Friday, September 30, 2011

It's midnight, what are you up to?

Sitting here at almost midnight, A is sleeping, and Dh just left to go pick up a provider (our neighbor) who's clinic car just broke down while she was on call, drop her off at the clinic so she can handle the emergency, and then tow her car. It is now officially Oct, and it is SNOWING outside. Flurries, but still, it is snow! Winter is almost here!

It was a good day today. A and I had a lot of fun. We learned a lot, played a lot, and had dinner and watched a movie with friends. Tomorrow we are helping our neighbors unload their container.

One thing not many people consider is how your things actually get to you when you move to an island in the middle of the Bering Sea. Well, typically you pack them, and your car, into a big 40 foot 18 wheeler type container and it gets shipped by truck or train to Seattle, where it is loaded on a BIG boat and takes a week to make it up here to the port of Dutch Harbor.

Well our neighbors container came in tonight and should be here at 9 am. So we will all be up early helping them get settled in their house. Should be fun, as long as we can all get some sleep tonight. We shall see. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sluggie and Snail- Almost wordless wed.

It was only a slight drizzle today so we headed out for a walk. We hit the mother load of mountain cranberries and picked 8 cups! On the way home A found "Sluggie and Snail." She carried them home and made a habitat for them. Just a pic of our day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Science work

Just thought I would post some pics of our school day today. We spent a bunch of time on science. We are working on photosynthesis, and exploring why leaves would change colors in the fall, more in depth then the discussions we have had in previous years. We are also talking about Kingdom, Phylum, and Classes and A spent some time categorizing animals.

We looked at leaves in different stages of changing colors, and were actually able to see the small holes in the plants leaves that allow carbon dioxide in. We also could see the actual chlorophyll in one of the leaves. Pretty good microscope we picked up.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumn in the tundra

Well today started out with sun, but shortly after we woke up and started our day, it turned grey and dreary outside.After lunch we settled in to read a book. A is still fascinated by Ancient Egypt so we are taking our time and learning all we can. She picked up another book to read while I cleaned, and every so often I would get called in so she could tell me "Did you know most Egyptians didn't wear shoes?" and "They cooked on the roofs of their houses and in the summer they often slept on the roofs. I bet it was because it was so hot there." "MOM! Did you know many young Egyptian kids didn't even wear clothes! That's Kookified! That would be AWESOME!" I had to crack up at this one.
A and I had just resigned ourselves to the fact that the sun wasn't coming back out for the day, when suddenly, in a matter of mere minutes, the clouds broke, and the sky was clear blue for as far as the eye could see. Within seconds we were in rain pants, boots, and sweatshirts and headed out the door. On a glorious sun filled moment like this there was only one place to go..... Pyramid. Our favorite place to romp and explore.

5 mins later we were surrounded by tundra, berries, and the changing colors of fall.
(On another note...check out the pink hat. It's my very first attempt at crocheting in the round. Not bad if I do say so myself!)
Anyway, I'm pretty sure I mentioned Nagoon Berries on here before. They unfortunately are rare as they don't really grow in patches. I have heard from people who have lived on this island for 10 years and have only ever found one. Well, A definitely has the Berry Magic. She has found over a dozen in the last few weeks. I have to say, these things are delicious. Sweet, tangy...just perfect. A gets so excited when she finds one and has told dad many times that "They are the BEST berries in the world."After eating the many Nagoon Berries we found today, we set off to explore some more. We had brought along some tools from the microscope kit that we picked up at the community garage sale this weekend. We were on a mission to collect specimens.It has been really wet, so it is no surprise that these beauties were popping up all over the place.
A few of these even made it home with us in their little viles. They are being stored in the fridge as I type, and tomorrow we will be examining them under the magnifying glass and the microscope. I had to fight with A about doing this when we got home. I had to start dinner and then bath and bed, and I knew she would need more time dedicated to this. So tomorrow we will be observing and studying out fungi.

