September 30, 2011

On the Move

Our little miss is on the move these days.  Since this stage of crawling will be over before we know it I wanted to be sure and document how cute she is.  She has the rhythm down and can move fast, especially when there is something in her line of sight that she sees and wants.  With this new found freedom has come a lot of new knowledge such as toilet paper unrolls and toilets have water in them that are at a great height for a standing baby, ha ha.


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In addition to crawling Abigail is yearning to walk.  She stands more and more on her own each day.  We also see her standing and then squatting and staying in the squatting position to play.  Those little legs are getting so strong.  Just this last week Abigail has really started to master her walker from Grandma.  Yes I am aware that in this post she looks like a slightly drunk lady with a walker but hey, it is a new skill.  I know I never post two videos at once but these two seemed to go together.  I hope you enjoy seeing our little mover.


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September 29, 2011

Garden Fresh

Last week I warned you that there would be a lot of garden posts and just as I promised, another garden post.  The potato post from Wednesday was a little out of order.  Since before we harvested potatoes I harvested the celery.



And plenty of celery was harvested this year for sure.  When it was all inside it covered the kitchen counter.  I cut off all of the leaves, processed them in the dehydrator for future soups and salads.  The stalks were then thrown in the sink to stay hydrated for future chopping.



I was about ½ way through this process when my parents came over for dinner.  Luckily my dad saw the huge pile of work this was going to be for me and jumped in to help out.  We finished deleafing the celery and moved on to chopping up the rest.  We filled a 12 quart stock pot with small tops to cook down and freeze as soup stock and three gallon of larger pieces for snacks.  And snack we have!  These days we are enjoying celery plain, with peanut butter, roasted, in soups and casseroles.  What a bounty and there was still plenty of garden to still bring in before the first frost.

September 28, 2011

Hunting Season

September, fall colors and cooler days are all signs of something important and most anticipated for the people, mostly men, of Alaska.



Those signs mean that it is moose hunting season for our great state. 



Josh looks forward to his week out in the woods, hiking, camping and being with the men all year long.  There is a lot of preparation that goes into this time of year.  Preparation and inventory of gear, practice hikes with a lot of weight to get ready for packing out a moose, time spent over maps finding the perfect place and the gathering of people.



While back at home Abigail, dressed in her camo for her father and grandfather, and I prepared the freezer, basement for butchering and overall kept things going at home.  My parents came and joined us for part of the week and together we tackled a lot of projects, more on that to come.  



As for the hunt, it was a successful one.  Josh himself was not able to get a moose this year but his dad did and shared the meat with us.  The crew that were out there together managed to harvest 4 moose and 1 grizzly bear in the three weeks they were hunting.  The winter is coming but the freezer is full.  

September 27, 2011

Another dirty day.

With fall coming, and thus winter right behind it, the garden is in a rapid state of decline.  Over the last few evenings Kathleen has harvested nearly everything.  Though the summer was not ideally warm and the production of the garden was not as we'd hoped, we still have much to be thankful for.


Potato day was a great day for us to get outside and get our hands dirty.  And in Abigail's case get her face dirty, and a bit inside her mouth....  


This year Kathleen decided to try German Butterball potatoes and one tire of Yukon Golds.  Unfortunately the butterballs did not produce many potatoes. We ended up with smaller potatoes and less than last year but they are very good tasting and that make up for the quantity.  


Even though there were not a lot of potatoes, Abigail tired herself out rummaging through the tires looking for both potatoes and leaves to munch on.  thus, she resigned herself to reclining inside of an empty tire to watch her parents finish the rest of the dirty work.


Maybe next year Abigail will be big enough to help Kathleen harvest more of the garden.  As for this year, she enjoyed the wondrous adventure of playing in the dirt and eating leaves.






September 26, 2011

The Not So Perfect Canning Day

I love to start things organized and fresh.  I am the one who loved to start a new school year with clean spiral notebooks and a cooking project with a clean and put together kitchen.  So the other morning when Mother was with me we decided to make high-bush cranberry jelly.  I gathered all of the supplies, cleaned the kitchen, put away dishes and felt all ready to start.  I put the cranberries in a big pot with water to boil and headed out to join mother and Abigail on the deck.  

