Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Team Win

We continue puttering around the place this week....Michael got the drawers installed last night at Josiah's rental.  He had a slowish, rough start this a.m., but came out of the gate at top speed - when he was able to get out of the gate. LOL

Krista and Arielle went running again. Krista reports her ankle is doing well. She is working her way back to the times she was achieving before the accident...when she was running 8 miles. They ran 1 1/2 miles.

Meanwhile, I took Dad and Stacia to run errands. I am looking into shipping fish. I checked out UPS - they guarantee one day; they estimated $200. I went to the Post Office....their fastest is 1 - 3 days...flat rate - not sure if that's a good bet for frozen fish.

I noted at the post office 1/2 the big flower bed is KALE and celery. Kale - it's everywhere you want to be in Alaska.  At the library, I finally noted the cabbage in the midst of the flowers. I may have to do some beds like this next year.  I am convinced my soil needs HELP....because I planted the same time as everyone else and my cabbage is just starting to form heads. Maybe it's too crowded...I HAVE discovered the square foot gardening charts are NOT made with Alaska days in mind. Things get BIGGER than expected - they just aren't making lots of food. LOL
This is NOT our cabbage! This is at the library. 
Our biggest stop of the day was Walmart. Time for some groceries in the house. Honestly - I have a challenge. I save money shopping once a month. I no longer have freezer space for ANY meat other than the salmon and veggies already in the freezer.  The plan IS to buy a big freezer - but we don't have room for it in the garage quite yet. I've contemplated putting it outside until the end of September - but that seems a bit too Alaskan for this point. The family really doesn't want salmon EVERY meal. I've been running to Freddies every day for  meat for dinner. It is the rhythm of Japan. I don't mind it terribly much - this makes it easy for one of us to take Dad up for his paper and coffee....BUT it isn't easy on the budget.  We headed out to buy groceries - hoping they will last a week.  Stacia and Dad made a pit stop at McDonald's while I started shopping. Dad found a nice recliner to rest in when they were done with lunch and Stacia and I shopped. I think Dad thought we'd left him by the time we finished. LOL

I came home and Michael was busy in the garage. Alex and Krista were sanding picnic tables and the rockers the kids gave me 10 - 14 years ago for Mothers Day. (Yes, we still date things by assignments and we were at Goodfellow from 2005-2009.)
Alex - Photo by Krista 

The belt sander was running, white, powdery footprints went through the kitchen. They were getting it done.  It became apparent we need to prime the tables with Kilz.  The photo was less than flattering of Krista - but you can see her reflection in the window. LOL
Stacia joined Krista in working on the rockers
I'm excited to give the rockers a face-lift. I love that Alex and Stacia are helping....they were tiny babies when the big kids gave me the rockers....makes them part of the history of the rockers. They bought them for me at a time when I was dreaming of time to sit in the rocker and visit, share know "rock on the porch."  For far too many years the rockers were simply a decoration. I've taken steps to live more present in this season,  and intentionally find time to relax and rock. LOL

I headed out again to search for Kilz and canning supplies. It turns out Freddie's (both Wasilla and Palmer), Walmart and Target are all out of what I need. I came home with Kilz. Izaak called and has a bunch of pint jars I can have. He's switching to 1/2 pints.

Stacia and Krista had dinner 90% ready! Michael grilled burgers, the table was set, salad, fries (loving the air fryer) and fresh-squeezed lemonade* were ready to go....What a blessing.

Michael and I painted a coat of Kilz on the top surfaces of the picnic tables while the kids cleaned up after dinner.  Nolan headed to bed.

The rest of us played a few games of Farkle. I know Dad and I did not win. I'm not sure who won - I suspect Alex. I was not fully present. I was on my phone to stay awake. LOL

The day was a team win.

Can you believe this is the LAST day of July? I'd better get some curriculum ordered. ::snort:: (Not to worry - I have all of Stacia's core subjects from Alex's previous school year, and HE has all his core credits completed. Nothing big will be missed if our curriculum isn't here by Aug 15th.)

*Sugar Free Lemonade.....2 packets of Stevia (I found some with stevia leaves only - NO malitol, maltodextrin, or erythitol), juice of 1/2 a lemon, ice and water to fill a pint mason jar.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Very Good Day

Krista had a job interview this a.m.  She was offered a job - not her dream job - but a good job nonetheless. When she got home I took her and Dad out to one of my "favorite" coffee shops and treated them to a celebration.  Dad says I "sure have a lot of favorites." ::wink::  I will miss the daily routine of taking dad for a paper and coffee - both things readily provided here - but it's his routine in OR to go to Freddies for coffee and a paper every morning. 

