January through March 2010

January 4 thru January 10
We started the week with an early morning goodbye to Auntie Sara. We miss you.

With the new year comes the swimming lessons. The first day was a little apprehensive but we are all loving our pool time now. Kristofer is enjoying his turf time too. Here he is test riding an ATV after some repairs.

At home the new little people are a perfect fit for the apartment made of blocks. The replacement GPS has arrived, many thanks to the folks who gave us cash this Christmas, this replacement was one of the ways it was spent.

January 11 thru January 17
The night before, Kristofer got to see what he looked like when he was in mommies tummy. Then on Tuesday we braved the high winds to go into Wasilla. First to go to swim lessons and then ....

We got to see Kristofer's little brother. Can you tell which one of our boys is which? Probably not, as amazing as ultrasound technology is, still the images take some imagination to enjoy. It was fun for all of us to see the newest member of our family and we all look forward to his arrival. Here Kristofer makes note of when we expect to be able to take some better pictures of his little brother.

With our programming changes in the new year, we are looking for many ways to improve our broadcasting. Here Dave Horning is hosting on Thursday afternoons. So far none of us Thieme's have natural radio hosting abilities so it is great to have this seasoned voice back on the air at KAGV. We hope to add some more voices to this afternoon shift throughout the rest of the workweek. Thursday evening we drove into the big town of Anchorage. Looking at the northbound traffic was inspiring. Here thousands of folks commute home from Anchorage to their homes in the Mat-Su valley each day in the 4-6PM time frame. Our recent programming changes have allowed us to air Wretched (like in the song Amazing Grace) Radio right in this critical commute time where KAGV has great coverage across the entire commute from the outskirts of Anchorage to Palmer and Wasilla. Kinda breathtaking to think of the work the Holy Spirit may be doing behind each of these sets of headlights.

In town we met with Ben and Pat Burkey on their return trip from their time in Bethel at KYKD as they head back to their home in North Carolina. What a blessing to visit with these servant hearts.

On Saturday it was time for daddy to follow through on a promise long coming. Here Karl and Kristofer work on a small stairway for Kristofer to use.

January 18 thru January 24
Kristofer likes riding with daddy in the plow truck. Every time we get a good batch of snow there is plenty to clean up together.

Monday night Kristofer went to his first concert. This Hope came to the Mat-Su valley for two concerts that we have been letting our listeners know about on KAGV. Here we are listening to them in person at Lazy Mountain Bible church.

This week we got to swimming lessons a little early so we could take pictures without anoying everybody else. It is really fun that mommy and daddy both got to take the swimming lessons with Kristofer. Kristofer learned a lot. He is especially good at kicking.

The objective of the class was to help Kristofer become comfortable in the water. On his last day he actually asked daddy to stop holding him so he could swim like mommy and daddy. While the suggestion didn't work out as well as Kristofer hoped it definitely showed sucess at becoming familiar with the water. Kristofer really enjoyed sliding into the water.

The big splash was a lot of fun.

At home Kristofer is always observing. He likes to see things. He likes looking at his grandparents on Skype and he likes looking out the window at the snow machines.

Looking out the window left a little to be desired so we decided to finally wash them. At 5 deg F the trick is to wipe the glass cleaner off before it freezes.

This week we got to enjoy an evening with the Horning family at our house. All those kids to play with, Kristofer missed them before they got out of our driveway.

The Horning kids have a kid's sized snowmobile. To get theirs running they used parts from a second sled. They very generously offered this parts machine to us. Kristofer is very excited. He was under the impression that daddy was going to fix it and he proclaimed as much quite adamantly. Kristofer even chose where his little brother will be riding on it. Daddy wasn't so sure this whole thing would amount to more than a really cool place for Kristofer to sit.

Well with a little work on the engine and quite a bit of smoke and fire welding a brake bracket, this thing kinda works. With some way to get the controls working, the engine running smoother and then protect us from the moving parts this thing has possibilities. For now it's obvious this engine wasn't designed to haul a 200 lb adult around in the snow.

January 25 thru January 31
Not many pictures this week. We were busy getting ready to go to KIAM to give the Blair family a chance to take some vacation. Here Kristofer is showing some friends the KAGV ropes so they can take care of things while we are gone. Then we all got to work packing up for our trip.

With everyone packed up it is time to load up the truck. Then on the highway to make our way North.

February 1 thru February 7
Well we're in Nenana now and off to a quick start. Hosting Mukluk Messages is a lot of fun.

In addition to keeping KAGV alive remotely, Karl is trying to help out with some projects here at KIAM. One such project is to swap generators at the KIAM transmitter site.

This week the Nenana Invitational Tournament basket ball games are the big thing in town. Kristofer went over in person to catch some of the action.

