Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ribs, Yum!

Autumn is rapidly falling in this part of the world. It seems to have a pretty steep arc. The colors come quickly, brightly and leave rapidly with the onset of the useless season.

The useless season is when it rains and is 38F for days straight. It is not very good for doing anything outdoors. It is not cold enough to bring snow and it is dreary.

I find myself trying to stretch fall out. I love the smell of fall and the cooling air. However, it can be a frenetic time in that school is just ramping up for all of us. We are getting used to new schedules, new adventures, setting goals for winter athletics. And then there is the birthday onslaught.

Thursday was the most glorious day of the fall so far. I did get to enjoy a quick walk with the girls at Hillside Park. It was not long enough. Once we hooked Zoey up with her training group, Vivi and I headed back up to the house to be the birthday chefs. It was Tom's birthday and I decided I would make him ribs. It's one of his favorite meals and I had never tried it. They turned out great. We also had to make some kind of dessert.

Zoey gave a post-dinner concert of her latest piano work. It was lovely.

Vivi had to use her super nose to check out the cupcakes that she helped bake.

I think we all enjoyed the family meal together.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Henry's Stash

My mother is coming up on Monday, yes, in five days. She told me today. I was thinking she might, but she was waffling. The confirmation of her trip, as well as the soggy weather, put me in overdrive. In the spirit of full disclosure I will tell you that I am maybe not the best housekeeper. As I was straightening this, and vaccuming that, and plumbing the depths of some scary corner, I kept running across balls of yarn, hanks of freshly spun yarn, and bits of yarn left over from other projects. Instead of putting them right where they belong the first time, I kept putting them on top of a bureau in our front room. That was a holding pattern for sorting them and properly stashing them in said bureau. When I was finally ready to stash these lovely yarns, I came upon Henry. He now believes that I put these soft wools there for his pleasure, perhaps to enhance his bird watching experience. will I break it to him?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Piano Lessons

Four weeks ago, with much anticipation, Vivi started piano lessons. For at least a week before they started everyday was greeted with the question "Is today the day I start piano lessons?" She was so excited, she would mimic her sister practicing, pretend she was giving a recital, singing along to every activity. I had a little trepidation starting her so young, she wasn't even five yet. However, I knew her teacher, Miss Holly, was a caring soul and would not scar her. I also knew Miss Holly would tell me the real story if it wasn't working out.

As Vivi had her first lesson, I sat downstairs in the Kaladi Bros. Coffee House, a little nervous, feeling a little naked without my baby. After one half hour, Zoey brought her down to me. Vivi sat across the table, sipping her hot chocolate, patiently answering the questions I peppered her with. Finally, she looked at me and said "Well, Momma, it's all about the hands, all about the hands."

She then clammed up like a sphinx and finished her hot chocolate.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fall Miniatures

Remember June when I took you on a tour of the fairy blooms in my yard? These plants do a wonderful show for fall as well.

This is the deep reds that our super miniature blueberries display come fall. These blueberries do not grow like a bush. They seem to spread across the ground.

Look closely at the above photo and you can see a little brown mushroom or two and extra special bonus old moose poop! What's a post from my yard without some kind of scat.

Our other blueberries grow more like bushes and have a more papery leaf that turns shades of gold, moving towards orange.

Isn't this lichen amazing? I do not know what kind of lichen this is, but it only gets this gorgeous orange in the fall.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Moose Movie

It is moosey love season. They are gathering in groups on Powerline Pass, rubbing against the fence at Kincaid Park, and generally getting ready for winter.

Here is a momma in the yard Wednesday evening. Her baby was across the road. Look at her work the willows. We watched her and her baby out the slider for a good fifteen minutes.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunset on the Marsh

Sunset on the marsh
Oyster beds spitting water
Green heron in summer

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Been Too Long At The Fair

A few Fridays ago we went to the Alaska State Fair. Now you may think, state fair, that's huge. Really, it is more like an Ohio county fair in size. The state fair is often a cross-roads. When I go I always seem to run into someone I know. This time it was three of Tom's nieces. That's Kellee holding Vivi.

