Monday, February 22, 2010

Keeping in Touch

Most parents call or email their children to catch up, see how things are going, share information about their lives.  Not mine.  My dad calls or emails, or both, to let me know that I haven't updated the blog. Since I write exactly how I talk, it leaves me wondering if reading the blog is the less annoying way to keep current on all things happening in my world. for thought, indeed.

Last week was busy with the addition of little Cash.  He's definitely mucked up all of our schedules, but in a good way, of course.  I survive on little sleep anyway, being a night owl my entire life has prepped me for him.  It's my morning schedule that's taken the biggest hit.  He's unpredictable, and has the attention span of an acorn, which makes it difficult to get anything done in a timely manner.  Except eating.  Just put a plate of food in front of that boy, and be sure to keep any apendages away.  If a finger was to fall into the bowl, I can assure you your chances of getting it back will be slim.

I brought both Ches and Cash with me to work a couple days last week.  It's fun to have them here, but it's also chaos.  Ches is a great listener, and an easy dog.  Cash is too, when he's sleeping.  LOL.  I'm not sure how long I'll be able to continue handling his naughtiness at work, so I'm hoping he's growing fast enough that his little bladder can handle his kennel for 5.5 hours a day.  We'll see, I guess.

Friday night we decided to lay low in preparation for the busy weekend ahead.  It seems that we haven't had plans on a weekend for eternity, and then got pounded this weekend.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you, I've always been much more social than Brent is.  He would truly be happy to sit home, by himself all day, night and weekend.  Me, not-so-much.  I guess I'm just a little higher maintenance than he is.  Either that or I'm boring.  Nope, that can't be it.  Definitely not boring. Ha!

Saturday morning Brent and Ches got up bright and early.  As usual.  They headed out to do a little scouting, rabbit sight-seeing.  Since the little guy had been put into bed with me, I rose much earlier than usual as well.  We bundled up when Brent and Ches got home, to go for a drive out to Meadows Road.  I know, you must think how incredibly boring, but I assure you it's changing all the time, and that's precisely why we headed out there.  The snow is nearly gone.  Two weeks ago it was laden in white crystally frost and snow, now, dry parched looking branches peek out of small mounds of dirty snow.  Amazing.

Once we were home I did some laundry, made a dessert for Saturday evening, made some lunch and got ready for the day ahead.  We needed to run a few errands before we headed to a friend's daughters birthday party, so we headed out a bit early. 

When we had browsed to our heart's content, and partied with a room full of 5-10 year old's we headed home for a much needed nap.  I whipped out another load of laundry, gotta make hay while the sun shines, right?  And prepared for the evening ahead.

I was invited by a friend to attend another friend's girl's night with her.  I'm always nervous meeting new people, and I know this is hard to believe, but I'm shy, until I get to know you, just a little bit.  Despite my nervousness, I was very excited.  It turned out to be a great evening.  Have I told you about these Alaskan women?  How they do EVERYTHING?  Yes, and I mean everything.  They really put me to shame.  They cook, bake, sew and build a house, all while nursing a baby.  We had a wonderful assortment of pizzas.  Sausage and sauerkraut (which was suprisingly fantastic), halibut pizza, artichoke pizza, Dad's creation pizza, and then the desserts.  Good heavens.  Fantastic.  And the company and movie (of the hostesses marathon- made by the hostess- see what I'm saying??) was even better.

Sunday morning we rose and packed up to head out ice fishing on Boleo Lake, near Delta.  We rented a fish house for a day, and it was a gorgeous day to be out there.  As we were driving down Meadows Road (yes, again) headed towards the lake, a moose ran in front of Brent's vehicle.  As he passed the hubby noticed his chewed up hind quarter.  Looks like someone was trying to make ceviche out of the poor guy. But he escaped, with just a little bit of tenderizing.

As we were unloading the vehicles and taking our first, tentative steps onto the lake, you could hear the ice popping, groaning and shifting.  I was about half way between shore and the ice house when the ice gave off such a loud and disturbing groan, that I shot back to shore.  Yes, this should be embarassing information, but we have had warmer-than-usual temps, and for the record the dog skeddadled with me.  Thank-you-very-much. 

