Summer Shift

By , June 7, 2019

The summer season has arrived, and the homestead has entered the Summer Shift.

The Summer Shift not only encompasses all the homesteading activities that take place in summer—cutting and hauling firewood, fishing, gardening, construction, improvements and repair, and more—but, perhaps paradoxically, adjusts to accommodate those of us who have less time to devote to these activities.

Tourships in Lynn Canal

Evening rush hour: a couple of cruise ships head south down Lynn Canal (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Michelle and Aly work in tourism, and the tourist season is in full swing in Southeast Alaska. They come home when they’re done, which, with the tides, means they sometimes get home late for dinner, if not late enough to miss it entirely. My daily task list, for the duration of Summer Shift at least, includes chief cook and bottle washer (see It Starts . . .).

This means that much of my “thinking” time, when I’m working on other projects that don’t require my full attention, I’m not only planning blog posts, but planning meals. I have a rather short list of “sure fire” meals that I try to save for emergencies. Luckily, they’re shored up by seasonal meals, such as fish, crab, garden salad, or “bumbleweed” pesto (see Am I Working Too Hard? Bumbleweed Pesto). Luckily for me, ingredients for all of these last are becoming available.

The hardest part of the Summer Shift is communications. I’ve mentioned several times our concern over internet and phone connectivity diminishing with the arrival of the so-called megaship cruise ships. That’s becoming a real issue.

The cruise schedule’s now in full swing, meaning that we should expect little or no internet or phone service about 4 or 5 days out of each week. That not only effects this blog, but also my brother’s boat plan sales, which I handle on line from here.

Tour ship in Lynn Canal

The Norwegian Joy, one of three new “megaships” in our region this year (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

This isn’t just an issue or us, either! We had a serious fire out the road a week or so ago. One house burned, the fire threatened other homes, and burned about 4 acres of forest. I spoke to a friend on our Volunteer Fire Department. He told me the calls go out on a phone app, that usually notifies him of fires almost as soon as the call goes out. This time, he didn’t hear about the fire until two and a half hours later! The app, as it happens, is hosted on the most reliable phone company in the region, so it’s not llke they can jump carriers for better connectivity.

That was on a heavy cruise ship day. It’s only going to get worse.

Slowing down our businesses is one thing. Endangering lives and property is quite different.

Nevertheless, if posts get scarce between now and October, this is why. The Summer Shift holds sway, in one aspect or another.

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