Thursday, August 31, 2006

At the Fair

Tuesday evening we drove out to the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. We had a lovely time, the crowd was moderate, the parking was great, it only started to rain as we were walking back to the truck. YIPPY!

Vivi and Zoey wanted to look at the livestock, so to the barn we went. They had a great time with all the babies. Vivi had been asking what baby cows are called all week, so I was pleased to see there were two calves there. The piglets were the big hit. After the petting zoo there was a litter of newborn piglets. Boy, was it hard to peel the girls away from there.

And there was the pony ride.....Vivi named her ride Fireball. So very Vivi.

Zoey had a great time on the big rides. Her daddy was game enough to go on with her. Yeah Daddy! Vivi and I watched. Vivi did not like watching, she wanted to BE ON THOSE RIDES!

To make up for Vivi not getting on the big kid rides, I took her on the ferris wheel. She was so excited. At the top of the ferris wheel at the fair you have a great view up Knik Valley to the glacier. Every time we got to the top Vivi shouted "I see a glacier! I see a barn! I see a glacier! I see a barn!"

We finished off the rides with a trip on the gorgeous carousel. See you next year, State Fair.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Beware the media influences

At least my children are creative, imaginative, and inventive since it is pouring buckets. But for the love of God, does their current (and ALL SUMMER LONG) obsession have to be Andrew Lloyd Weber's CATS?

At least they are really cute cats and boy, do they have their lines down!

Retro August

First off, I have to say I had a lovely birthday. My best birthday present was Zoey. I had to work (note the uniform) and Tom had to be back in the classroom. In the evening while I was working, Tom was running a community council meeting. He was a busy guy, preparing for it, writing and printing agendas. Zoey was helping with Vivi. She took it on herself to bake my birthday cake. She got out all the ingredients, used the oven and mixer safely, looked up an icing in the cookbook and pulled it off. She even cleaned the kitchen. I am so proud of her, she is really taking on and tackling responsibilities. She's even doing it with style, if you would notice the raspberry heart on my cake.

It has been raining almost all of August. It is like the Augusts when we were kids up here, when we would spend time indoors playing Risk and Monopoly and dreading when school started. So, I was surprised when I woke up on my birthday to a lovely morning. There was even a rainbow in the neighborhood.

The peaks of the Chugach were clear, we hadn't seen them in days. And looky what they have on them. Yup, that's right, termination dust. SNOW. It's coming! I had some nice views up Eagle River Valley when I drove the girls out to Pepere's.

I also had a nice look at the Talkeetna's and Anchorage before I got to work. This leaves me wondering what the winter is going to be like.

Our respite is over, here is the weather today. Sigh....

Oh, and the fish I smoked last week, they turned out great. They are the best I have ever smoked. I want to do more! Tom is looking at a salmon fly rod to feed my desire to smoke fish. YIPPY!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

To Cordova via Valdez

Did you ever wonder it what it was like to be in a car with a three-year old for eight hours? Especially if you are traveling across gorgeous but desolate country? Hmmmm.....well, we did. We all survived, but by the time we got through Keystone Canyon and were coasting into Valdez Vivi started crying for her pink house. She wanted to be HOME! Who would ever guess that Tom and I would raise a homebody? We did stop in Glenallen for some food. While there we ran into Arliss, an old friend of my folks and a former state senator. Despite how geographically large a place Alaska is, it is one small town.

We spent a quick night in Valdez and boarded the ferry for Cordova at 8am. We headed out to Prince William Sound. We had a quick stop in Tatitlik (yes, I know) and then on over to Cordova. No orcas for Zoey but loads of seals. We also had lots of icebergs from Columbia Glacier. There were not too many folks on the boat as this was the middle of the week. One woman we met is a reporter for Alaska Public News Radio (APRN) as well as a science writer. She interviewed Zoey about her trip on the ferry and the wildlife we had been spotting. Zoey really enjoyed that, so much that she wants to try her hand at field recording. I think I see a homeschool class on field recording in my future.

We arrived in Cordova totally strung out from the long-a@# drive the day before and the early morning ferry trip. We went to the little B&B that Tom booked us in. It was right on Eyak Lake with kayaks out the back door. I think we will be going back. Tom has a totally skewed view of the weather in Cordova. He believes that it is always sunny. Every time HE is there it is sunny. One evening we drove out to Hartney Bay to watch the sunset and see the tide come in. Zoey was hoping for classic tide pools, but there was not much of that to be had.

What we did find was about seven to ten seals watching our every move from about 20 feet out to sea. It was amazing. We could hear them breathe. They were very interested in what the girls were doing. I kept teasing Zoey that they wanted to take her for a wife like in the old selkie legends.

Another afternoon we drove out to the end of the Copper River Highway. I am the rare person who can say that they were sunburned in Cordova. I was. My friends here in Alaska are incredulous. We drove across the Million Dollar Bridge to the end of the road. No pictures of this really cool art nouveau bridge because I am a dork. It was lovely. We made a little day camp with a fire, some beers and sausage, and waded in the river. While by the river we saw skillions of grizzly tracks. The water was super cooled from the glacier, but the sun was beating on us, so it evened out.

We turned around after spending time in our little day camp and headed to the Child's Glacier. This place is so cool. The glacier is right across the river, but your perspective get skewed. You are really about 1200 feet from the glacier, yet you feel closer. There were serveral groups of folks there to watch this thing calve. There was a group of retirees with comfy chairs, coolers, drinks, books, cell phones, dogs. Then there were the party girls. They were in their forties, playing cribbage and dominoes and having beers. Another sest was Old Believer men. The Copper River red run had just been shut down, so they were taking a breather away from fishing boats, kids, wives. And then there was us. Us with the spazzing, rambuncitous three-year-old. She was not digging the fact that we were watching nothing. Nothing to her. The glacier was popping and cracking and calving. It sounded like large ordinances at times. And the blues and greens in the ice, amazing. Vivi not so impressed. She started running and singing when we told her it was time to walk to the truck.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Summer Catch-up

I have been meaning to start this blog since Melissa went back to the Netherlands. I think it would make it easy for her to see the girls as they grow. It could work for my family, too, if they want to check in.

In the spirit of catching Melissa up, I am going to go back through the summer. We went up to Byron's cabin north of Talkeetna for some fishing. It was a damp, rainy day full of mosquitos and no fish. We did have a great time, though. Zoey was getting a handle on fly casting and Vivi was happy to play with a little kid line with a hook and bobber. She really appreciated her head net. We were all coated in bug dope and still were plagued by all sorts of flying/biting critters.

It was interesting driving into the cabin. The way in is pretty rough. Let's not call it a road, that's just too generous.

Berry fever

It is that time of year. The berries are out! We have been spending all our spare time picking low bush blueberries. It also means that the bears are leaving us alone. They want berries even more than we do.

The girls have really gotten into picking berries this year. Vivi is eating almost all that she picks, but Zoey is doing a great job filling the bucket.

Last year I rode my bike about 3 miles out the pass, picked loads of berries and rode back in. This year I found this fabulous site a mere stone's throw from the house. I know I walked this meadow last year, but I think it caught too much sun and the berries were not as good.

Also we are smoking fish tonight. It's also trash night, so I'll let you know if we have any furry visitors. It could be interesting.