Monday, August 15, 2016

Saturday the boys came to play while Amanda was doing a piano tuning and I had thought we might go to the park but rain threatened so we just played here at the house.
    First I gave the boys haircuts on the deck then they got to use scissors and the new cooky cutters for the play dough.  We had some lunch and Charlie ate 15 fishsticks!!   Afterwards he said his tummy was a little tippy.  He never got sick but  I did suggest that maybe next time he ate so many fish sticks that he leave a little bit of time between for them to settle?  Patrick put away his fair share of fish sticks too, only he ate half of his frozen.  Goofy kid.
   Patrick LOVES umbrellas but the one he had here, I am afraid he had played with it so much it was broken. I told him there was a larger one on the deck he could open up and we did that.  I was busy getting ready to give Charlie his hair cut and I hear little voice from the deck calling “Help Grandma!”,  me….”Hold on a minute Pat-Pat” and almost immediately I hear a panicked little voice call  “Grandma!!!  I need some HELP HERE!!!!”  I decided I better investigate a little quicker than I had planned to and sure enough, he was being picked up Mary Poppins style via umbrella with the wind.  I had to laugh as I rescued him but for sure….he needed HELP when he called for it that time!!
     It never ceases to amaze me what little boys like to play with.  Somewhere Patrick found 2 hollow table legs off of an outdoor side table and they immediately became rocket packs, complete with flames of red paper shooting out the end, then Charlie needed some too, so we found another  little side table with removable legs and I got 2 out for Charlie, which meant that Patrick needed a couple more too.  
I got one out but told him the other one was stuck.  “No grandma, step on it like this and PULL!”  Sure enough, I was able to step on the table to pull out a couple more of the legs and that kid has learned about leverage at a very young age I say!
    Charlie made his table legs into a telescope then it magically turned into a flame thrower after Patrick said that Charlie could have some of the flame from his rocket pack.  
    When it came time to leave, Patrick wailed “I don’t want to go home!!!”   But as Charlie headed out the door, he quickly changed his mind and went galloping after Charlie calling, “Don’t leave without ME Charlie!!”  He did have to make 2 laps around their rig before he could be convinced to get into his seat but they finally got buckled up and on their way.  
    Dale had come home for some lunch and lay down for a nap while the boys were here and their tummies were full and there was a short time of nearly quiet here in the house.  With those 2 boys, it is hard to believe they are ever quiet, but once in awhile the noise subsides some.
    On my way home from work one night I saw Mama Moose and twins alongside the road.  I slowed wayyyyyyy down just in case they decided to cross in front of me but they stayed away from the edge of the pavement.  I had hoped I could snap a picture of them but mama hustled the 2 little ones back into the woods before you could say jack rabbit so once again, it was so cool and an awww nuts at the same time.
All righty....enough out of me for this day. Photo today is of  Charlie taking picture of swans here last year.
Love from our nearly sun-shiny for once corner of the world.....

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Had the day off so snagged Amanda and boys to go for a ride with me into Eagle River.  Had thought that after finishing my business we would go for a walk at the nature center but of course it was pouring down rain.  We came back towards Wasilla and thought we would walk the Reflection Lake loop which is just a one mile loop, but the river is terribly high with the marsh around soggy in water as well, so we bagged that idea too.  We did see 2 swans along the flats as we went into town so had to be content with that. 
Saturday guys worked in the rain most of the afternoon out at the new property and Dale said he thought about taking his coffee cup out to the new slab and setting down in a lawn chair to enjoy coffee on the new floor but it was raining so hard, that he gave that idea up before it got very far.  
I found mama moose along side the road as I came home from work last night and since it is still light enough at 9:30 for picture taking,  I just stopped in the middle of the road, glad it was on a straight stretch and little traffic!  Today as I went to Amanda's her neighbors were standing in their road talking.  I pulled up and said "Don't you just hate it when the traffic gets heavy and you have to move out of the middle of the road so's not to get hit?"  Then I sat blocking their road as we chatted for about 10 minutes before going on the last little bit.
Oh!!!  Amanda saw moose as we came back across the flats but traffic was heavy and I couldn't see them for trying to keep my eyes on the road/cars around me even after Amanda stuck her hand right in front of my nose to say "THERE THEY ARE!!!"  But then her next words were....."It is nice being the passenger and being able to gawk around!"
All righty, time to get the dishes done.  Love from our corner of the world...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

I had to work on Friday but Saturday, Lynn and I decided to go south to Whittier. No animals on our way but at Potter Marsh, there were ducks, gulls and a couple of geese.