After a little coaxing, and maybe a threat or two from my hubby, I ventured back out onto the ice.  I deposited all things fishing and ice related and headed back to shore for the little guy.  He's a little tentative yet.   As I was gently calling his name and whistling, coyotes (or perhaps wolves) started to howl on both sides of the lake.  Poor little guy took off for the ice house, and never looked back.  Ches ran for shore, I'm thinking she was thinking they sounded pretty hunky.  Silly, girl.  Hmph.

I got Ches settled with Brent and Cash and I headed back home for a hatchet and some wood.  Brent didn't realize that there was a handy wood stove located inside.  We made a quick trip, and were back on the ice in no time. 

This is our humble abode on Boleo Lake.  It was plenty roomy for 4 humans and 3 dogs.  And we stayed plenty warm when we aren't playing on the ice.  It was a perfect day, about 30 degrees, sunny and very little wind.  Glorious day.

Cash obviously enjoyed his first taste of fish. The outside anyway.

This is Charlie (Cash's brother, the whole-reason-we-got-Cash) our friends dog trying out his fishing skills.  They learn early here in Alaska.

When we had our fill of catching some bigger, mostly little fish we packed up and headed home.  The fresh air and sun must have done us all well, as we were all tucked in long before 10 p.m.  That almost never happens at our house!

Have a happy, happy day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Puppy in Training

Howdy!  Greetings from Camp Puppy.  I thought perhaps I'd have to name this post  Sleepless in Delta, but much to my amazement Cash is doing very well in the sleep department.  He's a good little guy, and having Ches to lead him is fabulous.  She's a model dog, really.  She's perfection in nearly every bit.  Except that she's a bit insecure.  So, we hope to make Cash just like her, but a little more secure.

We are in the process of crate training Cash.  It's going very well, and while he does whine a bit, he settles himself within a matter of minutes, and in most cases seconds.  He's really doing well.  We have been reading book, after book, after book, trying to do it right this time.  The last time we had a pup was 16 years ago, and we did it all wrong.  All. Wrong.  This time I'm happy to have Kyle (my younger brother) to help out.  His dogs Hondo (Belgian Malinois and a K9), and Dax (Yellow Lab) are both happily crated, trained dogs.  So, first hand knowledge is fantastic.

Of course it helps that we are having awesome weather.  We're supposed to reach a high of 35 degrees today, though with the overcast skies I'm not sure we'll be quite that lucky.  The temps have been mild, and the wind is down, for now anyway, so it helps the shy, not-so-fattened-up little guy feel a little more comfortable in the snow.

Last night we had a sprinkling of new snow.  Not enough to create issues, or even play in, but it's always fun to get the powdery snow here.  It's so different from the heavy, water-laden snows in Minnesota.  It looks the same, nearly, but it's not.

In other news, I bought Brent a game cam for Christmas.  We have been putting it out in various spots around trying to catch the lynx, coyotes and other fun things that creep about in our woods.  Unfortunately the camera hasn't liked the dark days and cold temps, so it's been a little tempermental.  However, yesterday morning we hit the jackpot.  We captured (on film only) a marten.  EEK!  They're so pretty.  All cinnamon and black colored.  I'll be sure to post pics this week.

We did, in addition to the marten, capture a german shepherd on film.  This disturbs me for a couple reasons.  1.  It's not safe for dogs to roam.  2.  He's awfully close to my home, and I have two furbabies to protect. 3. The woods are full of traps and snares (not just our woods, not ours) and I would hate for harm to come to him.  Hopefully I'll not capture him on film again and hopefully he'll stay close to home.  Hmmmm...

Last week I registered for my classes to prepare to get my Alaska real estate license.  I am still waiting on the materials, as it's a correspondence class.  I'm excited, and nervous, but mostly excited.  I love what I do.  And it will be nice to have the knowledge, and legal right, to help Courtney out more.  I hate having to say that I can't help someone because I'm not a licensed real estate agent.  So, now I have the remedy.  That is, if I put my nose to the grindstone and pass the darn thing.  Have I mentioned how cute and fun Cash is?  Ha!

