Monday, March 21, 2011

Feverishly farming

Yesterday and the day before I spent the entire day on the couch. I got up for the following reasons: to feed the dogs, to make tea, to go to the bathroom, and once, to get the thermometer, which showed me that yes, I had a high fever. Not that there was any doubt. I probably have strep or something like that, but maybe not - maybe it's just a hellish flu. Just starting Day 4 and it looks like another sllloooowwww day. harumph.

It's been long enough since I've been sick like this that I can't recall the last time clearly. And I certainly can't remember being couch-bound like this. I just have no motivation to move off it. But, from my couch, with my trusty computer, I can plan. Garden plan!

I've found some cool plans online that deal with rope lights as a form of keeping the soil in your starts warm. I'm going to use the rope lights and some of the plethora of leftover insulation to build start-warmers.

I'm also going to build some racks for holding my seedlings - my house is small enough that having them all out on a horizontal space makes for tight quarters, especially once the first batch of chicks come into the house in a few weeks.

I ordered a bunch of seeds a few days ago from Territorial Seed Company. I actually repeated my order for a lot of things, but this year, I must do a better track of logging which plants make it and which don't. It will be interesting to see if I got the squash correct. Last year I got a bunch of squash starts from Craig and so I'm not sure if it was my batch or his that excelled but one kind had a thicker skin and was therefor more resistant to mold and blossom rot. And the tomatoes... who knows. They were all so cold that they produced very little in actual fruit. I can only hope to revamp this by creating two houses - one that is warmer than the other.

I've also been looking into hoop houses built out of conduit. My friend Kathy has been telling me about this for about six months and for some reason I figure it was cost prohibitive. But I went online today and saw that conduit was actually only about 40 cents more per 10-foot stick than pvc. And since it's stronger, you can put in about half as many ribs. I found a great manual on how to build them from Johnny's Seeds and it looks pretty good. So it's going to be a whole new learning curve again (excuse the pun). But I'm looking forward to a more permanent structure.

... A day later (I couldn't even finish that post after mustering energy to go into town and buy Pro Mix, I was toast for the rest of the day). But this morning, the little men with evil drills had left my head for the most part, and I managed to plant my first batch of starts. I don't have my lights set up yet, nor my shelves built, but at least the seeds are in the ground. Let the madness begin!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

home again

It's been a couple weeks since we got home now and I've settled back into my world, finally, as have the kids. That's not to say that there isn't a little backward looking on all of our parts. This morning Théa asked Liam, "Do you remember when we went and looked under the rocks for shells by the campground?" It's funny the memories their minds pull out, but that was a wonderful day. There was a little pool down past where our tent was perched that we could get to only by gravity defying scrambling - a train of flipflops skittering down the cliff, passing from one hand to the next. But once there, there was tidepooling galore, and a place we could swim amid the froth of cascading waves, and under the rocks, shells. We brought home quite a few and I'd like to make them into a mobile or something to hang by the window. Later in the visit, Théa, Chris and I went back down there a couple times and swam in the froth, getting pulled back and forth by the waves like riding the most gentle swing, Théa squealing at the vats of foam. It was a special spot. There are so many memories like that - but they have all blended into this collective feeling of joy that I was able to spend that time with them, and the feeling seems to have followed us home.

It is spring break right now and the kids have been with me all week. It's funny but the time in Hawaii really shifted something for me. I've slowed down and I'm enjoying them a lot more. Their little quirks and silliness - even their squabbles. I don't quite know why it all is that much more amusing now - my patience seems to have extended quite a bit. Not to say there aren't moments, but... I'm just happy to have my warm, comfortable home, the kids pingponging through it, and the chance to tell them how much I love them. Gratitude - perhaps that's what I have discovered. As the world unfolds and images fill my screen of devastation elsewhere that surpasses my capacity to grasp, I feel endless gratitude, for my children, my life in Alaska, my friends. We really do have the opportunity to view situations in whatever light we cast them, and I choose rosy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

end of an epic adventure

Well, I'm at the airport waiting for my plane with a highly energetic Thea. Tonight I will sleep with a roof over my head for the first time in nearly a month. What an amazing idea to take this trip, and what an extraordinary adventure to pull it off. We ate a lot of noodles and spent one very wet night shivering, but otherwise, it was the trip of a lifetime. I couldn't have asked for a more pleasant time, loved spending the bulk of the visit in Hana rather than the high-paced hotter sections of the island. There is so much to tell, but for now, I'll just say, it was the best. I'm sunkissed and spent and happy and sad to be leaving and eager to come back, now that I know the secret - it can be done. Thea swam in the ocean every day this week, floating by herself in her swim vest. She has brown legs and a big smile. We snuggled by the fire each night. It was lovely to be with just her for a bit and see what that was like.