      We made our first stop at the Railroad museum but it was mostly closed due to the McHugh Fire that had been raging in that area so we had to be content just walking around the outside displays.  While we were there, a passenger train rumbled past and the weather was beautiful for walking around.  We could even see Sleeping Lady across the bay and the volcanos down on the Kenai.
        Our next stop was at Portage, where I learned an interesting bit of information…...if you have your senior citizen pass to the National Parks, not only does the card holder get in free but also 3 of your closest friends!  Lynn chuckled and said that since we were in my truck, I was her closest friend for the day and saved me what would have been my $5 entrance fee!  I am pretty sure that next year I will be getting one and when Amanda/boys go on outings, we can save a little money here and there.
     We did the tour of the visitor center, and watched a short movie on the history of the area before deciding what to do next.  I deliberated as to whether to take Lynn through the Whittier Tunnel or to go back to the Wild Game Farm, but opted to take the tunnel.  I love the history of the tunnel as much as driving it and of course the harbor in Whittier with all the colorful boats at the other end is worth the drive itself.  
  After exiting the tunnel, I made a short side trip to see if the Salmon berries were ripe.   I was also thinking that if the berries were pickable, the bears might be around for us to see as well, but I think we were about a week too late as the plants had been pretty well stripped bare.  
   We were able to glean enough berries for Lynn to have tempting taste of the wild sweet gems, but like I told her, driving the 70+miles and $12 tunnel fee, I didn’t drive down too often during the summer to catch them at just the right picking time.  
    I knew it would be pot-luck as far as weather but it was a pleasant surprise to have the sun shining as brightly on the Whittier side as it was on the Portage end but the wind was blowing so hard it was literaly whistling.  After walking along the boardwalk above the boat harbor, I told Lynn we would go up to listen to the waterfall thunder down the mountain and try to get out of the wind a bit.  
    We enjoyed the sandwiches, salad and chips that Lynn had packed for our picnic lunch in the sunshine then walked over to see if we could get a photo of the waterfall.  The trees were blocking the view of said waterfall, but we both took pictures of the creek tumbling past and as Lynn said earlier, the water was really rushing down the side of the mountain.
    It is amazing how fast our time flew by and after  we got back through the tunnel, it was time to head towards home once more.  We did make a short stop in Eagle River for some corn and garlic bread to have with the brisket that Dale had been smoking all day for our dinner but then pointed the truck towards home.
   As we got closer to Wasilla, the sky got darker and I told Lynn I thought we had made a good choice as far as heading south as it looked like we had found the sun and left the rain clouds behind for a while.  
     She agreed with me and then as I turned off the Parks Highway onto Pittman boy-howdy did we find one HUGE BLACK-BLACK cloud!!  I stopped for fuel, and it wasn’t half a mile up the road after pulling back onto Pitmman that we found the DRIVING RAIN!!!!  The rain was hitting the windshield so fast and furious the windshield wipers could barely keep the window clear and Lynn/I could hardly talk for the noise of the rain on the metal of the truck.  WOW!!!
    The rain was still coming down furiously when I pulled into the drive and Lynn said she thought the storm would pass soon and would just leave her groceries in the truck until it subsided some and I agreed.  I did grab the corn and bread so we could finish up our dinner but left the rest until after dinner.  I had on just a light cotton shirt and no joke, it was soaked through by the rain in the 30 feet or so from truck to door.
    Sunday, I gave Lynn the use of my truck.  She left early, returning about 4-ish to enjoy dinner with Amanda/boys, Todd, Tim and I.  She had gone North to Talkeetna then drove over the Hatcher Pass Road from Willow.  She said after she got to the rougher/muddy part, she was a little worried about damaging the pickup and the mud seemed to be coating it well, but she was glad she had made the trip, even if it was pouring down rain.   No, she hadn’t driven on up to the glacier but had gone onto Sutton and seen some of the historic things around there.  She says she is coming back next year, so we can visit some of the things she didn’t have time for or get to this year.  And she hadn’t found the sunshine, only less rain in places than others.
   Monday, I again told her to take my truck and this time, she went as far south as Seward.  She said she might have gone on towards Homer but didn’t have a change of clothes with her and I told her, next year maybe we would go that direction as Karen hadn’t been that way in all the years she has visited.  Having Mom on dialysis treatments, really chewed into how far from Wasilla we could go as she spent 3 days week there, Homer is about 6 hour trip and of course with the side trips through Kenai, we can easily spend 4 or 5 days just down there.