 After awhile I smelled berries and thought of this season of the year when the smell of berries is so strong in the yard.  Then I jumped up and ran in the house when my mind realized that the berry smell from the yard should be that strong.  Much to my dismay my clean kitchen was now covered in red berry juice.
 Mother and I laughed about how I needed to have the kitchen all clean before I started this project only to get the chance to clean it all over again.  (Side note:  Does anyone recognize my sweatshirt?  I will give you a hint…it is from the days when neon colors were fashionable.)
 But these pictures are not telling the whole story.  You see, after mother took the picture of me cleaning the baby started to fuss and so as I took care of her mother cleaned the kitchen.  And clean she did.  All of my burners and the pans under the burners were taken out, scrubbed and replaced.  The walls were washed down, and the counters and floor were all sparkling clean in no time at all. 
 With everything back the way it was supposed to be we were back on track.  Yes the berries boiled over once more, but I caught it a little faster this time and was able to clean up that new mess before mother even saw. 
As the afternoon arrived mother and I finally walked out of the very clean kitchen to the joyful sound of the canning jars popping as their lids sealed.  A normal day of canning would not have been so fun or memorable for sure.  Hope you enjoyed this story of our not so perfect canning experience because as we all know, blog life can sometimes seem too perfect.  The fact is there are pots boiling over every day.

September 23, 2011

One Step Closer to Paradise

As you have seen on the blog this fall, the moose are getting more and more comfortable around our house.  Mother and dad were over the other day and were all excited to see a moose walk through the yard.  A few minutes later the mother moose followed.  We were all outside enjoying this beautiful wildlife when things went a little to far.

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I know the video cuts out pretty fast.  That is because we were all running in the yard making as much noise as possible to help save the garden.  The moose ran off this time, just hope I am home next time they try and get in the garden again.

September 22, 2011

Thoughts From September

1.     Abigail has learned to dance.  Right now it is just the shoulders but it is so funny.  If I sing to her or she hears music here little shoulders and head start to bob.   

 2.     Abigail looks more and more like her father all the time.  Funny how I didn’t expect this but it is so true.  When it comes to her physical appearance it is all Klynstra.  It is a different story though for when she talks.  When she wants to tell me a story her arms start flying.  Oh my Abigail, you are a Levison lady through and through.
 
3.     The other day I made jam out of the raspberries picked in July.  As I licked the spoon off at the end I longed for a backing powder biscuit.  Nothing fits together better than fresh raspberry jam and biscuits out of the oven.
 4.     I find it funny that Josh and I are grown adults yet with the arrival of Abigail some thing become significantly less mature.  I laugh at the fact that everything has a name these days.  We have bunny, Gus, froggy, Ms. Giraffe and Mr. Giraffe, bug, baby head, wipe out and so many more.  All of whom we both know and can identify.  Why do we feel the need to name all of Abigail’s toys?
5.  Each day as I go on a walk with Abigail I look at the beautiful fall colors, smell the fresh autumn air and feel sad that these warmer days are coming to an end.  I am determined to walk each day this winter even if it is after Josh comes home so Abigail doesn’t have to go out in -20 or colder.  I love my walks and feel that they help keep me sane.


September 21, 2011

Beautiful Fall Vistas

The other day my parents and I took Abigail and Shoeless on a little hike.  

 The entire week had been beautiful and with each day the fall colors had become more and more vibrant.
 We loaded up the car and headed north.  Abigail and Shoeless both took little naps on the way so that they would be fresh and alert for all the things we were going to see.
 But then as we pulled into the parking lot by the trailhead something completely unexpected happened.
 The fog rolled in.  What had been beautiful just moments before was gone.  We couldn’t believe it.  Not to be discouraged we covered Abigail with two coats, mittens and a hat, put her in the Baby Cage and ventured up the trail.  The fog would roll away, right?
 But instead of going away the fog got thicker, and thicker to the point where we couldn’t see much of the trail in front of us let alone the beautiful fall vistas we had expected.
 So instead of looking out of the great expanse of Alaska we looked close, at our feet and right around us.  
 What we normally would not have paid much attention to was beautiful as well.
And even though it seemed we were in a foggy room with nothing around us visible the wind was still present and picking up.  So after we got to the top we for went our picnic lunch and headed straight back to the car with visions of possible fall vistas on our minds.

