Thursday, September 24, 2009


That is not a misprint.
We've had our first official snowfall. And it actually stuck.

While I am one of the crazy people here that absolutely love winter, I have to admit that I felt a little sad to see that autumn (my all time favorite season) lasted a mere 10 days or so. Last week, the days were still a bit balmy and the leaves turned golden reds and yellows. A few days ago, they began to fall off the trees in large numbers. A trip to Fairbanks two days ago proved that there were more leaves on the ground than on the trees. By the time we drove home from Fairbanks, snow was falling, and by the time I got the girls tucked into bed, it looked like a Christmas card outside.

I would like to take a minute and vent about the irony of snow on the autumnal equinox. Not only is that just weird, I was not very well prepared.
Even more ironic is the fact that I was standing in Fred Meyer (the trendier version of Walmart, for those unfamiliar) eyeballing the new Columbia winter coats. I found one I loved and discovered they didn't have my size. "No problem" I think to myself, "I don't need it just yet. I'll check again the next trip."
For the record, if you live in Alaska, the right time to buy your winter gear was about three days ago.

Don't worry mom, we are far from freezing. I do have my coat from last year. The one that I bought in Nearly Neon Pink because J had me convinced that if I got lost in a blizzard, I should look like a complete moron so I would be found quickly.
Now that I know I am not very likely to be somewhere that search and rescue would need to see me from the space shuttle, I am thinking of buying a coat in more subdued colors.
Beans received some great hand-me-downs... a full set of toddler arctic gear. And her Nearly Neon Pink gear (bought to match mine because if SHE got lost in the arctic wilderness, search and rescue would also see her from space and know she belonged to the moron in the matching jacket)... it still fits.
Little Nugget has plenty of warm stuff, and the truth is, um... we don't plan on doing any crazy glacier hiking or being anywhere that we need full arctic gear for her, so I think we'll all stay warm.

I will admit that seeing snow this early was a little tough to swallow. I DO love fall, and it just doesn't seem right to have the white stuff quite so soon.
But... it's Alaska.
And it didn't take long to slip into winter mode. Beans demanded snow boots nearly as soon as she saw the white stuff, and she and daddy had a good snowman building adventure before tromping slush through the house, demanding hot chocolates.
I spent the afternoon digging out hats and gloves for everyone else, and making a winter gear shopping list for our next trip north. This morning, temps were hovering around 20 degrees until well after the sun came up. 'Bout time for that new coat, I'd say.

Hold on tight, y'all! It's autumn in Alaska.

Also, anyone that can clear up the heated discussion about the advantages of pellet stoves vs. wood stoves (ha ha! "Heated" discussion!)... feel free to add your two cents. My personal opinion: why give up a free source of heat (wood stove) for something that costs about $5 a day to run (pellet stove)? Am I missing something here?

Until Next Time!
Happy Moose Trails

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn Lights

I know, I know. It's still a day or so before the official start of autumn, but seeing how it's my favorite season, I'm ready to jump the gun.

Speaking of guns... hunting season is officially closed for all us non-subsistence hunters. We have caribou in the freezer, but no moose. J tried hard (and I have weeks of loneliness and insanity caused from being left alone with two kids under two to prove how hard he worked), but long story short... he didn't get a moose. Ah, well. It's about time for rabbit hunting, anyway.

There is a lot of local folklore about the beginning of autumn... the first day of school, the seasonal closing of the Drive-In, The start of hunting season, Snow on the Dome (which I can not confirm or deny, since the dome has not been visible much of this week due to rain). My own official start of fall is a little more, ahem... mystic. Fall starts when I feel a certain chill in the air and begin to smell wood stoves in the night. Those cues are followed by an insane urge to dig through my stash of crochet, knit, and sewing projects and find something to curl up in a chair with. When I suddenly interrupt the constant flow of coffee for a cup of hot apple cider, it's Fall.

That said, I should mention that my recent Autumn experiences have been in the Deep South. Beautiful days like today, where the temps hover around 48F and the constant rain slows to a drizzle, frankly is what Christmas in Alabama might look like. On a really cold year. (For the record, the last Christmas I spent in Alabama was 78F and sunny.)
If I had to describe a day like today to family, I would actually liken it to what a typical Halloween Day in Northern Virginia would feel like. (I mention Northern Virginia because that's where I essentially grew up.)

So, I HAVE been feeling the urge to nestle down with fall projects. I am one sleeve away from finishing a sweater I have been making... the first grown-up size sweater I've ever attempted. I generally stick to things for little people, but found a cute pattern. Besides, my blanket winning at the fair-and my mom bragging about it to all my relatives and telling me I should open an Etsy shop, kind of made me feel invincible in the land of crochet.

On the Moose Nugget Home front, great things have been happening. J might someday, eventually return home. Between hunting, overtime, and rumors of rabbit hunts and fishing trips, we haven't seen much of him.
Beans has been hard at work with home school activities. (Yes, I am homeschooling my two year old.) She's caught on quickly and really enjoys "school time", which frankly doesn't look too much different from the things we were already doing in our day, only a bit more organized and planned out.
We have also successfully completed potty training! Any kid (or grownup for that matter) that can "hold it" from Delta Junction to Fairbanks is potty trained in my book!
Little Nugget is growing in leaps and bounds as well. Not wanting to be left out, she has already figured out a little frog hopping crawl. Too bad she mostly goes backward. Many a photo opportunity is lost because she gets so frustrated that she's gone backward instead of forward. She is quickly learning to propel herself in the right direction however, which keeps Beans in a constant state of picking up and moving her toys away from her little sister.
Oh, yeah. The word "MINE" has entered our vocabulary in the Moose Nugget Household.
I hate the word "MINE" (unless it pertains to my stuff, of course!)
Beans was quick to call me on my own selfishness this week. I was preparing a bowl of coffee ice cream with chocolate syrup for no one except for me, myself, and I. Beans asked for a bite and I answered, "No, this is MINE". To my surprise, instead of the tantrum I braced for, I got a stern lecture. "No, mommy! YOU SHARE IT!"
Hmmm.... hope that ice cream was at least decaffinated. I was outwitted by a toddler.

More excitement is occurring in the Moose Nugget Household, but I'm not at liberty to discuss it...yet. I'm going with a friend's adage... "If you talk about the dream, you lose it." Just know that exciting things are in the air, and the Moose Nugget Farm could be less of a dream and more of a reality in the Hopefully Near Future.

Meanwhile, Little Nugget has propelled herself backward from every toy in the house and needs a hand scooting in the right direction. Beans is busy hoarding toys and screeching "MINE!" over who-knows-what-her-sister-tried-to-touch, and there is a rumor that J may actually make an appearance at home tomorrow, so I guess I'd better make it look like I've been cleaning and doing laundry instead of scraping school paste off the dining room table.
Mental; Note to Self: Don't ever leave the glue sticks where a toddler can get a hold of them.

Until Next Time,

Happy Moose Trails!