Saying that we were up and working outside as soon as the sun came up and until it went down is not saying much for Alaska this time of year, but we sure did fill those hours. Romay had Point Guard College (basketball camp) this morning at 8 am and after dropping her off, Myra and I headed to the lot to cut a few more trees and process them into firewood. Myra proved to be a true lumber jack once she got the chain saw in her hands and it seemed as though no tree in the woods would be safe. She bucked up everything that was down and then looked around for more.
We had to quit with trees still needing to be cut, but Romay was due to be picked up from school. I dropped Myra and Kemper off at the house and went to go get Romay... we ended up walking as the machine decided it would rather not start. A $2 part had broken inside the recoil and forced us to walk the short distance home.
I snagged a ride back with tools, got it fired up to drive home, where the part failed again, but hey, it was home. Hopefully that problem will be fixed relatively soon with the part being ordered and due here some time the beginning of next week.
During the time that I was tearing apart and putting the machine back together, Myra had thrown together a batch of the most amazing monkey bread ever baked in all of Alaska. She had also warmed up yesterday's soup because John Korta had called to see if we would like to go out mushing and you can't mush on an empty stomach.
Upon arriving at the Korta's, we started getting dogs into harnesses and hooked in. Picture nineteen fifth graders after eating a package of pixie sticks a piece and you'll have about half the energy of an Iditarod Sled Dog Team. Twister was aptly named and quickly became one of my favorites as he spun around as Myra and I wrestled him into his harness all the while he was trying to stick his tongue in my mouth.
We got the dogs all hooked in with John running 12 dogs in his team pulling him and Romay in one sled and Myra in a sled hooked in tandem behind. That left seven of the more mellow dogs for me... again, pixie sticks. You would think that a team taking off dragging so much weight behind would start more like a steam train, kind of slow and building up. Actually, it is more like a rocket going into orbit with your face pushed back and everything. I really don't remember the first thirty seconds as I think I went into shock from it all... I do know that I had a smile on my face that took most of the day to wear off.
I don't want to mislead you into thinking that I stayed upright at all. I made it a full fifty feet before promptly flipping the sled on its side and dragging for who knows how long. I had heard and understood the first rule of dog sledding: never let go.
As for Myra, evidently the trees were trying to get back at her for cutting down their kind earlier. The small sled she was piloting also flipped on its side soon into our journey dragging Myra far enough for a tree to slow her forward progress. The bruise on the side of her face is kind of a war wound and an a symbol of pride in going out so hard in her first mushing experience.
The dogs calmed down, though there were still some wild parts to the ride, and we got an amazing opportunity to see some of the countryside in quite possibly the best way. The only sound was that of the snow beneath the runners and the panting of happy dogs. Thank you to John and Tonya Korta for only implanting the dogsledding bug that much further into our family.
Hot coffee, conversation and then we were off to the Browns for some hot food and more good conversation. Genny and Todd Brown are some of the coolest people. We got a chance to enjoy some great turkey soup and laugh as we sat around and told stories. The girls played hide and seek, secret agent, and just giggled.
It was the best way to spend a Saturday. God is good.
We dined on our first home grown turkey yesterday, a highlight for dessert included Paul Apfelbeck's specialized cheesecake. Overall, we drank plenty of coffee, laughed, and got to spend time with new people. Today, Jason's arm was twitching and after 5 years of marriage, you just know that his brain is geared for cutting wood. He didn't mention it to me, so I asked, "Jay, don't you want to get outside and cut some trees on our lot?" I have the crock pot prepared with stew, so off we were to "Narnia" to fell a few more Birch. Here are some of the shots, now we're inside, smell like sno-go exhaust, and giving into relaxing.
Midnight oil on a sunday is about 8 pm, we really try and check in early on school nights. Romay's adventures in the botany field continue as her pumpkin (looks like a weed shoot) is growing similarly to a weed. It literally has grown inches in a few days. Our impatience plant blooms year round, kind of refreshing with civil twilight ending around 4:50!! Jay and I took a walk to the dump tonight, I happened to feel like skiing over, so Jay got them out for me. Only two days with students this week, what a heavenly thought.
Sometimes the internet is your foe, as I have waited a week before I sat down to post these other pictures from last week. If there is an effort to post 6 pictures simultaneously, we might as well go to bed, eat breakfast, check the mail, then come see if there was any progress. Anyhow, with Thanksgiving break looming on the horizon, we're thrilled to celebrate with a new family of friends. The Kopps will be hosting us for Thanksgiving this year. Mr. Kopp and I both teach middle school, some days I feel as if it might be more appropriate to wear combat boots and wear camouflage to class. It's neat to work with him, his experience and insight have helped a new teacher greatly. Well, maybe we'll gear up for another ride this weekend; Jason keeps telling me that the chainsaw needs to get it's share of work this weekend.
We took an hour to explore the area. Romay persuaded me to get on the sled later on, that was an instant trip down memory lane! Jay showed us a beaver lodge and what do you know, a beaver snare through the ice nearby. What a piece of paradise we live in!
Just taking a moment to post again. It seems that I have posted these pictures before, except we have a little more snow. Romay and I were busy knocking off fungus off the trees with dead branches, while Kemper and Dad explored the area. In actuality, we were out taking our Christmas photo, so I decided to dump the extras on this post.
Jason's idea of a monday night dinner is more like Thanksgiving dinner--we had steak, salad, cranberry jelly, boiled potatoes and don't forget the apple pie with icecream for dessert. The way all this good food happened upon us was from my flying that happens on mondays after school. When I first started flying, Jason would make a sort of congratulatory dinner, "first time landing on your own," or "first time..." So now, it has become a satisfactory habit. Plus, we LOVE LOVE LOVE cooking good meals, our family often gathers around the stove and talks about what our Gram cooks, or recipes from Nancy. Ah, anyone up for a piece of apple pie?