Saturday, September 22, 2018

Termination Dust, Family & Rainbows

This morning, while driving Nolan to work, we noticed termination dust on "our" mountain range! This first dusting of snow signals the end of summer. I ignored the dying of the fireweed - it wasn't dead EVERYWHERE.  I cannot deny the termination dust on the top of our mountains.

I love the fall colors with the approaching snow in the background. We need to get out with the cameras and get some photos before a wind storm blows all the color away. 

I realize we totally went off line for June, August and September. As this is a family JOURNAL, I will figure out a way to "catch up." Summers in Alaska are frantically manic. We work and play hard and long - knowing  in a few short months shorts days and snow will return.

Currently, we are adapting to our new school year, a new year of ministry with our church, and new work out and study routines. We are harvesting the garden, getting the girls ready for winter, splitting wood and planning other projects we MUST finish before winter arrives.

I dug out the candles this morning - viva la fall. I am no longer in denial.

As long as I am blogging, I may as well share today's adventures. Jamin called early to see if any of us wanted to accompany him, Jared and Josiah to hike Hatcher's Pass. We would have. We've been wanting to get back up there.....but Michael had a couple of loads of wood scheduled to arrive  and would need help unloading it and stacking it. We countered with an invite to come over for dinner after the hike.

It turns out they got lost and ended up hiking most of the Mat Peak Trail - very near us indeed. ::wink:: They came off the mountain and arrived at our house. We had salmon, potatoes, quinoa and lots of laughter. We hadn't seen the boys since Stacia's birthday, August 16th. It was good to re-connect. 
Jamin, Nolan, Jared, Stacia, Josiah, Michael 
The evening was capped with a gorgeous rainbow (which turned double) over our mountain. It's a special blessing to sit around the table with loved ones and be treated to such a view.

No termination dust on the mountain seen from our dining room yet. Maybe I can deny the end of summer just a tad bit longer. ::snort::

Monday, July 30, 2018

A FULL Day

This was a full day! Nolan has it off and both of were happy to sleep in past 0430.

We bought a smoker. We'd been thinking about it...budgeting....Dave suggested instead of paying Valley Meat to smoke his fish (need 20lbs) he pay us and we put it toward a smoker. We did.

Michael and Alex spent yesterday afternoon filleting the 15 salmon which we and Dave/Davy caught on Saturday.  I put the fish into a brine last night and they were waiting this a.m. in the fridge.

We dried them for a couple of hours

We smoked them for a couple of hours 

I'm sealing and freezing Dave's fish. I hope to can ours (our freezer is FULL), but I wonder if they'll be yucky since I smoked them until they were done and they'll cook longer in the canning process. 

Cory put shingles on  the roof of the rabbit hutch. Stacia was happy to volunteer as a bunny sitter. Arielle cleaned the cages. Stacia noted the one sprawled on top reminds her of Arielle - sleeping anywhere and she should be named Arielle. ::snort::

CoRielle told Stacia tonight she can have her pick of the 5 or 9 week old bunnies. She's thrilled. Arielle is happy she managed to save another bunny for a pet. 

Olga Olaf has taken over for Helga Hitler....and woke us up crowing at 0415. It is my plan to try blocking the window with cardboard....I forgot tonight so it will be early again tomorrow. I will remember.  The folks who brought the bunnies over on Saturday commented that I had a couple of more roosters. I took videos and sent them to my chicken friends to see what they think. The consensus is I MAY have another 1 or 2 roosters - but not 5 more.  Jodi noted that I should open up the nest boxes as my Reds/Novogens had dark combs and wattles and that signifies they are about to start laying eggs. We boarded up the nest boxes as they were sleeping in them instead of roosting. They are "due" to lay eggs at 5 months, but Jodi says the Reds lay early. Woot! They are about 3 1/2 months now. 
Olaf is the white Silkie. 

We made a trip to three bears which resulted in the need to vacuum seal some meats.

Stacia and I picked a salad. It's a start! 

