Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Popping in to say hi!

Here I am, enjoying a little bit of (rare) Moya tranquility. If only we could harness her energy, we'd never have to pay an electricity bill again.

Moya loves snow.

We decided to put up some Christmas lights on the outside of the house.  Here's Jim, about to do the peak, since he's tallest.

And James, finishing up.  Cherry belly!!!!!

James and Jim have been splitting wood for the woodstove. James enjoys splitting wood, which sort of surprised me, but it's good exercise so I'm happy for it!

See the hat James is wearing in the pic above? It was one of the projects I put on my newly-launched crafting website, called The Pink Sewing Machine. Here's James modeling for the post that explains how I made his hat. I love his smile.

And speaking of smiles, this really brought a smile to all our faces! Big Jim went to Eagle Plaza in Dallas, where the names of all the Circle 10 Eagle Scouts are engraved in marble surrounding a brass eagle statue. We weren't able to see James' engraving in person because it hadn't been installed before we moved, so we were very happy to see this photo Big Jim emailed us earlier this week:

Big Jim and Mary are coming to stay with us over Thanksgiving weekend, and they'll be here on Wednesday. Jim and James are driving in to Anchorage to pick them up (a four-hour drive) while I stay here to keep an eye on the dogs and put finishing touches on the house and prep for the Thanksgiving meal. I hope the roads are clear on Wednesday. We're having some freezing rain right now and are due for some snow in the next couple days. Some fresh snow would be nice!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Puppy's First Snow

Hello again! Jim's got the tile heat shield finished behind the wood stove now, and although the grout hasn't been put in yet, we missed using the stove. So Jim put the stove back in place and built a nice cozy fire. Aaaaaaah. Tate, who is starting to feel her age, loves heat sources, and was more than happy to pose for her fireside portrait as long as we wanted.

Camera-shy Belle needed some help to stay in one place, though.

Moya needed help staying in one place, too, but not because she was trying to avoid the camera. She's just naturally always moving.

Turns out the stove was put back just in time, as an overnight snowfall came and gave us a couple inches of soft white powder. The snow fell again midday, fat white flakes swirling thickly through the air. When the snow stopped, the sun came out so bright and made the fresh snow look so lovely. As much as we would have liked to leave the snow all around, we're in for two more days of snow (if the forecast is correct!) so it had to be shoveled off the porches and balcony. Naturally, all the dogs wanted to go out on the balcony, too.

Belle is the only one of the dogs who knows what we're really in for. Remember, Belle was a year-round outdoor dog until we got her, and her advice seems to be to go to your mental "happy place" and squeeze your eyes shut until spring.

"Mom, make it go away, okay?"

Of course Moya is delighted. Deeeeeelighted. Snow is part toy, part treat. Snow shovels are part toy, too. Life is good for a puppy in Alaska.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Catching up for the first week of November

Here I am again, catching you up on what's been going on at our place.

About a week ago, during our first snowfall, the storage unit where Little Sweetie is being kept for the winter had to do repairs on the door. That meant I needed to go into Soldotna and pull the car out of their way. I finally got to take some pictures of him after his repairs. He's lookin' good. No more Head Wound Harry.

Our bird feeders are still bringing us a lot of delight (I do love chickadees)...

... Even the "robbers" like magpies and this woodpecker:

I taught my first class in Alaska for the Back To Basics group, on cookie decorating. I had a huge class, so I didn't get to cover much material, but I did show them how to assemble a graham cracker house in the fastest way possible (go here to see the tutorial) and how to do basic decorating. I didn't take a single picture during the class, so all I have is this picture of the model I made for the students to see:
My craft stuff is still mostly in storage so I used a cake pan as a container. I'm not sure anyone noticed that's what it was. I also didn't count the students, but I had 29 people RSVP'ed for it and we used six banquet tables to hold everyone, so I think we actually did have that many, or close to it.

Someone unknown to us posted a video of James' performance with the other young men at O'Flaherty's two weeks ago, and I'll give you the link here so you can see him for yourselves. There are three fiddlers in this group, and James is the right-hand fiddler, in the beige shirt. He has a solo at 42 seconds in, so click here and see it.

Our weather has been yo-yoing between balmy 40s and chilly 20s. We've had ice on the lake, and lost the ice on the lake. Here's some ice:

This is the way the ice looked when we got up this morning. Click to see how far it is between the bare tree and the spruce:
Three hours later, when we got home from errands, this is how much more ice we had:

Meanwhile, indoors, the house is being fixed up for Big Jim and Mary's visit over Thanksgiving weekend. The main project is the tile surround for the wood stove. Jim's got the floor tiles in and waiting to be grouted, and is tiling the heat shield tonight. Then we can put the stove back and use it again. Doesn't it look pretty already? The floor tile is a dark gray. When it's all done, I'll post a nice picture of the whole thing.
I suppose that catches you up on what's happening here. Write to me and tell me what's going on where you are, okay?