Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Welcome to our winter wonderland!  It's Sunday, and we've had the most beautiful day.  Big, fat, fluffy flakes have been floating down to the tundra all day long.  It is possibly the slowest, most idyllic sight I've seen.  And since I have no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Today has been a very uneventful, but particularly wonderful day.  I woke to an eerily quiet house, as Brent had planned to go hunting with a friend of his.  I knew that he wouldn't be home, but Chessa was gone as well.  So it was me, alone, with the day to waste away.

The week behind us was a busy one.  We enjoyed our Thanksgiving day, just the three of us.  We slept late, played in the snow, and just enjoyed a day of rest.  I baked a coffee cake for breakfast, and then braised some grouse, which Brent provided for our Thanksgiving feast.  I cooked up some wild rice from home, similar to the rice dish that Grandma Adeline cooked every year.  We completed the meal with yams, green bean casserole, fresh baked rolls, and I even whipped up a pecan pie.  Needless to say, we didn't eat pie until  Friday.  We were too stuffed!

In the afternoon we hiked to the woods to cut our first Alaskan Christmas tree.  We haven't had a real tree in the house since our first year of marriage.  I believe we managed to ruin two vaccuums that year.  Apparently I thought "evergreen" extended into life after cutting, and there was no need for watering.  Or very little anyway.  Ahh.  Yes.  Lessons learned, indeed.

Well, this time around I was smarter about it.  But alas, we were both scared awake at 3 a.m. Friday morning to the sound of a crashing tree.  Needless to say, at that time of night, it wound up in the yard.  It has yet to come back in.  We'll see what happens next.  I'm guessing a much smaller, less messy tree.  Perhaps we'll go back to artificial (gasp!). 

So, we worked on Friday.  Came home to relax, then Brent had yesterday off with the Ches monster, while I plugged away at work.  Poor Chessa had a rough day.  She was attacked by a raven, good thing Brent was there to rescue her.  It got a hold of her when she tackled it, and had her lip in it's beak, poised with talons raised.  Brent helped him release her and gave it a little loft.  Hasta La Vista raven.

After a nice, relaxing day I'm planning to make dinner and then find my way back to the fresh Tide smelling sheets that have been calling my name all day!

Happy Day!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Hello from Alaska! 

I have started numerous posts in the last week or so, and as you can tell, I have not completed a one of them.  I have been tired, lazy and unmotivated to complete the boring dribble.  So, here I am, feeling better and I have to admit, a little bit snarky.

We have been trucking along.  We finally got into a groove with work, and then I was stricken with my neck issues of last summer.  Thankfully I recognized the warning signs early enough and scheduled an appointment with my new favorite person.  Dr. Jamie.  She hooked me up to some electrodes and then cracked me.  I have to say, I felt much better leaving her office.  However, despite her wonders I'm still having issues, and I'm hoping she comes back to work soon.  I'm fine during the day now, but sleeping is still a bit tricky.

Brent's back to his normal schedule.  And while we don't see eachother much he loves lazing around in the morning, playing with Chessa, and then we meet for lunch at the Bistro on base.  It's inexpensive and easy, and the best part, no dishes.

Ches is doing well.  She has two new pair of boots that she loves.  While they're a little harder to stand on in the house, she loves the extra protection on her tootsies.  She has issues with snow balls between her toes, and the boots help considerably.  The best part is that they're from a company in Brainerd.  Ha.  Who knew?

Brent has become my hero, and finally got the Toyo up and running.  Now we can leave the house for longer periods of time without having to worry if the fire will keep the house warm enough, long enough.  We have also learned a lot about the wood stove, that would have come in handy last week, and now we're nice and toasty warm.  Sometimes too toasty when Brent gets to stuffing that stove.  Some nights I even crack the window...Uff da.

I had my first purse party last Friday.  It was a great success and I just love the vibe the excitement that purses evoke.  It starts out as a little hum and as people come it gets louder and louder.  I have two more parties coming up, one in early December and one in late January.  I'm also planning a Holiday Open House here at home closer to Christmas.  Should make for an interesting holiday season.

Thursday we're planning a true day of rest.  A day to relax and enjoy and reflect on all the wonderful things we have to be thankful for.  We are truly blessed.  And while this experience was perhaps the scariest we pondered, it has been well worth the effort.  It has brought so many wonderful things, experiences and people into our lives. I truly had no idea.  None.

We are planning to cook up some grouse, that Brent has harvested from our woods.  I am hoping to make some wild rice, yams, and pecan pie.  We have invited a friend/neighbor whose wife is wintering in Alaska, and we are hoping for a quiet, football-filled, nap-ridden day.  Later in the day, before dark falls again, we are planning to hike into the woods and harvest a little tree to be adorned with candy canes, pine cones and string of popcorn and cranberries.  When I think of it, I'm picturing a cross between a Charlie Brown tree and updated version that Laura Ingalls might have seen.  This could be interesting!

