May 25, 2015

My Baby

You might have noticed in the pictures from last week's post in Denali, Naomi has fallen in love with baby dolls.  So much so that this girl is rarely without one.
Watching my little baby carry around her baby does something to me.  How I love this little lady.  And even as she steps into the role of being a little mama she has gotten one thing for certain - try taking away one of these babies and she becomes a mama bear.  No one touches her baby dolls.

May 22, 2015

Friday Homestead Update

The big news of this week...
 The garden is in.  Well, except for the green beans, peas and beet starts that are still sprouting in the greenhouse but those should go in today.  
No more chickens have been lost and the big news on that part is that the heat light has been turned off.  Josh should get the net covering put up today and that means the chickens will be soon moving out of the brooding box and into the yard.  These ladies are getting big and summer is in full swing.

May 21, 2015

What It Will Be Like

We have big dreams to taking the kids out on their first outside, overnight, camping trips this summer.  
But before the big outdoors are experienced we ran a test run in the basement.  This summer is sure to be a fun one for sure.  This test run reminded us about how important it is to tire the kids out before the fun of the tent experience begins.  

May 20, 2015

Talk To Me

11 1/2 months old and growing so much.  The most fun I have had over the past few days is watching this little baby respond to the words spoken to her.  The act of learning that talking has means.  Abigail talks about her baby and Naomi looks at her baby doll.  Ask Naomi to pick up a shirt off the floor and she walks and picks it up.  Tell our lady no and her pouting lip pops out right away.
Even though this girl can't talk yet she does understand.  How fast they grow!

May 19, 2015

Your Backyard

Two years ago I felt like we were finally getting out and about with the kids.  Ethan was 10 months and Abigail 2 1/2 the last time we were in Denali National Park.  Then we found out we were expecting our surprise gift.  Needless to say with Naomi arriving last summer visiting Denali wasn't part of our to do list.
But 100 miles isn't too far to travel to visit this beauty and the world around it.  Josh was reminded at the end of last week that the park didn't open until today.  Thus the road was open for access to anyone up to mile 30.
All summer you have to ride a tour bus into the park and the chance to take our own truck and have freedom to stop and go was worth it.
And even better.  After parking at 30 mile you can bike even further into the park.  You might remember one of my 2015 goals was to figure out how to bike as a family.  This is a blog post all of its own but since I can't take a picture and hold my bike I haven't taken any pictures of my solo biking with this crew.  We bought Abigail a ride behind bike (look close and you will see the blocks we put on the pedals for our little girl) and she LOVES it.  Ethan and Naomi ride in the buggy.  When Josh is with me he pulls the buggy and I pull Abigail.  When Josh works I put the buggy on Abigail's bike and pull all three.  It has been WONDERFUL!!  Naomi doesn't love her helmet and screams a lot but she will get used to it.  When we are biking Abigail is know to scream, BEST DAY EVER.  
But since our day in Denali was stop and go as needed - we were able to stop for snacks and letting this little girl stretch her legs.  
There is nothing like showing my kids that Denali is part of their Alaskan backyard.  What a great place to be.
Oh, long drives in a truck, wind, pushing ourselves with hikes, tumbles and biking makes for long days.  Being out and about seeing our world isn't always the easiest place to be.
But is it worth it?
Without a doubt yes.  To us it is days like this that makes us smile.
How wonderful to talk to the kids of caribou, bears and ground squirrels by showing them tracks on the ground.  To talk of geology, shifting tectonic plates and earthquakes while pointing to the tallest Mountain on our side of the world.  To explain cultures, travel, and the importance of people seeing their dreams in Alaska while the kids see visitors speaking a half a dozen languages in the park with them.
I love the every day days at home.  I really do but these days - these chances to be out in it all- sure do make me feel alive.

May 18, 2015

Raising Alaskan Kids

Yesterday we took the kids on an adventure.
More details to come tomorrow.

May 15, 2015

Friday Homestead Update

This week's been busy at this little homestead of ours, mostly in the areas of dirt.
 We started a large compost area in the southern part of our property over 4 years ago and are super excited that this year it has broken down enough that it is going to be compost in our garden.
 Each year we try and improve upon something in our yard/home area and this year it is the quality of the dirt in the garden.  Compost, perlite, sand and more were mixed into our garden beds this week. 
 And since the sun has been so warm the starts were officially moved out of the living room and have started hardening up each day outside.  The first day we had more room inside Naomi just walked circles laughing.  As excited as we were in March to section off room for the starts is as excited as we are in May when we get that room back by moving them outside.
 And since we are away from frost at night I have worked the soil in the greenhouse and planted our tomatoes, cucumbers and basil seeds.
 All green beans, peas and beets have been started.  Yes, this gardening season is upon us.  Josh rototilled on Tuesday and this weekend will find me putting all those starts in the ground.
I leave you with a picture of this girl enjoying the outdoors and I do report our losses and changes.  This week all of my cauliflower, and a few broccoli plants, have had their leaves burn.  Not sure what is going on but hope my frail little starts can rally.  

