Saturday, March 17, 2018

It FEELS Like Spring

I know, I know, I know. It's NOT Spring. It may not even be Break-up. I haven't any real clue. I've been told March will be full of warm, melty days and then inches of wet, heavy snow!  Break-up comes when? March? April? Break-up IS Spring? Break-up signals Spring's arrival? I've been told this is not break-up yet.

WHATEVER - it feels like Spring. Temps broke 40*.  It was a great day. Michael had a sleepless night - and I got 4 hours of sleep - so the weather was just the pick me up we needed around here.

 Michael and Izaak took the insulation off the RV in order to get the RV's engine started. This proved to take a lot longer than expected. Look at the chunk of ice the RV is sitting on. In the end, it started.

Nolan and Alex will be joining the older 3 boys for another 4 day epic hike up Resurrection Pass in May. The training has begun. Alex is spending an hour a day on the elliptical.  Nolan declared it a good day for a long walk. He loaded his pack with 30 lbs of books and he, Stacia and I took off. 

Question of the day: How does white snow magically turn brown when it melts off the mountain? ::snort;; Obviously, we still have lots of snow...but the roads are clear and it was a glorious day for a long walk.  Nolan calculated our walk at 5 - 6 miles.  I should have taken a clue from the kids - the sweatshirt was too warm by the end of the walk.

As we headed back to our road, Nolan got a phone call. Don't  you love cell phones? Alex, Arielle and Benny were out walking and wondered where we were. We met up and headed home. It was a pit stop for me, Nolan and Stacia called it a day.

Alex, Arielle, Benny and I decided to walk on down to get the mail - another 1.5 miles. Yuuki gave out on the last .25 mile. I felt like giving out at the same spot - but there was noone to carry ME.  I walked at least 6.5 miles - got my steps in - FINALLY.

Back at home, Michael had gotten the RV started and dug trenches through the snow berms...trying to direct the melt.  I got 3 blog posts published, and two videos saved to YouTube.  I did NOT figure out how to do the videos in Lightroom - but I got them done with Movie Maker.  Stacia made us a wonderful St. Patrick's day dinner (post to follow), Michael did swallowing exercises, we watched "Leap" and then the kids called it a day. 

I'm on a quest to find alternate planting containers for my seedlings. I refuse to pay for any more trays and have hundreds of seeds to go. Ideas? 

Responses to comments I've heard: 
1. I know you don't think it can be Spring with 2 feet of snow on the ground - but it feels like it. 

2. It is a DRY heat up here - yes, 35*, 40*, feels WARM - and IS shirt-sleeve weather.  I am not being careless with the children's health. 

3. I am planting seeds now to get a jump start on our very short growing season. 

4. Michael is not always left at home working - he stays home as long walks are no longer comfortable for him. When he wants to go, he does and pays the price. He encourages me to go. 

5. Break-up - the time when the snow melts from the mountains and homes and rushes down to creeks and rivers. It's a mess.....and then Spring arrives - or maybe that is spring in Alaska....I've not figured it out. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Snow Shoes, Seeds and Snow!


At first glance, the view from our kitchen window looks like Spring. The snow is sliding off the roof, the temps are warming up....but yesterday we did NOT have snow covered trees, the snow along the road was a lovely muddy brown, and the drives, patio and walks were all shoveled clear. 

It started snowing yesterday morning and continued all day and evening. This is our deck railing. It piled up deeper in the front and sides of the yard. 

Our valiant weather station! 

Yesterday morning there were more bare patches and I was wondering just how wet it will be here when the snow comes down the, it's dressed in Winter finery again. 
Even the power lines are pretty dressed in snow

 It is so incredibly beautiful, peaceful, relaxing and serene. I came out on the deck and sent a Marco Polo to my Cousin and to Krista. Then I took some more views and decided to put together a video. Later, I realized I was in my pjs (sweat-shirt over the top), no make-up, hadn't combed my hair - ah well - it's real!

