Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It has been a busy week.

Somewhere along the way construction season started.
Here it goes. Leave 5 minutes or an hour early, depends on where you're headed.
Actually, I can't wait for this piece of road to be completed.
If I was halfway motivated, I could bike to work.
At least TO work. Not home. Home would be uphill.
Last Saturday was cloudy, but so springlike outside that I just couldn't bear to be inside. The greenhouse got cleaned out. The garden hose started out with a bit of ice inside, but thawed quickly. Anything to be outside. You know you're hungry for fresh outdoors air when even cleaning the woods of all the trash blown in over the winter is appealing.
Days off work for me always include at least several trips to McDonalds. Thank goodness for jobs ... next we'll be thanking goodness for new drivers licenses!
It was a busy Easter weekend as well. We had services on Good Friday as well as Sunday afternoon, complete with the traditional Easter meal. I love when I don't have to worry about Easter dinner. I much prefer Easter brunch.

This year I cheated. Big. Time. We decorate bags for Easter "baskets". Small colored bags from WalMart have usually been done, this year we went for brown lunch bags. Tia spent Saturday afternoon decorating them, including a bag for the visiting speaker, Eric Jurmu. :) Not only did she decorate the bags, but I sent her and Brock to the store to purchase the fillings. Then she filled them ... and hid them. I'm thinking I'm done with that job. The leftovers started filling a bowl on the counter. I really don't do Fun Dip myself ... and I don't chew gum. It was fun.
Following services on Sunday, we had a happy houseful of visitors for the evening. Tia worked on coordinating some trampoline competition ...
 while Garrett was the time keeper ...
and the bowl on the counter served as prizes. I'm sure the parents were just thrilled about the additional sugar infusion! A very uplifting weekend topped off by warm visits with good friends.
We had to snap a few pictures this week as well. I don't know why. Just because. This is my favorite shot. Anna is my bling girl. She is usually decked out with oodles of it. In her hair, around her neck, on her belt loops, on her fingers. She is serious bling. She can't stand gardening and doesn't have the least bit of interest in playing in a greenhouse ...
Not like her mom in that respect. Her mom could spend her life out in there. Move right on in, except that it has a distinct chicken scent at the moment. They seem to think they belong in there. The feathered friends were quite insistent today. So much so that I had to block their path. It has been getting warmer outdoors every day. I haven't moved the thermometer out there yet, but I think it's warm enough.
Warm enough to move starts outside and see what happens. Grow, please, grow. I should have started peas many weeks ago, not just in the past week. They'll eventually be growing and ready to move to the screened porch. Radishes and lettuce went into the dirt today. I'm planning on picking up tomato starts over the weekend and adding them. The gardening itch is probably an incurable disease once it hits you. At least it feels like it!
The chickens have learned to love roaming around the yard. Oreo loves to slink around and chase them. Duke ushers them back to the chicken coop for us once in a while. The problem is that they are now laying eggs around the yard. Not always, but enough to make it interesting. Too bad they're not laying flourescent colored eggs. We don't do Easter egg hunts here at our house. I'm guessing we'll be having a perpetual one all summer long!
While I'm out playing in dirt and pulla dough (at least that I keep containted to the kitchen), I'm really suppose to be spending some time in this corner of the laundry room. It is a disaster in progress. I'm working at using up all kinds of fabric and not making any great progress at the moment. Instead, I have a serious mess going on. My goal (good thing those things are up for revision constantly) was to spend time down there on my day off during the week as well as on Saturday. Instead, this morning I spent 3 hours on the chair in front of the computer doing some digital scrapbooking. I am nearly caught up in that department! More than a few mornings of that left and I'll be up to date. Then ... maybe I'll spend more time in this corner of the house.
What I really should be doing is spending time in this room. It is called a Mud Room and I am ever so grateful to have one, but my goodness! I could probably plant seeds in here and watch them grow! As soon as I hit the Publish Post button, I'm plugging in my ear buds and going down there. Tonight.
As long as I don't get lost and detour outside again, because right out the door the rhubarb is sprouting. This year I'm going to get brave. I've watched a big patch of rhubarb that is down the road a spell go to seed every year since I've lived here. This year, I want that rhubarb. I need a freezer full of rhubarb punch for summer time. I hope they'll be obliging.
Meanwhile, we're enjoying daylight until 10:00 pm and the sun is up over the mountain when I hit the bus stop at 6:30 a.m. We've moved from my waving to Tia and her not seeing my wave in the dark ....  to making sure my hair has at least seen a brush through once before I bring her. I can still get away with pajamas, but a hairbrush is a must.