  Anyhow, she enjoyed the sea Life center, did NOT see any animals other than the bison from the road at the game farm as she passed by and 1 swan.  She says when she arrived in AK, all the animals went into hiding.  She did see moose 2 nights while here at the house but no swans came to visit, and although she could hear the cranes, she only saw them once across the lake.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It was almost like flipping a light switch, but when we turned the calendar page from July to August, summer has moved on, leaving our  corner of the world to turn to fall.  The tree leaves began to get limp and fade into the yellowish color that precedes them falling to the ground, the fireweed is beginning to go to seed and the screamers have left the lake.
 Had one swan on the lake this morning so I went to the edge of the lake to get photo of swan and got to watch the ducks taking an early morning bath as well. 
Then had to go into town to get phone updated, (bought Dale a new one, I have his old so am able to text now) then decided since I had the day off and it was a beautiful one for being out, went to Talkeetna.  Usually I take Amanda and boys but this trip wanted to do some Christmas shopping so left them behind.  We will go in a couple of weeks to the park since that is Charlie's FAVORITE one!!
It was a nice day for an outing, found a couple of the Christmas gifts I was looking for then stopped at the new library.  Wow!!!!  I didn't browse long, I found a couple of books and a book on cd to listen to then hit the road towards home 
When I got home, there were 2 swans on the lake, I fixed and ate my dinner then went out and around the corner to see if they might come up on the dock for closer photos, but seems while I was taking the time to eat, they left the lake! Now, how did I miss all the racket they make on take off?  I had the patio door open AND the window.  I didn't think the cd I was listening to was that loud, but I must have been distracted. photos.
Neighbor Todd called to ask if I had heard them during the day?  They had flown back and forth across our area several times just trumpeting like crazy.  Nope, I was gone and did not hear them.  Sigh.....oh well.
Progress continues on the new property.  Dale let me know just as I was getting home that the slab had indeed been poured today which is a good thing because it is to be rainy the next few days and I am sure he was thinking it would be another week or 2 before the concrete would be down. 
 Now comes the mad push to get building up/enclosed before winter sets in.  If we can get it that far, he can do the inside work afterwards.  It is going to be a wood frame building and he will put it up himself.   Yup, he has his work cut out for him and  I told him to stay home and work on building instead of going to Spokane in a couple weeks with me for Mom/Dad's memorial service.  
All righty.....because I went to play this day, still have some housework to do before heading to bed and I have an early morning dentist appointment so best get at it.  Photos are of this morning's visitors.
Love from our corner of the world......

Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Sister, Lynn arrived on Tuesday (she was parked in the drive when I got home from work) and since I had Wednesday off, we went the South Viewing point for combination picnic, try to see Mt. Mckinley and birthday celebration.  Amanda had bought me a puffin photo for my birthday from a friend and Sonya drove down from Cantwell to deliver it.  Not only did Sonya bring my picture, but blueberries, cranberries and rhubarb frozen in bags that she had picked as well.  Wow!!!  How thoughtful of her!
It was fun to see her again and the 2 sets of boys had a grand time playing together. 
I had seen a zebra cake (essentially a marble cake) that I told Amanda Charlie might like to do for me but they took it up a notch and added colors to the marbleing, which made for not only a very different cake, but fun too!!
I told Amanda I was surprised she hadn't put candles on the cake for me but she wryly replied that she didn't want to melt the frosting with all the candles needed.  (thanks kiddo)
Patrick decided he need to use my camera for pictures and after taking a couple of Mommy and Lynn, then said he was going to take a picture of his FAVORITE!!!!  -----the chips Mommy had brought for lunch.-----
I had some bungee cords in the back of the truck that the boys found and decided they would make great 'tails' when attached to belt loops on pants which quickly became the hit of the day.  They ran, chased and played tug with the hooks on each other's 'tails' and who woulda thought such a simple thing could bring that much enjoyment to 4 little boys?  
Unfortunately, the mountain stayed behind the clouds all day and forecast looks for it to stay that way her entire time here, glad she said that wasn't on the have-too list of things to see.  
We finally decided we needed to wander back towards our original destinations, said our good-byes and headed out.  
Charlie decided he would like to spend the night with Great Aunt Lynn in her RV and asked if he could stay the night with her and she agreed.  We didn't see any animals on our outing but Patrick called to tell me he saw a baby moose just as they were arriving home!  It wasn't too long until I was able to call Amanda and crow about the fact that we had 2 moose across the lake!  