Imagine the boys shoveling, Michael answering questions, snow sliding off the roof - and eventually I'll figure out how to make it all come together in one of the video editing programs. Link to come?  I am going to have to remember to get still shots as well.

Stacia and I worked in the house, finished school and then decided we needed to go out and explore. I have been dying to get the snow shoes on and spring is coming - believe it or not.  (Video to follow of this as well). We thought it would be great fun to take our hot drinks out to Stacia's imagination station in the woods.

There is obviously something I am missing in the technique. I did not glide across the top of the snow. At one point I sunk up to my waist.  Snow pants may be a good plan in the future. When one is DOWN, it is HARD to get back up with those things on your feet. Here, Stacia snaps photos (and video) until I tell her to turn it off and help me up! ::snort::

It is a beautiful walk! 

The walk was much easier when I ditched the snow shoes! 

Tea break - but - um - really - there is nowhere warm to SIT in the woods in winter. We may need to put a bench out here and keep it covered. 

We brushed off the snow and enjoyed some Mommy Daughter time...the warmth in our throats and tummies, battled the numbness of our bums. 

Note the snow falling from the tree on the left of the photo. 

Right onto us...

Standing in the woods, with snow falling off the trees, reminded us of picnics in the park during Cherry Blossom season in Northern Japan. Japan was a tad bit warmer than the snow.  Our home from the back....with Lazy Mountain behind it.

We warmed up and went on with our next project....Yuuki loves to look out these windows! 
Early Moose Warning System
 Stacia and I planted seeds. We need more things to plant in. We also need more space to keep them warm and light....but we are already seeing sprouts.

We ended the night with Life Group. Our Life Group has been rather intimate. Us, Barney and Judie, Stacia, Bre and Josh when he makes it. We had met Barney and Judie at church and gotten to know them in the first Life Group we were in (meets at the church on Wed. Nights). Thursday works well for them and we have LOVED the opportunity to get to know this dear couple. They will be gone a month visiting kids outside....we will miss them.

Videos about the day:
Spring Snow Storm 
Snow Shoe Adventure 
Planting Seeds (still to come)

Immigrants in the Land of Technology

Michael and I are not natives to the Land of Technology. We are fairly adept immigrants. Each time we need to learn something new, it takes TIME.....We've spent numerous hours figuring out our new Photoshop/Lightroom programs.  It would help immigrants like us if there were a PRINTED manual, with an index. We've googled, watched YouTube, randomly clicked....and it takes time....

I just discovered presets today. ::snort::  Editing wasn't MY main reason for looking forward to new software, though it was Michael's. I was hoping to watermark and get better video editing capabilities. 

What's with the watermark? Well, now...I probably shouldn't mention it in polite company, but we've begun to find our photos where we have not placed them. This doesn't OVERLY bother me except for two things...1. My kids/grands - if you want photos of a family on your site; take photos of your own family; 2. Michael may one day set up a shop, he's getting some great photos. Those are showing up on lots of sites as well. Finally, we have been contacted by a couple of bigger name opportunities...a television network and a few websites (which I've declined as I'm busy enough)....but,  I'm thinking there are more seeing our photos and my silly stories than I imagined.  It seems it would be good to have the photos watermarked. This way - it will be harder to pass off our photos as someone else's. 

Ideally we'd put an email address on the photo....but the email addresses from the domain are not connecting with our gmail and so we get none of the mail, thus the life of an immigrant in the Land of Technology.  I'm just putting the blog URL on it for now.  I'm also trying to figure out how small to go so it doesn't distract from the photo, while being big enough that those who KNOW WHO THEY ARE, don't want the photo.

Oh, I know nothing online is ever private or safe. One can easily crop off a watermark - unless I plaster it across the middle -  which isn't ascetically pleasing to me at all. 

Here's the thing - I'm spending every free moment on the blog - but nothing is getting published.  Eventually, I imagine it being as fast as it previously was for me to snap a photo, edit it and blog it. 