I cooked dinner - we kept smoking salmon and packaging it. I heard commotion in the hen house and went to check it out.  It was after 10 p.m. and time to put the chickens in anyway.  I spilled their water and had to remove wet shavings and put some dry ones in, refilled their food, cuddled the one hen in the coop,  and then decided to see how hard it would be to remove the board closing the nest boxes.

Our first egg! Way sooner than we expected. I'm not 100% sure who laid it. I know it was one of the Red Sex Links (I have 6), or possibly the Cochin, Black Star or Orpington. The others lay blue and green eggs. This means I have at least one hen and my nightmare last night of having 18 roos will not come true. We'll remove the board and put shavings in the nest boxes in the morning. I'll also check carefully to see if they've hid eggs under the boxes. They have been moving the shavings under there and piling them up.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Happiness is.....

...a job! We were out of the house by 0440 and Nolan was semi-alert. ::wink::


...visitors. It was nice to visit a bit with Dave this morning. 
Still no photo! 

...finding a new home for  Helga  Hitler with Maddie. I'm convinced Maddie is a chicken whisperer. We're hoping removing one of the two roosters will help with the crazy, one-upmanship-crowing every morning. At the most we want one roo for 10 hens...and I really didn't want any this first year. As this one left, I began to worry about 5 others. Is it possible I have 5 more roosters? Some of them look so suspicious, but none of them are crowing. They will be 4 months old on Aug 10th? Eggs within a month. I've been told around 5 months. 
Look how calm that rooster is!
...baby bunnies! CoRielle added a mama rabbit and three 5 week old bunnies to their enterprise. They are SO cute! 


...fishing with family and friends. I received a text that the fishing party has caught "lots" of fish. This translated to 10 for Michael and Alex, 5 for Dave and Davey, Larissa caught her first Alaskan salmon, Cy took 1 home and Jared caught 3.  None of my guys took cameras, so I grabbed these from facebook. 

The 15 in my garage awaiting smoking
Josiah simply belongs in Alaska! 

Larissa's first Alaskan Salmon!!! 

JaRissa
Jared - Larissa 
 Behind the beauty...Alex is dragging out another....
Larissa, Alex and their fish 
 Josiah, Michael, Dave and Davy 

Michael fighting one in while Cy stands ready to assist. LOL 


...exploring the quaint downtown of your own HOMEtown. We found some fun consignment shops, an art gallery, a bookstore, a flea market....and then it was time to pick up Nolan from work. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

FRIDAY Visitors

I know it's summer, and YET, I am thankful Friday is here. Michael had his appointment. I stayed home from this appointment....

He got home in time for me to take the car and head to the park with Stacia. Gather, our women's group, planned to converge on a local park with picnic lunches and kids. Turnout wasn't as big as I'd hoped for, BUT, it is always fun to spend time with other ladies. I enjoyed getting to know the ones who showed up a bit more. 

One I've forgotten to mention is that Nolan is getting lots of hours at McDonald's. He agreed to work the 0500-1200 shift and that guarantees hours. We still have one car - though currently that car is a loaner from JaRissa. Nolan had to walk out to the park (outside of town) when he got off work. Poor guy.....after the picnic I had to run into town and buy some groceries - right across the street from McDonald's. The early hours are making us both a bit slow on the uptake. ::snort:: 

Since Stacia has been little I've told her to, "comb your hair - it's messy." When Krista was home at Christmas she pointed out 1/2 of Stacia's hair was CURLY. Hmmmm......I hadn't put it together. NOW, all her hair is getting curly.  I need to get her some product and I think it would be quite a bit more curly. She wasn't thrilled, but when she realized she doesn't have to comb it as often if it is curling....she was happy. Mainly, we're both happy to know WHY her hair frizzes when we comb it. LOL  Stacia continues with the countdown to her birthday!  18 days.....

One of our former Wing Chaplains, Dave Sessions, is in town. He and his grandson came over and we enjoyed dinner. Tomorrow they will go fishing with Michael, Josiah, Jared and Larissa. I didn't get pictures of them OR the picnic. I'm failing. LOL 

I did snap a photo of this group....never know who you'll see in the neighborhood. 