September 20, 2011

Learning To Share

Whenever Abigail eats Shoeless Joe has to go outside because Abigail finds it very fun to feed all of her food to him.  But since the summer is coming to a close and Shoeless is leaving I decided not to stop the fun during snack time the other day.  We are thankful Shoeless is such a patient and gentle dog to have around as Abigail learns to share. 

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September 19, 2011

Getting Around

Abigail is getting around better and faster all the time.  Her mobility means that she is no longer confined to playing just on the area rug in the living room or in her bedroom.  

And as she moves on out Josh and I know it is time we help Abigail learn her boundaries around the house.

 Baby gates and drawer locks have been moving in.  We are only locking the drawers where there are mostly things that can be eaten that should not be eaten.   The kitchen drawers that contain pots and pans are locks free right now.  Abigail is learning the lesson of NO and we review it as she goes for a picture frame or the fire extinguisher.  So far she is a good and fast learner. 
 For the most part her toys are more fun anyways.  But in true Abigail nature, anything can be a toy.  She loves the doorstop behind the kitchen office door, the dog food clip that holds the bag shut, when I leave the pantry doors open, and when I am sorting papers. 
And just as Abigail is learning to be contained this Mama is learning when she has to let go.  No longer in control I have to realize what boundaries to set and how to change those boundaries almost daily as Abigail grows, learns and reaches out to her world around her.  All that said, I am still a fan of the pack n’ play when a little containment is required, ha ha.

September 16, 2011

Holding Onto Summer as it Slips Away

Our summer this year has been a rainy one.  So when the sun decided to come out the other day we took advantage to the change to get out and enjoy a little bit of what is left for our summer.
It was a sunday afternoon and we headed out to the Tanana Chief.  An old paddle boat that travels up and down the Tanana River.
It was an afternoon full of good food, time with family, a quiet viewing of the world passing by and the warmth of the sun.
 As I write this my parents are packing up to head south, the summer is just about over.
As we passed the princess I took time to snap a quick picture of mum and dad in front of Dad's restaurant.  We can't believe these days are over.  How did three months go so fast?  We have enjoyed each and every day that we have been able to hang out together.  Being just a few miles apart is a wonderful thing that we never take for granted!  Thank goodness for phones, internet, USPS and planes that travel south as well as north.  We will still be connected as the days and miles apart stretch on.

September 15, 2011

Garden Fresh Days

Things around here are busy and the days are flying by. 

Between processing the meat from Josh's hunt and keeping up with the garden I find myself in the kitchen a lot recently.  (Are you ready for all of the “kitchen/garden” posts to come?)

 Abigail and I go to the garden each morning, pick what there is to pick, and then come in to process what need it.  We love all of our fresh garden celery these days and I have been filling the dehydrator each day.  Ever other day we dehydrate celery leaves and the opposite day it is filled with parsley.  I love the thought of our winter meals being filled with flavor of these fall days.
Little miss mobile is getting a little harder and harder to contain.  No matter where she starts in the house she always seems to find me when I am in the kitchen.  And when she finds me I always am up for sharing with her a little of what I have been working with.  She likes to taste the parsley, celery, tomatoes, peas and so much more.  Her meals, as well as ours, now involve steamed, grilled, fresh or roasted carrots, beans, zucchini, broccoli and such from the garden.  How blessed we are.

September 14, 2011

9 Months and Going Strong

Last week Abigail turn 9 months old and today we are going for her 9 month well baby visit.
Things around this parts are changing fast to try and keep up with all that she is doing, learning and into these days.  Our little lady has completely mastered crawling.  She is all over.  I think back to those days when she just sat still, or when she was first crawling and couldn't crawl on our wood floors and can't believe they are gone.  Now a days the world is Abigail's oyster and she is going to see it all.
She loves to find me in the kitchen and she loves to pull herself up so the combination of those two things makes the dishwasher a wonderful place.  She also loves Shoeless.  She will follow him all over the house, much to his dismay, all day if I let her.  But as much as shoeless would love to get away from the baby he agrees, the dishwasher is a great place because that is where I put snacks for him to lick.  Seeing the two of them laughing and playing together makes me smile even as I try to make sure they aren't eating out of the same dish at the same time. 
I was telling mother about Abigail's love of the dishwasher the other day and she laughed and emailed me this picture from 30 years ago.  I guess I loved the dishwasher back in New York all those years ago as well.  Who needs toys?

