Breakup is here! After over a week of positive temperatures during the day, and a lot of snow melt, I think we can officially declare it. It did get down to -7 the other morning (which explained why I was a bit chilly in just my fleece :) but the days have been getting up around +40. Ah, t-shirt weather!
The animals are coming out again, too. I love watching the tiny red squirrels with their frenetic energy. They're starting to skitter around again. The chickadees, which stay here all winter but which I never really see much of, are once again out in force. Singing, winging, dancing through the woods. Even the ravens are getting into the act. I know a lot of people despise the ravens, but I love them. They're absolutely enormous. As in, nearly twice the size of the crows I grew up with in Seattle. Heck, they're almost as big as my dog. And they're smart. They're around all winter too, but right now they're making more noise and flying around more than they did during the cold months. When I saw a couple diving the other day I had to wonder, was it a joyful sort of playing? Were they territorial males fighting over a good spot? Or was it some sort of mating dance? In any case, it was wonderful to see. All of the animal activity puts me in mind of the quote from Emerson, that "the appropriate response to the world is applause."
So, I wanted to do a little Independence Days update. For myself more than anyone else.
Plant something: Today, I'm planting two more bean plants and one more cherry tomato at work. After these, I might be done with the work plants. Everything else will just have to wait for my garden. The count for my work vegetables will be: Four peas, three beans, two cherry tomatoes, and one regular tomato.
Harvest something: Nothing yet. One of my beans is turning purple, though, which means that it's getting ripe! In a week or two I'll be able to eat the first bean I've ever grown.
Preserve something: Just the chicken stock I made. I froze it.
Waste not: Actually, in the last few weeks we've dropped the ball on this one a bit. We had a miscommunication about some leftovers and they ended up going bad before either of us got around to eating them. However, some of those "bad" leftovers went to the dog, who loved them.
Want not: I'd say that the biggest thing I've been doing toward this is to read the book "Affluenza". It's excellent, really eye-opening. It was written for Australia, but the authors could just as easily be describing most of America, too. In general, it's making me realize what's most important to me (not money--that is a means to an end) and how I really want to shape my life. It and a few other things have sparked some really good conversations between me and Shane recently.
Eat the food: Actually, we've done a bit less in this category, too. Mostly because I think we were both getting so sick of fish and moose. In the past few weeks we've had more chicken than we had in the two months previous (which means we bought most of our meat), only two meals of fish in March, and we even bought some pork chops. (They were delicious!) We'll go back to eating more fish now, but it was nice to get a break from it.
Build food systems: Well, I did write to someone who does an ongoing article about farming in Alaska for the local paper. I asked him about some local food resources and got a response. So, now hopefully I'll be able to find the local flour (named--of course--Alaska Flour Company) and buy from them. I was worried about plastic packaging, but their bulk (20 or 40 lb) bags are paper.
Skill up: Nothing.
Health: Lots of fruits and veggies, and I've been adding more nuts like walnuts and pecans to my diet. I've also been exercising a ton, but I'll talk about that in a different post.