Monday, September 30, 2019

A Busy Fall Afternoon

It isn't raining today!  The temps ARE changing.  We all made use of the day in various ways....

I enjoyed a soul-refreshing coffee date with a friend. I followed this by a bit of shopping.

Michael rented a splitter and he and the "boys" spent the afternoon hard at work to splitting the wood they've felled this summer. It was nice Nolan was able to jump in. A bit later in the day Krista jumped in as well. We appreciate all the help.

Michael, Nolan, Dad

Michael, Nolan, G.G., Alex

Stacia, Krista and I set out to deliver fall goodies to neighbors. We only managed to make one personal contact....but maybe it's a seed.

Arielle got home from work ready to take advantage of the beautiful fall day. She asked if we'd like to go to one of the local parks with her and Benny. I simply COULDN'T miss out on one of the last park trips of the year.....Like may towns we have a "Kid's Castle," "Kid's Kingdom"....I've seen these community built parks all over the states. This one follows the basic design, with an Alaskan twist. Lot's of Color....

 A nod to the Alaskan Railroad

Colorful tiles and borders


Snow machine
We ran into 3 friendly youth - no wild hooligans in sight. 

A couple of empty swings made for Benny and Bachan!
Swing isn't so bad when you do it together

Benny loved the swinging and sliding.....
He loves the climbing and sliding

 Fall fun
Auntie Stacia is going to get Benny! 
 It was a brief hour - dinner had to be made....back at home everyone was wrapping up the wood project. Stacia and I got a pot pie going and dinner was served.

We ended the night with a couple of chapters of Prince Caspian.

Hard to accept September is already ending.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Fun and Lessons

Michael and I were in the nursery today. A fun time was had by all.

Stacia asked permission from pastor to do a fundraiser to earn money towards the AK Youth Conference which is coming up next month. Her idea was to set up a table and sell hats at church. He agreed and she set a table way out by the arctic entrance of the church. Inside the front door but not in the foyer or sanctuary.  She had a sign clearly stating she was raising funds for youth conference. She was nervous about this and it's a good thing Michael and I were down in the basement. We didn't see a grown woman, who doesn't attend services,  walk into the church and chew out a 14 yo, going as far as to raise her voice to Stacia, as she tried to explain she had asked permission and was raising money for a youth conference. She was told,  "If you need money you should ask the pastor for money, that's what the church is for." Evidently, it's a sin to participate in a fund raiser, but o.k. for a grown woman to speak rudely and harshly to a youth. Kudos to our pastor who stepped in and said it was ok for Stacia to be there.  It was a good lesson for Stacia in how different Christians have different convictions. It is also a good lesson for her to learn sometimes you do everything right and you still get yelled at. And you just have to be o.k. with that. It's part of being brave. Another lesson learned is sometimes others will defend you.  (I have no pictures to accompany this paragraph.) As one who has been in ministry for over 30 years, and as an adult, may I suggest if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are upset at something you see at church - talk kindly. If you are really upset - go talk to the pastor. The 14 yo girl in the front, or even your best friend, isn't the one to address your concern. LOL

When we came up from the nursery we discovered Josiah and Jamin in the back of the church with Dad. Nolan had requested (again) to be given Sundays off and was at church. BreZaak were home sick, but the rest of us went out to the Sunrise Grill for lunch.  They always give us a table way off by ourselves. It's nice as it is easier for dad to hear because we can talk loud without bothering others. It was a fun lunch - full of smart comments, Dad jokes, and did you know there is such a thing as Mom jokes? ::snort::

We spent the afternoon visiting and playing games. Cory was ripping something out of the house and Arielle and Benny joined us for a bit. We ended the day playing Farkle.

Alex won. Most were over 5K before I even got ON. LOL 

I'm not sure I'm ready for another week to begin - but this is the schedule we've prayed over and love. We've got this. LOL

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Lasagna Gardening and Such

It wasn't raining today! Michael and Alex made it a goal to finish up "the Birch tree." Nolan was off work and got sucked into the job. Dad is always in the middle of the activity.

