Fastest Summer Ever

Hello Farmgirls!

Whew, it’s already decidedly autumnal here.  How has this summer been for you? It has gone by lightning fast for us. We have been busy with many visitors and an ever more energetic group of kids. Of course, after a year of being apart from some of the people we love the most, it was amazing to see grandparents, cousins, siblings, and friends. My mom celebrated her 70th birthday and we were able gather and celebrate. It was one of those parties that ended up being even better than we imagined it could be. My brother and sister in law went all out with the “70” decorations—balloons, yard signs, candles, the whole shebang. We are not a decorate-for-birthdays kind of family, so it was very fun!

Cousins visited and played in the tundra

Cousins visited and played in the tundra

Summer in Alaska has been mild this year—I haven’t looked at the data, but it seemed like a cooler, wetter and all around “shorter” summer. This was a common sentiment for many in Alaska. Even in May I had a nagging feeling that summer was almost over!  I diligently started seeds in March, April and May…and then did not get them out in the garden in a timely manner.  We still have some great produce, and the garden is better than it was last year…but my days as a successful farmhand are barely evident in my largely stunted and slug infested beds!  I feel like I have four good excuses, though. It is reassuring that the garden appears to be improving, as well. This “new” house has a slightly different climate than what I had become used to up here.

I did pay attention to our strawberry patch this year and it paid off! Such sweet little things.

I did pay attention to our strawberry patch this year and it paid off! Such sweet little things.

Ava after our failed, but fun! First attempt at fishing this season.

Ava after our failed (but super fun) First attempt at fishing this season.  She did not want to crack her mud facial, hence the no smiling.

Now fall is here, and it is beautiful everywhere. It is the time of the everlasting “Golden Hour.” The leaves are changing and sweaters are needed even on rainy days. The State Fair has come and gone. Salmon Fishing has all but ended. The snow is creeping down the mountains (I know a few of you love the idea of “termination dust”).  The consistent wind, rain, sun cycle has offered some amazing bumper crops of mushrooms.  I am not confident in my identifying abilities to eat anything other than morels (none of those right now) and puffballs. However, we have fun picking, examining, making spore prints and attempting to identify the many different species of mushrooms in our own yard.  Many of them have turned to mush, now.

Ava and Opal dancing in a Fairy Ring

Ava and Opal dancing in a Fairy Ring

Opal ready to set up her spore prints.

Opal ready to set up her spore prints.

Another reason this summer has been the “fastest” ever is because of a personal accomplishment—I ran a half marathon! I use “fast” pretty loosely here. The girls cheered my girlfriend and I on at Mile 10, and Ava’s sign read “Do Your Personal Best, Mama!” Since it was my first race other than a turkey trot several years ago, it was my personal best! Two hours and 42 minutes. I was and continue to be proud. I would like to think some Farmgirl fortitude had something to do with it. It was incredibly fun to see the amazing athletes who ran the race in half the time we did, to see the marathoners and ultra marathoners pass us, and equally amazing to see the people walking, running on prosthetics, running their umpteenth 1/2 marathon, or running their first. Honestly, the first people that passed us heading toward the finish line looked miserable! We were in the back 1/3 of racers (we got 470th place out of 630!), and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. The atmosphere was joyful and supportive with different groups of bands (folk music, bagpipes, native drummers, and a polka band!) And some very entertaining folks cheering from the trailside.

Our personal cheerleaders!

Our personal cheerleaders!

I have been dabbling in running since I was in high school. For many years I told myself that I do not come from people who run. This is probably true. I have thick strong legs that are heavy to swing back and forth over and over. They are meant to move heavy loads slowly up and down reasonable hills, I think, and they do that well. But, running can be for almost anyone. I did a “couch to 5k” program about five years ago, and that was the first time I had ever enjoyed and looked forward to running. I have done some fun long trail runs over the years that left me wrecked for several days afterward. I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy running. I might even call myself a runner. Running is something that is my own, for now. I do run with the stroller sometimes, but it is often the only thing I do in a week that is just for me. It keeps me fit enough for almost any other activity and it acts as a gateway into other physical pursuits.

