Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Quote

M lent me a book on farmgirl life, which I devoured in hours. Two quotes to share, and then I'm calling it an early night.

First, on my "save the world" soapbox:

"If we all used clothesline, we could save THIRTY MILLION tons of coal a year, or shut down FIFTEEN nuclear power plants. And you don't have to wait to start. Yours could be up by this afternoon."
-Bill McKibben, Prairie Writers Circle (emphasis added)

I almost can't wait to see my next power bill, just to see how much money we saved. Um, we also replaced every light in the house that we could with the energy saving curly little bulbs. Our landlord had 100 watt lightbulbs in almost every single outlet. We replaced 20 bulbs. TWENTY, 100 watt lightbulbs. With the new bulbs (which run on 13 watts each), we reduced our potential output just in lightbulbs from 2,000 watts to 260 watts. WOW.
Now I don't feel so guilty for leaving a light on here and there, eh? (Now if only the bill would be a measly 1/10th of what it was this month!)

Other energy savers: hand wash some dishes. Ok, I am as addicted to my dishwasher as the next gal, and I HATE hand washing dishes, but I think I hate my power bill more. Washing the dishes by hand isn't so bad if it's only a few, like the breakfast cereal bowls and that stray glass you find hanging around. I got brave and even washed ALL the dishes we used over the last couple days by hand, and that includes the dishes I used when we had some company over yesterday afternoon. (Ok, ok, they were only used for cake and milk, but still... I hand washed them!)

And the second quote pretty much sums up how I am settling into life and the general feeling I have here:

"And some, like me, are just beginning to guess at the powerful religion of ordinary life, a spirituality of freshly mopped floors and stacked dishes and clothes blowing on the line."
-Adair Lara

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fresh Air

So, at the risk of sounding boring and ordinary, I have enjoyed the last few days of getting settled into a good routine. J and I finished unpacking the house and (almost) everything is where it belongs. The house is officially ready for company.

I have a new love. My clothesline. Yesterday was warm (about 75F) and dry (only 14% humidity!) I hung a load of wash outside, thick stuff, towels and diapers, and they were DRY in two hours! Um, that is almost as fast as our (not so) efficient dryer, which takes about 90 minutes to dry those loads (and more than that for the diapers), and it didn't cost us anything but 10 minutes of my time. With Beans in the baby backpack, we got it done, and she loved watching the laundry flutter in the breeze.

Yesterday's trip to town was exhausting, and I was glad to get back to North Pole. I sort of "stalked" my new friend, wanting to show Josh where she lived and a few of the houses along the way that had caught my eye. As we turned on the road to M's place, we came across her and the kids picking wildflowers. We were busted "stalking". (grin)

No matter, M was happy to see us and was more than happy to show J around the chickens and spend some time visiting. Her son took J for a 4 wheeler ride, then came back for me.
Um, I should mention that this city-girl has been on a 4 wheeler ONCE in my life. I opted not to ride my own machine, but let her 5 year old son take me for a ride on his. I was scared out of my wits, and am awed by the sheer bravery of my new little friend. And sensing my fear (maybe my screaming tipped him off?), he made the offer, "You can hold onto me, you'll feel safer."
Strangely enough, holding onto 40 lbs of 5 year old DID make me feel safer, though I was happy to return to the safety of the yard and M's couch.

We dawdled, happy for some company other than eachother and Beans, and got to meet M's husband, who made a good impression on J and he came home talking about how cool our new friends were. Turns out both men are avid fishers and M's husband has the skills in hunting and fishing to take Josh to the next level, from hobby to putting dinner on the table.

Today, Beans and I are off to the park. I got a phone call postponement/cancellation on the trip to the Salcha Fair, but Beans and I may make the trip solo. J said he passed the fairgrounds on the way to work this moring and it looked like we should have some good fun, if we aren't rained out over the weekend.

On a funny note, the weatherman gives sunrise and sunset times each morning, and has now taken to gravely announcing the loss of daylight, as if he is announcing a funeral.
"Sunrise at 3:00 am, sunset tomarrow morning at 12:45, a loss of 4 minutes from yesterday", and looking as grave and serious as Ted Kopel.
For me, the glass is half-full... we are gaining NIGHT, something I haven't seen in over a month now.

Ok. Off to the park!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A spare moment

Finally, a chance to write! No, I'm not ignoring friends and family and my other readers, but we have been BUSY. Seems like we are always really busy when hubby gets home from work.