Charlie had fun sleeping in Lynn's rv, then when he awoke, they played cards and he had jello, pudding and a cup of chicken noodle soup before they came in for breakfast at which time he had an egg sandwich.  He learned about hide-places in an rv, and had great fun looking for what could be found in Lynn's house on wheels.
Thursday, Lynn, Charlie and I went over to Palmer to the visitor center/museum.  Once again we were skunked in the animal department.  One field that is normally full of sand hill cranes sharing space with the local cows was not only bereft of cranes but we nearly didn't see the cows either as they were laying down over by the barn.  
I had promised Charlie we could stop at Cold Stone for ice cream after we got through wandering around for the day which we did, then I stopped to show Lynn our new piece of property.  I must say, it looks much different than it did 4 weeks ago when we started working on it.  (I will post photos of the progress another day.)
Then we delivered Charlie home and came back here.  I'm afraid Lynn has hit the rainy season in Alaska.  We had a beautiful rainbow on the lake Thursday night which is a by product of the rain, will see if we can rustle up a little sunshine for her while she is here though.
All righty....enough out of me for this day.  Love from our corner of the world.......

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Not a whole lot going on here, not much on the moose report, no swan sightings but did see a porcupine on our way home the other night.  First one I have seen for a long time.  It was thinking of crossing the street but turned back at the edge of the sidewalk to go back into the trees.  Dale said it looked like his feet hurt and I told Dale if I was walking on hot cement, my feet might hurt too!
Had a spectacular thunderstorm last week, but since I was inside, I missed it.  Rats.....It dumped a BUNCH of rain.  Dale called to say that in one area there was about an inch of rain running down part of the highway, it was raining hard enough the windshield wipers couldn't keep up with wiping the rain away very well.
This morning we awoke to smoky skies.  Not sure where the fire is, but it sure is smoggy around us.  
Sunday afternoon there was a little thunder buster along the ridge of mountains to the N. of us, I had to go outside to hear the thunder but it was a cooler day too.  The sky can be black on one side of the house, to to the other and look the other direction and the sun will be shining.  Go figure.
All righty......I need to get my lazy self in gear and  get back at it here.  Love from our mostly boring corner of the world......
Picture today is of Pat/Dad having fireweed sword fights.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Seward Fun 2016
    Dale had to go to Wichita for a week and since Charlie had been asking to go to the beach we decided it would be a good time for a stay-cation for us!
   As it ended up, Oma and Aunt Cindy were also able to join us on our trip to Seward.  
   We began our trip by me swinging out to pick up Amanda and boys and although we had originally planned to pick Oma/Cindy up in Bird creek, like Amanda said, if we let the boys out of the truck there they would NOT want to be buckled back into seats so quick change of plans and we met at Girdwood for ice cream before continuing on our journey.  (A mighty fine idea too, if I do say so myself!!)
    Patrick managed to fall off the bench he had been walking on and lost his cone, after crying a bit and Mommy promising to go get him another cone, I headed the boys towards the truck for buckling back into seats.  He had a pretty good scraped up hand/thumb but I got tickled when just as we got to the truck, he shook himself and said “ I fine, I fine…”  He didn’t want to get into his seat but we convinced him we would NEVEr get to the beach if we didn’t get back into the truck and drive another hour/half.  (I am certainly glad it is no more than about 4 hour trip)
    It wasn’t a bad day for traveling, some overcast skies with just a few rain drops thrown in for good measure but when we arrived in Seward, it was bright sunshine to greet us.
    It didn’t take long for us to find our room, which was right on the beach, then it was let the boys run time.  They had a grand time searching the beach for treasures.  It didn’t take Charlie very long to find about 6 little dead crabs that he put into a bucket for taking back home and then….a whale came by to visit and sea lions too!  
   We broke out some dinner and the boys colored pictures then back to the beach for a while.  Patrick decided he was cold and went for a warm tub swim while Charlie and Cindy played in the ocean.  By the time they got through….Charlie was soaked pretty much from head to toe and he said it was time for a bath too.
   There was a queen size bed, a futon and a twin mattress on the floor in a little loft and the room advertised it slept 4 adults.  The boys were excited to throw out their sleeping bags on the carpet in the little loft and Aunt Cindy said she would sleep up there with them.  
