Friday, April 19, 2013

first hike of spring

The snow was still knee-deep in places, and of course, we gots these here children, so we won no distance awards at .6 miles in 90 minutes, but we found a deer trail that had been packed down well enough to at least get out into the hills. We saw an abundance of wildlife on our evening drive and hike. A raccoon, graciously treed by Kaladi for our viewing pleasure, a golden eagle, other colorful birds, hundreds of deer, a skunk, and evidence of a porcupine (in Kaladi's nose and lip), which provided Jason and his Leatherman with a nice evening chore.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

winter catch up, part 1: images of winter, expecting a baby!

There is a beauty and a depth that belong only to winter, I'm certain. But this has been one ridiculously cold, dragging season of beauty and depth. I mean, I've lived in 4-season places my entire life, other than a short stint in Texas, but a North Dakotan winter has at least 47 verses, like my daughter's made up songs. We recreated outside far more through the Anchorage winters than we do here, for pity's sake! The wind blows the cold across this flatland so relentlessly that it's not only seriously uncomfortable just to dash from home to vehicle, but it seems negligent to stray very far from either, especially with children in tow. There is a reason many Native peoples were migratory. Holy frozen turds, there is a reason.

We've kept on a-doin' and a-bein,' though. Jason has been working as much as ever, all the while dreaming up plans to implement some kind of permaculture super garden / chicken system this summer. It would include a foreground garden of herbs and flowers that welcome the good bugs and deter the bad, a field of non-GMO grains that become our chicken feed, a pond where we would grow fish to be harvested in the fall, and I don't know what else. A ferriswheel run by gerbil power. Kidding on that last one. I have been busy as a whole hive of bees, making home progress: organizing, decorating, downsizing clothes and possessions, prioritizing which components of a traditional and whole foods diet I can rightly manage and which I don't have time and skill for yet. At the same time, I'm trying like the dickens to heed a little meme I saw on face book: "Stop the glorification of busy," which is easy to forget. My group of friends here continues to be a true community; since I live out of town, I'm not as in-the-thick as I wish I could be, but what interaction I can get is life giving. As for Z and Zi, ohhh man, these kids! They are the best little humans! And, I'll be busting out another one, come late June or early July!

But backing up, I'm going to attempt a summary of our every day moments, other than theme-specific topics I hope to blog separately about, from the fall and winter time. As though winter's over. HA. It is by no means spring on the prairie just yet. A few weeks ago, I asked a lifelong local if we'd already had our last deep freeze. "Oh no," she said, "There's always one more. Always one more." And sure indeed, we did have another snap. But hopefully, that's it now. My teeth are quite ready for another stage besides chattering, thank you.

On Halloween itself, we were hit with such a flu bug that we couldn't go trick-or-treating. The kids had gotten dressed up anyway for a party at play group a few days prior. They were a Japanese geisha and the Karate Kid.

decorating pumpkins
By far, our biggest discovery of the year came in early November: I was, and am, with child! If you plumb DON'T want family additions, I recommend only setting out as many fall pumpkins as you have current members, rather than the extra pumpkin you innocently acquired. Even as I set these on the piano, I recognized it as a family of five, a few days before I knew for sure we were en route to becoming that.

I have gone through, let's see, more emotional variation about bearing this child than I did the other two, somewhat because this was a true surprise, and somewhat because I now know what energy is required to rear the young. I know the increased frequency at which a parent's brown hairs turn to gray. I'd hoped for at least one more child, a little later down the road, but despite adoring surprises, I have definitely struggled with whooo boy; how's this gonna work - the continuousness of it all, the daily grind, staying sane, being away from the support of family?? The sense of overwhelm has been tapering off as I make progress on the practical matters that weigh me down. By now, I am more excited and curious than fearful about this baby, though there's still a blend. But yeah, so curious! We have boy and girl prototypes, so this will be a true variation on a theme, which I seek out in art and music. And general life. And babies.

back at 10 weeks in December
circle on circle on circle to baby bump
I had an ultrasound last week, mid-February. Looks like the baby is healthy and on track for 21 weeks! We kept with our tradition (and common modesty) by not peeking at the baby's nether-regions during the ultrasound. Of course, when the lad or lass pops out, all propriety will be discarded, and we'll devote ourselves to the discovery of its sex, especially Zoralee, who pines away DAILY for a baby sister.

*   *   *   *   *

and now, for a few images of winter...

sitting in front of a space heater one early morning,
and at that point, going through a phase of looking at our wedding photo
Even ladybugs, the lucky ones who make it to the inside,
occasionally turn to substance abuse to deal with what they've been through:
repeated bouts of temperatures between -20 and -40 F.

These photos were taken during heat waves on 10-20 degree days.

One day, this is all the further Jason and Zoralee got,
and they came inside, bitterly cold.

helping to rearrange the kitchen
slow cooker roast preparations
a common evening activity: flying the remote-controlled helicopter

washing the table

a Netflix episode of "Martha Speaks," Zoralee's current favorite

just cuddlin'

 Meet Gretta, our only chicken with a name.
She was selected for her beauty: her sleek coat, bright eyes, and clean legs,
and named after my friend, Gretta, who chose the honor
as her Bunco prize when I hosted the game at my house this month.

In January, Jason built a platform and wall in the basement on which to install a
Well, new to us. We'd collected them this summer
from the driveway of a couple in their mid-90s.
$50 took both! But to me, they're worth one million pesos plus one million seashells,
because I don't have to go to the laundromat anymore.
Besides that, the washer supposedly only worked on one speed,
but a little wire-jiggling by Jason proved that to be a falsehood!

- the card Jason received for his birthday from Zoralee -
(Sometimes cards reflect the style of the receiver, but sometimes of the giver.)

Next up: Zoralee's birthday and our month long getaway to Oregon, Washington, and Montana