Thanks to the two Karls everyone else could catch the action on KIAM AM 630. Karl Pulliman did a great job of calling the games and Karl Thieme held down the KIAM AM board patching in the action and filling all the breaks with great soundbytes and music.

We also checked in on the Eldridges home while Bob is recovering from surgery. Kristofer had to make sure the loader seat was in good working order.

Kristofer is enjoying making new friends. Rick is covering most evening shifts here at KIAM and he also plays ball and reads books really well. On Sunday we got to hang out with friends for the big game. Kristofer found this organ a little more interesting than the football action.

February 8 thru February 14
Well the temperatures here are unusually warm and we are taking advantage of them to get out and enjoy some of the unique Nenana sights while we are here. This is definitely a railroad town even if the railroad to river transportation doesn't happen much in the winter, the frequent visits by the Alaska Railroad right through the heart of town tell of the history of this place.

Here we see coal cars coming from Healy headed north. The sunsets are beautiful here. It seems to be an Alaska wide thing with the low angle of the sun up here.

A trip to Coghills General Store demonstrates that the bubbles are better here in Alaska too, straight out of the bottle sucess, no dish soap necessary. We are also making the rounds of the VFCM buildings, here we are feeding Simeon Blair's fish so they won't get too out of practice with the whole jumping through hoops deal.

Kristofer and his daddy have been working out at the transmitter site to get the generators swapped and operational. Kristofer always finds something creative to do while waiting for his dad.

Here Karl and Dee's brother Tom come up with a strategy to remove the Y configuration generator. First pull it out.

Then scoop it up and take it away and store it. Hopefully we can find someone who can use this generator.

February 15 thru February 21
Dave Chausse, a member of the VFCM board, came down to help move this generator project forward. The new generator was too wide to fit into the generator building with the wheels and axle still installed. Dave and Karl got the wheels off and got the new generator slid into place.

Together we got things setup inside. Dave hooked up the exhaust and Karl worked on the elctrical while Kristofer did quality assurance.

Here Karl built a plywood duct to direct the air coming through the radiator out the window. On the outside of the window Karl installed this shutter so it will be easier to keep the engine warm enough to start in the cold Nenana winters.

Now for the tricky part. The generator needs to be able to start itself when the Automatic Transfer Switch detects a power outage. Karl found a great little engine start controller on the internet but needed to add a special time delay relay to override the engine's safety shutdown features for a few seconds while the engine stabilizes. Real life is always a little messier than theory. This project gave Karl a new appreciation for the wiring guys at Atlas Copco Wagner where he used to design electrical systems for mining vehicles. Dressing up the wires sure makes things look civilized again.

Throughout our time in Nenana we've been checking on the mission owned houses that are unoccupied. As you can see it is critical to keep these homes heated or else the damage can be quite extensive. We also hooked up sensaphone devices in both of the unoccupied homes so that they can make a call alerting our staff in the future if there is a heating failure. But that won't be effective until ACS (the phone company) can activate the phone line, something they've been working on for well over a month.
At the station Karl put up this antenna in hopes that it is directional enough to avoid our own FM broadcast and pickup a Fairbanks station so we can monitor our primary Emergency Alert System station better.

We've enjoyed working with the Migras while the Blair family has been on vacation. We've also enjoyed hanging out with the Chausses on Sunday afternoons. Here Kristofer trys the patience of their dog Cassie.

February 22 thru February 28
We left Nenana Monday evening just in time to get back home for an obstetric appointment the next morning. Then off to the store to get a fresh supply of food. Yeah this stuff in Alaska looks like fresh fruit, it just doesn't taste like it. We always have to remember back to our time on the farm, apples-crisp, peaches-soft, not the other way around.

Kristofer is becoming more and more unique and it is a joy to watch and participate. Kristofer got this new shirt from his great aunt and uncle, just a precursor to some more unique developments for him.

Far too much of our week was consumed with this plow. After the second repair to the plow now all the welds holding the mount to the truck are gone so it is still out of commision. Now the fully up position is barely off the ground. We are not sure how this will be resolved.

March 1 thru March 7
Color, colors, colors! Here Kristofer enjoys some coloring books with mom and picking out a gift for a small friend.

Wow, working on putting away the dishes already. Salad fork or regular fork that is the question. All that work has Kristofer sleeping on his feet.

We set up our garage to have lots of light to make an effective workspace. The $10 fixtures from HomeDepot aren't all they claim to be. This week we bought replacement ballasts and brought the garage back to life.

Well the plow is still out of commission. The blade and A-frame are all fixed but this mounting bracket on the truck is history and really a factory formed bracket is the right way to mount to this Ford chassis.