When we got home Dad took a nap. 

I got busy in the garden - I need to spend quite a bit more time out there. I picked a whole bush of kale...we've been eating lots of kale...12 plants may have been too much to plant. I'm not sure how to preserve it - so we keep eating it. Kale in the salad, kale in the stir fry, kale skillets for breakfast, kale/quinoa salad......"Kale in the morning. Kale in the noontime...and blimey if it doesn't look like kale in the evening." 

I took an armload of kale inside and then gave the roots and main stem to the chickens. I hung it on the fence and enjoyed watching them get it down...and strip it. 

I pulled enough chickweed to find the remaining bean plants....poor things were overrun. I pulled other chickweed....and found more cucumbers.

I visited Michael in the garage. He worked late into the night on the drawers, and was at it again this morning. Note Krista in the background....they have gone to meet Cy at the rental to attach the "runners" and paint them.

I left them working and went inside to figure out how to make Kosher pickles....this was my first water bathing experience...and I overfilled the pot of boiling water....had a big flood when I lowered the jars....and I need a second big pot....but I got er done.  I did a jar of beets as I need to figure out what to do with the beets in the garden next. They are not quite as wild as the kale and radishes, but nearly as bad and ready for me to deal with them.

 I also sauteed the celery and put it in the freezer for soups and stir fries this winter. Stacia was amazing and made veggie pot pie for dinner. I used the air fryer to prepare a big zucchini. I didn't get a crisp result  - but it was good; all but Alex had seconds.

Krista and Michael are gone - but the burn ban has been lifted and we've not had one campfire or s'mores this summer. Alex got the fire going.

Bachan started something. Benny came beside me while I roasted a marshmallow...the smoke was ferocious and so I said, "Cover your eyes, Benny," and covered his eyes with my hand.  When he and Arielle went to roast....yep....he covered his eyes.....years from now when he is asked WHY he covers his eyes when making s'mores this post will explain it for him. LOL 

Nadia called or Dad called any event they talked beside the fire. 

Road Runner is our smallest hen of the new ones. Well the lame hen is smaller....but anyway...she is thin enough to fly out of the chicken yard - and she does often.  Tonight she perched on the door of the big girls' coop. She flew into their yard. They weren't too fazed. Alex got her into the other side before they attacked her.

Stacia tells me it's time to replenish the s'more kit. I have found sugar free chocolate.....but I don't believe they make sugar free marshmallows...I'll have to settle for melty chocolate on a graham cracker. LOL 
Enjoying Summer - One S'more at a Time
Taken at 10 p.m. 
It hit me today we have about a month left of our visit with Dad. We have  enjoyed having him here. He is the only grandparent our kids have left. We are treasuring time to sit over a cup of coffee, or visit in the back yard....and trying not to get overly sad as we think of him going back to Oregon. It is enough that we've had these months with him.  We have eight of our nine children within driving distance (and we CAN drive to Juneau if need be)....I choose not to be anything but grateful about our location.   It's been a very good day.

Silly Me....

I thought the hooks on the house were for flowers! ::snort:: 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Jumanji Gone Awry

The  highlight of the day was a visit from Jill. I've been wanting to spend time with her. It made my day when she stopped to drop off egg cartons and stayed for a visit.

This week is fairly clear - and we need to work! The greenhouse is scary - it looks like Jumanji gone awry.

Via meme
I have been out of the garden/greenhouse for two weeks. One week for dip-netting, one week for having fun with Nate and Heather. I need to attack chick a ton of Kale and Lettuce....and tame the greenhouse.

I started with the greenhouse. The tomatoes reached the upper heights of the greenhouse and  I could no longer see the path in the middle of the greenhouse. Other plants were suffocating and the Texas Rattler Melons need more space.  The cucumber sent shoots to the opposite side.....intertwined with melons, tomatoes, beans..... The tomato plants got HUGE in the greenhouse. So huge they fell over and were choking out the peppers and everything else......cucumbers were smashed against the sides of the greenhouse...and the peppers were smothered.

