Friday, September 22, 2017

#WYFF - Finishing Another Week Strong

#WYFF? Finishing our school week with a bang! Stacia's monthly RadDish cooking club stuff arrived. I could have taught her all of it without the cute apron, recipe cards and kitchen tools - but its fun for her. She'll also begin to build her own set of cooking tools.  She loves baking and cooking - her only beef with this is she thought it would be like the sewing club - in person! Face to face with PEOPLE. She asked me how it can be a club if there are no other people around. 

Happy to have the microscope located, unpacked AND in working order before Alex needed it. 
We count this as a blessing as Stacia's power cord for her sewing machine is missing and my case was SHATTERED around my machine. 

It's been a full week. We've had visits from kids, life in general, a lunch date for ME, two doctor's appointments for Michael and got estimates from a glass repairman and a wood stove installer.  Glad for a weekend. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Happy Fall

Fall has been in our part of Alaska since mid-August, but it's officially here now!  The Chimney Doctor came out to discuss installing Michael's Craig's List Score. He suggested we move it over further than we wanted. Michael is looking at building up a brick wall so the stove isn't so close to where the kids run.....but it will all come together. 

Later, while Michael organized in the garage, I was motivated to get out some fall decor. We downsized, and we are committed to living simply even now in a "real"  home.  I haven't missed decor terrible, as we have lots of color around us and no real need for me to buy fake color. LOL  Truthfully, I have wanted to buy a bit more and a hay bale....but I am not sure how long it will be until snow comes. Have you voted in our contest? 

I set about hanging flags tonight.  The flagpole from the RV wouldn't work with the holder on the house.  Michael cut down a broom handle for me to hang that flag. Alex and I set about pounding the stake from the RV flagpole into the ground up by the road.   He pounded the metal pole in and then we discovered he'd smashed it out and the plastic sleeve wouldn't fit over it. We were going to turn it over and do it again - but Michael ground it back into shape. 

Armed with new resolve, and piece of wood to buffer the blows,// we set out again! We had a lot of fun.

  Um? Can you see by his thumb? The pole has come through the wood. We couldn't get the wood off. I was about to call for Michael again, when Alex came up with a solution. 

::snort:: I love this kid. He slid the wood down the metal pole and put the plastic sleeve on top of it. He said it will give it extra stability in the wind. He may be right.  

I've been dreading the trees losing all their leaves. I know when they are gone, we'll be able to see the neighbor's lights and houses. I like being in our little alcove. Today, I realized, as the leaves disappear, new mountains may appear. LOL 

Yep - they're dropping them. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grandblessings Update

Bre let Bella help her make cookies for the first time this week! She's a little doll at 17 months. 
"Now, what is this?"

"This has some possibilities."
"Yes, I LIKE baking cookies." 
 Gideon is four months old (or nearing it quickly).  His sweet smile and darling dimples never cease to make me smile along with him. 

So many surprises.....
Four months - much has changed, many things have been in accomplished in those four months. May seems so long ago.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

JaRissa and Lassie Visit

Michael had a couple of doctor appointments this week. The VA has gotten him accepted as a patient with the ONE board certified Motion Disorder Specialist in the state. He won't have an appointment until 20 Nov. 

AFTER appointments - some of our favorite people called and asked to come out! YES. We hadn't seen JaRissa for a bit of time and it was fun to have them over.  CoRielle came up and then Bre and the kids  came over too. We all needed our JaRissa fix. 

Bella loves Aunt Arielle and Uncle Cory 
 Jared worked hard to win her over....

She came over to meet Lassie

It was a fun break in the middle of a busy week. We are happy to be able to have drop in visits from the Gherkins. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mondays are so MONDAY

The cheapest place I've found to buy groceries up here is Wal-mart. It's about 20 minutes away and Fred Meyers and Carrs  is only 7 min away.  My grocery bill has sky-rocketed since we moved here. I look forward to gardens (which cost) and farmer's markets next year.  I'm still making meal plans, buying just what we need and stocking up as I see things on sale.  We use Freddies for "quick trips."  ANYWAY - I needed to go grocery shopping on Monday - a big run to Wal-mart.  Michael decided to come along.

He brought home a bit more than groceries. It's funny  Alex was unloading the car and didn't notice the TV.  We still won't have cable and I doubt we get local channels - haven't tried. BUT now we can do our DVD based classes without passing around the laptop.....while we continue to figure out where we want a screen, projector, and surround sound....for movies and games. LOL

This IS a Smart TV and I'd LOVE to figure out how to stream the next SeaHawk game. LOL  

Stacia has become quite a cook. The last couple of nights she's made Chicken Enchiladas and Chicken Divan. I love the break. She loves to do it. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

There's Moose In Our Yard!

We had fun visitors to end the day! I'm glad the men were back and hadn't left yet to buy sewer hose at Wal-mart so Izaak could share this moment with Bella.  

She seems a bit alarmed as she looks out the windshield of the RV

Dad's not worried - it must be fun (That'll preach)!

Mary Ellen had told us there is a good size bull moose that roams the area. We've not seen him.....but we were happy to see this little lady. 

Then we noticed TWO.....they seemed to be the same size/age

Googly eye moose! ::snort:: 

This area of the yard werea horse pastures. We plan to till it under before winter (we'll see). The plans are for this to be our gardens and chicken run next year....but for's lush, green, weeds....lots of nitrogen in these pastures - about two feet of manure worth. They stayed about 40 minutes.

This was a great ending to the day. CoRielle were out driving when I texted we had two moose in the yard. They saw a bull moose on their way home; but they said he was pretty small.

Reflection Lake Trail

There are so many possible titles for this one......"Sunday Afternoon Hike "Reflections at Reflection Lake," "Fall Shows Off"...."ARIELLE IS 31 WEEKS"....

