Friday, November 19, 2010

Ice road, volleyball and beautiful sunrises

Will ya look at that! Not only did I slide under the every-other-week-wire, but I actually have REAL stuff to blog about this week too! :) The ice road officially opened this year on Wednesday, November 17. We've had some lovely cold nights since it was plowed so it should be good and solid by now! We still haven't driven it with our truck yet because the driveway still needs to be plowed. Rodney has been coming over with the camp truck which has chains, but the truck he has been using to plow doesn't have skids on the plow? so he hasn't really been able to plow our driveway well yet. Well, technically he could, but we still want to be able to use it for snow machining too and his truck will dig down too deep and hit dirt. We already have that problem a bit on the other side. He may borrow Ryan's plow truck and do the driveway tomorrow. Ideally you want a nice layer of packed snow on the ground before you plow, but we can't drive until it is plowed. So basically we need to ease our way out of our little Catch-22.

The Nikolaevsk volleyball team was here last weekend for a small tournament. Part of the Northern Lights team came up from Palmer/Wasilla and played on Friday night so that there was a little more competition. Our Glacier View team worked hard to win every match (best of 5 sets). I was able to spend a fair amount of time talking to one of the Nikolaevsk moms getting to know her a bit. I'm fairly certain that I had as much fun as the kids did that weekend. Our kids are currently in Ouzinkie at the regional meet. There are seven teams vying for one or two? spots in the state championships. In addition to Glacier View and Nikolaevsk there are teams representing Manokotak, Old Harbor, Kokhanok, Ouzinkie, and Paklook (which is an acronym for several communities that make up one team). I JUST got word that they won the final match (and a nail biting one at that) tonight against Nikolaevsk!!! I'm glad Nikolaevsk played so well! I have no doubt they can all feel good about their efforts! Many thanks to all who sponsored Andrei in the Serve-a-Thon last year to raise funds to make this trip! They have had such a blast so far this year, and now we know it isn't over yet! They'll go on to the state championships in a few weeks. I'll let you know details later.

Rodney has been incredibly busy with boilers this week. He had gotten the three waste oil boilers working early in the week, then they all died yesterday, along with another regular furnace. One of them even blew up in Rodney's face, fortunately with the door shut enough to contain most of the blast so that he was not injured. Rod was standing right behind him so Dianne and I are BOTH thankful that the blast was mostly contained. That boiler will need more repairs now though and the other there (in Miracle) is still not working either. He was able to get the ones in the auto shop and the lower shop (electrical, plumbing, welding, etc shop) going again, but who knows for how long. He and Ryan are looking at getting some training on boiler systems, but camp could really use a full time, trained boiler person. He did finally decide that the Miracle boilers could wait until Monday. :) That is a big step in the right direction! Rodney seems to think that he MUST fix EVERYTHING right now! Miracle is warm, even if it is costing camp a bit more with the diesel boiler. Time to take a little breather for the weekend! God rested on the Sabbath to give us a pattern to follow. When we don't follow the pattern we burn out. ;)

In other news, Ellie has not been feeling well again. She was in at the vet again this week for more blood work and an exam, but we don't have results back and I'm sort of loosing hope that they'll figure it out. Nothing is consistent with that naughty little monkey. First it was liver, then her thyroid was high, then it was low. We'll see what it says this time around IF they even got enough blood to run the test. For a sick little doggy she fought like a prize-fighter! Dara Ruisch came over yesterday and helped me paint a few walls as well as the room we added to the back of the house. We were debating whether to paint the floor or put down linoleum or something like that, but I find linoleum slippery AND since we had more paint AND since the room was empty, we decided to go ahead and paint (beautiful example of a run-on sentence). Oksana did that for me today while I worked on the pictures and blog post. If it wasn't for her help, there wouldn't be a post today! It is a bit odd though. It is so bright in primer white that I keep thinking someone left a light on back there. Before the floor was done:

Dufus thinks mom is nuts to be freezing outside when she should be getting his dinner. Meanwhile there are good smells to be followed under the snow. He doesn't have a clue that there are pretty things going on in the sky.

Her Naughtiness still has enough energy to attack him from time to time. She's quite the killer.

This is what had me so entertained. I kept snapping pictures and each one was prettier than the last. Every morning and evening this week have had spectacular shows! It was quite a job trying to pick just a few, so I didn't. Actually, the last two are sunrises. I just can't get over how that scene changes every time I look out there. And EVERY time, it is stunning. Well, actually, every time that I can SEE it, it is stunning. ;) Since we don't get sunrises and sunsets in the summer, I figure I'd better appreciate them while we have them.

These were taken in Palmer on the Old Glenn Highway while I was waiting for Oksana to have her violin lesson. I had scoped out the spot earlier in the fall and was just waiting for the right opportunity to get some good shots. It was a gorgeous clear day and with the sun setting, I suspected I might get some nice pictures.

