arctic life: september

We’ve made it full circle. This will be the last post in this series. You’ve witnessed an entire year in Alaska.

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Even though it’s only been a few weeks since the last post, it’s now full on autumn. A few of my flowers are hanging on, the garden doesn’t get much attention anymore, and we wander out every few days to pick what’s left to harvest. Snow is starting to drape the mountain tops and our furry friend is packing on his winter coat.

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Most people have specific things they look forward to in the upcoming seasons. Winter of course is home to Christmas but when everything is snow covered here, it’s breathtaking. Spring brings fresh blooms and the start of the midnight sun, and summer is all about that fresh cut grass smell for me.

I easily succumb to the pumpkin trend that fall brings, and gets all the ladies in a tizzy. But even as a little girl, I always looked forward to fall. Growing up we didn’t celebrate holidays due to religious beliefs. Which wasn’t all that bad, but meant you got left out a lot of projects and events. The one thing I did get to be a part of was the celebration of fall. The field trip to the farm where I searched for the most massive pumpkin I could get my hands on, and the fresh apple cider. I remember every detail of walking home every year with this ginormous pumpkin in my arms. My mom would scrape it out and roast the seeds, and use the rest of the pumpkin for the absolute best cookies. Our house always smelled so incredible at that time of the year. We had fruit trees in our yard, so my mom spent many days making jams, fruit leather, apple butter and the dehydrator was going non stop with peaches and pears.

One of my chores was raking leaves and even though they inevitably were wet and gross, I would still rake my heart out and jump in the piles right before we had to bag them up. For as dirty as they were, they simply smelled so good.

So even though I love fall for it’s colors and sweater wearing, good smelling candles and delicious pies, it’s a season that is dear to my heart for it’s wonderful memories. Memories I hope will take on new meaning as I relive them with children of my own. And even though this season involves celebrations for my kids that I didn’t have myself, I hope that at the end of it all, they still come to love and cherish those simple and small details like the smell of freshly baked pumpkin cookies from that giant pumpkin they lugged home. IMG_0486

arctic life: august

Fall is at our fingertips.

There is something about the start of cooler weather and turning leaves that just makes me so happy. Autumn has always been my favorite season. There’s not much about it I don’t like, except that it’s not long enough.

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The trees are still slightly green but golden. The days are now a perfect mix of warm and breezy and light jackets and long sleeves are our go to. Outside it’s crisp and cool, and when you step back in your house, it instantly feels welcoming and cozy. Candles always smell better when it’s cooler outside and now our dinner table will be filled with bowls of all my favorite soup recipes.

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For me, autumn is the mark of a new year, more so than New Years. New school years, new wardrobes, new schedules. The end of summer in Alaska means the fair is here, which is a week and half of chaos, and happiness, all wrapped into one. Everything I’ve planted and tended to all summer is slowing fading away and will soon be covered in it’s winter coat of leaves, and the garden is on it’s last leg.

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In the coming months, we have countless holidays and birthdays to celebrate. First snow falls to look forward to and hopes and wishes for the new year that’s just around the corner. I look forward to the end of summer just as much as I anticipate it’s beginning. It’s equally exciting as life blooms and blossoms, as it fades to yellow and withers away. Watching the trees float away in the wind and the yard is soon filled with it’s golden pieces. Hayden waiting for her neighborhood friends to come running down our driveway to tell her about their day at school. Putting away swimsuits and shorts and reaching for sweaters and boots.

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Our summertime toys are getting winterized and put away, and now chilly mornings mean hunting season and early rides with daddy around the neighborhood.

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The furriest family member is getting his winter coat and the cool breezy days are just as inviting to all of us as any hot summer day.

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The windows get closed up at night with temperatures now dipping below 40 while we sleep and with sunsets at 9 pm, I know that summer in the land of the midnight sun is over. Our once long, sun filled nights and perfectly lit house now requires nightlights for the kids and a slow careful pace for those middle of the night bathroom breaks.

I plan on doing my very best to soak it all in, because just as fast as fall arrives in Alaska, it leaves with the wind and welcomes in winter.

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arctic life: july

July was so good to us.

I love a good combo. Like pizza and beer. Or fresh guacamole and a margarita. Champagne and orange juice. Hmm. I’m sensing a pattern.

Anyway, July consisted of weeks that had days that flirted with 85 degrees and blue skies, and rainy mornings that meant you left home with a light jacket. My sun dresses and sandals have gotten plenty of wear. And we had days it rained all day and gave us an excuse to cuddle on the couch and binge watch Netflix. Swimming and sunburns. Long sleeves and an extra cup of coffee on a chilly day.

A pretty near perfect combo if you ask me.

Onto the deets.

Our garden has been kind to us this year. I haven’t bought a head of lettuce, kale or squash all summer, and Hayden runs outside every morning to pick snap peas.

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The pumpkins and broccoli are seriously out of control. Along, with the weeds around the garden. Yikes. And yes I realize I shouldn’t have planted approx 50 pumpkins right next to each other. pumpkins The green house is packed with tomatoes and I eagerly await my sprouts. Oh man, I can’t wait to eat those sprouts. When they are much, much bigger of course.

