Friday, May 31, 2019


Our goal was to be at the VA Clinic in Anchorage by 0745. We made it by 0750.  I am enjoying the time in the car to talk with Michael, I am not enjoying the two hours out of our days quite so much.πŸ˜•

I got Dad's ticket purchased this morning before we left the Valley.

We had hoped to be in Seward camping this weekend. It's not to be.

I planned to spend my hours shopping while Michael was at his appointment, but the shops weren't open quite that early. Instead, I enjoyed time with my new library book in Starbucks. This was a great Blue Zone activity - de-stressing at its finest. I spent some of the time sharing polos back and forth with friends and family - another blue zone principle at work - enjoying my tribe.

Karen met Michael and I in the VA parking lot. We handed off 11 dozen eggs - she handed off $55. I'm happy to have space in my fridge again.

We got home to discover how everyone else was spending their day. Nolan had gone on a hike with a friend. Alex was working on mowing. Stacia was making some yummy granola bars.

Stacia and Alex came with me to Lowe's. Our goal was to pick up dirt. I knew my back wouldn't handle it; Alex's does. We almost got a mower but I didn't want to lift it. I find out now that I COULD have asked the employees to load it for me.

We headed to Walmart for a few groceries after Lowe's....and, finally, arrived back home again.

This was a welcome sight....Arielle and Nolan were sifting the dirt in the raised beds. Alex joined them. Stacia and I carried large rocks from the garden area and picked up debris which has blown into our yard over the winter.

I have a project to collect the rocks from around the yard and the garden spot and gravel the center walk in the greenhouse. Stacia and I carried rocks and made a tiny bit of leeway. LOL 

The chicks are enjoying their make-shift yard. Phoenix has begun a feeble crowing of sorts....

Benny was happy to be outside and helping anyway he could. 

Michael appears happy to be outside, too. 

Chicks are about 8 weeks old now

Novia - check out the plucked tush. This is what they've done to each other. It appears she is losing feathers along her back/tail too. There is fuzz left - rather than plucked bare skin. Maybe molting? A bit early. We have let them run around the yard the past couple of days. In the past we worried about predators, but think they may be nicer if they have more room to roam? I am not finding all their eggs - we need to figure out the best time to let them out of the yard. They always have access to the outside of the coop. 

Arielle and Benny joined us for pizza. They are showering. Michael is showering. I think we're all tired. I may try to get a work-out in. This week has not been good for work outs.  It has been a good week for moving naturally!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Gemma's Grand Day

Stacia and I spent the morning at BreZaak's. Bre had an appointment. We got to play. As happens every time we watch the kids, Gideon immediately began fort-building. 

Bella opted for a bit more sleep. 

It was a beautiful day so we headed outside after breakfast. 
"King of the Hill"
 Ah - SWEET! My first giant bouquet from Bella. Gideon is bringing some too1 

The back stoop was their stage. Bella their play director! 

Auntie Stacia and Bella
It was SO nice, we texted for permission to break out of the fence! 😏 We walked around the block, noting homes for CoRielle to check out, and stopped for a quick, "How do you do," at our friends Carl and Brenda's. 

Gemma brought out cookies for an outside snack. Bre makes some yummy cookies. 

I could get lost in this little guy's eyes....
Gideon - 2 years old
 Bella told me, "I can't take picture." I told her it was o.k. - I'd take care of it. 
Bella - 3 years old
 I wasn't too worried about Gideon's fascination with the hose. 

 Until he figured out the spigot end of the deal. I had flashbacks to his mommy chasing Krista around the yard with a hose....we moved on.

Back at home - GEMMA TOOK A NAP and Stacia had a Japanese lesson.

We asked if we could take Benny upstairs for a bit and discovered that CoRille were on their way out to look at a possible home.
Jamin, realtor, above - Cory in crawl space

We kept Benny. We taught him the wonders of a back scratcher. You can scratch your back AND it works as a gun.

How can one be the least bit tired with this energy around? 
Benny - 1 1/2 years old
 Papa's dinosaurs continue to be a hit. 

Wonder of wonders - Gemma can make the keyboard have SOUND. He had a great time playing and singing. Ah, the singing. 

My text message notification ends by making a raspberry. Whatever. It makes ME smile! This may have led to me instilling a bad habit in Benny...but he and I had a blast. πŸ˜…πŸ˜‡πŸ˜ Now, CoRille get to teach him not to blow raspberries at church.

I did NOT have time to work out this morning. I have to be in Anchorage tomorrow by 7:45....I'm going to get a 45 min workout in now.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Please Tell Me THIS is FRIDAY?

We heard from Michael's doctor today. He has a few compressed discs L's and S1....this is causing nerve pain as well as back pain. Dr. B  said it could be weeks before Michael feels better. In addition to the muscle relaxant he is taking (which does a number with balance and such), he is considering chiropractor or acupuncture. Stay tuned for further adventures.  Just knowing there is a reason for the pain seems to have helped Michael.

Alex has been our muscle around here for the past couple of weeks. Today he wrestled a trailer full of trash and recycling. He also helped me bottle up a new batch of kombucha. I have my doubts about this batch - it has very little fizz. I flavored only with lemonade and strawberries - maybe that is it. It's VERY sweet though.

Nolan came home from work and began tilling in the garden plot. It's become apparent we can't wait for Michael to feel better to get this done. We'll do it in chunks and if we don't get it all done - oh well. We'll have the size of garden the kids and I can prep. 😊

I made a new salmon recipe tonight. I think this is the new favorite. They seem to say that about each new recipe. I've yet to repeat a recipe.....other than the cheesy salmon. That is still everyone's first or second choice. I haven't made it since January. Trying for healthier prep.  Tonight - we had modified Salmon Wellington.