This one was taken on the new Glenn Highway I think between Chickaloon and Sutton on the way in to Palmer. The drive that day was just mile after mile of absolutely breathtaking vistas! I was glad to actually get a shot that captured the beauty in a small way.

Here's my snow machine set up as the grocery getter.

This is more of what we've seen from Little Miss Naughty Pants lately. :( Such sadness!

And finally, I did snap a picture of the Christmas/Thanksgiving Cactus that I figured I might as well show off!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Winter(ish) has begun!

I know, it has been ages. I even had someone call today to make sure we are ok. Maybe I ought to not post more often! :) Not really. It wasn't intentional. There just hasn't been a lot going on, yet there's still been a lot going on if that makes any sense. Nothing noteworthy, just normal life stuff. Nate and Maggie did arrive in Kansas and are currently doing major renovations to their house. It is one of those things that started small until a few "while we're here" things expanded the scope of the projects immensely. We've lived in an old house. We understand. At any rate, we were able to talk to Nate on Skype for a good hour or more the other day. It was great to see his face and hear his voice! We sure do miss them!

The weather has been relatively mild, so while the lake is frozen over, we're still not able to do much on it. The kids went skating last week but now there's been more snow and overflow so it is really wet on top of the ice. Last year we started driving on it on Nov 12 but I'm pretty sure we won't be driving that early this year. It has been mild enough during the day that we're getting some melting. Definitely not ice making weather! We do have just enough snow to use the snow machines on the ATV trail which is a big help. Arvin brought chains up for my ATV so we were able to use that up until the bigger snow hit. Rodney put new skis on my snow machine so it handles a lot better now. It ought to have more floatation on powdery snow too.

Rodney bought two more snow machines yesterday and Ryan Cote (camp mechanic) is helping Sergei (and Rodney) work on them to get them running. Mike Roub has also offered to help Sergei work on them. They are Arctic Cats and on the way home it occurred to Rodney that as many Arctic Cats as there are on camp, only one of them was running. Not sure if that bodes well, but it should keep Sergei occupied! One is a 1993 Arctic Cat Jag Z 440. They were able to get that one up and running today with minor effort. The other is a 1994 Arctic Cat EXT 580 EFI Mountain Cat but that one will take a little more work to get running. The Cotes have a blog that I've listed up on the right side, but I'll post another link here too:

I know that the most important part of any blog post is pictures so I think I'll be in good shape after this post. Moon shining off the ice before we had any snow:

Momma moose and her twins in the front yard. The other twin was out of the picture, but the picture with both of them in it wasn't very clear and had a beam in the middle.

Pretty morning after the first snowfall of the season.

Annie getting a skating lesson. You should have heard her chewing at the boys! Hilarious!

My new chains on my ATV. They do SUCH a nice job! :)

My pepper plants are still flowering and setting fruit. Not huge, but tasty peppers!

The orchids are almost in full bloom now. The purple is in full bloom, the purple and yellow is next and the yellow is just starting to take off. My Christmas cactus is blooming too. The plants all seem to be happy these days.

Silly dog - that does NOT look like a comfortable way to sleep. She's so low to the ground that she can just flop down from a sitting position and presto - sleep position!

Here is our ATV trail now, with the fresh snow on the trees. It is so cozy and still on the trail.

The Matanuska River is a beautiful glacier blue now, not like the grey it is in summer from the glacier silt. The other day when I went through here the mountains in the distance were orange from the setting sun. It was spectacular! I can't remember why I didn't get a picture that day but I was probably tired and hungry and wanting to be home.

That silly dog is positively SMILING! She LOVES Annie! Rough life she leads.

A GLORIOUS day! :) These kinds of days are my favorites!

Annie and I taking off on Rodney's snow machine. She'd never ridden a snow machine. I think she enjoyed it! She ought to get plenty of opportunities to ride this winter! Too bad the other picture was blurry. Ellie was biting Eider's leg - further proof of her naughtiness.

Here is the mixed 6 volleyball team this year during their trip to Nikolaevsk. They did very well at the tournament, losing only 1 game (not even a match) the entire weekend. They had a great time though, and not just because they did so well. The people there were absolutely wonderful. The town has a tremendous Russian heritage, if you can't tell by the name. Too bad Oksana didn't get to go on the trip. She'd have LOVED it! She is diligently studying her Russian and has a strong interest in all things Russian. Nikolaevsk will be here this coming weekend for another tournament so we are looking forward to meeting them! It sounds like Nikolaevsk is also high on our priority list of places to visit as a family. The weekend following the Nikolaevsk tournament our team will travel beyond Kodiak to Ouzinkie for the regional tournament. One of the teams they will meet there has won the state championship 5 times so they will face some tough competition. They will need to win that tournament in order to go to the state championships.

Back row standing: Derek Kolb, Trayton Cohen, Christopher Martin, Carlen Thiessen, Robert VanDaam and Andrei. Kneeling in front: Claudia Berkley (coach), Jenny Lee, Ali Ruisch, Miranda Roub and Lou Boyer (coach).

Morning commute

Morning commute