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We bought four apple trees and while they are small, three of our trees have fruit on them. Which I’m hoping means in the years to come, our chickadees can be  snacking on apples all summer.

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Darkness still doesn’t creep in until long after bedtime, so we spend most nights playing late. Laying in the grass, eating off our raspberry bushes. Even Sharky joins in the mix.

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And to my surprise, Hayden’s playhouse flowers have survived the wrath of children in the summer.

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It’s been a fantastic summer so far. We have had record hot days. The first time since I moved here four years ago we have had to make a solid effort in keeping the house cool because it’s hot as balls outside. That is an actual temperature setting by the way. A fellow blogger assured me of it.

When I look outside I see signs summer is well under way. The chairs and toys are scattered about from countless barbecues.

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Throughout the yard you can find mushrooms. Not the good kind you can saute up and enjoy for dinner. But the kind that means your past the prime of summer.

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And August has even more in store for us. So much more. But until all the excitement happens, we’ll continue to live simply in the grass and explore the little world right outside our doors.

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arctic life: june

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For most of you, summer is just kicking off. Here in Alaska though, summer is already half way over. Not to be all half glass empty, but school starts back up in just over 6 weeks, so really I’m just being factual.

Days are still long. Really really long. As in 18+ hours of light. Which once you have lived here long enough, you come to really love it. You can play literally all day and night and rarely have to worry about turning on lights. Camping is a breeze because that inevitable late night bathroom break can at least be done without spending 20 mins searching for the stupid flashlight in your tent. And it’s simply what summers in Alaska are made of.

We’ve made an effort every year to plant a garden and it’s always been, eh. This year I feel like we’ve accomplished something. Our garden spot got tilled up, the surrounding sun blocking trees cut down, and we planted a gajillion seeds. Some were a bust, but what did come up has kept me busy. Pumpkins, and broccoli, zucchini and lettuce. The arugula is out of control! Along with kale, sweet snap peas and brussels sprouts. The greenhouse is packed with peppers and tomatoes and herbs are growing all throughout the yard.

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Our strawberry and raspberry patches came back really strong this year.

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And my new favorite, our sunflower garden. They are so close to opening up.

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We added a new member to the family this month too, Sharky! He’s our adorable pound pup that fits in just so perfectly with us. Hayden and the neighborhood kids adore him and he is soo sweet with the babies, licking their little heads and hands any chance he gets. He chews a thing or two, but loves his sunny porch naps where he can keep an eye on us.

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The yard is filled with color and blossoms and it’s so hard to stay inside when it’s so inviting outside.

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And the real question. What’s it like to have so much light?? Here’s a glimpse at 10 pm…

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and again at midnight.

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Once we close up the curtains inside, the house is dark enough that sleep comes easy and in no time at all, you get accustomed to it.

Our summer days are filled with pool dates, popsicles and picking flowers. We’ve already taken a few family roadtrips and have plenty more in the works. On top of ending the summer with a kid less tropical getaway. This is chalking up to be one of our best summers yet. Hoping the rest of your summers are just as sun filled and adventurous!

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arctic life: may

Once the holiday months are over and January creeps in, we all anticipate May. It’s the beginning of summer and it’s one of the most gorgeous months in Alaska.

Our days currently consist of over 18 hours of daylight, and with a few rainy days everything is green, green and green.DSC_0022

One of my favorite parts of summer in Alaska is the ferns. They are abundant and every where you look.

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We planted a huge garden this year including a large pumpkin patch, and filled our tiny greenhouse with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers galore.

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You don’t notice how green it gets, and how fast, until you either leave town for a couple of weeks or look back at pictures. It’s referred to by some as the “explosion”, since it’s almost overnight that everything gets lush and green.

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In less than one month, it went from this…

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to this.

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School gets out the middle of May here so our backyard on a daily basis is filled with a gaggle of little people. Running and yelling, and doing what kids do best in the summer.

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The sun and the moon share the sky most days and on a clear day you can get a good sneak peek of the what the night will bring.

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For a while this will be our only glimpse of the moon since the sun keeps its glow inside long after we’re asleep.

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 Most days are sunny and high in the 70’s and absolutely perfect. The summer is just starting and there are adventures to be had, food to be barbecued and water to be played in. But for now there is a popsicle with my name on it and weeds to tend to.  I’ll go ahead and let Andy get to the weeds today. There’s always tomorrow for me.

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 arctic life: april

(Note to readers. I finished this post and uploaded it three days ago. If you follow me, you received the email, yet it’s not on the site. So here it is now…)

Spring is in full swing. Long days of sunshine and scattered rain showers. With most of our days spent outside now. Running and playing. BBQ’s and basking in the sun. Cleaning flower beds and prepping for planting.  All the succulents I planted last summer have come back full force.

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Andy spent 3 entire days devoted to building Hayden a killer new playset, and all the neighborhood kids have been waiting patiently.

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The trees are filling in with leaves and soon our spectacular view of the inlet will be gone until next winter.

