Fairbanks summers are magic. We are situated on a hillside facing west. So this time of night we are still enjoying the sun, which is no where close to setting. The woods are a lush vibrant green. It is in the low seventies still, too warm and dry for the mosquitos to be much of a nuisance. The last couple weeks we have had amazing weather. Sunny, seventies, low eighties for the high, low fifties at night. We had one night with some light rain that helped out the garden. Our spring/ summer came late to Fairbanks - but it has finally arrived in full force. It could be June or July. There have been nights we thought it too warm out for drinking beer, on to iced cocktails.
It has taken me the last week to remember how wide to leave the downstairs window, that enough cool air comes in that we are not too hot upstairs. I am remembering to bathe the children right before bed and not at six p.m. Also, I've realized why parents in some areas bathe their children nightly period. I forget how dirty they get, traipsing through the woods, rolling down hills, laying in dirt piles, walking barefoot in goat and chicken pens - yeah I know that last one has us all shaking our heads, but it happens. I'm glad they are not squeamish. My kids are tough. Covered in bruises, scrapes, scratches, bug bites and dirt. Instead of feeling embarrassed, I mostly feel proud. Not necessarily proud that they are tough little buggers, although that too, but proud that I can let them get dirty and that they have a chance at being real children.
I love this time of year. I relish and adore Fairbanks summers. I will never get enough, nor will they
ever be long enough, and I suppose that is part of their magic. To a casual observer I may appear sunburned, but really; that is just color, a crispy coating of vitamin D, slowly sinking in to warm my bones through to their very core. As soon as I come downstairs in the morning, I open the back door, step outside, feast my deprived eyes on green. The pull to be outside is strong. I have a hard time focusing on little things, breakfast, dishes, tidying, what will be for lunch, dinner. If their ever was a time for cold cereal, it is now. We've got farm helpers showing up about nine a.m. The kids and I have been getting out shortly thereafter. We are milking five does, feeding goats, letting layers and ducks out to range for the day. The kids and I have been trying to get up to the garden for a couple hours before lunch, because from one to five p.m., it has been too hot for the kids to be out in the baking sun. The garden has no shade. We need a tent and a picnic table, and a swing-set and a sand box....
So, I know that you all know where I've been, and have not been wondering. I've been outside. I've been in the garden. The garden is in. Peas, carrots, beets, scallions and fava beans are all coming up. All the transplants are in and surviving in the baking sun. I've been coming in from night chores between nine and ten p.m. I've been playing hooky from putting the kids to bed, watering the garden late, rounding up and herding in ducks and chickens. Putting goat kids in the kid stall for bed time. I tend to gloss over anything negative and so while I'm not complaining, I'll admit I've been waddling a bit first thing in the morning. My feet have been a little tender and swollen and my lower back has been feeling the strain from turning and shoveling all the beds by hand. I need some yoga. As much as I think that I should be able to stretch while thinning carrot seedlings - it's just not the same.
I wish you all lovely summer mornings, days and long balmy nights. Cheers, Emily
Weathering the drought
1 month ago