I thought it would be good to snatch some one on one time with Krista so the two of us went to Thrifters Rock on a hunt for jeans that would fit me. My jeans seem to be stretching out and sliding down to regions I do not wish to show. 😏 I don't want to spend a lot of money until I'm at goal weight. I am now less than I was at JaRissa's wedding. We found a few cute shirts and one pair of jeans that will work. I'll try to make it to Bishop's Attic and find another pair. The ones I have now are crop pants and it's getting a bit chilly for crop pants and flip flops..especially when they don't stay up. ::snort:: I also found 4 mini-loaf pans...

I baked a couple batches of zucchini bread. I made onne batch exactly as written....and did a second, healthier version. The healthier version rose higher. I needed to have filled the mini-loaf pans fuller. I cut a loaf of each and had everyone in the family do a blind side by side to tell me which they liked better.  I did not participate and I did not let Dad participate. We are eating the sugar free version regardless - diabetes being what it is. The family chose the reduced oil, no sugar added version.

Yes, you see chocolate chips. BTW Lily's has a stevia sweetened chocolate chip that is good. I'll use MUCH less chocolate next time.  Stacia made up some of our homemade hot chocolate mix and we plan to package a pint jar of hot chocolate,  with a loaf, and deliver them to neighbors.

Stacia and I went out to do a  bit of winterizing in our garden. We decided composting the garden greens is the perfect way to begin a second lasagna garden bed. Michael and Alex didn't have the supplies or time to build another we simply laid cardboard out, then a layer of brown, followed by a layer of green, and another layer of brown. This will be the spot where we put our kitchen scraps and chicken coop debris through the winter. The lasagna method is an easy way to create soil by sheet composting.
Note Dad and Nolan burning brush in the background

The following quote gives a summary of the lasagna gardening method. I found it here.   I also recommend "Lasagna Gardening" by Patricia Lanza.
"Lasagna gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that results in rich, fluffy soil with very little work from the gardener. The name "lasagna gardening"...refers to the method of building the garden, which is, essentially, adding layers of organic materials that will “cook down” over time, resulting in rich, fluffy soil that will help your plants thrive. Also known as “sheet composting,” lasagna gardening is great for the environment because you're using your yard and kitchen waste and essentially composting it in place to make a new garden."
We had enough frozen garden plants to add another layer of green to the first lasagna bed....

 Followed by a brown will  settle down within a week. 

The temps have dropped and we have had frost. I tried to save a few squash plants by covering them with tarps. They look iffy.  As I pulled the cauliflower plants, I noticed the broccoli has new florets.

We covered this bed and made make-shift ends for the tunnel. 

We've still got kale and carrots growing in here. 

 As we pulled up plants we found MORE Zucchini -  we are "SURE" they're the last of the season. We also found a hill of Yukon potatoes and a few stray carrots.

We aren't 100% sure how to put the garden to bed for the season. Ideas? I had thought to cover it all with black plastic to keep the crazy weeds from taking over as the snow melts next spring.  I'm rethinking this as I found hundreds, maybe thousands, of dead worms on top of the plastic that was out there during the last rain. I need the worms.

Friday, September 27, 2019


We had our first frost this morning - and thus ends our official growing season on Sept 27th.  Michael and I had covered a few squash plants and my carrot/kale bed. I still am hoping to use the tomatoes in the greenhouse. I have a strainer on order so I can process them as soon as it arrives.
8 a.m.
Stacia asked me to delay letting the chickens out so Dash could enjoy the chicken yard. Now there's a nice pet owner. She went out in the frosty cold and let Dash run around. Dash had a fantastic time.

This is becoming a routine. I run out for Dad's paper. Benny sees me come in and comes upstairs as soon as he can to join dad in reading the paper. ::snort::
He wasn't about to share with Bachan.

Road runner  continues to fly over the fence. Phoenix, the roo pictured below, can fly in and out as well.  I keep thinking they'll get heavy enough not to be able to do this....Phoenix seems to like to perch higher than the hens and crow. LOL 

It was a busy week as we harvested, felled trees, decorated, schooled and started Bible study and Life Group. As Krista noted - "it's a lot," but all things we feel called to participate in or lead.  We've cut back from last year and it feels like a lot - but doable.  Nevertheless, by Friday afternoon I was tired and fell asleep while Stacia, Dad and I were watching a Heartland episode.