We still have a coyote around, and now I've been told that while I might think it's nice, they may be trying to lure my dog.  So now I'm a little less enthused about his/her/their presence.  I've been told that one will come in as bait, and then lure the dog away.  I understand that they're partial to female dogs, something about mammary glands...ANYWAY, we're being more cautious these days.

Brent, the-lucky-duck-that-he-is, woke to two moose rubbing themselves on the Envoy last night.  And while I really would have liked to have seen them, I'm very happy he didn't wake me.  I have been striking out on moose viewing luck, however, so I'm hoping for a change on that front.

We do have a bit of sad news to relay.  Ches's little buddy Willie was killed in a car accident a week ago.  He was such a sweet boy, and I know he'll be missed by us all.  Rest in peace Willie boy.

The days keep getting shorter and shorter.  We have about 6 hours of day light now.  I get up and go in the dark, and I come home at dark.  While it's not ideal, it's life.  For the moment I don't mind, and it's not nearly as bad as I had imagined.  I know that we will continue to lose light as the month goes on, but for now, I'm not too worried.

This is for my friend Tracy in Texas.  Yes, we plug in our vehicles here.  I will try to clarify it a little bit for you.  Alaska is cold.  Or it gets cold, and while it is indeed colder at night, it stays cold during the day as well.  So, it is necessary to plug your vehicles in whenever they sit for extended periods of time. 

The base here recommends plugging in at 20 degrees F or below.  I don't usually plug-in until 10 or lower, but it depends on the weather, I guess.  Most people follow the same guidelines.  Most Alaskans carry cords with them at all times, like they would carry a winter survival kit, an extra pair of gloves, etc. 

And yes, while it seems funny, stores/businesses do provide plug-ins for customers to utilize during their shopping/business times.  I don't really know that there's a set time that your vehicle can withstand the cold temps without restart becoming an issue.  I guess it will depend on your vehicle and the lengths of winterization, etc.  It helps save your vehicle/battery/etc to plug it in and keep it warm.  I've even known some people here to use space heaters inside their vehicles.  Though I don't, and I'm certainly not claiming that to be a safe option.

In other news, I have to congratulate my dad on his recent hunt.  He hunted elk in Northern Minnesota and brought home a nice cow.  I'm excited to see pics!  Congrats Dad!

Also, to my friends Kori & Jim in Colorado.  After 8.5 years of infertility, they are expecting a very healthy baby GIRL in May!  What a wonderful blessing and certainly a reason to be thankful this holiday season.

We are thankful for each of you.  Our family and friends, and others who happen into our lives along the way.  Hoping  your year is wonderful, warm and blessed!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Brent & Karla

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Day of Rest

Greetings! It's definitely winter in Delta Junction.  Today has been cold, and it's about to get colder.  Tuesday we're being predicted temps around the 30 below mark, and in my estimation it's much too cold for that.

We've had more snow this week.  It hasn't amounted to much, as it's been of the light and powdery kind.  At our house we have about 6-7" of light, fluffy white...everywhere.  I forgot to take pics today, and since I won't have another day off until next week, you'll have to wait.  It's lovely, and you'll just have to take my word for it.

Today was -9 degrees.  I dare say it felt a lot colder, and it feels warmer out this evening.  I don't know if it's because the snow has stopped and the humidity has dropped, or if it indeed, just that much warmer.

The jobs are still going well.  We're both adjusting to the new schedules and the new demands.  Brent has taken on a lot of the cooking, packing, and some general housework.  More than he was doing, anyway.  And I have been trying to help more with wood hauling, playing with Ches, and general "manly" things.

In true Alaskan fashion I am hauling a cord around with me everywhere I go.  This may sound ridiculous to those of you who live in the south, but for Alaskans (and some other cold weather regions) it's just a way of life.  I unplug it in the morning, drive to work, plug it back in, work the day, and then come home, to plug it back in again.

Today I was off while Brent worked, yesterday I worked while Brent was off.  I did some laundry, made pasta for dinner and caught up on tv.  At one point on the day I was curled up on the couch, hot chocolate in hand, and a movie.  It was pure bliss.

In other news we've been seeing more animals.  Brent walked up the driveway to find 3 moose perched on our berm.  I'm happy to hear they are back, and can't wait to see them.  I wish I knew what they ate so I could bribe them.

Thursday night I got up over night to stoke the fire.  We are still having Toyo issues here, so we're relying on wood alone, so the stoking of the fire is necessary.  Anyway, I stumbled down in my sleepy stupor, got a drink, did my thing and decided to load the stove.  I stepped out in the frigid night air to grab a frozen log.  I jumped back in, closed the door, and tried to grab the too-big-for-my-hand log with one hand.   Much to my dismay, this very large, very frozen log dropped right onto my big toe.