I pulled out  two tomato plants along the back of the greenhouse. I also pulled all the bean plants. This allows space for the melon to grow and spread.  This was one plant....

Lots of leaves....I know I needed to cut them back but wasn't quite sure how. I didn't realize they'd grow like crazy before I got back to them.  We salvaged the green tomatoes. We tied the remaining tomato plants to the building supports. We drastically cut the tomato plant closest to the cucumbers....and pulled our poor cantaloupe plant. Now maybe the cucumber will behave and stay put.

The plants we removed from the back and right were taller than the one on the left. This will let a lot more sun in for the melons...and space. I can walk in here again.

I have no idea HOW one is supposed to prune tomato plants...but I have three left and they are big on leaves....with green tomatoes. I'd like to cut some of the foliage and speed up the ripening of the tomatoes. I'll google...unless someone has experience and cares to share?

We'll see if these will ripen under the grow light. Maybe. If not - fried green tomatoes? 

Another bunch of beans

I'm 2 lbs short to make a batch of pickles. I'm considering filling up the last bit with either zucchini or beets? Any suggestions? 

Josiah has renters who want to move in Wednesday.  His kitchen is missing two drawers and he can't find any to match. Michael is making two drawers for the rental. Michael, Dad and I drove over to see the new place, and to give Michael the chance to check out measurements that were bothering him. 

I am about to call it a day. Michael is working in the garage...Lucille is keeping him company. ::snort::

Orchard Update

We are trying to grow a fruit buffet - a mini-orchard. We were told it would take 3 - 5 years before we would see fruit....our peach trees are sad. Our plum hasn't produced any blossoms...but check out the Meteor Cherries. We have two trees like this. 

They are TART - but I've been told we bought two of them to cross pollinate the two Rainier Cherry trees. We only had about four cherries on the Rainier trees....but they were THERE...and the one Michael and I have sampled is sweet. We are dreaming...of a few years down the road.
Too high for Lucille, the free range hen, to get it

We also have apples on the trees....Gala and Braeburn....

The moose have found the orchard; we've had to add electric tape to the fence. 

All in all - we are happy. We planted these in memory of Dad and Mom G. I'm looking forward to shade, fruit, and a picnic table in the orchard. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Our Craig's List Find

Josiah, Dad, Arielle, Benny, and I were sitting in the living room visiting when Benny alerted us to the fact Michael was home. 

He jumped up and yelled, "Papa!" and headed for the door. Josiah had seen Krista and Stacia riding their bikes in Butte when he came up the Old Glenn. They pulled into the driveway shortly after Michael, Alex and Nolan.  Benny welcomed them home...but he was chattering away about Papa. Papa had never brought anything home in the truck THIS exciting. 

Look what Papa had in the back of his truck! 
Compliments of the kids' rent monies. LOL 

We have been watching for sale and swap boards for at least six months. I wish it had been here earlier in the summer...but we'll love it now. It has a slide Benny will love. A climbing wall Gideon will enjoy and a picnic table I think Bella will like. It also has swings...which Stacia will enjoy. LOL

What a great idea for Papa's truck 
 It was so easy in THEIR yard...but we have discovered, once again, there is not one level spot in our yard. Michael and Alex will have to dig it in....we spent an hour or so hauling the parts to the back and moving it from spot to spot to find the perfect place to install it. In the end...we moved it about 3 feet to the right of the original spot. ::snort:: They are so patient with my need to visually see things before I can decide. 
Happy to have Nolan off work today - he and Cy were gracious to help

Michael, Alex, Nolan, Dad, Cy and Krista....

I think Benny would have been happy to play in this part for an hour or so....

In the midst of the discussing...Benny found the bubble container, filled it with water, and doused Papa. 

He went on to chase us all....his joy is contagious. 

Yes - he got G Dog. 
 Alex helped him get Mama.

When a location was firmly decided....Michael got busy putting in stakes and string to begin the leveling process. Benny was a big help. 

Michael has a project for Josiah's rental which will take priority over setting up the swing set...but we can dream of when it is in OUR yard and looks like it did in THEIR yard. 

BTW, we really enjoyed visiting with this young family we met through Craig's List. I'm excited to try my first lasagna garden. Michael is talking about a bee hive. I'm brainstorming how to install an honest to goodness zipline in our back yard. Doesn't that sound like fun????