And look at our only Zinnia bloom - there will be a few more. I'll do better next year. Michael is telling me he thinks it is going to take a couple of years of feeding the soil before I see a lot of return for the work. At this point, we've had a few carrots and now a Zinnia. LOL 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Jaunt to Reflections Lake

Dad is gone. 

I estimate we have 8 - 10 weeks left before snow! 

Look at the garden without weeding for TWO WEEKS. This crazy ground cover took over....we are in the process of unearthing the rows of corn, squash, potatoes and the two raised beds. 

Friends did tell me that it is CHICK WEED! Now we have a name - we still don't know what to do about its aggressive growth. We've been told black plastic is much more realistic than the cardboard/straw/Eden thing I'm trying. ::snort::

Fireweed! Beautiful....and Alaskan wisdom says....when the Fireweed grows to the top and goes to seed - there are 6 weeks before winter sets in.....or maybe it's 6 week until fall???? Right? I can hope. I keep hearing winter.....Not it has NOT gone to seed...but it's at the top.


Though not ALL the Fireweed is at the top. I think the 6 weeks must start when the last Fireweed grows and seeds??????

We spent another hour re-claiming the garden. Arielle asked if we'd like to go to Reflections Lake with her and Benny! YES. Love that place and love time with Arielle and Benny. . . and happy to get away from the weeds.
Arielle and Benny (8 1/2 months)
 It seems I have two daughters who don't like heights at all. Climbing the top of this tower is on Arielle's 21 list....21 things she is going to do her 21st year. I was happy to help her cross this one off the list.
Benny, Stacia, Arielle and I


Stacia, Arielle and Benny
We love Reflections Lake. It's an easy walk in any season. We dream of coming back in winter with a sled and hot chocolate.....blessed to have such a spot so close by.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Until Next Time

It had to happen - today Dad flew back outside. It was a blast to see Alaska through new eyes. Dad kept saying, "They call MT Big Sky country, but Alaska is Big Sky country," and "Alaska is beautiful."  We had a couple of rainy days, but mostly sunny. Not the 90 - 100* they are getting - but 70-75* is gorgeous up here. 

We were worried Dad would be sore this morning, but he assured us he was fine. 

It was hard for all of us not to have mom with us - but we talked about her a lot. It was good. Today, Josiah and Jared met us at the airport, Dad maneuvered a Cinabon break on the way to the TSA line, and before we were quite ready, it was time to say, "Until Next Time..."

Sherri let us know Dad had arrived home. He was limping badly - I'm sure sitting all day and all the extra walking, combined with the fall yesterday explains that problem. 

As often happens: a day of activity (fishing in Whittier) is followed by a down day. It's a rhythm we are used to and learning to account for in our planning. 

Yep - just a post with two of my favorite men.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Dad Fishes in Whittier

Dad's Alaskan Bucket list includes fishing. Dip-netting was fun to watch - but he had to be an observer.  Josiah scouted Whittier on Saturday. The guys fished their often last year, but this time he was looking with an eye to Gpa being able to get to the river. He thought it was ambitious, but doable. It would be the best chance to catch a fish. It's hard to find good fishing holes with easy access.

Michael and Dad went and bought a 24 hour license for Dad.  Michael had an appointment this morning, we left when he got home. We didn't hit the tide right, so we didn't catch any fish. WELLL......Michael would say we caught a few, but we didn't bring them home. If they don't make it into the freezer or a jar - they don't count in my book. LOL

We DID have a great day! Dad loved being out on the river. It was a beautiful day  - the cove, ringed by forest, mountains and a glacier, were Alaska Perfect. We made great memories. He did fall, but insists he's fine.

Dad an Michael 

Dad and Alex
 Stacia, Nolan and Alex helping Gpa over the rocks and through the creek


Glacier on the left of the photo

Just us most of the day - heavenly


My Favorite
Nolan and Gpa

This evening we stopped at Fred Meyers to buy a lunch cooler and a lb of dry ice. We'll pack it with reds for him to take home. It's been a great visit. Dad is our only grandparent still alive - we plan to get as much time with him as we can. Several times he mentioned coming for a month next summer....and that Josiah had told him he'd take him out on his snow machines if he comes in the winter. LOL

I think we've made enough memories to hold us until we see each other again.