We brought along Zoey's best bud, Sarissa. They enjoyed the rides together, got dizzy together, and spared Tom and I from getting queasy.

Vivi enjoyed the pony ride. She was so in heaven. The sun was warm and her pony was actually sweet. She was very reluctant to get off that pony. I promised her cotton candy if she would please let another child ride that pony. Mother of the year.

And there was the carousel that all the girls enjoyed. This is a lovely, old fashioned carousel with a Venetian theme. It is about my favorite thing at the fair.

And the quintessential Alaska State Fair experience is the large vegetables. Look at the size of this turnip.

On this zucchini you may not be able to see that the ribbon reads 81.95 lbs. YIKES! That would make a lot of pasta very happy.

And here is a world record setting kale at 105.9 lbs. Amazing!

Finally, beautiful, award winning Alaska grown girls.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Singing Artist

Vivi drew this portrait of Picasso, the injured black-capped chickadee. I like how he looks like he is wearing a beret. My Vivi spends a great deal of time drawing. Rarely is it about the finished product, but mostly about the process. She sings the entire time. In fact, Vivi sings all the time. No matter what she is playing, or if she is riding on the sticked-together bike, she is singing. It is a window into how she is feeling, what she is thinking and how she is processing all the input she receives. I would love to take her to the opera. I wonder what she would think of that? Hmmmm....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Diane, Beware!

There is a photo of a spider at the end, I would really like some help identifying it. So, Diane is forwarned. Above though, are some cute little black-capped chickadee 'tocks. cute!

In the meantime, let me tell you about my naughty streak. I have been feeding the birds out of season. I know, there really is no season for feeding birds. However, here on the edge of Alaska it is not a good idea to have a feeder when the bears are awake. They LOVE the stuff. A few years ago our neighbor had a feeder out in April, with a drift of snow under it. I looked out the slider to see a two-year-old blackie hanging from it. YIKES! He got it and made short work of that feeder.

Last week a black-capped chickadee did a fly by of all the locations of the winter feeders. I could not wait for the freeze up and the snow, so I have been putting out a handful of seed and suet dough each morning and cleaning it up in the evenings.

We have had numerous black-capped chickadees, a few boreal chickadees, and today a red-breasted nuthatch. A new one in the yard! Isn't that nuthatch pretty? I will try to get a better picture of all our visitors.

Does anyone have any guesses who this guy is on my dianthus?

Chickadee Drama

The chickadees are back! The chickadees are back! And we found one injured. This little guy was on his side, with maybe a dislocated leg. There was no blood and he was breathing a little hard. He was very awake. We've taken it to Bird Treatment and Learning Center and are hoping for the best. Zoey named him Picasso. Vivi wanted to keep him for her birthday. After, all, it did happen on her birthday! That's why the sad face on Vivi.

Vivi's Big Day

Tom is such a good daddy. He came home on Vivi's birthday with a gift and some flowers for her. She was so excited to get her very own roses. She is always making Daddy buy flowers for me, it was now her turn.

We had a little family get-together for Vivi at Pepere's house. Tom's father and two brother's were there. It seems everyone else in the family was sick. Bummer!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Where Were You Five Years Ago Tonight?

Where were you five years ago tonight? I was marveling at the instant bond between Zoey and Vivi. I was amazed at how I could love this little black haired, blue eyed baby so much. Happy Birthday, Vivi.

Anyone smell lemons?

A female and male crested auklet, above, engage in alloanointing on St. Lawrence Island in June of 2007. During courtship, females and males intertwine necks, an embrace that helps to distribute the citrus scent in their feathers. (Credit: Hector Douglas/UAF)

Alright, the future is coming and it smells citrus-y! Check out what was in the paper today. I thought it was interesting.

Repel mosquitoes and find a mate. Far North Science reports on a UAF professor’s discovery of a citrusy scent auklet seabirds use to repel ticks and mosquitoes and attract the opposite sex. Writer Doug O’Harra tells readers the birds’ steamy mating ritual, which involves smearing scent on each other using their feathers, “sounds like a cross between delousing and edible massage.”