No, I had not been in a fight, was fall of the year, when a white sock bite is toxic and can produce an egg sized lump. Forget the hordes of mosquitoes, it is the white socks and no-see-ums that will drive you nuts.
Clearing home site
Creek at back of property where we got our water, came complete with the moose. We had to boil the water to be made potable.
Martha making that chainsaw smoke
Martha with Missy taking a break, she was beat
Brenda stacking poles for firewood, starting to get colder
Notching timbers and logs for the cesspool, AKA poor boy septic system. Hey, poor people got poor ways, you make do with what you have at hand.
Hip boots were a must, ground water was like ice.
High water level (summer only, winter, it falls rapidly) sure made for tedious pick and shovel work.
We finally got the old 8x40 mobile home dragged into place. That tied off crossbeam will shortly host a moose. For a while, our main diet consisted of moose meat and Kool-Aid
Brenda and Cindy stacking wood.
This page is dedicated to a time frame where it was root wild hog or die for us, but we made it, progressed well by our standards, and none of us would trade those memories of rough times, for we did it all our way. All the years we lived there, never had TV or a phone, but everyone did a lot of reading, you got a key to the Moose Pass library and checked your own books in/out, at 2 AM if so desired. We really never considered what we did as extraordinary, for at the time, there were families all over Alaska doing similar, with greater or lesser success than ours.
We had moved to Alaska in 1969, living in Seward, where I worked commercial fishing (longlining for halibut) and on a research vessel while Martha worked at Seward Fisheries. We bought part of an old undeveloped homestead and decided, come hell or high water, (proved to have an ample supply of both) we were going to move out there, so in 1970, we made the leap. It was getting into fall of the year, neither of us had a job and money was "TIGHT." Martha and the girls, aged seven and nine, all did yeoman's service side by side with me.
We had traded our cabover camper for an old 8x40 foot mobile home, which was a mess. During the summer, when I had worked on the research vessel, Martha and the girls had fixed and cleaned the mobile up, painting all inside and out, doing a great job, I was very impressed with their efforts, for they had now made it habitable. After we got it moved into place, I built a 15x15 foot addition, which gave us a couple hundred more square feet and became our family room. Where the addition abutted the mobile, we removed one door and a window for heat circulation, installed an old Ashley wood burning stove in the addition and heated all with it.
That first winter started rough, no electricity, an insulated well house with a hand pump, where we kept a candle burning to keep from freezing, until the well ran dry. (come spring, we had a deep well drilled) But we did get somewhat settled in, finally got electricity (even running water, for awhile) and just before Christmas, Martha got a job at Reed's Gold Nugget Jewelry in Moose Pass. I then lucked out and got work there also as a machinist and die maker. It proved to be a good move, when Reeds later moved operations to Seward, (36 miles away) Martha was shop foreman and I was general manager. We opted not to stay with Reeds, and I went to work for Marathon Oil on offshore oil platform as a maintenance mechanic. (I stayed with Marathon until taking early retirement in 1991)
Mike Mooter, a good friend petting Stonewall our big Airedale. Mike was sure a great help on the cesspool work.
Cindy pumping water, we had just gotten the shallow well dug down far as a backhoe could reach. The kids were fascinated with the pitcher pump, for a while, then the novelty wore off, and it just became work.
Brenda and Cindy carrying water, big bucket for two little girls.
Our ancient Arctic Cat snowmachine. I used that old thing like a tractor, pulling logs, poles and brush over dry ground and rocks .
Stonewall, our big male Airedale. Both of our Airedales were fearfully protective and I never had a doubt they would not have readily gave their lives in defense of the kids.
Brenda and Cindy picking low bush cranberries. We had an abundance of berries, cranberry, blueberry, salmonberry and watermelon berry.
Cindy up a tree, I don't know how she even got up through all that mess.
Nice moose rack
Mixing concrete by hand (UGH) for well house pad
Between the two center trees, is the little waterfall which fed the creek at back of property.
Looking from front of place
Onset of winter, snow creeping down the mountains.
No more bluff, the only sun we will now see is upon the mountains, for will not return to valley floor until the end of Feburary.
Moose Pass school where the kids went until the 6th grade. After that, was in Seward, a 72 mile round trip by bus.
Thriving Metropolis of Moose Pass, I think population was about 89 people at the time. we lived 6 miles out behind mountains in background
March, and sun at last. The kids were home from school, Cindy, Michael, (Martha's youngest brother was up with us now) and Brenda.
In well house to left, Brenda was pumping water onetime when a black bear stuck his head in the door. She screamed and smacked it in the head with the water bucket. That bear took off squealing and left a trail of loose blueberry scat for 25 yards.
Moose across from front of place
The additon I built
Never took a picture, but the first thing we built was a two holer (?) outdoor privy, complete with the ubiquitous crescent moon cut in the door.
A couple years later, and things were starting to look up.
Martha, Brenda and Cindy going snowmachining, could leave home and go cross country for many miles.
Cindy and I, bunny boots and all.
Our 300 gallon gasoline tank about to get snowed under.
Shot of me with walrus on Walrus Island up in the Bering Sea. I was working on research vessel at the time.
Once a year Marathon would have wives' day on the platform for dinner and spend a few hours. This is Martha disembarking from the chopper.
Martha and I on platform heliport. The King Salmon platform in near background had a bad natural gas leak and exploded one day. Felt the shock all the way over to the Dolly.
The Dolly Varden, Marathon Oil Co. production platform.
Choppering out to the Dolly Varden on crew change day in the winter. (we worked seven 12 hour days on, then had a week off) The seven knot tidal flow and huge ice floes in Cook Inlet made it seem like a perpetual earthquake on the platform.
The Acona, University of Alaska Research Vessel. A miserable seagoing SOB POS, she could pitch, yaw and roll in a heavy dew, at anchor.
Brenda recuperating from surgery, she has Fletcher her ever present companion with her.
Marathon Oil Company remote oil treating facility at Trading Bay located across Cook Inlet from Kenai Peninsula. Oil from offshore production platforms in Cook Inlet was transported via pipeline, treated, then by pipeline to Tyonek Point tank storage location, there to be loaded onto oil tanker ships.
The only way in and out of Trading Bay was by air or barge, I often worked at the facility. It was nice there, fishing in the McArthur River was good and hunting was great, Marathon would fly employees in for free on our days off and we could bring wives and guests. And we were treated like guests, excellent food at the mess hall and furnished vehicle transportation.