Brent has been busy with his new hobby, preparing for spring and summer.  Yesterday a vast assortment of flies arrived for his new fly rod.  And he's been watching videos and getting casting tips.  Ches thinks he's plum crazy to be out in the yard casting away.  She's tempted to chase, but then just assumes that Brent's gone loco for the moment. 

Life continues to go well.  We're looking forward to spring, and the glorious summer (that we hope) follows it.  Last summer was perfection in nearly every way, and I'm certainly hoping that we get a repeat.  Especially with the Pro Pioneer on it's way to us.  Since I'm known for being a bit of a chicken, I'm sure this summer will be a test in faith, trust and courage.  We are looking for a handgun for me, since I need to know how to use one, and protect myself.  And I'd like to do some trap shooting this year.  Don't ask me why, but it looks like so much fun.  The sad truth, however, is that I have no aim.  Well, that's not true, I have bad aim.  Really bad aim.  So, I'm hoping to improve it, with some trap shooting.  Watch out Annie Oakley,  Karla King is  Okay, even I think that's hilarious.  I think Annie's safe...

Hope you're having a happy day in your neck of the woods.  Until next time...Happy day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chasing moose...auroras...and tail...

This week has been good.  I started it out early in the week, when I was greeted with this lovely sight.  4, count them, 4 long-legged Bullwinkles in my yard.  Twins (last year's calves?) and two full growns.  I'm sure one was their mother, but the other I'm not sure if it was father, aunt, uncle, or just some creepy guy following them around.  LOL.  Anyway, one of the little ones decided to use my car windows as a mirror.  I guess he just wanted to check out his bad self, and then they went merrily on their way, into the woods behind the house.  I love them being there, so this was pretty awesome.

Other than work, our jobs, and working at home, cutting wood, cleaning chimneys and what not, we've been fairly busy.  This past weekend the Delta community came out for the Festival of Lights.  It's put on my the Chamber of Commerce.  They did a great job.  I took part in the Galleria show of vendors.  It was a great show, with a good turn out, and it was certainly fun.  We had a beautiful day.  I did, however, miss the Polar Plunge.  However, there was a lot of excitement generated, and some truly awesome costumes.  I'm looking forward to next year's festivities.

Saturday evening, we had friends over with their new little yellow lab pup.  He is such a good little guy, we truly enjoyed his, and B&R's company.  We relaxed with some Hungarian beer, and some lovely blueberry wine made from native Alaskan berries.  I threw together a trifle and we just kicked back and relaxed. 

Later that night the auroras made their debut.  And although we didn't get to see a lot of them, we did walk out to the field to enjoy the spectacular sky, and the green throbbing glow, just above the tree line.

Sunday we slept in, which is nearly always my favorite thing to do.  We took Ches for a wander through the woods.  We creeped around the game cam, tracked little tracks through the snow, and then came back home to throw the ball for Ches.  It was a good morning for all of us.

For Ches, however, the day went downhill quickly.  We decided since it was Valentine's Day, and we hadn't gotten eachother a gift, that maybe, just perhaps, we should.  And since Charlie was such a good boy, we decided to go see a lady about a dog.

I'd like to introduce you to Cash.  Named after the late, great Johnny Cash.  Though since he's the color of a cashew, it serves a double purpose.  Here he is with Brent, and his new toy.  A sock.  He's rather fond of the sock, and likes to shake it vigorously.

Here's our little nut chasing, and ultimately biting, his own tail.  He is just a baby, please keep that in mind.

And this is little Cash ready for bed.  No, I did NOT give him Grandma's quilt.  He's just snuggling with me on the couch for a bit, before tucking him away in his escape proof bed.

So, today Ches and Cash are at work with me.  They are being good dogs, and they're not fighting much at all.  Cash is a little feisty and has taken to biting everything, and growling and barking at Ches.  But she does a great job of ignoring him.  And I think in the end we'll all escape without injury.