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Odds & Ends Saturday

And now....a current post....because I'll never catch up if I don't post current as well as past. LOL

We took care of a lot of little odds and ends today....

Arielle cleaned rabbit hutches in preparation to sell or leave.

Krista, Nolan, Alex & Stacia did Panda Express yesterday
Stacia and I took Benny for a walk around the block.

Alex edited a video.

Michael prepped for a sermon.

I bottled kombucha...without getting ANY on the ceiling - thank you very much. 

Krista got a new phone working and moved back into the RV.

Michael and I went to look at a possible Craig's List purchase....and had a great visit with a fellow homeschooling family....and checked out her lasagna garden and his bee hives...and ZIP LINE.

Nolan worked a mid-shift....when they tried to take his Sunday off away; he told them he HAD OTHER PLANS FOR SUNDAY! We are excited to have him home on a Sunday.

Stacia made a slouch hat for Krista.

Krista, Dad, and I read.

Michael went to the church for a bit more quiet than we can provide around here....and so....the rest of us had breakfast for dinner....and played a few rounds of Farkle.
Well - this isn't from tonight as Michael and Nolan are in the photo
BUT you get the idea. ::snort:: 
We continue to be blessed by Dad's visit. He'll be heading back to Oregon after Labor Day. The house will seem emptier.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mr Gingerbread Goes Dip Netting - Fish Camp Day 4

This is our last day of dip netting for this trip. Most of us are nearing our limits.  THIS is the day Mr. Gingerbread man went dip netting with the guys. LOL

We skipped the morning tides.

We slept in. Which felt fantastic after our 15 1/2 hour fishing day yesterday. 

We had our big meal at lunch time.

We spent the afternoon napping, reading, playing games, fixing nets.... 

Papa and I (my name seems to have settled into Baba (for Baa-Chan) took Benny for a walk at the campground.

He was fascinated by this guy, but was sure turkeys "roaaarrr." 

We hit the beach at 5 p.m. hoping to come close to finishing out our limits. 

Many others had the same idea. This was the most crowded tide we fished. If you look closely you can see people waiting behind those fishing to get into place. When a fish is caught, the person must drag the fish to shore.....and others jump right in. The beach crew is essential to getting the fishing members back into line or place ASAP. 
Photo by Nate
 This is a short net...ours had another extension. 
Photo by Nate

I decided to leave the beach and try my hand at fishing. That current is STRONG. It was a challenge to remain on my feet and keep the net upright in the current.  I realized quickly I was shorter than those I was trying to stand by....I got swamped...cold wave down my waders..... I was worrying to much about those beside me and getting in their way... I decided to back out and tripped. I went under...wet from head to toe.... Michael showed up on the beach about then and suggested I try a shortened net (like the one above) rather than the longer nets. I'll try again next year. It was a cold evening on the beach.  Alack and alas - no photos. ::snort::

Photo by Nate
 Mother/Son bonding 
Photo by Nate
 Such a sweet photo
Krista, Benny, Stacia - Photo by Nate
Nate and I - Photo by Krista 
Having Krista, Dad and Nate on the beach made my job much easier and more enjoyable. We moved coolers and equipment down and up the beach. They were great new play mates for Benny, as well. 

Before we knew it it was time to get off the beach. These photos were taken at 10 p.m. and we still had an hour of cleaning in our future. 

Leaving the beach for the last time this year.  I'm so glad the kids were able to join us this year. It's a LOT of hard work, long days...but it's time to be working towards a goal together...and we all go home with a healthy protein source for the winter! 

Izaak decided to drive home tonight and surprise BreAnne. 

Day 4 Fish Counts 
Personal Day Count - 41 Total Fish 
Alex - 8
Arielle - 5
Cory - 7
Cy - 10
De'Etta -
Izaak - 4
Michael -5
Stacia - 2

Cumulative Counts *
Personal Count (176)
Alex - 35
Arielle - 13
Cory - 32
Cy - 41
De'Etta -0
Izaak - 21
Michael - 22
Stacia - 12

Group Total 164
Our Household Total 64

*I find it HILARIOUS that the personal counts are 12 fish higher than the Group Total. I asked and notated over and over and the numbers simply don't match. LOL This tells me several Gherkins are truly the master of the "fishing tale."  The Group total of 164 was taken from the final totals on each household's harvest card. It's the accurate number.