Since I try very hard to not wake my husband I cussed quietly, under my breath.  While tears threatened to stream down my face.  I shoved, forcefully and angrily, that stupid piece of wood into that stupid stove, just as I turned to see Brent coming down the stairs.

Seeing that he was already awake I let it fly, and the tears flowed.  I'm pretty sure I blamed him for something, even though we both knew it wasn't his fault, and I hobbled back to bed, for another 3 hours of slumber.  Friday morning I woke to a very swollen, very tender toe.

The photo was taken today and it looks much better.  I'm happy to report it also feels better, and we now have a nice warm, large tote of wood sitting in the living room.  Sometimes it's about practicality and not pretty.  Ha!

Please ignore the polish, I clearly don't have time for a pedicure.

Friday evening we invited some friends over for a very casual happy hour.  I don't mind the work, but I'm a very social being, and the work, work, work was growing thin.  I picked up some spirits and ale, cooked up some uncreative, but comforting appetizers and opened the doors for some fun and relaxation.  It was a wonderful time, and it felt great to laugh and catch up with friends while sipping a nice glass of Moscato.

When our guests had left we headed up to watch a movie.  We snuggled in just in time for the itchies to catch up with me.  I got up to fetch the bottle of lotion from the closet and noticed that the motion light was on.  At first I thought it was just from the puffy snow, and then I saw her.  A slight movement, and I saw her, a very pretty, petite coyote.  I know, a coyote, not exactly exciting, but I love seeing the wildlife.  Any and all.  As long as she doesn't misbehave I'm happy to have her around.

My eyelids are growing heavy.  The temperature is rising, and I'm looking forward to hitting the hay with Brent and Ches.

Good night!  Stay warm!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Good Life

Hi.  Well, it's been awhile.  Sorry.  But I've been just a little bit busy.  Just a little.  As you know I'm working out on base, at this point I'm working 60 hours a week.  As is nearly the entire crew on and around the project.  It's quite impressive, and I'm astounded at the progress that's being made.  I hope it's a good omen for things to come, even if they don't directly benefit me.

In addition, I'm working a handful of hours at Durham, which regrettably isn't enough, and I really miss "my girls".  I managed to squeek in a dinner and some shopping (courtesy of my third job) with them last week, and I had a blast!!!  I only wish I hadn't had a desk full of work to do, too.

So, the third job is selling designer inspired handbags, wallets, jewelry and sunglasses out of my trunk, or home, whichever you prefer.  I started this little venture before I knew about the job that has quickly become Job #1, no matter how temporarily.

In addition to that we've been doing little else.  We try to sneak in some sleep, some cooking, and even a little baking.  Occasionally I catch up on laundry and even the dishes.  Of course it helps that we're on opposite schedules and that with the ton of help that Brent gives me, we are hitting a pretty good groove.

Sunday I knocked myself out and made a smorgasbord of food.  I grilled some lovely steaks, baked some honey-glazed salmon (both products of Alaska), baked potatoes with all the fixings, candied carrots, fresh, crusty french bread, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  Needless to say, we'll be eating leftovers all week.

It's been chilly here, hovering around and slightly below zero.  I've been plugging in the vehicles for a week and a half now, and that always seems to illicit giggles from far off places, like Florida, for instance. (right Chantelle?)


Now that all that is out of the way, I'm here to converse, reflect on the opinion that perhaps, even maybe, I glorify Delta Junction, and life in Delta.

I disagree.  Whole heartedly.  And now I'll tell you why.  Delta itself isn't the most beautiful town I've ever seen.  That isn't to say that it's dumpy, or run down, it's your average rural small town.  In some ways.  In other ways, it's pure perfection.

There are other towns in America similar in some ways, I'm sure.  But I haven't found them.  The first thing I have to say is that there are no Jones' here to keep up with.  People live in big houses, little houses, stationary houses, houses with wheels in various forms.  In Delta, you just live.  Some have more, some have less, and it's not a constant nagging panic attack.

In addition, there is such beauty that surrounds Delta, that it's easy to view the whole works as the greatest place on earth.  Mountains, mountains everywhere.  And I have missed the mountains so very, very much.

But I think the best parts about Delta are just the liberties that are still in place here.  The fact that I can ride my ATV, without having to trailer it and haul it hours and hours and hours. 

There are tons of places to hunt, boat, fish, explore.  The sense of community is amazing.  And well, it's just an all-around great place to live.  If I wasn't so tired, I may be more poetic.  Frankly, I think if small town life is what you're looking for, Delta Junction, Alaska is the place to be.

Come check it out!  I'll meet you in town, and we'll catch up.

Have a happy life!