Friday, April 23, 2010

Can this be Spring?

I freely admit that I am quite finished with the snow for this winter. Yep. I'm done. Go away. Sooner rather than later. Don't let the screen door hit ya.  And yet, it still comes down... Not that I've got the winter crazies, mind you. I'm perfectly fine, mentally, but the chore of cleaning up after going anywhere in all the mud and slush that the melting snow leaves in its wake is getting old. While the bad news is that I figure we're probably only about halfway through Mud Season, the good news is that the new snowfalls don't last more than a couple hours before they melt, and the snow is receding more every day.

Gardening classes have begun, but I've only been to one due to the flu that's going around here. There were lots of jokes during that one class, though, as a 6" accumulation of snow was falling at the time and the speakers laughingly told us what we should be doing for our gardens - just not today, haha. 

Here's Jim, after plowing snow during that particular snowfall, so I could get the car out of the garage and go to class. The man has pretty eyes.

My tomatoes have outgrown two sets of pots now, while waiting for warm enough weather to start hardening them off outside. I'm already pinching off the flowers on them. Not only have my three-feet-tall tomatoes outgrown their pots, but they've outgrown their five-feet-long windowsill and I've had to drag a table over so I can put them in double rows. I have a black thumb. I kill plants. How can this be??
Here they are on April 10:

And here they are again today, almost two weeks later. A bit leggy, as they're reaching for what sun they can find, but doing nicely otherwise.

The retreating snow has also uncovered more of the woodpile, much to the delight of Tate and Moya. Sticks are Mother Nature's chew toys, and it was so cute the morning Moya came running up the stairs with the best stick EVER.

In other, non-snow-related news, we saw this in the parking lot at Home Depot:

I think they made it, don't you? And although I forgot to take a picture of it, if I ever need a pest exterminator, I'm likely to hire the one whose license plate reads "DIEBUG." 

My fur venture is really on a roll now. The pattern I wrote for Arctic Designs' Musher Mittens should hit the store shelves by the end of May, and I'm working on the rough draft for a booklet on how to repair furs and pelts. Lee Martin, owner of Arctic Designs, is a wealth of information and is teaching me more than I could ever have possibly dreamed of learning on my own. Her partner, Leon Metz of Northland Furs and Artistic Taxidermy, has agreed to put some of my items on consignment in his store this summer. Now I just need to stop working on the writing part of it and work more on the sewing part of it! Speaking of that, though, I could use some help picking out a business name and would appreciate it if you'd weigh in. I'm considering a few different names but can't quite decide. Once I apply for a business license, though, I'm stuck with it and want to make it a good one. Tell me what you think of:

Treehouse Furs - because before we moved here (and even for a while afterwards) I told Jim we'd move to Alaska and we'd all go crazy and live in trees. Jim would prefer Treehouse Alaskan Furs.

Hairyman Furs - because Alaska's version of Sasquatch is called Hairy Man and sometimes, when Jim's decked out in his furs, that's what I call him.

Fox Pas Furs - sorta like faux pas, sorta like fox paw, only different. I might want to spell it Fox Paw Furs, though, because if you have to explain the joke, it isn't funny.

Of course, if you have other ideas, I'm more than happy to hear them.

For those coming to visit this summer (if you're still trying to decide, just come on up. You know you wanna), the guest room renovations have gone from a new coat of paint on the walls to the removal of a lot of sheet rock, moving of plugs and phone jacks, and the complete demolition of the closet that was once in there. We're planning to have it all finished by the end of May, in plenty of time for fishing season!

Friday, April 9, 2010

James Visits for Easter Break

James came home for Easter break from March 27 - April 4. My, it was good to see him again!

The first thing Jim and James did together was to pick up the ATV Jim had chosen earlier in the month. It's got a plow on the front! Of course we all had to try it, and Jim graciously let me drive the new toy first. It was nice to push that snow around! Then he and James gave it a go.

The rest of the week was pretty laid back, on the whole. Sunday we went to the movies to see "How To Train Your Dragon." James was introduced to my whole new fur venture, and he looks better in Jim's beaver trapper hat than Jim does. I made James a possibles pouch for his dice, and he made a chain mail insert for it. Here's James, wearing a beaver face pelt as a beard:

Wednesday was the long-awaited opening of the Kenai WalMart Super Center! Of course I wanted to go on opening day, so James went with me. I'm still basking in the glow of having that WalMart less than half an hour away! Before, the nearest WalMart was a four hour drive. I read that there are only eight WalMart Super Centers in all of Alaska. [update: I got that info from the local newspaper. According to WalMart's website, as of April 2010, there are six, not eight, Super Centers in Alaska.]

The dogs were very happy to see James. Moya was with us at the Kenai airport to pick James up, and she was in puppy overdrive most of the rest of the visit. 

"Put down that stick and play with me, James!"

"I has a James. I wanna keep him."

A rare puppy snuggle:

James went with us to Moya's obedience school on Saturday morning. Here he is working on "stay." James did very well, staying. Moya... well, this was not her best day of school...

James grouted the tile under and behind the woodstove while he was home, and so that's all finished now except for sealing the grout in a day or two. It looks great. I haven't taken a picture of it because the stove isn't hooked back up yet. 

All too soon, it was time for James to get back on the plane and head for college again. We'll miss him, but this time it's only a five-week separation, and then he's back home for the summer!