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

With the last 18 months of uncertainty and topsy-turviness, I have fallen back into escapist thoughts.  This is my go-to mental health coping mechanism.  I imagine different scenarios of what life could be…an “If this, then this” kind of logic.  Lately, I have tried a creative/meditative exercise of imagining I am running in different places or times.  With age and experience (and perhaps another layer of self-preservation), I have come to include more realistic aspects into these scenarios.  Example: Evan and I are childless and living in Thailand, we know how to surf, catch yummy fish, and speak Thai.  We are so fit, agile–practically ageless! We are, of course, amazing friends with the locals.  I run along the jungle roads, humidity frizzing out my hair, small children teasing my slow gait but also cheering me on.  Every once in a while, though, there is unrest.  The government is too oppressive or too lenient.  A long-standing local establishment has gone out of business because a foreign investor pulled strings to put in an unwanted and unnecessary factory.  There is a tsunami or horrible flooding.  It is not always perfect in paradise.

Happy to be able to spend time in the misty mountains with my loves.

Happy to be able to spend time in the misty mountains with my loves.

And then my run is over, and I return to a chaotic house full of tiny people, big husband, pets, friends and all of their accoutrements.  This is my paradise for now, and it is not always perfect.  And that’s okay.  I am reminded of the phrase, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Indeed they are!

This cutie, Nova, is almost 15 months old already.

This cutie, Nova, is almost 15 months old already.

Fern is getting so big.

Fern is getting so big.  Time flies!

It was great to check in with you all.  I hope you found some moments of paradise in the warp speed of this summer.  Hard to believe we are already peaking at 2022!

Until next time,

Sending you peace and love from Alaska,

Alex, The Rural Farmgirl

Leave a comment 14 Comments

  1. Congrats on your run. Your family is just beautiful. Fall has arrived in the Colorado high country and it’s a beautiful time of year (any time is).

  2. Susan says:

    I have a new address. The old one gets too much mail i cant get to it all. So its why im rearranging things and updating as im ending old email addy because i get too much junk on that old email.. But im keeping you guys. I hope i hear from you all on the new one.
    To help you get rid of the slimy slugs…save your egg shells and put them on top of your soil and also pour some gritty sand or salt on top of the soil where slugs are. You will find they die out after a few years. They cant stand to crawl on the soil. I stopped eating berries because they attached themselves to the berry. I lost an appetite for them. But i was told if you pour salt on the berries then set the berries in the sink and pour water over them, the slimy bastards abd their babies will rise to the top of the bowl and wash away as you run water over them to wash away the salt. They will run off the top in the bowel and go down the drain. Then you can lift your calendar up and rinse the remaining salt off the berries. Susan

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      “Slimy bastards” made me LOL :). Thanks for the tips! We do have plenty of egg shells, so I can easily utilize this advice. Your salt trick reminds of salting leeches as a kid. It was oddly satisfying! I now have a strange love of popping slug eggs. Also oddly satisfying.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Glad you had a nice Summer. Happy birthday to your mother. May she have many more. God Bless. Your girls re beautiful and getting so big. Here on the East coast we had a few tropical storms and or Hurricanes. The Autumn weather has not arrived here yet. Enjoy the Autumn.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hello Marilyn! Yes, the east coast has been getting battered. I hope you are all unscathed…and that autumn arrives soon! Autumn on the east coast is so gorgeous.

  4. Prudence says:

    Wow, Alex, I love your writing and, especially, your thinking. Congrats on the run!

    Prudy

  5. Maureen says:

    Oh, my golly! The mud facial picture made me laugh out loud. My favorite thing about a family camping trip was my set of “mud puppies”. (Children). Congrats on finishing that marathon, so many more in the future. Enjoy!

  6. Kathleen Ruh says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your life! So glad to hear you are getting out on your own to run. So needed. You are an amazing mom and person, and your girls and husband are lucky to have you!
    Thanks for sharing. Hope we can come up some summer soon!
    Love you all,
    Kay Ruh

  7. Mary Rauch says:

    Your post was so adorable….I especially enjoyed Nova taking his rightful place at the top of his rock mountain. Can you see the face of a white doggie on the side of that rock?…my imagination is working overtime. I cannot figure out how to isolate the image and send it back to you?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>