Monday, April 6, 2015

So long Winter, Hello Spring!

We are saying a slow goodbye to winter here in Fairbanks Alaska. We did have a pleasant drippy last few weeks of March, followed by a week of cooler weather. There is still a good bit of snow in our woods though, as there usually is at this time of year. Indoor we are thinking spring though. Our Spring tree has sprouted leaves, chicks are peeping from their tub, the incubator is filled with goose eggs and the seedling rack is filling up. My last few weekends have looked like the top picture: me, sitting in the sun, carefully selecting which seeds to start, and then getting my hands dirty for the first times since last fall, sometimes even with a glass of wine or cider in hand.

The other day we pulled out water pants and rain coats. As we got ready to meet friends for ice skating one last time, the kids declared that they were done with winter and done with their snowsuits. The following pictures are from a few weeks ago. Hopefully they'll be the last snowy pictures I share for a while, because we are all done with winter here.

Change. It's that time of year. A time of re-birth and re-newel, and I am feeling it like never before. A strong desire to create, make, change...  Being a mom and wife has become my sole focus this winter. Trying to do my job to my utmost ability. Being in the present with my family. Tuning in. This entire past year has already been a time of change for our family. Before we had kids, Dustin and I wanted to be self sufficient more than anything else. We wanted to live on land we owned, build our own house, grow our own food, raise our own meat, honey, milk, make our own cheese, and in general harvest, forage, and make anything we could and to have as much control over the products we put on and into our bodies and homes. This is a noble goal, and continues to play a strong role in our lives. BUT, now we have other goals; spending as much time with our children as we can, homeschooling, doing fun things together as a family on the weekends, traveling together. As with all things, we are trying to find the balance.

Dustin has been working more this winter than usual and as a result has had less time at home. When he is home he is busy plowing the driveway, chopping and hauling firewood, hauling and pumping our water and if he has a block of time, trying to finish some aspect of our unfinished home, this spring he has been mudding and taping our bathroom.

 I had an epiphany this spring. And it was this: We could sell this homestead and buy a finished house. A house on less acreage but south facing, with a well and a shorter driveway. A place out of town where we can still have a flock of chickens, but doesn't involve as many winter chores to keep running. In this home there would be no ongoing construction projects indoors. We would have more time to do fun family things together on the weekends and not have to share Dad with as many outdoor chores. We have always planned to sell this homestead and move lower down and have "real" farm land, as only when we can grow our own hay, grain and legumes and put our animals on summer pasture, will we be truly self-sufficient. I'm realizing we don't have to go from this to our dream home. We could have an in-between home while we continue to save up, work towards and plan for our "dream homestead". So, we'll see. I tend to feel this way every spring and as soon as I'm in the garden I'm content until winter. This year I'm hoping to keep the momentum rolling. I am ready for change.


Mary Anne from Alaska on My Mind said...

I'm thinking I started my seeds (in Anchorage) too early, and they grew and grew and got all leggy. When can you actually transplant in Fairbanks, and how early do you start your seeds?

Emily said...

Hey Mary Anne, if you go to a local greenhouse, they should have a seed starting schedule appropriate for Anchorage. Also, The Alaska Gardening Guide has a seed starting schedule. I start celery, onions and some herbs in late February. Tomatoes and peppers and 8-10 wk flowers in early to mid March. By mid April I'm starting brassicas. Late April, cukes and squash. Our planting out date here is June 1st. I usually jump the gun and have my entire garden in by June 1st, but then I'm in the hills and I have a plan in case we get a late frost; wall o waters and plastic row cover etc. Some other factors that influence my seed starting schedule are the amount of lights and room I have. I could get a better start on the season if I had more light and room - then I'd start my squash and cukes in bigger containers. Best wishes. Every year brings a new lesson :) It's not too late to start pretty much anything.