A trip to Fairbanks this week made me another new friend. She'll be affectionately dubbed, "Swiffer Girl", since I met her in the Swiffer aisle in Walmart. She and her husband were looking at products, asked me an innocent enough question about the said item, and I started babbling my life story. (anyone surprised by that? No, I didn't think so.) Turns out that I had an extra of the product she wanted to know about, and since the movers finally brought my old one, I offered her the one I had. She stopped by later in the day and as we chatted, discovered we have a lot in common and decided we should hang out.
And hooray for Swiffer Girl being the kind of chick to follow-up! She called the next day to make plans to go to the Fair in Salcha with me and Beans this weekend.
And also really great, while us girls were in the house chattering away like the hens I covet, my husband and her husband were chatting it up outside, and it seems they like eachother too.

I have decided that maybe telling my life story to strangers isn't such a bad idea afterall. (grin)

Well, as fun as the trip to town was... um, actually it wasn't. We have discovered a going-to-town-anomoly. Hubby and I both get pretty crabby and end up bickering most of the day when we go to town. We were both relieved (and I'm sure Madderbeans was the MOST relieved) to get home and start settling into our version of the "weekend", which is what we call Mon-Thurs, since that's when Hubby is off work.

The house is ALMOST put together enough for company. We muddled through the spare room (A.K.A. my sewing room) and got that situated, even though I spent most of that time pretty moody when I discovered that my one material thing in the world that I actually really care about (my 1940s antique vanity) was broken by our movers. I spent most of the day sounding like Yosemite Sam from Bugs Bunny. "Fricka, fracka, fricken rabbit!"
The upside is that my sewing room is coming together, and I love, love, love that I will soon have a room I can shut myself away into and hear nothing but the whir of the sewing machine while Hubby deals with Beans for a weekend.

Other weekend news: Hubby put my clothesline up. I thought it would take more begging, as he thinks it's sort of silly to hang clothes to dry. Luckily, my begging came the same day our first power bill showed up, and he no longer thought my clothesline was an insane idea. (In fact, he's going to build me an indoor line for the winter, the bill was that high!) He also spent a good chunk of time sounding like Yosemite Sam as he went through the house unscrewing lightbulbs and fussing about how we didn't need the lights on in the house when sun was shining 22 hours a day.

Ok, at the risk of my old friends (especially my best friend in the whole world) making fun of me... I LOVE the clothesline. This is why... I dreamily hang laundry (while battling mosquitos) and imagine that I am Laura Ingalls Wilder, living on the Prairie (ok, so it's the TUNDRA). There is a peaceful rythym to being out there clipping clothes to the line, even if the mosquitos have left 15 new welts every load I hang, and even though Bushy the Squirrel threatens me with a high pitched squirrel-shriek every time I am there. (Damn that squirrel. I am going to stop feeding that fricka fracka fricken thing!)

For my friends and family: There really is a strange sense of peace coming over me here. Maybe it was finally hearing (in church) that it's ok to let go of family members that don't treat you well. Maybe it's being so far removed from the things that really sucked about my life. Maybe it's the new independence I am having to develop out here between J's work schedule and the daily-living chores that really do have to be accomplished. (Let's face it, it's hard to brood or worry about people pleasing when you are trying to chop enough wood for the winter!) But I do want all of you guys who know the full story to know that I am really experiencing some much needed spiritual and emotional healing out here. I don't know exactly what it is, but life is so peaceful here.

Ever feel like you were maybe living life in a fog, or watching yourself go through the motions of living, like you weren't really THERE? I've spent most of my life like this. But somehow, here in AK, I feel connected with myself, I feel ALIVE, and I feel like for the first time maybe, I am living my life instead of watching it go by.

So, I will endure your teasing about my dreams of chickens (wait until you hear how J promised me a sheep so I can try spinning wool!). But I do want you guys to rest assured that we are safe, happy, and content here.

Ok, so off my deep, spiritual podium there, and off to say:
We are heading back into town to get J's car (AGAIN!) from the shop, and pick up a few more things. (There's another reason to hate going to town. We spend entirely too much money there!) Then with J off to work again, Beans and I will be heading to the park for a picnic with our new friends, and then off to the Salcha Fair on Saturday with our other new pals. A busy weekend for me and Beans!

For all our back-home friends, Salcha is a teeny tiny little blip on the map. Seriously, if you are watching the view on the drive to Delta, you'd miss it. But I hear they put on one heck of a fair, so stay tuned for our Alaskan Small Town Adventure!