Enjoy the season!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday the four of us headed out

to watch the Bore Tide come into Turnagain Arm. After spreading the word, we were joined by a few others as well which was fun!
Being as we were there an hour early we managed to take in some of the beauty around us while waiting for the main attraction.
The main attraction turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. According to the Tide Table, Tuesday was suppose to be the best Bore Tide of the year. There will be others and perhaps we'll go down further south the next time it works out to go. Usually, I'm working on the day we might see a good one. What we were hoping to see was a wall of water coming in. Instead ... this is the sight we were treated to.
As we were hanging around afterward, the train came through! When was the last time you frantically dug through your purse for some change (good thing Denise's purse was closer than mine), 
plunked your pennies on the train track and watched the train meander it's way to wherever it is going ... right over your penny.
 Then the trick was to find it! After some help ... she got it! 
It was a fun afternoon.

We may need to call a halt to this running of ours.
My vehicle feels like it's getting about 3 mpg and the price of gasoline is sky rocketing.
I nearly shuddered yesterday when I heard that it may reach $6/gallon by summer.
I'm going to be grounded on my own dirt if that happens.
My own dirt isn't all that bad though.
Jari has been busy raking the yard and we're hoping to get some grass seed down in a few places. It is looking good ... one step at a time.
I planted seeds inside the beginning of the week.
The peas and beans are sprouting, and it's only been 2 days!
Note to self this year included getting peas out early. Self remembered the note.
The porch got cleaned off on Tuesday and room made for the growing of green.
It's getting to the season of Afternoon Nap in Sunshine on Porch. I love that season!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

So begins the frenetic pace of spring.

It is simply amazing.
This sunshine and warm weather.
It rejuvenates us as perhaps nothing else can.
It breathes life back into all of us.
Calls us out to live every minute of it.
And it doesn't really take into consideration that we've celebrated
another birthday since it was last here.
It continues to call.

Friday, after getting home from work at 7pm and making dinner, we headed out for a bonfire at the Matanuska River. Nice and close. The first one of the season. The temperature isn't exactly steamy during the days yet, but the sunshine ..... aaah.

Ice still covers the banks of the river.  
 We had a cozy group out there. Quite obviously, the temps aren't quite beach weather yet. Michael, Evan and Nora couldn't care less. A fire, sand and marshmallows makes life complete. Even better if the sand is coating the marshmallows. Before or after the fire part doesn't really matter.

Off to enjoy a sauna after the bonfire and then home to sleep for a few hours. And I really mean a few. Midnight to 3:30 a.m. counts for few. I did tuck 2 pillows into the backseat for Tia and me. We used them. The frost heaved roads are absolutely horrible between here and Clam Gulch. I slept like I was in a rock tumbler or something. I can sleep anywhere. It is quite a blessing. I picked up a cup of coffee in Soldotna and couldn't drink it until we turned off the pavement onto the dirt road. That frost heaved.

Our first view of the beach yesterday. 

The last time I was down here, the wind was blowing and it was rather chilly. That was about 6 weeks later in the year. Yesterday, it was beautiful! Warm enough that layers were peeled away and we probably managed to get a little sun on our cheeks. A fishing license is required for clamming. Tia doesn't need one, but I still hadn't gotten mine. I'm now good to go for the season. We also got a few clamming tools. Tia and I worked with shovels while the guys used clam guns. We worked until the tide pushed us back in toward the shore ... we all had success ... and a great time!

   A pit stop at Turnagain Pass as usual when traveling this way. This little jaunt to clam dig is more than just a little jaunt. It's a 4 hour drive to get down there. Hence, the good nap the whole way. If you aren't accustomed to looking at snow covered mountains where snow machines love to live, check out the tracks to the left of the avalanche. They are all snow machine tracks. Riding these mountains can be a very dangerous sport. High marking while avoiding setting off avalanches at the same time is something that has never been on my list of things I want to accomplish. I hope no one was buried in this one.

Turnagain Arm has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The tide was coming in as we were driving by. We didn't stop to gawk yesterday.
We will be there gawking on Tuesday.
Turnagain Arm experiences the second largest tides in the world.
Tuesday one of the stronger bore tides of the year will be coming through here
and I'll be there trying to capture it for you. We've not been able to do that yet, and I happen to be off work on Tuesday. Pack a cooler with dinner and head south for a picnic. At least this one is a bit closer to home, just south of Anchorage. 
Just like fishing, the work starts when the playing ends. With a combination of You Tube videos and willing hands, we set to cleaning clams. The majority of the clams were rather large. I was quite impressed!
 We dropped the clam into boiling water just until the shell popped open. Then into icy cold water. Pulled the clam from the other half of the shell and started cutting. The clear tube sticking up in the picture on the top right is apparently some sort of anti freeze device. I really should google it before I tell you that. At least that is what we learned from the videos. Keeps the clams from freezing. We cleaned a little over 60 of them.

Then we breaded and fried them.
After which we decided to use them in chowder instead.
If anyone has a great idea for cooking clams ... we're all ears over here.
Totally a fun experience and I'm sure we'll do it again ...
just not this week.