After a little more exploring we played. A was a fox, a tundra pup, an eagle, and a pilgrim, all in a matter of an hour. Then we she tired of the pretend play it was time to get some serious pent up energy out. The tundra is so soft and bounced and bounced of course!
I Love this pic! Pure joy.
Then I held her and bounced, fell and rolled down the tundra, over and over. Squeals all around. The best day. I wouldn't trade my life right now for all the money in the world!
Looked over and saw a storm starting to move in over the distant mountains. The mist catching the light was beautiful. When I was young, my mother always said the sun rays beaming down like this was my Papaw smiling down from heaven. I still feel happy when I see this.

And a shot in the opposite direction. Blue Sky! Sigh. Haven't been seeing as much of this as I would like lately. But when we do it is Awe inspiring!
A decided to play hide and seek in the tundra.
Well, there's not many places to hide in the tundra is there? LOL. So she tried to blend in. I had to smile.I just love the autumn! I miss the leaves on the trees changing color. That is one thing I LOVED about Pennsylvania. It's the only place I have ever lived that fall was FALL! But the colors are changing here. The ground cover, the fireweed leaves, all turn to beautiful golds, rusts, scarlets.

It started misting as we headed back to the car. (Which was quite a bit away since we had wandered the tundra for over 3 hours.)And right before we reached the car, we found more mushrooms, growing right out of a fire pit. These of course come home with us as well in another specimen container, awaiting examination under the microscope tomorrow.
We made it back home just in time. Not 5 mins later, the bottom feel out and it began to pour!

What an awesome day. I hope you enjoyed the pics of fall on the tundra :) Thanks for sharing our day with us. What are fall days like where you live? Leave me a comment :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall, friends, and deals!

Fall is here! Today snow was on the top of some of the mountains and just a bit at the top of Pyramid. I was looking back on my pictures from last year and the first dusting on the ground here, termination snow, was Sept. 30. Hmm wonder when it will be this year?

It was a fun weekend here. Berry picking, football watching, dinner with friends and neighbors. But even better I scored some awesome deals! Meat here is SUPER expensive compared to the lower 48. I try to always buy the large value packs as they are less expensive and break them up and freeze them. Even with the value packs, ground beef is $5.99 a pound here! Yes crazy! Well the local grocery store was running a buy one get one sale on some of the meat this weekend and I stocked up. But better that just buy one get one, I had 2 $10 off coupons. So I ended up picking up $90 of meat for $25! I picked up ground beef and pork chops during this outing.My freezer is stocked. Now it containes 12 lbs of ground beef, Lots of pork chops, several beef roasts, chicken, frozen veggies, and berries along with now 7 cartons of ice cream yummy goodness. Ice cream here is normal $7.99 here, but this weekend it was on sale for $3.99. Oh my! I filled the freezer with yummy flavors....smores, triple fudge, cookie dough, vanilla, oh and did I mention smores....yes lots of containers of smores! LOL. I have been banned from foraging more blueberries since the freezer is full, but if I can get a decent day in the next few, I am going out again and can some instead of freezing them. Dh can't say anything about that :) I have also been stocking up on cranberries. They are perfectly ripe at this moment! So tasty. I LOVE foraging and sustenance living. I just wish there was game to hunt here, but fish, crabs, berries all are wondrous of the land we live.

Then I headed the the annual PCR community garage sale and I scored! Well, I guess I should say A did since everything I picked up was for her. She has been asking for a microscope for FOREVER and amazingly sitting on a table right when we walked in there was a complete microscope set, slides, everything I could ask for! At that table we picked up the microscope set, a game, legos and a lego mosaic set....all for the grand total of $32! We also picked up 2 new DVDs, a large melissa and doug floor puzzle, a hair bow, and The Tale of Despiro novel.

One thing I love about living here is how you end up knowing everyone and when the town has an event, EVERY SINGLE PERSON comes out. It really is a fun atmosphere.

This weekend was great, and I am hoping this week goes well all around. My husband will be getting a new boss next week, so I know that is weighing on his mind. So I pray the transition goes well for all involved. A is finally sleeping through the night. This has never happened before in her entire 4 years. I have actually been able to sleep in our bed with DH from night to morning, and i have missed it. This week We will be easing into fall and the more simplified rhythms that go along with that. More baking, warm teas, inside games, and snuggles deep under the blankets while reading books. My anxiety seems to be releasing and helping me move into this softer time of year. And I am thankful for that.

