Monday, May 27, 2013

On the verge

Today was the first day we could really feel that summer is almost here. It was hot and sunny, with huge clouds like castles in the bright blue sky.

The leaves are so close to popping...there is a glimmer of green, like a haze over the hillsides and in the willow thickets along the highway. In our own yard, swollen buds have begun to  unfurl. The brief rainfall we had yesterday seems to have urged everything along. There are tiny yellow-green flowers on the soapberry bushes; the fireweed, bluebells and lupine are all pushing up out of the dark earth. 

My heart sings along with the birds: it's here! it's here! it's here!

Friday, May 24, 2013

One of those days

Today was one of those days when Mama hoped to get much accomplished, but Baby had other ideas. The weather has (finally) been beautiful, and I'm anxious to get the garden ready for planting. Our last frost date is June 6th, but I know a lot of people who take their chances and plant out before that. I'd at least like to get my seeds sown this weekend, if not a few other started plants.

All I wanted to do was get the manure mixed into the raised bed. That's all! It seemed like a small enough job, and I was sure Aedan could keep himself occupied while I got to it. Goodness knows there are plenty of rocks to be thrown around by little hands, down in the cleared mess I hope to one day call a productive vegetable garden. But he was absolutely not having it. He wouldn't stay with me, no matter how I tried to entice him. I found myself getting so frustrated, because I had plans and he had different ones. Why does he always get to win?

I admitted defeat, and followed him where he wanted to go. We ended up back at the house, playing with his little metal watering can, scooping and pouring water into a big black tub (and throwing some rocks in, too, for good measure).

As I sat in the warm sun, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees, the tinkling of the water and the babbling of the babe, my frustration melted. I let out a big exhale and my shoulders relaxed. Sometimes we must be reminded by the littlest ones to slow down, to step outside of our expectations, and just let the day unfold as it will.

May 24th

As it happens, Aedan went down for a nap just as P got home from work. So he lay down with him, while I got to shovel manure. Happy day, indeed!

Monday, May 20, 2013

A new day

It turns out that spending a day indoors, wallowing in self-pity, and eating way more refined sugar than usual, doesn't make a girl feel any better. 

So today, with warmer temperatures in the forecast, I've decided to list some of the things I'm feeling grateful for these days.

- Yesterday's wintery storm bringing all sorts of birds down in the yard. Aedan and I have loved watching them scratching around for food...

- A beautiful chorus of birdsong this morning...

- The local pool being open, and Aedan really enjoying his first dip of the season...

- P getting up early this morning to start a fire in the woodstove. It was so nice to wake up to a toasty warm house...

- P finally getting to feel the baby move while we lie quiet in bed...

- New glasses on the way...

- Lots of flowers, both annuals and perennials, filling the kitchen and waiting to go into the garden...

- Rosehip syrup in my tea...

- The local food movement: being able to buy fresh eggs year round, the chance to get some pastured meat put by this fall, the farmer's market and the community around it...

- Patience, and the clarity of mind to recognize life's lessons...

- Ideas and inspiration...

- The love of my family.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I dream of leaving

Yesterday, I was outside raking the yard in the sunshine. I was moving my tender seedlings onto the porch to begin hardening them off. I was thinking about where I want to plant the new flowers I picked up at the Gold Show on Friday.

Today, there is about 8 cm of snow on the ground, and more falling from the colourless sky.

Maybe it's this never-ending winter, or maybe it's something more, but I spend more than the usual amount of time dreaming of a life lived elsewhere. P and I have talked about leaving the Yukon 5-10 years from now, but I find myself wishing it could happen sooner than that. I long for milder winters and more than 90 frost-free days a year. I want to be out in my garden now, I want to see green things growing and to feel the warm sun on my shoulders.

It's more than just this winter business, of course. I wish it were easier to get local food more of the year. I'm not comfortable with how far our produce travels to reach us. The farmer's market will be open next weekend, but the first vegetables won't be available for almost another month. Living here just doesn't seem to jive with so many of my values.

I try to focus on the positives: the tight-knit community, and the fact that people are trying to farm here....but I know these things exist outside of the Yukon, too.

For now, though, I must accept where I am and make the best of it. I will support the local food movement as much as I possibly can. We will improve our little homestead, make ourselves comfortable for as long as we remain...but I will continue to dream of greener pasture.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Oh, the birds!

They'd been arriving in dribs and drabs for about a week, the birds. A vanguard of brave water birds, clustered in ditch puddles; bald eagles, northern harriers and owls perched high in the spruce trees, surveying the land for signs of prey; the odd seagull, looking a little lost sailing over the frozen rivers. I imagine these first birds sending confused envoys a few hundred kilometers south, not sure what to tell their waiting friends.

Then, on May 10th, an explosion of song! That morning we had a large mixed flock of sparrows in our yard: white-crowned sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, chipping sparrows, lapland longspurs and fox sparrows. I spotted a warbler I couldn't identify, and heard robins broadcasting themselves from the tree tops. A confused sandpiper touched down in our yard for a brief moment, just as surprised as I was. 

I love waking to bird song each morning. Such a gift!  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Something nice to say

My mother always told me: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I suppose this is the reason for my silence here for the past...week? Longer? I'm not even sure how long it's been. Honestly, all I've felt like doing is complaining about the weather. And that gets old, and fast!

But it finally feels like this longest of long winters has had its last gasp. Each day, more and more bare ground is revealed. We're lucky to have full southern exposure at our home, so the snow banks that had built up are quickly disappearing. The raised bed I made last fall is fully uncovered and (I hope) thawing out, as is the remainder of the load of topsoil we had delivered last year. My flower bed is slowly being revealed, too, and I'm curious to see if the delphiniums I put in last year have survived. There still isn't much of any green out there (though I hear the crocuses are coming out on the bluffs). There IS a whole lotta ugly...I can't wait to attack with a rake! But spring has finally found us here in the Yukon, and we're all rejoicing!

The rivers are still frozen, but the ice changes daily. Each spring there is a danger of flood for many communities, but this spring it seems especially worrisome. Should we get a heat wave and all of this snow and ice melt in a hurry, there's no telling what might happen. There hasn't been a major flood in Dawson since the late 70's, and they built a dike along the riverfront following that. But I've heard more than a few people speculating that the waters could breech the dike this spring. Certainly our friends living right on the river, in Rock Creek and other spots like it, must be anxiously watching and waiting...only time will tell!

May 9th 2013
Taken today from the bridge at the Dempster Corner, looking north along the Klondike River.