September 13, 2011

A Little Close for Comfort

This is the view out our window the other morning as I was getting to ready to let Shoeless out.

Humm, that is a little close to comfort for me.  Before we scared her off she ate the tops of all the pea plants causing them to loose their grip on the ropes and fall over.  Some of the pea plants are still producing so we are happy she didn’t get to more of our vegetables.

And then the other day when Mum and dad were over another moose and her baby came by.  This one didn’t let the fence scare her away.  Thankfully dad was there with things to bang together.  I am now fearing more and more for my vegetables.   Back to some serious harvesting.

September 12, 2011

A Family Day

Hi, I am back.  Josh was out hunting last week so Abigail and I were super busy and without internet.  Sorry there were no posts.  But with summer coming to a close we are busy getting out and doing things so there is a lot to share.
Just before Josh left to go hunting we took a day and headed out for a family adventure with the dog, baby cage and all.
We had talked about going up north to the white mountains but we changed our minds when we realized that it was peak time to see the sandhill cranes at Creamer's Field right in the middle of town.  So we decided on a shorter drive for our family adventure.
 And what a perfect day it was.  The sun was out, the birds were there, Abigail was happy, and Shoeless was almost in heaven.  It would have been heaven for him if he could have actually chased the birds.
We enjoyed a walk on almost all of the trails, watched the birds fly, listened to their calls and enjoyed a picnic snack among them.
Soon the days will cool, the nights will be darker and the birds will fly south.  How thankful we are for their visit and for our memories of a perfect family day.

September 5, 2011

Laundry Helper

Today is Abigail's 9 month birthday.  Oh, my how the time has gone so fast.  I was just telling my dad last week how I do believe this is my favorite time right now.  We can be out and about for awhile since she eats solids but she loves to stay home and play as well.  She is mobile enough to ease some of her infant immobility frustrations but not enough that I am having to chase her down.  Besides her cold last week and the teeth that should be showing up any day now...she is such a happy and fun baby.  

I thought you would find some joy in this little video.  One of Abigail's favorite past times is emptying the laundry basket when it is full of clean laundry.  She just loves any activity that involves emptying a basket, box or bag.  So as I stuff diapers she throws them out of the basket.  After I stuff I diaper I refill the basket and we do it all again.  Oh the fun diapers can be, every three days that is when they are clean that is.
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September 2, 2011

Neighborhood Visitors

We have a Mama Moose and here baby that have been traveling through our yard quite a bit lately.
It is always so much fun to stop what we are doing and watch them gracefully eating and wandering around.  I realized as I watched the other day that I often show you pictures of our moose friends but you can't tell a lot from just a picture.  So you can imagine my excitement when they hung around long enough for me to shoot a short video for you.
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Just a little touch of Alaska.

Side Note:  Yes, I am aware that I write this post as Josh is packing to get ready for his hunting trip.  Moose season starts next week but with this baby this mama moose is safe.  I do love them but I also love being able to serve my family meat all winter long.  


September 1, 2011

The Soft Feel of In-between

Abigail has been blessed with a bunch of shoes, new and hand me downs, which I love for her to wear to church or town and at home when it is cool enough that we need to keep socks on her feet.  But recently we have found ourselves in a slight predicament.  

With no size 2 shoes to wear at the beginning of the summer Josh and I went to our local 2nd hand store in June and found Abigail a pair of sandals.  They have worked great all summer.  And then as the days got a little cooler I found a pair of white shoes that I wore as a baby.  But recently it has been a little too cool for the sandals and the little white shoes were getting a little too small.

Now Abigail’s supply of size 3 shoes is impressive.  Friends who passed on clothes to us must have loved size 3 shoes because Abigail is now set!  But she doesn’t quite fit into them yet.  I often put them on her but they still give her a clown feet look.  So you can imagine my joy the other day when I found this pair of moccasins in her shoe drawer.

Thirty-four years ago my brother wore these soft little shoes.  Now as Abigail is growing, crawling and learning to move about these shoes have been perfect for her as well.  Hard and bulky shoes just don’t work well for learning to crawl, too much of an obstacle to get over in the sitting to crawling movement.  So for now Abigail is between size 2 and 3 and has found this soft comfy in-between not that bad of a place to be in at all.