Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Look what I grew!

I saw this vegetable at the Farmer's Market last summer and this summer I just had to try to grow it :) It's called Romanesco. It is sort of a cauliflower and it is sort of a broccoli. I planted six of them and two never grew but the other four have been getting bigger and bigger leaves on them since the very first week. Today I went outside to check on the things (got stung by two different bees in the process) and discovered they are growing. Are they not just the strangest looking plant ever but at the same time just crazy cool?!?!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adventure Planning

I don't recall many things about my marriage anymore that were good. As they say "hindsight is 20/20". However, there was one thing my ex-husband introduced me to that I will forever be grateful for. In October 1998 he drove me to the top of Going To The Sun Highway in Glacier National Park. A life long love affair began. That spring he took me to Yellowstone National Park on my very first camping trip. The love affair only deepened. In the five years we were together we spent many a night under dark star filled skies. I had never camped growing up. Once I was introduced to it, it was infectious. The marriage grew into something I didn't recognize but the love affair with the great outdoors continues. As a wedding gift to ourselves we bought each other new sports sunglasses and a Kelty 2 person backcountry tent. We spent five nights of our honeymoon in this tent. We camped at Many Glacier campground in Glacier National Park and did day hikes every single day. I saw my first grizzly bears on that trip. I didn't shower for five days on the trip. The Kelty Crestone 2 person tent is truly a tent for two ONLY if you truly know the person you are sleeping in it with. Two years later when the cheating bastard walked out on me, I could have cared less that he took the TV and DVR with him. The idiot took my Kelty tent and left me with no means to go camping.

Eight weeks later I graduated from PA school and needed to study for my board exam. My house was filled with pictures of the two of us on our wedding day. It was not a very conducive environment for studying. I was also scared to death to go camping by myself. I HAD to pass the boards though and I COULDN'T let him take all of "me" away. Dear friends loaned me a tent and I packed a cooler of food along with a backpack of study materials to head to Glacier. Half way there the park closed due to forest fires and still I wouldn't turn around. I found a state park near Big Fork, MT and I spent three days in my borrowed tent outlining the blueprint for my exams. I ate cold food and went to bed when the sun set and got up when it came up. Two weeks after my first solo adventure of camping I took my boards and became a certified PA.

After passing my boards, I spent money I didn't have and bought this cheap tent from Target. I then made my first solo trip to Glacier National Park. I didn't sleep a single wink the first night and I was convinced every sound I heard was a bear about to eat me alive out of my tent. The next day I hiked myself into exhaustion and then set at Lake McDonald Lodge journaling until I could barely keep my eyes open before returning to my tent and sleeping like a baby. Since then, I have solo camped several times in Glacier and my friend Rachel has kept me company on many more trips. Now Rachel is working at Sperry Chalet at the peak of Heaven in Glacier and I'm living in Alaska. Who would have guessed?

Last summer I did day trips about Alaska solo and entertained my aunt and a friend for two weeks but stayed in hotels. Alaska is big and wild. The animals are big and wild. The people are unique and sometimes wild. I wasn't sure enough of myself to take to my tent and camp. This summer, I know more. I know more people. I have a bigger to do list and less funds. Camping is what I can afford this summer. I'm home from a trip to see friends and family with summer time to enjoy yet in Alaska. I'm ready for the next adventure.

Friends talked me into taking a course sponsored by the Department of Game and Fish called "Becoming an Outdoor Woman", fondly referred to as BOW. It is a three day, woman's only weekend of workshops ranging from various fishing courses to boating classes to big game hunting to backpacking and climbing. I have a really nice back country 40 lb custom fit backpack. I have flown with it as luggage but never hiked with it. Therefore, the first class of the weekend for me will be Back Country Backpacking. The Great Outdoors Target tent is a great tent. It works for car camping. But when all packed it's heavy. Nearly 10 lbs packed up. Ten lbs packed into a back country pack takes up too much space and weighs too much.

While on vacation I went online and began the hunt for a inexpensive, one to two person, lightweight back country tent. EUREKA!! I found one. My new Eureka two-person back country tent packs down to just over 4 lbs in half the space the Great Outdoors does. It was waiting for me when I got home. Next weekend I am taking it on it's first adventure. Ruby and I are going to the Alaska metropolis of Chicken! Ask Lime what she thinks of the not so frequently asked questions link on the Chicken homepage. The summer population booms to an official 17 according to the US Census but the website says up to 50! There are still operating gold dredges, a few bluegrass festivals, a big river, and some odd Alaska adventures to be had there. I'm going for a T-Shirt.

Tonight I had to make sure I still remember how to set up my tent. They both went up and I think I'll be okay. They will both be always present in the back of the SUV and I don't know which one I'll sleep in next weekend but in two weeks the Eureka will fit snugly in my pack for my back country hike.

Adventures to be had, there are!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday night crafting

Summer Saturday's have been rainy for the last month. Monday morning rolls around and it's gorgeous outside minus the forest fire smoke. Today was no exception. Around 200 am this morning it started raining. It kept raining. I got up at 9:30 and it was still raining. I poured a cup of coffee and crawled back into bed to read. Somewhere around 11:00 I fell back to sleep and got up again at 1:00. Ruby and I went into town to get groceries and then get her nails trimmed. The sun was shining and it was nice out.

4:00 rolled around and it got really dark outside. The rain started with a burst of thunder and the heavens opened. I gave up on the TV because it was so loud on the tin roof I couldn't turn the volume up loud enough to hear it. The lightening got really close and there as one crack of simultaneous lightening and thunder which literally shock the house. I shut the windows, turned on the lights, and started working on some cards. The storm only last for about a half hour but with it and the intermittent cloud bursts over the last 24 hours my garden water holding tank is now half full.

July 1st was the start of the new catalog for Stampin' Up with new colors and new stamps. I used the new set Apple Blossom to make these two cards. They were fun! Now I have a few notes to write to all those that I got to spend a little time with while I was home. Tomorrow going to try to grill out with some friends, maybe the sun will stay out. If not, I can always work on a few more indoor projects.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I'm taking the time to stay home this weekend. My original plans at the beginning of the week were to head to Denali National Park this weekend to camp at Riley Creek Camp ground. By Friday my suitcases from vacation were still on the bedroom floor fully packed. I decided maybe I should stay home and catch up. I have my suitcases completely unpacked, all the bedding washed and put back on the beds, and now I'm sitting with my feet up enjoying the things my senses are taking the time to feel.

The last three days have been extremely hot for Alaska summers. When I was in SD it was 100 degrees with 20 mph winds. I was looking forward to being back in the North country. Well Friday it hit 90 degrees at my house. So much for that theory. This morning has made that all better. I'm in my bathrobe enjoying a fresh brewed cup of coffee. I can hear the rustle of the leaves outside with a light breeze. I can smell the wet grass from last night's light rain which brought a break in the temps. I can feel the breeze on my bare legs. The sun is out and the day is bright. My animals are lounging around with me. Spread out and enjoying the breeze as it rolls through the house.

I think I'm going to leave today to my senses. Days like this confirm why I love living here.