Monday, May 12, 2008

Bathtub tomatoes, cleaning the compound, and lake life abound.

Well it was a humble Mothers Day here at the compound. It turned out to be a beautiful weekend out, best since September, and Maryann just wanted to stay home and enjoy the yard. So we all pitched in and did yard work both Saturday and Sunday. It is quite obvious that the previous owner had done little to tend the property for years. Mind you the immediate yard was somewhat...did I say somewhat?...kept up on. I mean we did pretty much revive the lawn from yellow death upon arrival last summer. Come to think of it, we revived alot upon arrival last summer. Ok, the previous owner didn't do much, even around the immediate yard! Now many locals comment on how Alaskas vegetation is about jungle-like, and there is some truth to that. Minus catching up on the former negligence, it will take some years to tame the property and at that some areas will always be wild. But this weekend was a noble effort and a start. And we did get alot done. John was most impressed with what he referred to as a "redneck bulldozer". Quite simply, I mounted the plow to the truck and used it to push debris piles down to the burn pile! We did get a pretty rutted driveway over the course of the winter, what with the heaves...and hoes... Because with every heave comes a hoe! In any event, the plow worked out dandy for cutting down the hump in the center and leveling out the driveway. The most peaceful moment was when Maryann and I were sitting at the burn pile in our chairs late yesterday. John was over at the barbque smoking some salmon for us. I happened to look up and out from between the trees in front of us came a bald eagle about 30 feet off of the ground. So magestic, and the wing span had to be about 5 or 6 feet. Then as it shifted towards the smoker, I realized our meal that John was preparing was potentially in jeopardy....and with the size of the thing, as well, possibly John if he got in the way! It thought about it, but fortunately chose to soar out to the lake.

Speaking of lake. The ice is turning finally as of Saturday, and it is going fast. A good portion is finally back to it's water form, and the birds and water fowl are arriving daily. Back on Saturday we had a couple ducks come in. Mind you the lake was still ice and there was nowhere for them to land. They just flew around like a couple of raped apes, squawking with protest. We kind of chuckled at the thought of if my dad were here. In the circle of the wild he is known as the 'duck whisperer'! Maryann is beside herself with all of the different birds arriving to the area. After so many months of quiet, the lake is finally coming back to life.

And speaking of life. Our resident mama moose was knocked up over the winter. She is showing quit well! Today she had the misfortune of running across the dogs. In the past she was completely unaffected by their presence and would just look at them while they barked with little emotion or concern. Hell, why would she be would be like "Bambi Meets Godzilla" if they got near her! But with a bun or two in the oven, she was much more skittish and in fact made a beeline for the woods as soon as they spotted her. We have been trying to use some Caesar Milan style psychology with these two knuckleheads lately and I think we are making an amazing break through! You see, a while back, they learned what a 'moose' was. Simply saying things like "it's a moose", or "there is a moose" every time they would get a rise of a mooses presence. Believe it or not they came to know the meaning of 'moose'. We can be sitting on the couch and say, "there is a moose" and they jump up and run to the window whining. Now that this has been established, we are working on associating other words they know with moose. Like, "it's a 'good' 'moose' ", or "the 'moose' is 'ok' ". Their little rants have become fewer and their wind down time is happening a little quicker now. But not without that moan or two of protest like, "good moose my ass dad", or "yeah, right 'ok''s not 'ok'...". Characters those two are.

Maryann is patiently waiting for the night time temps to get a little warmer so she can transfer her sprouting veggies to the greenhouse. Right now we have flats on the dog crate in front of the window and bathtub tomatoes. Since the heater in the greehouse was pronounced useless, it is possing a problem for her this spring. Hopefully we can rectify a solution by fall. John and I have been working diligently at bringing home wood, and we are already at about 5 or 6 cords for this next winter. None of it's split yet, mind you. Hee hee hee...can't wait to see you Scott and Nick! ;) We did manage to make it through the winter with the cords that we had processed and stacked. In fact we still have about 5 nights worth left. We did start running the furnace a few weeks ago in the morning and evening to take the chill off. Now with the daytime temps getting in the 50's and 60's, the house is staying pretty comfortable through the day, and soon we will have windows open and doors a swingin! Just looking forward to a good summer and hopefully a chance to expand and explore a little more now that we are more or less settled in and know what to expect. So we leave you with our thoughts and prayers, and hopes for an exciting summer for all. Take care.

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