    When it came time to wind down for the night, the boys wanted me up there too so I lay down on the carpet with a pillow and promptly fell asleep.  I woke up later when I got chilly and went downstairs to sleep in the queen bed with Amanda but Charlie said before he drifted off, I was “SNORING Grandma!!”  Yeah…..I know I snore, Dale says it isn’t nearly as bad as before I had my thyroid out, but if my nose gets plugged up, I will snore.  (how embarrassing, and I hope I didn’t keep everybody awake with it)
   You know that Charlie LOVES animals and can find any within a mile radius and it didn’t take him very long to pick up on the fact that in the window of the main house, was a parrot AND a BABY PARROT!!!! (as he put it)  His nose was probably plastered to the window when the owner opened the door to ask if he would like to see it and Charlie’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree then it was over the top excited when Wes offered to let Charlie hold the ‘baby parrot’ which was actually a sun conure.  charlieparrot3cropped.png
    Wes said the large green parrot was 65 years old and belonged to his wife.  The bird would get really quiet and anti-social when she was gone so it didn’t come out to play.  Aw nuts…..
   Tuesday was spent playing on the beach, and such.  This time when Charlie went out to play in the water, I suggested he put on his pajama shorts.  At first he thought I was nuts, but like I told him, if he didn’t tell anybody (not that anybody was really around but us) they wouldn’t know the shorts weren’t meant for swimming and…….they wouldn’t be 3 inches too long like his jeans were aaaannnndddddd…..would dry much faster between swims.  So….that is what he did then exclaimed “These are pretty good swim shorts, Grandma!”  
  We saw eagles, 3 flew over once, blue jays (stellar jays?) came a-visiting and…..humming birds buzzed us while we were on the deck.  I finally couldn’t stand it any longer and put out a feeder, no never had any light on it, but they did stop to look it over once or twice.  I have never had any come to a feeder here in Wasilla but I still put a feeder out in hopes of one day attracting some.
  As the day wore on, it got too hot to be out in the sunshine or even on the deck as it was covered with plastic greenhouse type siding which would have been nice for a rainy afternoon but collected way too much heat to be out there until the sun moved around some so, while Patrick was taking a nap, Charlie and I played bowling with some water bottles from the truck and the soccer ball I threw in at the last minute on the enclosed balcony along the edge of our room.
   After our dinner, the boys went back out to play in the water, and then we put briquets into the fire pit to let them burn down for toasting our marshmallows.  AS is not uncommon for him, Mr. Pat-Pat was pretty much naked except for his underwear and I had horrors of him running into that big bowl firepit and getting burned so an adult had him surrounded by an arm the whole time we the fire going and I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when it was time to take him inside to get ready for bed.
    Wednesday, was go to the Sea Life Center in Seward.  I tell you, those boys had more fun!!  I do believe Charlie would have spent all day just touching the things in the ‘tide pool’ area.  He was fascinated by the fact that when you touched the spiny urchin, it would curl it’s spines around his finger in a ‘hug’.  He also touched the anemones and the shelled animals as too.  
    Then it was off to watch the seals and otters and various types of fish.  Oh and don’t forget the HUGE octopus too!!  I wanted to spend some time in the avery watching the birds, but Patrick wouldn’t go in at all.  Charlie said he would go  in with me, but since he was really too short to see over the rm of the pool, he lost interest pretty quickly.  The volunteer wouldn’t let me pick him up so he could see better, the pool is actually 20’ deep and only 40 degrees and was afraid Charlie might topple in.  I can see their point but it was disappointing for Charlie.  
   The seals were making laps in their tank and an older gentleman showed the boys how the seals would follow your hand if you traced circles on the glass.  The boys were really too short for the seals to follow them much but they both sure got a kick out of watching seals follow the man’s hand!  (And so did we!)
   I told Charlie, he needed to toss his fishing line into one of those tanks full of fish, but he was pretty sure that was off limits.  Sigh…...all those fish and not allowed to catch any.
  We spent a couple of hours there before Oma and Cindy had to head towards home and by then the boys were ready for lunch so we hugged them good-bye, they went their way and we went back to our room.
   Patrick again took a nap while Charlie and I played ball then he watched a movie and I snoozed some too.  After our dinner, (we made corn dogs and mini-sausage octopus dogs and how fun was that?) the boys wanted to go back to the Sea Life center.  Since our passes were good for all day, why not and away we went.  We didn’t spend quite as long the 2nd time around but still it was fun and then we went for ice cream.  Yuummmmm……

   Afterwards it was back to the room to settle down for the night.  How quickly fun times seem to come to an end and the next morning we began to load the truck up and tried to make sure we hadn’t left a mess behind.  The boys didn’t want to leave and neither did we so we are pretty sure we will go back again next year, only will stay a whole week instead of just 3 days!!