Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Esther went Manuqing!

Now she's done things that her mom has never even done! For some reason, I have never gotten out ice fishing. I think it's just that this time of year is always so busy with the end of school that I just never get out there. But Tuluk took Esther out while I was in school and Iris was with a family friend -- and she caught over 20 smelt (which, those of you who smelt-fished on Lake Michigan when we were kids, those smelt have nothing on these! These smelt are nice-sized fish). And they taste so rich! Iris loved her first smelt, opening her mouth wide for more. :)

Here are some pictures of my lil' Yup'ik girl on the ice:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wild Spring Snow

The snow this year is pretty wild. Although I am a bit bummed that, by April 12, it hasn't really started to melt yet (meaning it will be here at least as long as it was last spring, end of May), it is pretty cool to walk around and see how deep the snow is. So here it is... aka How deep is the snow? Let me count the ways:

#1: It is deep enough that this house, on the old side of town, is completely buried. The residents have dug a stairwell down into the snow, then a tunnel, to reach the doorway.And from the inside out:

#2: It is possible to stand on a roof next to a chimney without ever walking UP a drift -- just walking ground(ha)-level:

#3: Esther can even dunk!

#4: Esther can climb to the top of the monkey bars without help:

#5: We had to revise the fire escape plan for the classrooms that are supposed to go out the school's back steps:

And for your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of my Easter Belles:("Mom, do I really have to wear the hat?")

And also of the girls finding their baskets and eggs that the Easter Bunny hid in our living room:Crawling to find eggs:Yeeppp -- Straight into the mouth! Eeesh.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Upside-Down Cleaner Funny Bones

Well, I was voting for "Hector", but I have to admit that it is the cutest kid name ever for:
A miraculous caterpillar who dropped out of the ONLY bunch of incredibly random bok choy (I think...?) I have ever seen in our local store, the AC. Living in rural Alaska means that previously mundane occurances turn into miracles, yes...If I had tried to get a caterpillar out here by mail or even carrying it when I flew out here, it would never have worked. But the universe dropped it in our laps -- awesome.

I was estatic seeing the choy in the store, thinking it might have been chard or leeks (in fact I'm still not completely positive what green it is) during this season when, although we have vegetables and fruit in frozen and in dehydrated form, we always crave, I mean salivatingly crave, fresh things that crunch when we chew them.

I have this bad habit of hoarding when I have something really good -- I'm not "being stingy of it"(as Hooper Bayers would say), but I'm saving it for something REALLY GOOD. I don't want to waste them on frivilous ideas or a bad recipe. I also don't want to cook them on a busy night, if I don't have enough time to savor them. SO the chard sat in my fridge for nearly a week before I remembered the sauteed greens with garlic, raisins, and pine nuts recipe that I REALLY wanted.

When I took the choy out of the produce bag, the caterpillar plopped out -- I thought for sure it was dead. I mean, who knows where that bok choy came from, and how many planes it was on before it got to Anchorage, then a plane to Bethel, then a plane to Hooper -- and then how long in the store, and nearly a week in my fridge? But Esther said, after I'd put it in the sink: "Mom, look, it's drinking!" And it was kind of sucking up water, or whatever caterpillars do. I had moment when I thought we should get rid of it, like why would we want a bug in the house? But then I stopped short -- What on Earth was I thinking? We had a great opportunity to watch a bug! A rarity!
And Esther has been wild about the thing. She gave it the cutest name ever, and she keeps checking on it, making statements about how it must think or feel, decorating its jar, etc. We have talked about how it has had a rough life, so we have to be prepared that it might not make it, but that maybe it will, and maybe it will spin a cocoon and turn into something entirely different. I am actually very trepidatious about what it will turn into -- will I introduce a whole new interloping bug species to Hooper Bay that will become invasive and ruin the ecosystem? Any ideas on what I should do if it survives its metamorphasis?

And searches on caterpillar websites come up fruitless -- I can't figure out what kind of caterpillar it is, so I can't figure out what it will turn into -- moth? beetle? butterfly? Anybody recognize it? It seems happy eating romaine lettuce as well.

But, in general, these kinds of things are too few and far between up here. Fitting that it should happen around Easter. And it was just plain sweet to hear Esther's good night to the bug when I put her to bed last night: "You are our friend, and we used teamwork to keep you, and good night." Awwww.
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