Ahh! Fall , A time to breath, relax, and slow down. Pics of all my neat scores to come later this week :)

Good night a11!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Autumn Fairy- Our Autumn Nature Table

Here's a pick of our nature table, or nature shelf I guess I should say as it is a part of our book shelf. We have been incorporating more Waldorf ideals into our homeschool and life. While I love Waldorf, A needs much more academic stimulation then they give in the early years, and I feel the need to follow her lead and let her take the reigns, but I love the simplicity, beauty, and harmony of the Waldorf rhythms so we add those to our home and smile.Autumn fairy, bringing in the swift crisp breezes that usher in the changing colors. A and I made here the other day. She was so simple that we plan on making more, but of course I can't run to the store and quickly pick up more wooden beads and embroidery floss, so I ordered them from amazon. They should be here next week . We used beach stones to make her house.We need to take a hike out into the tundra for some sprigs of the gorgeous fire red fireweed leaves to add next week. Autumn fairy joins us every morning for our circle time. Her colors make me smile on these cold wet days.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Foraging in the tundra

We have been having fun berry picking, and I thought I would post a few pics from last week, and from this. What a difference a week makes!

It was so warm when we headed out last week that little Miss A stripped down to just her undies and went running barefoot through the tundra. I luckily convinced her to at least put her leggings on and some shoes ( honestly you never know what metal and WWII relics are buried right below the surface waiting to slice open a foot), especially where we were picking at.
We were out for hours, and A found a spring, well springing out of the ground. Of course she had to play in it. The water was is Unalaska after all, but she had so much fun, and got very very wet!
We also found a Nagoon Berry. They are extremely rare....and extremely yummy! Unfortunately they do not tend to grow in patches. So we split this one. It was absolutely delicious. I so wish we could find more. A has been on a hunt for another one since, and has found the leaves, but no berries. Maybe next year.
So that was last week...What a difference a week makes. It has been rainy, squalls, and really windy this entire week. Fall is here! The air is chilly, our high temps are in the 40's and some of the mountains actually have snow on their tops now. The Bering Sea is angry looking, the fishing boats are stocking up and wiping out entire aisles of the grocery store getting ready for the start of a new season, but despite the weather, we have bundled ourselves up and headed out everyday that we possible could. We have been caught in the rain the last 2 days, getting soaked in the process (but hey that's why we all have heavy duty rain gear), but have been busy foraging for the fall bounty of berries. Mountain Cranberries, also known as Lingonberries, are supposedly rare here. So much so that people guard the location of their patches. Well, My kiddo is an expert cranberry finder. I am seriously impressed, and honestly I don't know if I believe they are super rare here, but more that they are difficult to find and grow deep in the underbrush of the tundra. It totally helps that my child is ALWAYS crawling in the tundra, laying in it, frolicking, and picking crowberries. She is so proud of herself every time she finds a new patch, and I am impressed with her plant knowledge. She knows and can identify every berry on the island by sight and leaf, and can tell whether they are edible, poisonous, taste good raw or need to be cooked, and what there growing season is. Seriously impressed. She loves sharing her knowledge with others, and introduced the berries of our island to our new neighbors the other day. It warmed my heart to hear her pointing out berries to Steve and letting him know. "I wouldn't eat that one if I were you!" Just makes me smile.

Here's a shot of the mountain cranberries. They are much smaller than regular cranberries, but taste pretty much the same.
I think I have maybe a few more days to pick blueberries before the season is over. I would estimate that this year I have put up about 55 to 60 cups. A lot less then last year's 120 cups, but this season they are not as plentiful, and well, the weather has been much more difficult to work with than last year. I am going to try to get another 10 cups at least this weekend before the town's Blueberry Bash this Sunday. I still have some berries from last year and I am going to use those to make jelly and pie filling to can.
And here is our bounty from the last 2 days.

I was able to get everything sorted and cleaned tonight and put up. Tomorrow the forecast actually calls for sun and a high of 48. But forecasts are notoriously WRONG here. So we will just have to wait and see.