Cory had to work today. The rest of the men went fishing. We didn't pull it together to make it to church, BUT,  the church we've been visiting does facebook live. I watched. Then,  I wondered if I could get the gals to go on a quick hike. I searched for an "easy" one.  The Reflection Lake Trail  meanders for a mile around a lake. It is marked easy - but I've learned to hold the rating suspect.  The other easy hike we checked is only .9 mile, but it's straight up the side of a butte.  There are a few small inclines here, but there are accessible spots if one wants a flatter route.  I think this one fits the bill for Michael to join us soon.  I think it would be fairly easy for Bre and the babes too. We didn't have a car with car seats or I would have begged them to come along. I also wanted to scout it out before suggesting it for little ones. Maybe this week at some point.... The colors were GORGEOUS. 
Blessed to hike with Stacia, Arielle and Baby S

Along came guest as we attempt to catch the magic of falling leaves. If you watch in full screen you can see the falling leaves. 

Arielle has been carrying Baby S for 31 weeks 

It was a perfect day to be at the lake. It would be fun to take the kayak down. We plan to buy a canoe or two by next spring. It did my soul good to be out in nature, the colors, the lake, the mountains....just what the great Physician ordered for the day.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

In Memory of the Birch

A sunny Saturday. Around here that means "outside project."  We have this big birch tree outside the back door. It's tall enough that I can sit in my bedroom or the living room on the 2nd floor and enjoy the leafy fall colors.  Unfortunately, in the last storm it lost quite a few branches. The top of the tree is dead.  The plan was to top the tree. Yes, I WAS a bit nervous about Michael climbing the ladder, with a chainsaw....but it had to happen. We knew if the big, dead, center came down it would hit the house.

Knowing we would be little help to the tree trimmers, Arielle and I went to Carr's to see if THEY had any Thompson Pumpkin Spice English Muffins. NO! They don't. I've checked the website, put in zip codes from Anchorage to Wasilla and they didn't ship any up here.  Our consolation was a hot chocolate and frappuccino at Starbucks.

Um....a bit more extensive than originally planned. This was needed. Check out the stump - it's hollow for a good part of it and the rest is so soft it crumbles....but it was OUR BIRCH. I loved the wind in the leaves. I loved the colors. It spoke to me of permanence and Alaska....this all got mixed up with, The Giving Tree, and I cried...and Arielle cried. The guys were perplexed and Cory was probably glad he was at work.

Michael promises me the other big birch in the yard is safe. He won't cut another before winter. He thinks it will come down in a storm....I am looking for another birch to house the tire swing...and it doesn't look promising.

I took my angst out on some cottonwood up front.  I beat them back from the rocks to uncover the strawberry patch. While at it I think I found a patch of roses....but it may be too difficult to get all the brush out from them.

After - though I still have some work to do

Dreaming of strawberries next year. Need to research if I should cover them or mulch them or anything.

Don't bother suggesting we plant evergreens or fruit trees....both are good options and being considered....but they won't be as big and tall as the birch....I am loving the fall colors - makes it hard to appreciate the evergreen right now.....We have lots of those too! Lots.  Just let me grieve the birch tree.....of course, Mary Ellen said birch is the best to it's better to burn it than have it fall on the house.

Lest any think Michael is an indiscriminate tree killer, he did buy some special goop to paint on the bark of trees out back where the previous owners horses ate the bark.

Friday, September 15, 2017

#WYFF - Matanuska Peak Trail

The sun called to us; we answered! Stacia and I simply couldn't sit inside after lunch. She was done with school for the day. I was back from a doctor appointment with Michael. We  decided to go out for a quick loop (1 mile) around the neighborhood.

We finished the loop, explored a new road,  and were still enjoying the sun.....We were at the  Matanuska Peak  Trailhead. We knew this trail is beyond our fitness level. Jamin and the boys attempted it earlier in the season and turned back because it was overgrown with brush and was eerie not to be able to see ahead - i.e. keep an eye out for bears.  AND All Trails lists it as a hard hike. It's 11 miles out and back, with a gain of  6,161 feet in elevation. We have decades to work up to the summit.

Today, it was enough to start out and go until we wanted to turn back. We hit this fork in the road. The sign clearly says to go left to Mat Peak Trail. We went right. It seemed silly to get off the nice road.

There's a beautiful mountain behind us, but the phone cam didn't pick it up. We loved the fall colors and the chance to spend time alone together. 

The road begins to climb swiftly....We took this photo for #WYFF! You'll note she is wearing CROCS! I love my Crocs. I have fur-lined crocs for winter. I would not attempt a hike in Crocs. In her defense we didn't plan to climb the trail. 😏
She's a trooper! 
 I didn't get a photo, but Yuuki was HILARIOUS.  We reached a steep spot, she planted her feet and was STILL sliding back down the incline.  We decided to turn around, grab a couple of photos and try the peak trail again on another day. A day when Stacia wears real shoes, we bring along our walking sticks, AND BEAR SPRAY.
Loving the fall colors....and  hiking with Stacia
Kim, our neighbor, saw us coming off the trail. She was proud of us for attempting it and was full of encouraging tips and stories of her various hikes to the top of the peak. She told us a good goal would be to go to the water box  (4.5 mile?). It's a steep incline, but we should turn back when we hit the brush (as the boys did). She suggested we needed to get a bit better outfitted, but we should continue going a bit further each time. Her suggestions - shoes and bear spray for Stacia and a 44 for me. Well, now. 😲😳😲 She told us how to take the Morgan Horse Trail and get over to the Lazy Moose Trail. She thought we should try the Lazy Moose Trail before winter sets in.  We'll see....we may just keep walking to the trailhead and trying to go a bit further each time.