Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Winter Welcome

Hello Friends!

Welcome to winter in Delta Junction.  I'd like to post some photos of the freshly fallen snow, that is coming down at this very moment, but I've been a little busy, so perhaps this weekend I'll find some time to snap away. 

Monday marked a new chapter in my life.  In the past couple of years I've gone from working 1 job with loooong hours, to a reduced schedule, to absolutely no schedule, back to a part-time schedule, and now my schedule is working over-time.  Mind you, I'm not complaining, I'm having fun, I'm just needing a couple more days for adjustment.

So, Sunday evening I did not sleep a bit.  Well, just a bit.  About an hour and a half, to be exact.  But, I arose on Monday morning at the buttcrack of dawn to greet the morning with vigor and grace, and was bombarded with white.  White, wet, snow.  Which, of course, led to not-so-wonderful roads on my very first day of work, where I actually had to drive more than 5 miles.  Nice.  Or something.  Anyway...

Thankfully I was able to ride with Brent on this particular first day, which helped tremendously.  When I arrived it felt like the first day of school all over again.  Frizzy over-permed hair, a face that looked like it's a connect-the-dots puzzle.  I hate being the "new girl".  Luckily, there were 3 of us, and that made the transition a little bit better.

As first days go, it wasn't so bad.  We did a lot of sitting around, a lot of waiting, and a lot of laughing.  Sometimes all you can do is laugh.  But there was still a lot of awkward laughing, awkward silence, and introductions to more people that I won't remember, most likely.  But it was a good day.  And I was happy when it was over. Ha!

I have to say that I've been spoiled the last couple months, so I missed "my girls".  Especially since Monday was Courtney's birthday.  Bummed-ola. But I'll be back there in a couple of months...and I'm hoping the time flies by.

So, now that the first day is over, the rest of the days have improved markedly.  Today was better than yesterday, and I'm hoping tomorrow is way better than today.  But in other news, though the days are long, I occasionally get to squeak in a lunch with my hubby, which is a wonderful bonus. 

Other than that, there's nothing exciting to report.  I'm hoping that the bears are tucked away all snug in their dens, and that the moose will stay away while I'm traveling the road between here and Ft. Greely.

When I find time this weekend, I'll update some more, hopefully with some wintery wonderland photos. 

Oh, which brings me to another point...some people tell me that I may or may not glorify Delta Junction...I have a tendency to disagree, but we'll discuss it again in our next post... :)

Have a happy day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Last Ride of the Year

We've been enjoying a gorgeous, albeit it cool, fall.  We have had plenty of sunshine, and the temps are cool, but enjoyable yet.  After our 6 inches of snow in late September we've been virtually snow free, though I think our luck may be running out in that department. 

Two weekends ago Brent and I decided to make the most of the warmer temps and head out for one last ride on Meadows Road.  It was a fairly warm day, when propertly dressed, of course.  The problem was the WIND.  It was terribly windy.  I finally had to wrap my scarf around my hat to keep it from blowing off in the gusts and gales.  Unfortunately, it was so bad that we didn't stay out as long as we would have liked to, but we took advantage of the day and snapped some pretty pictures.

Donnelly with it's dusting of snow.  It actually had a pretty nice cap about a week or so before this photo was taken, and I'm happy to see that we've lost some of it.  I'm sure it will be frosted soon.

Now that Brent is working less overtime he's had a little more time to get out and do some salmon fishing.  These are the silvers, at the end of the run, the end of the spawn, and they're coming North to die.  By the time the reach us, they're tired and well spent, and although we don't eat them, Brent finds them a lot of fun to catch. 

In addition to salmon fishing in the river, he's been doing a little grouse hunting.  And just generally relaxing, which is a huge change for him, and something he finds very difficult to accomplish.

We've had some exciting, and nerve wrecking, encounters with wildlife.  I was headed to work one day last week to find a cow moose standing guard of my car.  Needless to say I shut the door and grabbed for the camera.  By the time I got the card put back in she had sauntered to the opposite side of the house and I managed to catch this (not-so-great) photo of her.  When my heart rate finally calmed down, I headed out to work.