School has been going great and we are still exploring Ancient Egypt in depth and reading a really great book that was written by the head of Archeology for the Egyptian government that focuses on the curse of the mummies. It neither dramatizes it, says it is real, nor seeks to disprove it, but instead weaves interesting stories filled with amazing facts and ancient history. A is enthralled.

She has decided what she wants to be for Halloween, but that is another post as I am to tired to explain LMAO!

Back to homeschooling- we are trying to get back in the grove after all the illness, sickness, and injuries of the last few weeks. A has decided to focus on animals in science so we are going to start exploring the classification system, as well as choosing one class of animals to study at a time. She headed to the library today and FILLED the bag with books on insects of every kind. She even spent hours observing an insect of some sort that had found its way into my house today, following it with her microscope, and refusing to let me kill it, or help it outside until she was done observing it. So I think she will love this focus.

Alright, I think that's about all I can manage tonight. I plan on starting to post more picks of our daily life, homeschool and play, especially as the long days of winter set in. As for now, I still need to go back and edit the typos from last nights post. That"s what happens when I post after taking Tylenol pm :) Have a great Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An impromptu field trip- A Trawler!

It's late and I'm tired so forgive me if this is rambling. After a fun day today of playing in the tundra and forging in the rain, we came home and were playing a board game this evening when I received a phone call from the medical director at the clinic. One of the trawlers/floating processors was at dock for 24 hours and she had arranged for a tour for the new PAs with the boats medical officer. She extended an invitation to us. It was 5:47, the tour was at 6. LOL. Good thing the town is super small :)

Field trip! I quickly got A ready and we headed to the spit to find the American Dynasty. We met the rest of the group there and boarded the boat. Its amazing that we were able to just walk up the gang plank with out anyone stopping us. It was slippery, steep, and pretty windy on the way up, and when we got about 2/3 of the way it the wind really gusted and A held tight as she looked down at the icy cold Bering Sea beneath us and said "I'm not sure this was such a good idea!" But we made it up, and were directed to the galley where we met our awesome tour guide.
After a stop at his pharmacy where he told us about the medicines they stock, the most common injuries, and their problems with MRSA (YIKES! 4 people to a tiny tiny room and 8 sharing a bathroom) as well as how difficult it is when to treat an injury when they are hundreds of miles from medical care and not due back in port for 2 weeks, he lead us up to the bridge. The control room of the boat. This room was amazing. Screens everywhere showing what is under the water, where other boats are, courses, etc.

A was very interested in this room. This boat just came in after 2 weeks fishing right near the Russian border and I snapped this shot of her standing in front of a chart of their course and where they fished.
She then got to sit in the Captain's chair. She loved this, but shot me quite a barb later when she said "I don't think you could drive that boat. I don't think you could even find your way up to the captain's chair" ZING! LOL. Actually the passages are quite a labyrinth.
Her is a view from the bridge.
After thoroughly exploring the control room, we headed down to the actual factory where the fish are processed on board the boat. Its amazing to think of the work these people do. Most are immigrants. Currently about half are from North Africa and are political refugees escaping the wars their. They work 12 hour shifts, live in extremely cramped quarters, and basically do nothing but work, sleep, and eat.

As I said, this boat is a trawler, which basically means they pull a gigantic net along behind them and scoop up fish, in this case pollack. The next extends out over 8 boat lengths behind the boat and the mouth is large enough for the statue of liberty to fit inside!!!!!
After grabbing a snack inside the galley, we headed back down the gang plank. We had such a fun adventure and learned so much.

Here is a shot of the finished products- boxes of frozen fish, processed at sea, ready to ship to a store/restaurant neat you.
It was an Awesome field trip, and yet another reason I love living here. where else can one experience this? A's favorite area of the boat- the Captain's chair. No surprise there. She likes to be in control! LOL. Her least favorite area was the actual engine room. She liked the engine control room, but the engine itself was very noisy in such a confined space.

Such a wonderful spur of the moment field trip. I hope yall enjoyed taking this trip with us through pics. If you have any questions about the boat, fishing, or processing process just ask. I will try to answer them. We were on the boat over and hour and a half, so there was a LOT to take in!

Night all!