing out theirs for the Thanksgiving Day feast. The temperatures have not been my friend though as it’s been quite chilly for plucking. 

Matt and Mary great friends!
Tony holding the goose

Now is the time I can slow down and while still preparing for our feast I take time to reflect on the last few decades that I have been blessed with the ability to create memories. Memories my children will carry with them and hopefully traditions too.  Life before off grid was much different than now. Not only did I have a huge meal to prepare but we used to have 30 or more join us. Now it’s a small affair with 9 or 10 as we have friends joining us this year and it will be a party like atmosphere once again. 

One thing I started many years ago was making my dressing in advance. It’s cornbread dressing full of sage sausage,dried apples, cranberries and walnuts. I bake one pan in a loaf pan, cool then slice it. The morning before thanksgiving I brown these slices and serve them with maple syrup. I know it’s one of the kids’ favorite treats but only now when they began talking about it a week ago did I realize how important it truly is to them. Funny thing is it all began when I was trying to save time and it started a whole new tradition!

My friend called me the other day to let me know he was doing his part to reduce the wolf population. They have become so aggressive and are now chewing through chicken coops and destroying livestock. He stepped out in his back yard just in time and was able to remove this threat from the equation. A big male wolf that won’t be a problem any longer.

The weather is finally leveling out and snow is in the forecast. I’m anxious as it always puts me in the holiday spirit. I love the snow, especially at night when there’s a full moon and it twinkles and glistens on the ground then you look up and see the stars doing the same. It’s such a mystical time and makes me feel so alive and blessed to witness such a sight.

The sun is now in the south and our daylight is limited but still enough light out to accomplish chores and have some play time outdoors. It’s a great time for taking pictures as the light casts shadows that create paintings of light and texture even with my phones camera.

It seems I’m literally running the wheels off the little green giant. Coming home I must of hit a stick frozen in the ground as I lost the front tire due to a huge gash. So many hazards that cannot be seen but they are pretty weatherchecked so is to be expected. I love that little machine though-I can’t think of anything that I’ve ever driven that makes me feel so alive-it’s like driving a little tank-I do believe it’s personality is much like mine:pushy, aggressive and even when broken keeps going until the job is completed. She’s definitely got attitude!

Even the elves have been busy around here-little Ellie “or Cinder Ellie” as she is now called helped with the cleaning and getting ready for company. You’ll be seeing more of the little elves of Two Moose Farm in the future. They are always popping up in the strangest places.

The girls and I had the pleasure of spending the night out with our friends Jody and Roger. It was nice visiting and Jody is such an awesome cook, she made a chocolate cake that was to die for! I never have had anything so delicious in all my life! I’m going to ask her permission and if she gives it I will share her recipe in a later post. 

Well folks I need to stoke the fire and get things going but I’ll share the pics of high noon in Alaska. Please excuse the green dot that appears in some, not sure why it does that if someone knows please tell me how to make it stop. 

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving all.

Do you see the salmon in the clouds?

***for those looking for dried fruits and veggies check out my friends at Carolina Food Storage they will not only provide you with excellent quality dehydrated and freeze dried non gmo foods but the customer service is outstanding and they are having a huge sale now!