Darkness and slowing down are the main themes for Alaskan winters. A time of year to nestle in and cozy up to the wood burning stove, watching movies, reading, and sipping hot liquids. We really distanced ourselves from life outside our bubble. We still socialized, still got outdoors, and even went on vacation for an entire month to Mexico…..aaahhhh Mexico.
Our daughters first trip out of the country was warm and welcoming and she was greeted by kisses, hugs, and lots and lots of snacks from strangers who wanted to take her picture and hold her. In a very short summary, she is a social Mariposa who brings a smile to every heart she encounters. She is brave, adventurous, and can hang with the big dogs. She is the best travel buddy, the greatest road dog (well tied with her father, which is NO DOUBT where she gets it from).
I will have to make an entire different post for our trip there, so for now, I will continue on through the winter to our current happenings.
Every year we are surprised by the April snow that falls. Currently, our daughter is napping in our bed, my husband is substitute teaching at the high school 40 miles away, and I am taking a break from my beading project. We tapped 11 Birch trees on April Fools Day and we are in the process of collecting what looks to be hundreds of gallons of water when its all said and done. Every few hours the bags on the verge of overflowing, need to be emptied. Thankfully there is the three of us here, my husband, brother-in-law, and myself to do this, otherwise, this could have been a bigger endeavor than we anticipated! One particular morning when Primrose was not having a nap, I dressed us in our snow gear, put her in her carrier on my shoulders, carried the backpack full of empty jars are on my chest and set out in knee deep snow to empty the bags in time, taking 45 minutes to take care of the 4 trees on the north slope of our property. Those are the trees that produce the best. We emptied out one rain barrel and have started filling it. Bob mentioned that it won’t rain for some time, and even though he is right, I think he forgot that we bought a high tech, bad ass water filter last summer and have been drinking our well water. However, it is still a different taste from freshly fallen rain.
It’s hard to believe that my extended family who live in the lower 48 are currently sending me pictures of them and their children outdoors in t-shirts drinking cold sugary drinks, visiting parks, and soon will hunt Easter eggs in the green grass while we are still sipping on rosehip and spruce tip tea to keep the sniffles away as the snow continues to fall. The temperatures vary now between 20s and low 40s daily so it seems odd and different to my intuition and knowledge to start seeding plants. Planting with the moon cycle has made our life a little smoother and our house less explosive of plant life. We have given up our dinning table to host 14 flats of baby seedlings, that on nice and sunny days we “do the shuffle”- taking the flats to greenhouse in the morning and bringing them in at night. Primrose likes the chore of pushing the cart of flats, won’t go in the greenhouse (she is the hardiest one of us, thinking it too warm), but rides back to the house in the cart to get more.
In just a few short weeks we will be getting our 2 hives of honey bees, and a few weeks after that we will be living with 38 more chickens (these ones for meat) and 4 turkeys.
It sometimes is hard to believe that spring will ever get here, and that summer will blossom and we will have any plants growing on this white earth. But for now, we just keep reading Wendell Berry – getting inspired about our family farm, and growing in all the ways we dream of.