Today I am doing nothing. Absolutely N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
Making chowder and putting my feet up are the order of the day.
Have a great week and if all goes well, we'll be back with bore tide stories for you soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A path led by the hand of God

Jari and I have always believed that our lives are led by the hand of God. Our path is of His choosing. Yes, the title of this blog is Living the Alaska Dream. Not because life is always dreamy, but because it was a dream to experience this most magnificent place. We have seen much. We have met incredible people and made true friends. We have so much more yet to see and to do here, yet it would take a lifetime and we would still not have accomplished it all.

Our reasons for coming here probably still exist. I love this quiet way of living. I love the puttering in the greenhouse and coaxing things to grow. I love watching my husband play with a chain saw all day long ... although the trees seem to disappear while he's playing. I love listening to the train in the quiet of the morning. I love watching a squirrel run up and down trees looking for snacks. I love waiting for the moose to come visit in the spring and am thrilled when she brings her babies with her. I love the fact that I don't need sunglasses in the summertime because the sun is too high in the sky. I love watching the snow line on Pioneer Peak and judging the seasons by when the sunlight streams on the parking lot at work or through my dining room window. I love the people of Alaska. The stories I have heard of the things they have experienced will forever live in my heart. The kindness of everyone. I could go on to fill many blogs with the things I love about Alaska.

Along with the delicious experience of living here, we've certainly experienced our share of heart break and tough stuff in the time we have been here. We've climbed personal mountains. Many times we have celebrated small, even miniscule, victories after stumbling off emotional cliffs. Along the way we have come to appreciate even more so what it was we left behind when we moved. So we have prayed. Prayed that our loving God, who knows our every weakness and our every need, would lead us in the way that would be best for both our children and for their parents.
Our path has been paved from the beginning of time. Perhaps it is God's plan that we stay here. If it is so, then we will happily do so. If His plan is that we leave for a while, then so it will be. Quite obviously, we have been working on the house and trying to get things ready for the market. Our goal was to have it done by April 1st and we've now rearranged that timeline for when the trees are green and the lawn needs mowing. It will be May instead when we start showing our home to prospective buyers. If it should sell, we're heading back to the Valley of the Sun.

Either way, we feel blessed to have been able to experience this kind of living. This past week a dear old friend of ours, Walter, was called to Heaven. I was just talking with my sister, Heather, this evening who still lives down the road from where Walter and Sylvia have lived as long as I've known them. Walter often talked of moving to Alaska. I am still smiling about one of his ideas. You see, moving to Alaska would have entailed moving not only Walter & Sylvia, but Heather & Shawn as well ... along with all the farm equipment and animals ... on a rented military plane. I love it. Tomorrow when I drive into the face of the snow capped mountain to meet the school bus I'm going to spend a special moment just thinking of him ... and live a little of his dream.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A splendiferous Friday!

Laundry sorted, mail sorted, bills paid.
Then I was off to the thing that has been just bothering me. Out to the cabin with the carpet shampooer. I avoided the bedroom completely. The rest of it was fair game. The extra stuff got moved out, the carpet shampooed, the windows washed and the bathroom scrubbed (except the shower .. I really don't like those things).
Then my hubby decided that ...
it really needed some paint. So he started painting. There won't be too many white walls left around here by the time we're done. We have added color galore and I love it!
The yard needs cleaning, I know. If you can believe it, we had insulation size snowflakes falling this morning. The temps look to be hanging in the 40's for the next week. More yardwork coming tomorrow. Maybe even a rip roaring bonfire. For those of you who have been waiting ... this is what my cabin/guest house looks like today. A beckoning porch light and needing some white chairs. Or maybe a church pew.
 We stopped and had some lunch .... 
and then I started that outside cleaning. How on earth does one pick out all the lilac leaves out of the strawberry plants? I let them sit all winter and sort of cover the plants. I remember covering strawberry plants with pine needles growing up. I don't have those handy pine trees, I figured the lilac leaves would do and they must have. I picked out two wheel barrow loads full and found that we have green shoots on the strawberries! My strawberry rhubarb pie garden is starting!!
I really did work all day while listening to an audio book on my new phone. I think I may just be in love with that thing. Skip the e-mail reading and the Facebook updates. Give me audio books and texting .. I'm pumped. The last load of clothes is ready to hit the dryer and I'm down to towels and sheets. That is big. In one of my million trips up and down the stairs, I thought I'd share a small corner of my mudroom. We are serious about this white, tan and red thing around here. The floor is red as well. It was just so dirty that I didn't dare let the lens sink that low.
You have to see this one as well. This space behind these doors was completely worthless and unused when we moved in. The door on the left now holds Brock's bedroom. The door straight ahead leads to the other part of the basement. That white doorway in the back is the entrance to my laundry room. Jari did these while I was off vacationing in sunshine. I had to include a shot of the door frame. It took some creativity to get that one done. I love how it looks.
Can't believe it is only Saturday tomorrow. Tia will be thrilled with me as I have a bit of a project for her to help me with. It involves the Dremel and will certainly involve hair ties as well. Yard cleaning, maybe some raking (between the fields of snow), hopefully some sewing and maybe even some seed sowing.

Oh, yeah. I forgot. Spider transplantation as well.