Monday, August 21, 2017

Girls Day Rock

0630 and Jamin was knocking on our door. No, he wasn't simply creating havoc. The boys have been planning a trip to Red Shirt. Michael had taken the older four there ice fishing 12 years ago, and they fished their often during that assignment.  The older 3 have enjoyed the hike and fishing since moving up here. There was talk the hike would be too much for Michael to attempt. There was talk of waiting for Izaak and Cory to arrive so for a true "bro bonding" weekend. There was talk of trying to canoe in so Michael could go. In the end, Jamin wants to go before he leaves for OCS....Jamin, the younger two boys and Michael will spend the night in a cabin - this is a concession for him so that he doesn't have to hike 7 miles in one day. Josiah and Jared will go up, fish and hike back in one day. Izaak and Cory had other plans for the weekend.  It will be Alex' first time to join the guys on this hike. Stacia opted NOT to go....she enjoys girls weekends with me from time to time.  (AND as a side note - contrary to good-natured teasing this is NOT because she likes shopping, she said she likes spending time alone with me sometimes. I like spending time alone with her too.) 
The guys loaded into Jared's van and headed out
 Maria and I woke up Stacia and had a final breakfast together. 

Yes, Maria and Mako took off this morning too.  I will write more about our visit when I post photos of Maria and Mako playing in the yard. 

Maria's departure left a gap in the day for Stacia and I. We miss her. We first, re-arranged the office/school room she was sleeping in. Then we headed to church. We parked in the visitor spot, even though it was our 3rd time, as NOT ONE PERSON had spoken to us in the other two visits. Stacia figured, and I agreed, that until someone talked to us we could still park in the visitor's spot.

I don't know if it was the fact that the boys and Michael weren't with us and they are intimidating, or that someone saw us parking in the visitor spot...but we received two "Good mornings," AND I overheard the lady in front of me talking about where she lives - the same road we branch off of. I introduced myself and got into a conversation.

Stacia is frustrated one of her new pairs of jeans are already too shirt. She bought them July 3rd. They just don't make non-shrinking jeans these days. 🐽She is getting taller by inches. I have one pair of jeans that will zip, I have mentioned my weight gain since retirement.  I decided it was time to buy a pair that fit. I'd looked at Walmart and Target....and I wanted a pair of "mom jeans."  We hit the mall.  VERY proud of ourselves for finding it and navigating the parking maze, sky bridge....

We each found two pairs of jeans on clearance! We stopped by Teavana to sample and buy some tea - I plan to do this periodically until they close - as long as my favorite tea is in stock. 

We ate at the food court and worked on this week's meal plan and grocery list. 

We stopped in Eagle River at the Walmart on the way back to the valley and shopped for groceries AND two pairs of rain boots. 

We went to try out the boots and research a noise coming from the wooded area. We discovered a new type of mushroom.

And Cory working hard to clear dead logs and trees. We have so many projects to do,  it boggles the mind. Thanks, Cory for your work this afternoon. 

We went to talk to a neighbor about her missing cat. Her cat is happy at home now. We cuddled up and watched Descendents 2  - a movie Stacia likes and I tolerate for the discussions. 

I had snuggle time with Gideon and a fun few moments with Bella. 

I was struggling to sleep due to my hands and arms....and so I was awake for this a.m.'s 4.3 quake north of Hatcher's Pass at 2:43 a.m.  It was a familiar feeling.  I wasn't at all alarmed. This is the first one I've felt since moving here.  I got up to see if anyone was alarmed - nope. I stayed up to try to ease the pain in my hands. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Yes, Things Grow Up Here

Several have asked me if I really want to attempt a garden in Alaska. The intimation is nothing will grow up here.  The first picture below shows my garden spot (a former horse pasture) on 27 June. 

Note the tree with greenery around it in the center of the above photo. Below the tree is just left of center. Look at what grew in 1 months and three weeks. 

Obviously, SOMETHING will grow in Alaska. I know that wildflowers, weeds, strawberries and mushrooms thrive on our property.

A note for those alarmed at the condition of the yard. It was not mowed since June. We don't have a lawnmower but have ordered was supposed to be here the 17th - now they say the 30th.  We are looking for a push power to rent or buy cheap, but we may simply have to live with it until the 30th.

Exploring the Yard, Enjoying Family and Family Like Friends

We need to get motivated to hang photos and finish the school room/office and garage. BUT there are so many things that keep popping up....and we are going to have to leave about 50% of our photos/wall hangings off the walls. We have wonderful windows EVERYWHERE in this house....which makes for limited wall space.  I am procrastinating as I contemplate the problem and a solution.

Today, we opted to walk around the boundaries of the place. I discovered, under the cottonwood and weeds, these rocks define a STRAWBERRY BED. There was even a berry left and it was SWEET. We want to plant berries....I'm thrilled. I just have to figure out how to get all the cottonwood out without damaging the berries.  We'd like to plant raspberries and blueberries too.  We've seen all growing wild; I'm fairly certain they'll grow fine up here.

Jared and Larissa brought out a trampoline for Stacia's birthday. The boys put it together this afternoon.

Michael marked dead trees to be removed. 

I discovered a wide and varied crop of mushrooms. Unfortunately, Izaak says none are edible. 

Cory joined Michael for the survey

I had hoped this was portobella
 I have plans to sow some wildflower was fun to see some already growing in the woods....may just put the seeds back there next spring. 