Brent was out playing with Ches in the yard, walking the driveway in search of birds for the freezer, when something caught his eye.  That something turned out to be a black bear, at the end of the driveway, in nearly the same spot I saw him/her.  He reared up on his hind legs to sniff the air and booked it out across the hay field to the West of us, where Ches was hunting for voles. 

Fortunately they didn't notice eachother and Brent got himself, and Ches, back to the house without incident.  I don't think Brent will admit it, but he was a tad shaken.  All he was carrying with him was a .22.  Not exactly bear protection.

Last week was a whirlwind and was busy.  I was offered another job, so I'll be starting that in the near future.  My friends at Durham have been gracious enough to allow me to adjust my schedule around this temporary job on base, and I'm hoping that the situation will work out well for all of us.  At the end of the week Brent started his new shift, which is still an adjustment.  But I think he'll really like it when everything settles and he gets used to it all.

Saturday I spent the day in Fairbanks.  I was fortunate to finally meet up with Susan, a fellow blogger, in the North Pole/Fairbanks area.  We met up for a late lunch, and it was truly delightful.  I love to hear of others' stories of travel to and from Alaska.  Susan is a brilliant photographer, and if you can check her out here, I promise you'll be impressed.  We chatted and learned more about eachother, though I admit, we knew quite a bit through the blogs and facebook.  My only regret?  That I didn't have more time to stay and play and chat and catch up.  I'm looking so forward to doing it again, soon!

I had two goals for the day.  And I got neither accomplished.  After a hellish wait on an oil change at Walmart, I didn't manage to get in that day, despite a 2.5 hour wait.  I rushed, grabbed my things for Tanya's shindig and rushed to North Pole to cross item #2 off the list. 

Hmph.  No luck.  AT&T store.  Closed.  BUMMER.  I was so looking forward to finally having reliable cell phone service.  Everytime I make a call, get a call, attempt a call, I get dropped.  Grrr.  It's time to switch.  Maybe soon.

Saturday night I arranged for a babysitter and took Tanya out on the town to celebrate her 30th birthday!  I had messaged a few of her friends, with Tony's help of course, to meet us at Pike's Lodge for dinner.  We arrived, fashionably late, to a table full of smiling faces, all there to support Tanya.  We enjoyed great conversation, mouthwatering food, the carrot cake of my dreams, and gifts galore for the birthday girl!  It was a great, and memorable, night for us all!

Sunday morning I rushed around trying to complete the tasks from the previous day.  I never did get the phone, but only because I need to drag Brent back to North Pole to make use of his hefty discount.  I did, however, manage to get an oil change.  Two days wait, 5 hours total, after buying my own oil filter from another's done.  I can safely say, I will be trying out someone else next time.  And for the record, there were several other people in the same situation. 

When I got home I was wiped out. I took a nap, and woke to dinner lovingly prepared by my awesome hubby.  I lounged, nursed a headache (no hangover, I was sober cab), and laid low.  Much to my dismay, and thanks to the weather, I've been having headache issues again. Hopefully the barometric pressure changes again soon...I could use a reprieve.

Have a happy day!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Windy City

I think that the people of Chicago are wrong. Wrong! Delta has definitely been the windy city the past couple days. My electric meter is working over time due to the contiual spot light on all things King. What am I talking about? My motion light. It's now running about 12 hours a day. I think it's time to flip a switch. Oy.

We are losing light at rapid speed. It's hard to say when we actually reach dark. I would guess between 7:15-7:30 p.m. Though with the gray days the light seems to disappear even quicker. The mornings are harder to gauge because the towering trees that surround our house. While the sun comes up, it takes a little bit longer to make it over my trees, so I'm not actually seeing sun/gray days until about 8:30 a.m. I promise to pay better attention in the coming days and report some facts.

The temperatures have been nice. Nice enough for me to leave my coat at home, though I've regretted it a morning or two. We are having temps in the mid-40's, which to my understanding are lovely days, and abnormal? The rumor mill is churning and I've heard we're supposed to stay nice into next week, even reaching temps as high as 60. Phew! I will have to get out my sunscreen!!

Brent and Ches have been hunting the woods high and low for grouse. We have few in our freezer, and I'm sure they'll be nice and tasty when we cook them up. Brent's also been duck hunting. Much to Dad's surprise we do have ducks left here, and each morning I wake to a cacophony of shots vibrating off the shores of Clearwater Lake. It's a highly hunted area...I guess.