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This time of year embodies everything that makes up my happy place. All the nurseries are stocked full of plants and trees just calling my name. We’re getting our garden ready to be planted and the lawn will soon need to be mowed. We try and make the very most of our days and explore wherever and whenever we can.

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Bedtimes tend to get pushed later and later, because simply put, it’s just to hard to go to bed when it’s 10 pm and looks like this.

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Summer is right around the corner and boy, are we ready. How about you?!

arctic life: march

The joke is on me today since I procrastinated long enough to completely miss doing this post in March. Just pretend your reading this yesterday..

Spring is here. Officially here.

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The mountain tops are still cloaked in snow but we only have small scattered piles at home. The days are getting longer and warmer.

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Green life is popping up all throughout the yard.

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We’ve begun to clean out flower beds and rake up wind blown leaves and branches that accumulated over the winter. The sunshine warms the entire house and afternoons spent outside are where it’s at. Especially for this lady. Who as you can tell, is transitioning to the warmer weather well.

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Spring means cool breezes fill the house, and the extra vitamin D intake makes all of us around here that much happier. Long winters really take a toll on most of us.

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Reid is my early bird, so like clockwork he’s up and at it come 7 am each and every day. But when we make our way out to the living room the sunrise already fills the room and when we go to bed at night, dusk still lights the bedrooms. Being light outside when you go to bed at night might seem strange but I gladly welcome it this time of year. It means summer is right around the corner and even longer days to come. Here’s a fun fact for you. Once we reach spring equinox, the days get longer at a rate that would equal the equivalent of us having daylight savings every two weeks!

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I snapped this grainy picture from our bedroom window last night to give you an idea. This was taken at 9:30 at night.

In a short matter of time, I’ll be smelling fresh cut grass and watching the neighborhood kids play until all hours of the lit up night. I simply can’t wait.

On that note, I’ll leave you with another glimpse of all that our Alaska life has to offer. A beauty all it’s own.

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arctic life: february

Phew, about missed this one. The month is almost over!

Spring is coming. For most of us who live in Alaska, not soon enough. Daylight savings time is only a couple weeks away and the first day of spring follows close behind.
Which means more often than not, we get to leave our snow gear behind and kick it in our sweet Dr. Martens.

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Trips to the store when it’s 50 degrees out means we can wear bucket hats and have the window down.

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And I continue to reference this little guy because he’s a trooper and lasted the entire winter and remained green, and survived a moose attack. What a champ.

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Ghastly wind storms and single digits temps have come and gone and what actual little snow we got this year seems to be melting fast. Warm daytime temps and chilly nightfalls make for an icy landscape but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The grass is starting to poke it’s way out.

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The days are getting longer and the sun is stretching higher into the sky with each new day.

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Then begins the really fun game of, let’s see all the stuff that got left out before the snow came and is now frozen in the ground.

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I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s hard to imagine a better sight than this right now. The presence of spring.

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arctic life: october

So I decided on a new series of posts. You know, because I’m so awesome at Project 52 and all. This one requires a lot less effort though and that’s right up my alley.
Summers are pretty short in Alaska. May to August brings warm days and endless daylight hours. Autumn arrives and we all soak in the amazing colors and warm breezy weather. Then I wake up one day and head out inappropriately dressed because it’s now 30 degrees outside and I’m still wearing flip flops and cropped pants.
Documenting our ever so swiftly changing seasons seemed like a fun idea, or perhaps a really depressing one because I’ll truly realize how long winters are up here. Either way, it’s a way for all of you outsiders to experience a little bit of my life in the arctic.
Last month I posted about fall arriving and decorating the house for upcoming holidays, blah, blah, blah. I took some shots in the same spots to give a comparison.

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Though everything is still yellow and red, morning now makes for some very frosty foliage.

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It was 10:30 am when I took these pictures and a whopping 20 degrees outside. Which seems frightful. But believe it or not, I wasn’t wearing a jacket and didn’t feel like I would die of hypothermia. We experience coastal weather with lots of fog and rain but our cold weather is very dry making it seem warmer than it is.

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Most of the trees have only a few leaves left, and most days now have a shower of leaves falling from ones that remain.
Now here is a fun (or perhaps lame) tidbit for you. Most of our trees here are really tall and really skinny. I could be smart and find out what type of tree they are but really tall skinny ones seems like a sufficient name. Our growing season is so short in terms of weeks but we have so much sunlight in those few weeks that it makes for gigantic gardens and trees that grow tall but never have the chance to “bulk” before it gets cold again. Plus it allows for trees to be limber, if you will, since we have hurricane style wind at times. Maybe that’s extreme but it feels that way.
Don’t quote me on this information either, there’s a good chance I’m wrong on any part of it, but it’s not likely any one of my 7 followers are going to give a hoot.
There’s October for you in a nutshell. The hope is always that trick or treating won’t mean tromping through snow, and we won’t have to bust out the snow plow until at least Thanksgiving.
Now speaking of changes, this little guy is growing like a weed and it’s going by so fast!

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I’m doing my best to soak it all in and savor the sweet moments before he turns into a toddler that continually tells me “Your not my real mom. My real mom’s at work.” Like this one.

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See you in November!