The kids are at youth, Michael is laying down, Nolan is in bed (0400 comes early), and I'm at the library to get a bit of "work," done.....and to pick up a John Grisham book I've not read.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Feels Like Monday

We were out of the house early for the hour drive to Anchorage and the VA clinic.

Michael's back has been bad for 11 days now. Time to figure out if there is anything extra that can be done.

CoRielle are out looking at houses this afternoon. I was happy to get home and play with Benny and Stacia.  We visited bunnies and chicks. We drew on our little bit of "sidewalk." Best of all, we went for a walk...

We also fixed up a little enclosure for the chicks. We are going to have to come up with transition housing for them. We've decided not to put them in with the mean girls, until Phoenix, is big enough to put them in their places.  That means they need something between brooder and chicken yard. 😏

It was a fun day. We made steps of progress on a few projects and had lots of fun with Benny.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day Family Celebration

Josiah called and asked if we were up to them coming out to grill.  He and Jamin went shopping, called BreZaak, Stacia made desserts, they picked up sides -  and a celebration materialized.

Benny watches Stacia and Arielle do yoga, planks and more....he's HILARIOUS. He began to entertain us all, and Jamin joined him.
Strengthen those cores! 

Ah, these belly laughs cheer our days! 
Benny - 18 months
 When BreZaak arrived with the kids, we took Bella and Gideon out to see "nature." We began with the "mean girls" aka our 12 hens. Bella said, "Ah, cute." I had to inform her they were mean cute.....but these chicks are nothing but cute.

 Our next stop was the bunnies. 

Such a handsome little dude in overalls. Is he not a darling? 
Gideon - 2 years old
Bella - 3, Benny 18 months, Gideon - 2

I want to find the directions or such for a wood play structure for the kids....big and little. I'd like swings - for big kids and littles - a slide, some climbing fort-like structure. I need to look and then schedule a work day and make it happen.  Papa and Gemma's  should be the best place in town to visit. πŸ˜‰

This was a fun day. I'm glad Josiah and Jamin made it happen. I hadn't made a plan as Michael has been in much pain. He was up a lot today. Hoping for answers tomorrow at the VA.  It was a tonic to have everyone together. Good things on the horizon for the Gherkins! I will admit I missed JaRissa and Krista...but they are doing just what they need to be doing in this season.

I can announce  there are plans in the works for dad to come up and spend the summer with us. We are all excited.

10:00 - 10:30 p.m. is my favorite time to be outside now - so pretty with the sun shinning through the trees.

Is this official Alaska Summer now?

Memorial Day Projects

I found myself strangely emotional this morning, thinking of all those who have given their life for the freedoms we enjoy.  My heart was full, as well, remembering all our friends still serving in dangerous places around the world. Freedom truly comes with responsibility. May we be worthy of the price paid for our freedom - in both the spiritual and national realms.

Michael's back is still not better. We need a new med on Friday and he is feeling some relief. We have joked about the side effects...dizziness, blurry vision, giving these to a parky....well let's just say the Parkinson's meds are supposed to help with these very issues. 😏 He's a good sport. For the most part, he's stayed in bed. It's safer that way.  We will go into Anchorage to the VA clinic for x-rays tomorrow.

The kids and I got started on a few projects. Lucille, our free range hen, was determined to get into the chicken yard today. We put her in - AGAIN. Our girls are MEAN and have been pecking at her again. We watched her throughout the day. It will be nice for her if she can be re-integrated with the flock.
Lucille is our new favorite. We nursed her back to health
when the weasel chomped on her...and then again when
the mean girls pecked her side open wide. 
The de-thatching attachment arrived for the lawn mower. The boys put it together earlier in the week. Alex had started thatching the yard - and then it POURED. He finished today. 

We have eight week old chicks. They are NOT big enough to be in the chicken yard with our mean girls. We are hoping to wait until Phoenix, the new little roo, is full grown and can put the girls in their place, before we bring them together. The brooder is too small for them. We don't want to build another Chicken Taj Mahal.....but something has to be done.

Alex (and Benny) brought out the fencing I salvaged from the ditch last year. 

If one can't carry fencing, rolling on it is the next most helpful thing to do. 

Cory had to work today. We were very happy for Arielle and Benny's help. We strung the fencing on the t-posts which are up for the garden spot. 

We carried the brooder out. Phoenix seemed determined to keep the girls inside.  

They eventually got the idea there is a big world outside the brooder. 

We moved them back inside for the night. We have lots of predators out here. We had an Eagle and hawk circling today.  I have an idea of how to build a temporary coop for them. This evening, all the mean girls went inside the  coop to roost. Lucille stood outside and waited to be taken to her kennel in the garage. LOL 

We had a panel blow out of the greenhouse during our big windstorm last night. It seems good as new now. It was 110* inside. I opened a window. Ah, I love sitting inside the greenhouse. 

Josiah called to see if we would be up for them coming out to grill. What FUN! We hadn't had everyone together since Easter.

Alex says the highlight of the day was driving my van for the first time. He needed to move it so he could drive the tractor to the side yard. I thought Michael had been giving him pointers. He hasn't.  Which is how I ended up in front a mini-van bearing down on me, while I shouted, "Find the brake! FIND THE BRAKE." He did. We laughed. Not the most helpful directions - but all's well. I showed him a few things and he backed it up like a pro.