We finished the week with pizza and a movie.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Fall - Decor, Scenery, Routine

Stacia and I began the day going to our favorite cafe for our Bible study. On our way home we noted clouds climbing up our mountain range. 

By the time we reached the bridge on our way home, the clouds had totally covered the mountains. We couldn't see any of the mountains that ring our area. We pushed through the fog and as we turned up our street.....ShaZam! The mountain returned! Love the fall colors! Who knew? White is a fall color in Alaska, too!

Stacia and I have been itching to get the fall decorations up. Our goal was to have them up before Life Group began. Life group started tonight. We hit the ground running when we got home. My phone isn't focusing well...I may take real photos and replace these.

Krista made these darling pumpkins at a women's gathering in September. We were just driving into town from the trip to Oregon and missed it. 

Moved the fall kokechi doll front and center....added the quilt and a wooden hangy thing. 

So maybe having a dresser in the entry way can be useful. 

Benny spotted this immediately. 

I'm using the frankenpumpkins for decorations. 

After my "Yikes its fall," post last week some have been concerned. We are feeling much better now that we are settling into fall, have the decor up, our fall schedule back in place, and are getting a handle on some of the many "fall projects."

Life Group began - we had I need to play with the chairs a bit as one of our regular couples weren't able to make it. We're going to be working through an Oswald Chambers book, The Ultimate Refuge.  I look forward to the Bible we discuss and the ways our lives touch each other as we join together.

The group had pity on me when they saw how MUCH squash I have left. I have put up 50 quarts, baked 8 batches of muffins or breads...AND they all took 2 big ones each. I still have this many left....but it seems more manageable. I've been informed these are Alaska sized zucchini and they will taste just fine. I loved that no one was intimidated by the sizes.  The small ones were left. Praise God. ::snort:: I may be planting way less squash next year.

A funny from life group. Krista and Arielle had gone up to Hatcher's Pass. They ran into lots of snow. Our normal road is closed for the season. They walked around and made a snow man. I commented, "I need to go up and see the snow." Jacque made me laugh when when she commented, "Why? It will come down here." ::snort:: It makes me laugh every time I see the termination dust moving down the mountain or think about the impending snow. It's an Willamette Valley thing ingrained in me...lets go to  the mountains and see the snow. LOL

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Benny Takes Over the Upstairs

Tuesday we made apple zucchini muffins (A-Z muffins) - lots of them - but I didn't take photos. I used applesauce and monk fruit and they were a yummy, sugar-free treat for dad...well, no sugar ADDED...though there IS sugar in apples....

Tuesday was our first Gather Bible study of the year.  It's going to be good. I am looking forward to having a couple of new facilitators on board this year.

Wednesday was our Benny day this week. Dad loves the days I watch Benny. I do too. ::snort::
Photo from Arielle
I am NOT done with all my canning, dehydrating and such...but it is time to clear the hearth in preparation for upcoming fires. "We" carried the pressure canner, two water bath canners, 2 dozen quart jars and 2 dehydrators downstairs.  We also carried the applesauce and pickles down to the shelves in the laundry room.

Papa likes Benny days too....their duets are awesome indeed. 

Somehow Benny convinced GG he would like to take a nap with him.... or so GG informed me. 

Dad loves to share how Benny played him. As soon as he fell asleep Benny was OFF.  He did go down for a nice nap. I sealed the frozen squash. 

In the afternoon Michael, Alex and Dad continued to work on brush. Stacia and I harvested garden produce. The first frost is predicted so we harvested the corn that looked edible, squash, beets, some kale, and cauliflower.

Alaska sized zucchini

Benny was full of energy in the afternoon at just the time Papa was ready to nap. 

We are experiencing quite a variety in eggs as the pullets begin to lay. 

Dinner was ready at 5. This is new on Tues, Wed and Thursday (all church nights for us). Last year we just skipped or scarfed down dinner.  We had the kids at church at the new youth group's quite a race to get them there at 6 p.m. but it is nice to have the home earlier in the evening...and nicer still that Krista can drive them home. 

Dad and Michael ran a few errands during youth group. I worked out and enjoyed the stillness of the house - Nolan was in bed and EVERYONE else was gone. 

A man and his fire....he stayed out and tended it late into the night.