Tuesday, August 24, 2010
my first pickles
Jennifer cutting the wall between the "re-addition" and the main house - with a chainsaw.
Mike, Ella & Liam checking the set-net.
First day back get-up.
Liam started grade 1 today. It's amazing how mellow he was about the whole thing. When pressed, he described subtle differences, but said his teacher was wonderful, played some game where the boys all ran away from the girls, learned that Grade 1 was pretty much like Kindergarten, only not as much playing, but in general, my impression is that he was thrilled to be back because it 1. gave him something structured to do and 2. gave him a break from his sister.
Looking back a year ago at what a big deal his first day was, it is amazing to think of how far both kids have come. The complexity of the car-ride conversation this time around, well, it was pretty interesting. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed that time in the car driving to McNeil. It takes about 40 minutes to get there, which is a lot of time to discuss whatever comes up. This morning, it was mostly pre-school jitters, but Thea launched into a refresher on the higher points of the previous evening, which included blueberry picking, swinging on a buoy, and eating noodles.
It's also funny how much more relaxed I've gotten about this parenting thing. Where before I would have been adamant about getting home and getting everyone in bed early, last night Jennifer and the kids and I went over to our friend Mike's house, and his daughter Ella and Liam got to go pick his set net together. We didn't get out of there until 8:30 or so, didn't get home until 9, didn't get in bed till 9:30, and Thea was still thrashing about at 10. Needless to say, no one woke voluntarily this morning, and Liam had that puffy-eyed look of a lad who could have stayed in bed a good bit longer. Sure was easy to put them to bed tonight, though!
Today was one of those beautiful Alaska days. 65 degrees, sunshine blasting, daybreeze keeping the bugs at bay - sort of. After school, we all hit the garden with gusto - weeding for two hours solid. Liam enjoyed harvesting the broccoli, cauliflower, some carrots (the sweetest ever, we decided), a couple of turnips, and some lettuce. He's allowed to use a sharp knife now, under supervision, which certainly adds to the allure. And Thea had fun digging for worms and cutting down fireweed with scissors. Good stuff. To me, watching them enjoying the garden, sampling the wares, and just being comfortable in this space of earth and green, is huge. They are part of their own self-sufficiency. It's magic.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I realized as I closed up the hoop house tonight that it might very well frost tonight. A clear day, a calm night, and temperatures in the 40s, for now... if not tonight, then soon. Seriously, I feel like I only just got the garden going and now it is harvest time already. Amazing. School starts in less than a week. Equally amazing. I've been obsessing about finishing the insulation, cutting firewood, and freezing things. A berry picking trip is scheduled for next weekend. It's almost unfathomable.
But, in a strange way, I'm ready. What an amazing summer. Liam has learned to read like crazy and now must be threatened with some dreadful fate to get him to put down the book and go to sleep. Théa has obtained a firm grasp on the English language, and is now prone to cracking jokes and generally messing with you whenever she can. They have both grown like weeds, are familiar with how to properly pick a pea from the vine without uprooting the entire plant, have spent plenty of time drenched in campfire smoke and sunshine, and I'm pretty sure have had a most excellent summer, all things considered.
For my part, it's been beyond extraordinary. This summer has been an indulgence in all things Alaskan. It's a taste of the luxury of living in this amazing place. Yum. Caught my first halibut, dipnetted for the first time, clammed for the first time, hiked new trails in the Kachemak Bay State Park, took my first trip to Bear Cove and China Poot, ran an outboard motor for the first time, slept on a boat for the first time, ran a chain saw for the first time, grew my first productive Alaska garden, butchered my first bird (and a bunch more, ta boot), fixed my first loose spark plug, and established a hugely enriching friendship with another single mother. I also taught myself (with the help of many) how to plumb and wire a washer and dryer, wired my entire new addition, and performed countless other acts of generosity upon my 1980's-Homer-built abode. It's been an empowering summer to say the least, filled with laughter, growth, joy, and the promise of even more great things to come. I'm grateful for it all.