Saturday, February 11, 2012

A lot of winter

It has been a month since I posted anything. That's probably because of a couple reasons - you would think given three weeks to myself to enjoy the relative relaxedness of life, I would revel in things like blogging, not to mention bonbons and sleep.
I did a little of a few of those things, but mostly what I did was shovel. It's been an extraordinary winter. Many times this winter I have gone out in the evening and shoveled for hours and in the morning, wind combined with light, fluffy snow have filled in all my fine work with expertly sculpted drifts higher than any I can remember. This effort is time consuming and at times frustrating. At times it has completely undone me. As a result, I have 4 steps down to my house - as my friends have put it, it is like I live underground. The snow for most of January was fine, fuffy stuff that would better be moved with a leaf blower than a shovel. It was more like pixie dust than snow. It has been cold - single digits for most of the last month, too. There is something really frustrating about cold. It makes everything - a trip to the grocery store, putting gas in the car, trying to pry the metal mailbox open - more difficult.
So the weather has shifted. It did so last week, and what a relief. It was freezing one day, then the next in the 40s. And it has stayed between 30 and 40 since. Snow comes, but it sticks to the ground rather than messing about whilly nilly. I'm slowly starting to feel human again after what felt like a month in a cage.
But the reality is, the kids are back, the daylight is stretching, and it's time to get this show going again. No more relaxing - it is time to garden. I now have a constant checklist of things going through my head that need doing. Plan garden layout. Finish putting up high tunnel. Dig down 4 feet to find parts that will allow me to finish putting up high tunnel....
I took a class last weekend with a bunch of other Homeroids - most would be or existing high tunnel operators. For me, it was a perfectly designed class. I have been gardening with the following philosophy for years now - throw some lime around, maybe mix in some poop, plant seeds, water, hope for the best. Not really, but essentially, that's what's been going on. Now, my head is swimming with things like the best way to get nitrogen into your soil - but not too much nitrogen, mind you... soil testing - what do I have to do to chisel out a sample.. crops, cover crops.. so many options. And I want a tractor. I want a lot of things.
So. And. But.
These are also busy days for the kids. Liam and Thea are doing skiing lessons on Saturday afternoons. It's pretty cool to see them get out there and enjoy this aspect of Alaska living. Liam likes it more than Thea, but she's always a bit cool to new things for a while. Is it possible to be born with both confidence and a lack of it? It feels like that's where she's at. Her brother - that's another story. He's a rock star on his new, long skis. So happy Santa wasn't off-base with those. The are getting lots of use.
Liam also started his Annie classes this week. I'm pretty excited to see him enjoy his theatrical side more. It's as if that's how he's wired... performance art is sort of how he lives his life. Wednesday, his buddy Sam is supposed to get together with him and sing the Edmond Fitzgerald in front of the school for the talent show. Oh my. I worry. But... Liam, Liam, Liam.
So what else - Thea wants to dance. Dare I add another thing to the list.
Oh, and... I'm now putting out two papers, not one. That is a lot of work. That's just about all I'm going to say about that. It's so much work that Mondays hit me like a train of anxiety and fear. How will I pull off the impossible again, I wonder. And yet, somehow it works so far. But I'd like to do better. Always better.
Oh, and... my mother is dieing. Not quickly, but she's fading, struggling to keep her elements separate, struggling to rebound once more. I'm planning to fly down as soon as I can get a passport issued. I need someone to take a photograph for me. I need help getting there. I don't know how to ask. I don't know how to leave my life for a week. Zee tried to eat two chickens this morning, and by March my house will be full of starts, and who can I trust.. for 10 days... oh my.
But I take deep breaths, and read from books that bring me peace and calm me, and draw great, soul-filling comfort from those who love me, and lean on them when I need to...
Today, though, I went out by myself and dug for two hours, excavating like an archeological dig the remaining six rafters for the tunnel. It was good to go and work by myself. I wish I could do that for a whole week. Just slam that thing up. It would feel good. Instead I need to do a little here and there, and get a rhythm and get it done. Once again, I am in one of those phases of life where my favorite quotes ring true - the only way out is through... and Opportunity is missed by many because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.