Today I would like to talk about the most recent acquisition to my 10-acre property in McCarthy, Alaska — a vintage tractor! This 1967 International Harvester Low Boy Cub was a trade I made with my long time friend and virtual little brother, John Hickerson. I will be making a large oil painting for John when he moves to Oklahoma. John will be buying a farmhouse and will need a centerpiece painting for his new home. I feel this is a great trade for this sweet piece of equipment. John has been restoring this tractor for three years, and it runs really well. We still have some plans to finalize the restoration. We have some parts on order to rebuild the clutch, and we will be installing a new head gasket, and replacing the piston rings. It has already undergone a 12-volt conversion, and uses an alternator and battery from a Ford Focus. Earlier this week we used the tractor to spread gravel and grade our driveway. It was a real work horse — some of the lumps we destroyed would take weeks to level by hand.
I am really happy with the IH tractor, because it means I won’t have to break my back when I pop stumps out of the ground. It is rear-wheel drive, but has a mean set of rear tires with tire chains. It is really fun to drive, as the throttle is a hand lever, and there are two brakes — one for each rear wheel. These tractors are really popular, and getting parts is pretty easy and affordable. I have plans to build a barn to house my McCarthy motorized vehicles. I’ve acquired quite a fleet with my four-wheeler, snow-machine, tractor, and a 4×8 utility trailer. I’m looking forward to getting this tractor running like it was brand new, then pulling the trailer with a bale of straw, and we will have hay rides around McCarthy and up to my place! Maybe I’ll even join the 4th of July parade in McCarthy this year!
Spring break in Alaska means skiing, building snowmen, and spending time inside, because up here winter lasts well into April. Most stores are on a national merchandising schedule, so while Costco is selling snorkel masks and swimsuits in March, we’re still looking for hand and toe warmers, and new ski jackets. Ever since we finished building our log cabin in McCarthy, we’ve been going there for Spring break whenever we can, because McCarthy in March is super beautiful and fun! So here are some photos from our rowdy spring break shenanigans, Alaska style. At the time we still didn’t know that spring break would be endless this year due to COVID-19.
In the winter we can’t drive all the way to the cabin, so we haul stuff that can’t freeze in the truck up to the cabin on the first trip — about 2.5 miles, in case the snow machine doesn’t start when we get there.
The snowmachine started, and we loaded all supplies to the cabin in one trip
While digging out the benches around the fire pit, I arranged the snow blocks into a modern snowman sculpture.
We spent New Year’s Eve in Talkeetna, Alaska — a real trip in the woods. We were lucky enough to be invited to this lovely cabin that our friends built. They brought a bottle of Trip in the Woods Cocoa Coconut Narwhal Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (as well as several other amazing brews) for a New Year’s Eve toast. Thanks, it was delicious! What with snow machines, a laser light show, stovetop nachos, and about two dozen mortar shells, the celebration was literally a blast! Naturally, I brought my painting kit with me, and since all we could see out the cabin windows was snow-covered trees, I decided that a painting of Trip in the Woods would be the perfect way to commemorate the trip. What a way to end the year! Cheers to 2018!
Day 12 of Year of Beer and day 3 of AK Beer Week! Today’s Alaska brew is Anchorage Brewing Company’s Galaxy White IPA. This beer is in a world of its own. Brettanomyces, from Belgium, is a weird strain of yeast, and yes it is present in this specific beer. This yeast strain has a sour flavor that you will notice in most, if not all, of Anchorage Brewing Company’s brews. I was running across downtown on Friday, and I smelled fresh wort brewing (unfermented beer), and, although I think it was coming from the Sleeping Lady Brewing Co., it could easily have been from Glacier Brewhouse, or Anchorage Brewing. It occurred to me that we are lucky to have three craft breweries in downtown Anchorage. I feel privileged to live in such a cool town. I looked at the label on this bottle and I thought of a story that could be told in a painting about Alaskan life where you can put a beer outside to chill, while the northern lights dance about.
The original painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print at myEtsy Shop.
Year of Beer 01.12, Galaxy White IPA from Anchorage Brewing Co. Oil on panel, 8″x10″.