Friday, November 10, 2006

Women Need Men

There are many ways to tell that winter is approaching in Alaska...your Halloween pumpkin is frozen solid, your dog sheds his "summer" coat all over the rug, and there are recommendations on the TV to start plugging in your truck at night. You also have little rodent visitors looking to check in for their winter reservations. No matter how clean you keep your house, if there is a hole anywhere in your house: THEY WILL GET IN!
This last week while Jeff was moose hunting I went mouse hunting. I have always known that I had an abnormal killer instinct for a woman. I am not sure if it comes from my dad making me rip the heads off his dove before I could even shoot a shot gun or watching my great grandmother slaughter many a rattle snake in her garden with merely a hoe, but the killer came out in me this week. Last Tuesday evening as I was kicking back on the couch after putting the baby down, Mickey's cousin Cleotha ran across the living room. Much to my surprise I didn't scream. "Hmmm," I thought, "I need to do something about him tomorrow." Upon awakening the next morning I stumbled to the coffee maker and was abruptly alerted to Cleotha's family of four residing under the big burner on the stove. (Here is where the screaming ensued) Being a sweet little woman all alone in the woods, I called my neighbor (and screamed some more over the phone) for back-up. He promptly sent down his middle and youngest son with two glue traps. By placing my traps in enticing locations I quickly had two takers. Soon I had success and I was dancing a victory jig as I looked over and saw my prey caught...all until I realized they weren't dead. In fact there were large mice that thought they were about to dine on a delicious lunch of peanut butter when they were instead immobilized. Cleotha was none too happy about this arrangment and was letting me know by screaming loudly. Up until this point in my 29 years of living I have fortunately not come into contact with many mice--certainly not any screaming mice. I didn't know they did that?!! Being the mighty huntress and protector of my off-spring (also because Jeff wasn't around) I grabbed up the sticky traps, put them in a shoe box, shook them real good and put them in the trash. "Whew," I thought...I am so glad this is over! I spent the rest of the day taking apart my oven and thoroughly cleaning.
That evening I stopped at the hardware store on the way to church. Just on the off chance I had any more visitors I wanted them to feel welcome. Purchasing four more sticky traps and one more traditional one, I thought I was more than amply prepared. When bedtime approached I put out midnight snack laden traps and went to bed. As my head hit the pillow I heard the first flop..flop..flop of the mouse on a trap. Before the screaming began I quickly disposed of this one by banging it with my iron skillet. I had no idea that Cleotha had such a large family! I nestled back into bed (one that was surrounded with traps) and tried to get my mind off of mice. Right as I am drifting off, here comes another visitor. To sum it all up- "the creatures were stirring" all night long. Four more mice later with dawn approaching I was exhausted and thoroughly grossed out. I cried later that day when Jeff called and said he was coming home early.

I am happy to say a week later (and 8 more dead mice) we have solved the mouse crisis. My husband spent two days under the house cleaning out the mouse resort, and sealing up every crack, cranny and nook. Many people come to Alaska to experience the vast wildlife, wanting to prove their prowess through the taking of a brown bear or a trophy moose...but few can say they have conquered an Alaska rodent invasion of biblical proportions. I am thinking about opening a guide service next year. If you are interested in reserving a slot the deadline is April '07 or perhaps you would like to come view our "wildlife" museum full of mice trophies mounted on my kitchen wall.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Letter to Leif

I write Leif letters and thought that some of you might enjoy reading one. Occasionally I may put a letter on the blog.

Dear Leif,
Today you are 4 months old! We spent a fun day making jam from the raspberries we picked yesterday. You were so cute dressed in your lamb sweats, hanging out in the snugli. You loved watching momma pick berries and put them in the bucket. By the end of our picking you were covered in raspberry juice.

Melanie Firth, our neighbor and mother of 7 taught momma how to make jam. After three batches, we had a wonderful lunch of fresh baked wheat bread and the foam from the jam. As we sat around the table with the kids enjoying their bread I thought about how joyous the simple things in life are…putting up fruit, baking bread, washing dishes by hand in sudsy water (that you have warmed on the stove, because the Firths do not have running water), and time with family and friends. Son, my prayer is that you never lose sight of the life that is simple. You will no doubt want to explore this world and seek after your own adventures, but I hope you will always appreciate the basics. A home cooked meal is always better than one from a restaurant. Work done by your own two hands is never a waste of time. Time spent outdoors is better than in. A conversation or a book is far more important than any TV show.

Finally, love our Lord and follow his commands. He will never forsake you. As I am writing this I am reminded of the wise words of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the song, “Simple Man” – check it out.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It has been a long, long time...

It’s been a long, long time…

For those of you that have been wondering where my blog entries went, I have been a little busy. Now that Leif is 5 months old and we are settling into this whole parenting gig I have no excuse. So, here is an update on our lives.

I dropped him off in the early morning light. When we turned into the driveway the headlights shone on the horse’s breath as they waited to get on the trailer. Jeff was packed and prepared, literally “loaded for bear”. Jaw set, he put on his hat and squeezed my hand as he got out of the truck. I have never seen him quiet with anticipation…this is a first for him and me. This week Jeff is out living every man’s dream in the wilds of Alaska. There is a gentleman named Danny at church that is a pilot and an avid big game hunter with two Boone and Crocketts to his name. He invited Jeff to come along on a trophy moose hunt. They are leaving this morning after a week of planning, packing and scouting via his Citabria. They are taking six horses on a 9 hour ride into the back country of the Chugiak mountain range between us and Anchorage. They will set up camp tomorrow and be out for a week or so. Poor Jeff has a wearisome journey ahead of him, mainly due to his lack of sleep the last couple of nights because of excitement. I’ll admit I am excited and I don’t even get to go. Jeff hopes to get a black bear as well, while he is out. The moose and bear meat combined will set us up for the winter and then some. What a blessing a full freezer will be!

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Leif and I are hanging out. He is rolling all over the place and working on sitting up. I always thought those baby crazed moms were nuts, but I am starting to understand them more. This baby is amazing! I think we could stare at him for hours. He smiles all the time and makes the funniest faces. He just started wrinkling up his nose in the most adorable way. It is hilarious! Who am I kidding?! I am one of those baby crazed moms! I honestly thought I would be bored out of my gourd with staying home, but this job is the best one I have ever had. I love every minute of it. What a privilege to see Leif growing and learning. I am thankful beyond words for Jeff allowing me this opportunity. Not only do I have every minute with my son, but I get to do fun things like bake bread, pick and make jam from raspberries, clean up the cabin behind our house and prepare for my garden this spring. This is the life! Quiet, still and peaceful. If you are reading this, I encourage you to take a moment this week and go somewhere where there is no noise. No road noise, no airplanes, no distractions and just sit in God’s creation. Alone. If you can’t find a place to do this…come for a visit. We would love to have you! I have a cabin with a wood burning stove ready for you. (It even has indoor plumbing and electricity if you want!)