In the mean time we've started working on a scrap snow blower. Lots of time at the parts store and Kristofer gets a free hat out of the deal. With snow in the forecast it looks like lots of shovelling is in our future, while we wait for some more parts to come in the mail.

March 7 thru March 14
For reasons to be explained later, let's start out showing you the path that Karl took to the generator when the power went out on Thursday. Once we got the power running both at the transmitter and studio sites Dave Horning came for his Thursday afternoon shift announcing on KAGV. Dave's troubles were the answer to our troubles. Dave had vehicle problems and had to take his plow truck to get to KAGV. What a blessing for us. Dave plowed out the studio parking lot and let Karl plow out our house.

Well the reason that the first pictures are from Thurday is that after Karl made that dash to the generator, falling down in the heavy snow twice, our Canon SD1000 digital camera that we have come to rely on was nowhere to be found. Not for lack of trying to find it, but it remains at large and will probably appear submerged in a couple feet of ice water come spring break-up. For now we are using an older camera that eats 2 AA Alkaline batteries per day and takes discolored out of focus pictures but hey it "works".

The checkups on our little expected one are coming quite frequently now. Hear we are monitoring his activity and heart rate. That was one trip into town this week, the other was to return the Bailey's truck to them as they take a quick break from Bethel to announce basketball games at the state tournament this next week.

Still with no snow plow we are working on that snowblower. We've replaced the piston rod and rings, done some resurfacing to the crankshaft and damaged a few less important things in the process. The exciting thing is that it starts. Now to get it to run at power with the carberator and the governor working with eachother rather than against eachother. Well I guess we wouldn't want the adventure to end too soon.

March 15 thru March 21
Well this should be the last of the faded blue hued pictures for a while as we found our camera near the area where we though it was lost. This week the virtues of epoxy are featured. Here Kristofer poses next to a shower enclosure that was given to us. The enclosure came to us with damage but an epoxy repair kit has it looking much better now. Our snow blower repairs are making progress as well thanks to epoxy. The previous piston rod made an escape attempt hidden behind the starter. Here JB-Weld seals things back up to keep the oil inside.

Kristofer and his little brother got a package from their Auntie Sara this week. Here Kristofer tries out underwear hopefully this will be an incentive. The "Toy Story" bubbles really are "to Infinity and beyond".

Some yummy treats this week. This is actually Kristofer's first ice cream cone, you'd think that living so close to Miller's Market he'd have had one by now. Either way he enjoyed every bit of it.

This weekend board member Dave Chausse brought the old generator from KIAM down to KAGV where we will use it to keep power going at the studio building.

While Miss Caroline and Kristofer enjoyed some time together inside, Karl and Dave worked to slide the big generator building off the trailer.

Other than the generator delivery it was a lazy weekend. The sun was shining bright and relaxing was enjoyable.

March 22 thru March 28
Another typical week. For Kristofer this means building block towers in the KAGV on-air studio. Then very non-typical, Meemaw came to visit!

Meemaw was in Anchortown on business and came out to our place for dinner. Lots of fun playing together and then talking with Auntie Sara over the internet.

Then Meemaw had to go back to the city to work. But she had Friday afternoon off so we got to visit her in Anchortown. Lots of fun reading together at Barnes and Noble.

Then we got to have Pho together. Sprink breakup is making a mess out of the big city. It will hit us soon.

Then for some window shopping at REI.

Then to Bed, Bath and Beyond to argue with a large stack of fish about personal property rights before taking Meemaw back to her car to say goodbye.

Back at home it was time to recaulk the tub. Kristofer takes the necessary measurements while letting daddy work with the sticky stuff.

March 29 thru April 4
On Monday Karl spent most of the day working on the new kitchen at church. In the afternoon the reinforcements arrived to help with lunch and some more supplies to get all the electrical outlets wired.

With everyone away from the station it was the perfect time for an arc over at the base of the tower. So the swing shift crew took over the outlet installation while Karl headed back to KAGV to replace the tuning box exit insulator. This time we have a ceramic insulator designed for the enclosure that was donated by a ministry supporter in New York. It is nice to have the right supplies. Hopefully this one will hold out much longer than these ones we've been making out of plexiglass.

Here Karl is finishing up the installation of a new ethernet switch to allow the computers at the KAGV studios to pass data back and forth more efficiently. Then the parts arrived from Digi-Key allowing Karl to work on the relay board for the KYKD transmitter. Hopefully this will get them back on the air at full power.

Spring breakup appears to be in full swing. Without any rain in the forecast, it looks like the mess is going to last a while but hopefully the slow melt will help avoid any flooding. Can you say SPLOOSH? We thought you could.

While the cars are sure to get messy as soon as we leave the house, the temperatures are high enough to make a little washing practical and really with gas at $3.35 a gallon it's too expensive to haul all that extra weight around.