More mushrooms

Just like that the trampoline was up and being used. 
Nolan - observed by Alex and a slightly jealous Arielle

Discovered a lot of wild roses


Stacia and Alex 

Nolan and Stacia
 Jamin and Jared came out to spend some time this afternoon. Larissa is in TX visiting family and we will miss her sweet presence.....Jamin decided to show the kids how to do somersaults. I never caught a good photo....but this one is fun.  

With the older guys involved this quickly become dodge ball trampoline....which I had not witnessed until I saw he video on my phone. 😅

 Stacia showed Maria how to make cookies....and Maria got creative. 

My Grandma T's cookie jar  - it made the trip just fine. 

Grandma T's cookie jar full of cookies

The guys and CoRielle joined us for Breakfast for Dinner. I thought of making something else when I heard the boys were coming, but it is Maria's last night with us and she LIKES breakfast for dinner. BreZaak had plans for homemade chili and I don't blame them at all for choosing that over breakfast for dinner. LOL

After dinner we played Dixit. I had gotten into something that made my hand tingle, then my mouth and nose. I took a Benadryl and it put me to sleep. I don't remember playing Dixit - but it appears I did play for a bit before wandering off to bed.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Berry Picking - Serviceberries

I did a bit of searching on the Internet trying to find a good spot for berry picking. I knew the kids,  Marie, and I would be going alone. Marie has a bad knee. None of us wanted to wrestle bears.

I cheated. I unearthed a u-pick "farm" - it seems to be known as both Northern Fruits Nursery and Northern Fruits Greenhouses and U Pick. It was good for an afternoon jaunt - especially while we are STILL in the throes of moving madness. We will continue to explore the spots I've heard of where we can pick free berries in the wilds. 

Maria - Berry picking in AK - checking off the bucket list

These are Serviceberries, which we are told are "like blueberries but sweeter." I'm a bit unconvinced. 
Our haul
Since we were nearby we searched out the trail head for some local trails.  It became apparent it was a bit more of a climb than we wanted this afternoon. I beckoned.

This sign cracked me up. To the left is,  "More Difficult," and to the right is, "Most Difficult." 

Dish packs filled with paper make good targets. 
In other happenings, our riding lawn mower has been delayed and won't arrive until 30 Aug. We are going to have to rent or buy a used mower of some sort and beat back the grasses.

Michael repaired a faucet and leak in the basement kitchen and checked out the hot water heating floor system. He has a "to do" list a mile long....including installing an RV spot, finding and purchasing a wood stove, replacing other faucets and such, cutting down dead trees, setting up the garage, hanging things in the house (a job I'm banned from attempting - much like painting), and then there are the "car things," which need done. And Silvers should be running soon. 

We got into some Pushki (Poison Parsnip/Cow Parsnip), it was an overcast day, but we used the excuse to take showers and get into PJ's for a game of  Farkle after our Veggie Pot Pie dinner.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Stacia Turns 12

 Stacia turned 12 today. She's been sending siblings text alerts for 135 days.  All unpacking came to a stand still as we took the day off to celebrate this Gherkin - our encore, our finale, our caboose.  We couldn't find the birthday swag or the pig hat.....but Stacia had tucked away the tiara  - which works for her.....

We began the day with a hike on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail at Kincaid Park 

Stacia, Cory, Nolan, Michael 
 Our first moose sighting - still in velvet

Maria and Mako like Alaska 
 We were happy CoRielle ;joined us for a rainy hike. 
Cory, Arielle, Nolan and Stacia
 Stacia and friend

Start of "fall colors" 

 This runner kept sprinting down the hill and back. I was in the road, taking a photo, everyone else was stopped....he had a practice of running by.....he saw this one and said, "I'll stop for this."

We also visited Earthquake park and then headed home to get ready for diner. Stacia requested Yakisoba.
F - Larissa, Bella, Bre, Marie, Stacia, Arielle
B - Jamin, Jared, Izzak, Nolan, Alex, Michael, Cory, Josiah
Not pictured - De'Etta and Gideon 
 We DID find the birthday plate! It's ODD as we know just where the birthday stuff was in the RV hatch - but it's not there! 
This girl loves Yakisoba. 
We brought the little table up and added it to the big one for the night. 

Stacia asked for a Mint Moose Tracks ice cream cake. I knew we'd need two cakes to feed the crowd....Arielle was craving peanut butter.....The one on the left is moose track ice cream with a layer of peanut butter and reeses and an oreo crust. The one on the left adds mint.

I found this fantastic candle at Fred Meyers. As Michael read the instructions, he noted it said to stand 4 feet back from the candle. I'm glad I got this video - the candle is epic. Note how many moved away from the table, leaving Stacia to fend for herself.  The directions said to cut a wire and it would quit playing, it didn't. We put it on the deck and forgot about it. Nearing mid-night, Cory came up and brought it inside, he could hear the music in his room. He and Michael totally dismantled it. 

Stacia is a very responsive gift receiver - which makes it fun to share with her. 

Bella is determined to re-distribute the wealth

Marie found cute sleeping masks - we suggested sending a pair with Jamin to OCS. 

So fun to have Cy around.....

Jamin helps unleash the big gifts

Stacia's room is a transition room. It's full of her dolls, but she wanted to make the area under her bed a "sitting area."  I bought the string of teal/white lights, silver lamps and chairs. Marie bought the little tables and baskets that are silver and teal.