In his adventures through the woods he's noticing a lot of moose tracks. It's great to know that they're around, but I'm a little bummed that they haven't visited the yard more. It's also comforting to know that moose usually keep their distance when bear are present. Hopefully that means our bulkier friends have kept moving out of the buffet, er, my yard.

I'm antsy, working on new things, and scheming, er coming up with new things to occupy my time. I'd share, but I really don't want to jinx anything, so I'll fill you in if and when, those things become truth.

Hoping you are all well.

Prayers be with my Grandma Blanche as she heals from a back procedure she had done earlier this week. It sounds like everything went well and she is healing at home with her family.

Thoughts and prayers with Brent's family as they grieve the loss of Grandma Helen and lay her to rest beside Grandpa this weekend in South Dakota. We will be with you in thought and prayer.
Have a happy day!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Home Away from Home

People, who shall remain nameless, have been pestering me for photos of the inside of our house. The fact is, I didn't take any photos before because, starting over from scratch takes a little bit of time. I mean, really, we started out with nothing. Have you forgotten? 18 totes in the trailer. My entire life in 18 little, measly totes. Seriously people. I had to work some magic!

While Brent was away in Portland, I had plenty of time on my hands to pound, hang, experiment and admire without sighs of impatience. I sewed, I stuffed, I primped and then I photographed, so here they are. If you have no interest in seeing my house. Please skip to the bottom of this

This is the view of the living room from the kitchen entry. Dad, the little box under the far window...that's the Toyo I talk so much about. It's efficient, too bad it isn't working right now. See those pillows there, I made those. With my own two hands. A little blood, a little sweat, and a lot of cuss words. I'm still working on the patience thing...

This is the other angle. And obviously Chessa's favorite hiding spot. I often lose my balance stepping around her. She blends in perfectly!

And if you couldn't tell what room this's the kitchen/dining area. I would suggest if it's difficult for you to figure that out, you may want to spend a little more time at home, and a little less time at the Golden Arches.

This room is the master bedroom. If you see the two smaller pillows and the table topper, I made those. Can you imagine, Mom? I sewed. Remember that big cream machine in the closet, that's a s-e-w-i-n-g - m-a-c-h-i-n-e. You can make things with it. Seriously. Dig it out and try it!