Have a happy day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wintery Wonderland

Howdy!  Greetings from Alaska! It has been a wonderful last couple of weeks.  The weather this winter has been fairly mild.  We did dip to about -30 degrees last week, but the temps quickly rose again, and there's nothing to complain about now.  We're sitting at around 0 tonight, but it's lovely.  We have a light dusting of powdery white now, and today the sun shone brightly above in the Delta sky.  Ah, life is good.

I have to apologize are these pictures are about a week old.  I have been busy, and just haven't had the time to sit and blog.  You'd think with it being cold and well, wintery, there would be plenty of time.  But with wood to haul, dog to play with and moose to capture, there simply isn't enough time in the day.  

This is my morning friend.  Nearly every morning, this guy, and one or two of his friends, come to munch on the saplings and shrubbery and who-knows-what-else.  I snapped him right before he turned tail and ran off.  Apparently he thought my camera was a 30.06.  LOL.

The above photo may not look very interesting, but it's a close up of the crystally fluff that covers each and every shrub on Meadows Road.  They are placed in a little puzzle and fall off quickly to be nibbled up.  Beautiful.

Moose on Bolio Lake Road

These two are a cow and calf pair.  They frequent our road, and this photo was taken about 100 yards from our driveway.  Chessa and I were going on a walk and quickly changed our course of direction when we saw this mom and daughter/son pair.  It's hard to tell, but the calf is actually lying on the side of the road.  I guess he/she found a comfy spot to rest.  Eating is very hard work, for a little guy.

Brent and Ches looking for rabbits at Nickel Lake

The gorgeous Granite Mountains

Meadows Road moose

This past weekend we laid pretty low.  I had a busy day at work, so I came home, took Chessa out for a little exercise, and of course some play.  When Brent got home I made an easy, but yummy dinner of risotto with tons of veggies and some delicious prawns I picked up at IGA.  We're fortunate to have such a good grocery store here on the tundra.

Saturday woke to the howling wind.  Despite the breeze I decided to head to Fairbanks.  There were a couple of things I needed before this weekend's Festival of Lights Galleria.  The roads were clear, except for a spot or two, so I was fortunate.  Last year they were snow packed and slick, this year they're clear with occasional snow pack.  I met a sand truck at Birch Lake and managed to escape without a new windshield chip, how?  I'll never know.  

Once I was home I unpacked the car, admired Brent's ever-growing pile of wood.  We'll certainly be warm next winter!  And then I tucked myself in for a short nap.  When my nap was over I got up, and enjoyed what was last of the beautiful Saturday afternoon.  Later that evening we went over to meet Brad and Rose's new bundle of fluff.  He's adorable.  A six week old yellow lab named Charlie.  Oh, I'm telling you he stole my heart.  I nearly caved in to Brent's pressure for a new little labrador...but gained my sanity, just in the nick of time!

Sunday was a day of organization and relaxation.  We started the morning with a batch of homemade blueberry muffins, lovingly baked by my rockstar hubby.  And then we all bundled up and trekked the road for a walk on a brisk morning.  Unfortunately our jaunt was cut short by a pack of local dogs.  Pish tosh.  I'm all for a freer way of life, but roaming dogs are dangerous, for me, my dog, and for them.  I've nearly hit them a time or two, and I've shooed them from my trash bins one too many times.  Hmph.

Today was beautiful.  The sun was out all day long, and it was a lovely day.  Brent and Ches were home, and despite Brent's new cold, they got some wood chopped, and made me a lovely dinner of chicken fajitas, with a couple too many chipotle peppers!  Nothing like getting the metabolism roaring with capsacin.  LOL.

Life is good!  I want to give a shout out to my new friends, Hayley and her mom Estra, in Alabama.  Hayley and her family will be moving to Delta this spring.  Estra is a little nervous, which is understandable since Delta is a looooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggggggggggg way from Alabama.  Alas, have no fear, Delta is a friendly place, with friendly people just waiting to help out and make their stay a happy one. 

Have a happy day!