Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer solstice

When we first moved to Alaska it seemed really strange to basically never see darkness at this time of year. It would be really late and we realize we need to make dinner. The first summer with Delia as a baby was an adjustment too. My baby who had a good routine all of a sudden was hard to get to sleep at night. We went through many summers of interrupted night time routines before it didn't seem like a big deal anymore. The kids have a later summer routine and we have days where we stay out late but we still follow a routine and stick to it and they are usually good about bedtime. Now it would probably seem strange to live where it gets dark in the summer and the midnight sun is just a part of life in Alaska. The solstice was on Tuesday and now we are moving towards shorter days again.

We have been trying to get outside a lot in the summer. I usually try to do a hike and an outdoor playgroup once a week. I have been hiking with the kids since Delia was a baby in my belly. Some hikes were with just me and Mike or family that visits and sometimes with different parents groups. Last summer I did the parent and me hikes through the municipality and hikes with a church group of moms I met at the park that were really nice. The summer before it was a different hiking group.This summer I am going with a outdoor meet up group or with the kids by myself. It has progressed through the years from carrying Delia on my back to pushing her in a stroller or wearing her on my back while pregnant. Then it was adjusting to hiking with two carrying Teddy on my back while Delia was in a stroller. Last summer Delia started hiking and did really well. I was pregnant so I was perfectly fine going at a kids pace. She could hike 3-4 miles. This summer Teddy either rides in the stroller or walks and Delia hikes and Cora is on my back. I hiked with a toddler on the back and a babe in the front at time or a toddler on my back with a babe in my belly. Sometimes it doesn't go well  especially now with three kids who can protest but we all mostly enjoy it and I hope it instills a love of the outdoors and nature in them.

We also spend time in the garden at my friend Sarah's house. The kids enjoy riding their bikes. Teddy has gotten really good at his balance bike in a short time and can run and glide. Today he went up and down a ramp and down a big hill and glided down. Delia loves riding her two wheeler and spends a lot of time riding her bike. On sunny days we like to go to the lake and the kids play in the sand and the water. We had a nice warm and sunny May but June has been cooler and cloudier but we still try to get out. Mike usually plays outside with them after dinner while I clean up and we found some new neighbors with kids for them to play with.

The solstice also marks the day the Alaska food challenge begins. I did not get to make it to the kick off party. I was hoping to be eating mostly Alaskan this summer once the produce starts really coming in aside from spices and oils that are hard to get. I am falling very far off that goal with the condo being on the market. We have been doing improvements on the condo to hopefully help it sell and I have been trying to keep it neat and clean all the time. The kitchen is really small and we have been doing  improvements in there. I don't want to fill our tiny kitchen while we are trying to sell our place so my plans for making cheese and yogurt from local milk has been put aside as well as the plans to make breads, pizza crusts, tortillas, pastas etc from the grain. I don't think our tomato crop is going to do as well as hoped this year since we lost some and the rest are small. We don't have the chicken coop. I don't have my own yard to plan for next year. I will try to do what I can. We expanded the garden this year with the pallet cold frames. I will buy more local produce once it is in and freeze some of it for the winter We hopefully will be able to catch a lot of salmon dip netting. This year I will do better with foraging for berries and then freeze some and make jelly out of the rest. The  food challenge group did make the news at the kick off party and people gave pledges both big and small to eat  more of there foods that are Alaskan for a whole year.