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August 1, 2020: Among Friends

Our work ethic as well as our commitment to place rivals that of Helen and Scott Nearing, who wrote and lived The Good Life. This is where the similarity ends. They didn’t have animals and lived a very austere lifestyle. They also went to town for donuts on Sundays. The most interesting difference to me is their attitude about visitors. They showed up and the Nearings put them to work. For example, they had them assist in doing masonry work and ditch digging. Here, people visit and we stop what we are doing and hang out with them. After all, the reason we have this place is so we can share it with others.

I do understand that the Nearings had a LOT of people appear on their doorstep, and most likely they were feeling they

The view of the Arcose Ridge behind our house

weren’t getting much work done. We have very few people appear on our doorstep, so we can justify entertaining them.

Yesterday our neighbor Karen appeared, and Pete and I accompanied her on a lengthy hike up the Jim’s Road trail. It was a strenuous hike, with considerable climbing involved. The reward was the view of the Mat-Su Valley. I kept saying to Pete and Karen that what we were seeing was our backyard. On the way up and on the way down we played catch up, for we hadn’t seen one another for some time. Karen works out, hiking and biking mostly, in preparation for the upcoming ski season, so she has stories about her exercise related adventures.

We got home and had her over for dinner. We had Pete’s recently caught fresh fish, and garden vegetables. Karen brought over some swiss chard from her garden and beer. And so, in the words of Arlo Guthrie “we had ourselves a feast that couldn’t be beat.”

Today Judy and Brian came over for a visit. They are the couple who I met at the top of Thompson Pass, at the Blueberry Lake Campground. They took me to town in their 1977 Chinook, this way enabling me to purchase a new bicycle tube. I do not know how I would have gotten to town without their assistance.

We travelled on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry together, from Valdez to Whittier, and after, I introduced them to Pete. We’ve kept in touch, and today they ventured here from Anchorage.

It was overcast and threatening to rain as we gave them the farm tour. They got to meet all the animals, as did their dog Kyra, who they brought with them. Kyra and Shadow got along really well – they played with toys for some time. Ryder, who wanted no part of the frivolity, headed upstairs.

We had a good lunch, Pete made cookies, and they brought cookies with them. Lots to talk about – Judy is an avid reader, so I showed her my writer’s cabin and we talked books for some time. Brian asked a lot of questions about what it is we do with the horses.

I was sorry to see them go. There was absolutely no way I’d have put them to work. Scott and Helen should have realized that what needs to be done will get done.

Next: 212. 8/2/20: The Woman who Had Everything, Continued

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