Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rainy Day Women

Yes, another Bob Dylan reference.

It's been a rainy week. I'm not complaining. I love Alaska in all it's facets. Summer rain is amazing. It's the only time the sky gets "dark" this time of year. Plus, it means that I don't have to water the garden.
Lots of people go out in the rain here. J is one of them. He's off in Cordova, bear hunting.
Me? The rain rolling in makes me feel cozy. It's cooled off a bit (50s today) and even justified a small fire last night in the wood stove to knock the chill off. I've spent the rainy days catching up on mending and sewing... 3 aprons, a skirt, a dress for Beans, lots of mending and taking in some things. (The good thing about food allergies? I've dropped two sizes since we had to ditch gluten and dairy!)
I got ambitious with the sewing and seriously decreased my stash of stuff.
This is a good thing.
Earlier in the year, a friend of mine and I started a challenge to use up or finish all the projects and materials we already had in our stash. No new purchases at the fabric and yarn stores except notions. Well, I'm not sure where she is on her stash, but I officially only have two more projects in my sewing bin. (um, don't ask about the knitting stuff. Or needle work. I'm sure I have plenty of projects to finish before I can make a trip to the store for anything new!)

The rain on the green metal roof of the cabin has established a meditative patter. The girls have been busy with reading and playing. The chickens (Ricky Bobby in particular) are chattering angrily at the rain, and they apparently lackthe common sense to get in the coop instead of getting wet.
I am wondering how the bear hunt is going... WonderIng what bear meat is going to taste like (I'm told it tastes exactly like ham), and wondering which of our cabin walls is going to be sporting a dead animal.
For the record, I never ever once in my whole life ever thought there would be dead animals on my wall. Ever. But it seems that it's going to happen, so I'd better get used to the idea. And choose a good spot. I certainly don't want a snarling bear staring at me while I'm eating my breakfast or (gasp!) trying to sleep.
On the other hand, it's better than having a LIVE bear watching me do those things.

So the women folk are tending the farm and catching up on sewing, reading, and eating popcorn for dinner. The Mighty Hunter returns soon and will want an audience for bear tales and other excitement.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Some Answers

So the doctors have come up with some new test results. The recent diagnosis is that Little Nugget has a grown hormone deficiency. Her levels are so low it indicates that she's not even really producing growth hormone yet. We are headed to Anchorage in August to see endocrinology for the next step.
I am relieve to have some answers and really ticked at the same time. A simple blood test could have given us this answer months ago, sparing Little Nugget and the rest of us a heap of agony. The last time I posted, I could hardly talk about it because the doctor we were seeing was so convinced of her (wrong) diagnosis that she actually told us we had a month to find another opinion OR replace her feeding tube, or she would call the state on us! OF COURSE we got a second opinion (from a doctor that wasn't still in highschool when I had my two oldest children) who ran some additional tests (including the growth factor), and VOILA! The answer we had been wondering about for over half of Little Nugget's life now.

Anyway... Back at The Farm:
Life is going along as it always does... Too fast and full of daily grind adventures. The weather is finally turning gorgeous (50 degree mornings and 80 degree days), and there is 24 hours of daylight, though we still had official sunrise and sunset times.
I was thinking this morning as I hung clothes on the line, living in Alaska is like being on a perpetual camping trip.
Summer has a smoky haze ("summer" and "forest fire season" are synonymous here). The morning air is crisp, with the faint hint of campfire (ok, forest fire!). There is a peacefulness while hanging clothes. I LOVE air dried clothes, particularly with the faint hint of campfire to it. Animals scurry about, adding their own habits and noise to the rythym of our day.
I never had been a morning person prior to getting chickens, but I must say that nowadays, sleeping past 7:00 makes me feel lazy.
Farming in Alaska makes me feel ALIVE.
I learned the hard way this week to always (always!) scan the tree line before heading to the chicken coop. I surprised a moose as much as she surprised me, and it was o ly my proximity to the front door that saved my hide from becoming a hit target.

I watered the garden with the smell of forest fire creeping in a little thicker. I hope it's not going to be too dry a year for us.

J headed out on a bear hunt this week. Why men feel the need to hunt things that could eat them is beyond me. I hope he gets his bear hide and then gets his own hide home safely.

Off to lock the animals up for the night.
The official farm count on Little Farm on the Tundra:
48 chicks
3 laying hens
1 rooster
6 turkey poults
and Bub, the goldfish that won't die. Two years old now.
Oh! Also residing in the cabin: 10 caterpillars in cocoons. The latest homeschool project is butterfly hatching. Beans has become obsessed with bugs and hatching butterflies was a compromise, since she was begging to study spiders. Ever try to choke down your own squeamishness about something to allow your kids unadulterated learning? Yeah... I don't really like spiders, but she loves all kinds of bugs at the moment, so, I'm trying. Caterpillars are just about my limit though.

Alright. If there is one truth about farming, it's that the animals won't wait. I'd better get everyone tucked in for the night, then tuck myself in. Daylight and campfire start early these days.

Until next time,
Happy Moose Trails!