This pathetic looking space is the guest room/office/craft room/hopefully-someday-nursery. Phew. It's a little sparse, but I don't want to fill it up with a bunch of stuff to have to empty it out. So, this is an act in patience building. Can you see a theme here?
Okay, now that we're done with that little virtual tour I can tell you what else we've been up to. While Brent was away playing in Portland, actually he said he was working, but I'm not convinced. So, anyway, he was away and I had planned my first Alaska Girls' Night. I invited 8 ladies. I asked them to bring a friend and a dish to pass. We had a great time. I have been doing Girls' Night for years, and they're all a little bit different. The ladies here are a little more reserved. I'm not sure if that's because they're just better behaved, or if I just scare them a little. Guess we'll wait and see how many show up next time!
Brent came home the following day, which was also his birthday. Though he vetoed it and made Sunday his birthday because he was traveling and it was a crappy day. Okay. I'm game. Heck, if I knew I could just veto the day at the end of it, I would have been milking this birthday thing loooooong ago. Score! Just wait until next May...awesome. ((evil laugh))
Sunday we took a trip over to a trail near our house to pick rose hips and cranberries. It was a perfect day, cool, fresh snow, and sunshine to warm our faces. We donned our rubber boots and trekked back into the woods. Wandering the paths, trees and fence lines in search of low bush cranberries and rose hips. We hit the mother load in rose hips and will be steeping hips for tea until eternity. Much to my chagrin I left the woods with not only berries but big, nasty blisters from wearing my new Bog boots without socks. This was a hard lesson to learn, and it will NEVER happen again.
Rose and Brad invited us over Sunday evening to celebrate the old guy's birthday, so we went over to be treated with a lovely Mexican feast, and Brent's favorite German Chocolate cake. I'm pretty sure he was in heaven. I did have to put him back in his place, however, when he told me that he thought maybe he should veto Sunday too.
The following week we were busy trying to catch up from being behind. Brent's been working a lot, though that's supposedly coming to an end. So he caught up at work and I worked at catching up on his laundry. I still don't think I'm caught up.
This past Saturday I made in impromptu trip to Anchorage with my friend, and boss, Courtney. I guess you could say she pays me to be her friend! LOL. Okay, so maybe that's not the best way to describe our relationship. I work for her. Yes. She's my friend. Yes. So, I guess you could say that I have the best of both worlds. Except when she yells at me. She's brutal. :) Just kidding Courtney. Maybe.
Anyway, we headed out at an ungodly hour to see a man (and a woman and a child) about a horse. For her. Not me. Are you kidding? Me and a horse? I. Don't. Think. So. The weather in Delta was good, cold, but good. As we traveled South and higher in elevation we didn't have as much luck. We stumbled upon snow and slush, and just as we reached the Summit Lake area, ice. Slick, slippery snow and ice. Fortunately it didn't last long, and since Courtney is a long-term Alaska resident, I knew I was in good hands.
A little further down the road we caught our first glimpse of wildlife in a bald eagle, and then a golden eagle. Pure and simple beauty. Unfortunately neither of us thought to bring a camera, which was disappointing considering what lay ahead. As we neared the Paxson/Paxson Lake area we were amazed at the number of hoof prints on the road. I'm not talking a smattering, the entire road was laden with hoofprints as far as the eye could see.
We passed cars pulled over on the edge of the road. And while we didn't see what they were seeing, we were hopeful we might catch a glimpse of something up ahead. It wasn't about a mile up the road and we struck furry gold! Caribou. Caribou, caribou and more caribou. Big ones, little ones, boy ones, girl ones. We just stopped in the middle of the road and watched. It was brown, horns and white butts as far as the eyes could see.
As we crept forward on our journey we came to Paxson Lake. At one point Courtney looked down and asked if those were caribou in the water. Of course, being the observant smart alec I am, I promptly told her that they were not caribou and they were most definitely trees. I think I need my eyes checked. We didn't travel more than a hundred feet when I could clearly tell that they were indeed caribou. Hundreds and hundreds of caribou. We pulled over just as a group of animals hit the road to shake their coats free of water, and dash off into the woods beyond.
It was beautiful and while I wish I had had my camera to capture it, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I'm happy I just got to watch. We watched as they stampeded down the bank on the opposite side, hit the water, and swam in large groups to our side of the lake. It was wonderful. Wish you could have seen it!
When we had our fill of caribou we continued on our way to Anchorage. Past Lion's Head, road construction, the Matanuska Glacier, a terrible car accident, more road construction, only to get lost in the hills of Anchorage. To be fair, the roads are whacked down there. They turn from one into another back to the other. Goodness. We finally arrived to check out Maggie the wonder horse.
When our quest for all things horses was complete we headed to heaven, er, I mean Target, for a little hands-on retail therapy. We power shopped, and filled our carts in record time, loaded up the back of the SUV and headed North towards the mountains, and home.
We were blessed with a beautiful night for travel. The moon was full and high and lit the whole way home. We were fortunate enough to see a fox, a coyote and an owl. And even more fortunate to see the port-a-potty up on the hill at a much needed moment in time. And thank goodness for headlights, and Taco Bell napkins...we'll just leave it at that.
Sunday I was feeling particularly domestic and whipped up a lovely beef stew, some homemade buttermilk biscuits and peach pie from the peaches we bought on our trip to Valdez. It was delightful and we were stuffed to the gills.
We have lost most of our snow now, and we've been having beautiful, albeit chilly, weather. We are predicted 40's and 50's for this week, and while we didn't reach 40 today, the sun was beautiful, and I'll take every single last drop of it that I can get.
Today has been hard for Brent, for us. His Grandma Helen passed away this morning. We pray for her peace, and are grateful that God has taken her home and ended her pain. But we miss her. Tonight we decided to clear our heads, so we headed to the woods. When Brent is upset, or happy, or sad, or mad, his favorite place is the woods, with gun in hand.
We didn't see a bird, or a moose, or anything else, but we enjoyed the peace, the solitude, and the sun light as we walked the pathways of Bluff Cabin Trail. It has been a glorious summer, and beautiful fall.
Have a happy day!