Canada/Alaska Adventure | Entry #6

Happy first day of summer! Here in Glacierview, AK, we are enjoying the last bit of daylight at midnight – We’ll have 19 hours and 21 minutes of daylight today! Honestly, it is the light that is the biggest adjustment for me up here. Sleeping really isn’t an issue, since I can hang a blanket over the window, but energy is the issue! At home, I’d be tired by 11:00pm, particularly if I had just gone on a hike and had a busy day (both of which I did today!), but when it is daylight outside, the energy just doesn’t turn off. The daylight really has wreaked havoc on my sleep, since I’ve been staying up a lot later, and then a few mornings ago I was wide awake at 4:30am! I love it.IMG_9421eIMG_9476eIMG_9452eIMG_9444eAfter dinner this evening, probably around 8:00 or a little later, Jenny and I climbed up to Big Rock, which overlooks the whole valley, with the Matanuska River snaking its way along way below, and the houses and Victory Bible Camp scattered like little models here and there in the trees. We left home in a slight rain, and enjoyed a rainbow on the way to the top, but once we were at Big Rock, it cleared up a bit, and the sun even came out briefly. The clouds were wisping over the mountaintops, and the Matanuska Glacier could be seen further east. IMG_9493eWhat a day. So much to marvel at.

 

Welcome Weather

I woke up to the gentle melody of rain on the tin roof, just inches above my face. What a welcome, refreshing sound! We’re behind some 6 inches of rainfall this summer already, and everything has been scorching. The garden has been almost impossible to keep watered, ranchers’ hay production is significantly reduced, and the landscape has started to turn a withered brown. For weeks, the grass has been too dry to walk barefoot on it, and even the weeds in the garden have wilted. The 1,600-acre Crow Peak Fire near Spearfish has been blazing for a week and is only about 15% contained. The last thing anyone wanted was a thunderstorm without rain. But we got rain! Boy, did we get rain.
IMG_7189The clouds were low and heavy, hanging in the trees, and already the landscape looks richer, greener. The rain pitter-pattered on the tin roof for most of the morning. At times it would nearly quiet, but then the sound of larger drops would lead into another downpour, though never torrential. It was the slow kind of rain that soaks in deep and doesn’t turn to runoff. We got 1 inch total. The frogs are singing again now. It was a good day for reading, writing, and hot tea.
IMG_7191Trixie wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the rain. Unlike our other dog, Baby, who would retreat into her dog house for the whole day when it rained, Trixie was soaked and muddy from digging in the yard, undeterred by the wet. She didn’t seem to care at first, but at one point jumped up and peeked in the window over the kitchen sink. I think she was a little bored. She had dried off a little by noon, so she went with me to take Dad his lunch in Hermosa. She is such a puppy! She hasn’t experienced many car rides and tried to cuddle up initially, then went back to trying to chew on whatever was close enough to get her mouth on, whether it was me, or her leash, or the blanket she was sitting on. She was pretty happy to see Sarah, who got off early from work today.
IMG_7196We’re hoping for more rain tonight. It doesn’t look like there is much chance of precipitation over the next week, but we’ll take whatever we get and be glad of it!

Laura Elizabeth

Keeping Cool

It was a hot one today. I thought I could go for a “cool, morning walk” by leaving at 9:00. Not so. When I got home at 10:00 or so, the thermometer was already reading 90 degrees. Luna chose to beat the heat by sleeping. All day. In the chicken shed. On a cardboard box. IMG_6815

Trixie, on the other hand, panted and looked miserable until I filled a plastic tub with water for her. Poor thing, she wanted so badly to go swimming in it, but it was just a little small. IMG_6791.small

IMG_6803.small IMG_6806.smallShe can swim in the stock pond, and does, but she gets muddy and gross and eats stuff off the bottom of the pond. And then she runs off.  We need to get her a kiddie pool.

Laura Elizabeth

August | In Hindsight

DSCN0905.1 Never a dull moment! August came and went, in some ways seeming to be a very long month, in others flying by too quickly.

The Sturgis Rally at the beginning of the month put everyone on edge. It wore me out, at least. Although no final numbers have been given, the estimate was that 1.3 million people would be congregating in the western third of a state with a population of less than 900 thousand…That’s a lot of people, in case you had any doubts. Glad that is over.

DSCN0680.1We spent time with friends and family, over meals, on hikes, enjoying the outdoors and wildlife, doing some shooting and taking pictures. God has blessed us with a wonderful church home and with a strengthening community of believers with which to fellowship. What a blessing.

I spent a week with Jack and his crew working cattle in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska, which was a welcome relief from the craziness of the tourist season. “Maybe she’ll marry a rancher,” Grandma says with a laugh.

DSCN1002.1After much deliberating, I gave my two weeks’ notice at the antique shop I worked at, and worked my last day last week. It was a great summer job, but the hours weren’t sustainable. After a few months working there, I realized I needed more time at home, more time with my family, more time spent in God’s wonderful creation, more time doing the things I love. It was a good decision, I must say. If you feel like you’re about to go crazy, do yourself a favor: look for other options. Give yourself permission to think outside of the box.

Eriogonum pauciflorum - Ballhead eriogonum

Eriogonum pauciflorum – Ballhead eriogonum

I wouldn’t want all months to be as busy as August was, but it was a good month. When Sarah and I hiked this evening, we were talking about being in South Dakota. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself when I think that we’re actually living here. Sarah commented, “God really cares about these things.” He cares that for as long as we’ve been alive, we’ve wanted to be in South Dakota, our “ancestral home,” as I like to think of it. He cares that this was one of the deep longings of our hearts, the desire to be here with family, the desire to walk these hills and these trails, to smell the pines, and listen to the wind singing through the needles on the trees. We’re here. And this is home. It always has been. Even before we were here. God knows. And God cares.

Laura Elizabeth

The first whisper of fall

DSCN1007.1 After a week playing with cows, it is time to settle back into a routine…A routine that will be pretty short lived, since some reasonably big changes are coming down the pike. More on that coming soon!

It feels good to sleep in my own bed again, to not be choking on dust daily, and to have my forehead not itching from my hat brim. The little things. The simple, little things.

DSCN1014.1Smoke from fires further west has turned the air here smoky. Haze hangs heavy over the Hills. In the picture of the road, on a normal day Harney Peak would be visible as a second layer of hills behind the first layer of horizon. As I was watering trees yesterday, the haze seemed to grow thicker while the afternoon wore on, and the farther peaks became completely obscured in the smoke. The wind picked up overnight, bringing more smoke, and cooler weather.

DSCN1003.1This is my favorite time of year–In Illinois, it came later, towards the end of September, and it will probably hold off a little longer here, but today the first whisper of fall had arrived. In the fall, the air feels sweeter, stronger, richer, the sunlight seems purer, glassier, and there is something mysterious in the slant of the shadows beneath the trees, and how the sun warms your back, your face, your arms. The wind seems to be more than a stirring of the air, but a herald, a message bearer. Nothing has changed and yet everything has changed. The summer is fading away. Winter is yet to come.

Laura Elizabeth