I've also been taking more videos and would like to learn to make them nicer. I think LR can do this....the motivation for this is that Movie Maker is freezing on me...even when it works it will no longer link to our YouTube channel and so the MP4 files are way to large and you tube takes hours to upload and squawks at me and tells me to go shorten them.....and frankly.....

I've been asking women's groups "WHEN is the last time you learned something new and WHAT was it?" My answer had to do with chicks....but THIS is what I'm stretching my brain on currently......

This, and seedlings, and chicks, and fence building, and wondering about a tiny house..... now on to finish a blog post OR a video for the day. I dream of being back to my normal blogging routine....I put in an hour tops and publish something nightly....instead of a week of messing with the program and never figuring it out. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I Don't Think This is Spring

IF I was blogging daily you would already know we've been enjoying warm temps of upper 30's. Many began to say spring was here. I was a tad bit sad yesterday. Spring is really break-up, and it's muddy, wet, drippy....The side of our road was packed brown snow, Yuuki has left yellow snow made me sad to say goodbye to fresh, clean snow.  Yesterday, we'd shoveled the drive and various paths down to the gravel/grass.  This morning I woke to THIS.
We'd had about 2 inches over night. It's continued to snow and a fairly clip pace all day. It's piling up again.

I was alarmed when I saw the spots on the above photo. I cleaned the lens and took another photo.

I enlisted Michael's help.....he got the same...

Until he pointed down - oh - SNOW. Duh! 

We even had to use the 4 wheel drive to get up the mountain on our way home from therapy and groceries.

I'm pretty sure this is not spring/break up yet....maybe I'll have an easier time figuring the seasons out next year. I do think it's safe to say we've weathered our first winter in the Valley just fine.

Dusting for Prints is MESSY

Stacia and I are working through various Forensic Science this year - possibly our last year to play with science before we have to move to more traditional courses of study. She's in 7th grade this year. Among other things, we have used the book Crime Scene Investigations.  We've had fun comparing writing samples, typewriter prints, making casts of shoe prints, and more. 

We are currently working through a Crime Scene Science Kit from Home Science Tools. This week we are learning how to lift a print from glass microscope slides, faucets and door knobs. 
(OK - before I go ANY further - the main thing I am learning is that dusting for prints is MESSY. Imagine thick, sooty, charcoal powder all over YOUR kitchen. Ah, the things we do for our children's education.)
Yes,Stacia, he DOES look like a likely suspect! 

Stacia began by finger-printing all the people running around here and creating a master list of "suspects and their prints."

After learning to lift prints, she began to try to get them from around the house and match them to the master suspect list. She's had moderate success - but plans to keep on trying.  (Did I say this is MESSY? I need to buy another case of Clorox wipes.)
Why did I envision printing powder as white????
It's hard to believe we are on our last week of our 3rd quarter of this school year. No, we are NOT taking spring break this week. We started weeks late due to our move-in schedule. We took much time off in December due to Mom's illness and the end of spring break we should be on schedule to finish with the "real schools." And, maybe, next year to celebrate my 30th year as a homeschool teacher, we'll have a NORMAL SCHOOL YEAR!!!!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Another Great Wintry Saturday

  Saturdays mean Jamin will show up and work in the shop with Michael. The shelves they are building will fill a whole wall in the basement study. They'll be big enough that Michael plans to build them in the room. 

While they worked the kids introduced Bella to the igloo/snow cave.  

Caught in a snow ball fight - Stacia rebounded some ice from her eye

Bella and Izaak 
 Izaak had the idea of the kids sliding down the driveway - which was great fun. Video to follow. 

Josiah stopped by and told them to use the Snow Machines. 

Stacia and Nolan


 Arielle's first solo run

Beautiful winter sunset

Friday, February 23, 2018

Igloo in the Yard

The kids used to have great times in Misawa during the winter! They longed to move where there would be a winter. They've gotten the desire of their heart. They have fond memories of building sledding hills and igloos in the snow. Today, they built an igloo, or ice cave. I'm happy they could do it. 
Nolan surveys the land

Work in progress!

Big enough for three young adults! 
 Bella - our sweetie