On the animal front - the bees are doing so well that last night we put a queen blocker in and added our first honey box, yeah.  But sadly our chickens are having a little more trouble and so far this week we have lost three.  The common loss is 15% so this would be average since we started with 32 but we would like to end with them all if possible.  We will have to see what tomorrow holds.  

May 14, 2015

Where We Are

As I sorted the pictures from my camera the other night I noticed a distinct trend.  These days we are OUTSIDE!  May it be cloudy, windy, sunny, warm, chilly, buggy or otherwise, the house is pretty empty (although not very clean).
 Because instead of being inside cleaning and keeping order I have been outside with my crew.  While in the fresh air we have been busy pulling out our yard toys and remembering how much fun a bucket of water and rag for washing can being.
 Finding the perfect stumps for a table and chairs in the yard.  Who can resist the urge of a 4-year old saying, "mama can be have snack in the yard today if I make the table?" (and maybe in my joy I gave just a few extra treats with that snack.  Yes, tea time has become snacks on the deck or in the yard time.  Oh my the shift of seasons).
And I also find the more we are outside the less we go to town.  The world is our entertainment these days.  Sibling fights go away when I encourage the kids to wander in the woods.  A restless 2-year old just needs his boots and a bucket of water in the greenhouse where he can make massive puddles of mud.  Even my sister commented on the phone the other day how I seem to have a much more positive outlook on life.  Ahh, outdoors.  It is so good for the body and the soul.

May 13, 2015

9 Years

9 Years Ago Josh and I started this little family of ours.  Look just how far we have come!
Happy Anniversary to my Love.

May 12, 2015

Off Roading It

Living where we do and having built the house we did means a few things.  First, a dirt road.  When you live on a dirt road with a gravel driveway there aren't too many childhood memories of sidewalk chalk or biking from home.  Second, when you build your own home out of the woods the house, garden, shop, woodshed and more come before grass.  As a result most of our property is still rambles of trees, rose hip thorns, random raspberry bushes and piles of leaves.
 But when you are a little two year old who knows no different it doesn't bother you at all.  Most people would see a little ride on truck as the perfect toy for the sidewalk down to the corner.
But around here it works just fine being ridden over the brambles, gravel, and through the woods.  This boy loves to be outside and he loves his trucks.  

May 11, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Mother's Day.  What a fun time for all.
 Josh did an amazing job at leading this little band of kids in honoring me all day.   How thankful I am for each of these children that have made me a mom.  
When asked what I really wanted out of today I realized I just wanted to relax and play with the kids.  No time to worry about the chores and jobs of life.
 Yes the garden needed work, the house needed cleaning and on and on.  But instead of that Josh took over the most needed chores and stepped up to make us breakfast and dinner.
 And me, I got to play.  I have been wanting to do this craft where the kids take cars/trucks, drive them through paint and then create with the tires covered in paint.  Sounded like a good idea.
 But with my kids it only lasted about two minutes before the game turned into painting with their bodies instead.
Seeing the mess I put water in a tub on the deck to wash their feet before Josh's dinner and next thing I knew a full blown bath was taking place on the deck, in May.  And you know what, through it all I laughed, played and enjoy each moment.  To sit, play, talk, hug, be bounced upon, clung too, and loved, that was my mother's day and I am so very thankful indeed.

May 8, 2015

Friday Homestead Update

Earlier this week Josh finished our baby chick's new brooding box.  Two years ago we kept the babies in our arctic entry way in a kiddy pool, we will NEVER do that again.
 That knowledge, plus the fact that we are doubling our numbers, meant we needed a new spot to put our babies until they grew their adult feathers and could be outside.  So a brooding box it was.  Of course Josh is amazing and built a great place for these chicks.  The kids had a lot of fun helping to paint the box the other day, and much to her dismay Naomi had to watch from the gate.
 The box, heat light, food, water and new fresh sawdust - we were ready to welcome our 32 chicks to their new home.
The kids are so very, very excited.  They love to visit every day.  Yesterday after I let the kids go say hi to the chicks Abigail started to cry, "I am just so sad because I never want them to grow up, I just want my baby chicks to stay my cute babies forever."  And there we are people, the problem that most women face all around the world.  Here it starts early.