Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter has arrived

Two weeks ago, gloves were optional, snow formed into soft snowballs and it was pre-winter. Today, the thermometer on the car read 4F at McNeil. Yikes. Two layers of down are better than one and gloves are mandatory. The day we got those posts in the ground for the high-tunnel was truly the last day we could have done it so easily. the snow hasn't left once since.
Not that we've let that slow us down any. As the state dipped into an early pre-freeze, my friend Judy and her son Oskar showed up from Kodiak to help with the high tunnel. Oh my. Judy is one of those awesome Alaska women who can and will do just about anything. I love working with her because to her, what I'm doing makes perfect sense. Of course you are putting up a 2,000-square-foot tunnel. Who wouldn't?
So we bashed away at baseboards, lots of frustration, etc. Mike had found cable on craigslist and bought a whole bunch of it for rafter bracing like many other people have done. We spent one blustery day rolling out cable on the road and then drug it inside to assemble all the bolts and turnbuckles. Judy braved the snow and ice and relentless wind for several days tightening bolts and drilling holes. Things are moving forward, and I am so grateful for all the help. What makes a person show up and do something like that? I sure hope she buys that house so I can come reciprocate - hell, after this thing goes up, I'm essentially an indentured servant to a group of close friends for several months. But isn't that the best way to do things? I couldn't do it without the help - nor would I want to. I guess there is a wonderful feeling in knowing you did something on your own, but really, I'd rather dwell in the wonderful feeling of being part of your self-created community.
Meanwhile, the kids have been having a pretty good time playing. Oskar and Liam are about the same age and have always been good friends. Thea, well, she tries her best to keep up, with varying results. On Sunday, the whole crew came up and hung out at the house while we worked on the tunnel and Mike constructed a jig to properly fit the rafters before we tightened the bolts down.
The kids decided to sled down the road, but on the first run, I heard the tell-tale thud. Not good. They had run into the car parked on the side of the road and Thea was in the front. I knew it was bad right away - ran full tilt up to her, picked her up as her little mouth filled with blood,didn't look close until we got inside and I sat her down. Luckily, it was just her lip, her teeth are fine. But her poor lip - oh my. It swelled up like crazy. So the kids all got to watch a movie and by 3:30 she was ready to roll and we actually went skating for a bit. Strong girl!
Liam's so into the skating - he loves to zoom around. Getting pretty fast - though he still falls a lot. Got to get him on skis soon, too.
Anyway, another fun thing we did this week was dispatch two turkeys. That's how it is when Judy's in town. Things happen. Like two hours after she got there, she had arrived back at my house with two turkeys in the back of the subaru. Big turkeys. Hugomongous, actually. So we had to figure out how exactly to kill them. Ax? Knife? or, even better, a gun. I'm Canadian. We don't do guns. I did shoot a pumpkin once last winter, but that's another story. So Judy decides the best way to do this thing was to straddle the bird, holding its wings between her legs, and shoot it while I held on to the legs. Oh my. We did it, but wow. I dunno. It was something, really. The second one went better - not sure why. But Still bruised the wings. Then we plucked and gutted these hugomongous beasties. And that was the end of that day, by far.
One other thing of note - I've taken up racketball. Played four times, twice by self, twice with Mike, and it's great. Getting way way way better. Hard workout, though. And Mike kicks my ass.

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