Thankful for Sisterhood

There’s something special about the bond between sisters…

I wouldn’t really know because I grew up with all brothers, but I’ve heard and observed that biological sisters can have profound connections.  While I don’t have a sister sister, I do consider myself lucky to have a sizable group of friends that I love just as I love my siblings. These friends are men and women–although mostly women–and are parts of separate and overlapping groups. Some are local and some live great distances away.  Some are parents, some are not. The one thing they all have in common is that they are totally awesome!

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Yes, the rare man can be a part of a sisterhood!

A few weeks ago I went on a truly amazing vacation down to San Diego, California. It was so far from my current reality that it took several days to get back to reality upon my return. I went down for six (SIX!) days–solo!–to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with five of my close friends. Four of them are friends from college and one joined from Alaska.  We stayed in a mid-century mod home up on a hill with a private pool in the backyard and a very glamorous, Mad Men kind of vibe.

The Backyard

The Backyard

The most amazing part about this vacation? It was largely organized by Evan!! I think it’s fairly new phenomenon, but some women have started getting gifts from their significant others for having babies.  They are (kind of disturbingly…) called “push presents.”  The gifts are often pieces of jewelry–usually fancy and expensive.  I am not one to wear much fancy or expensive jewelry as they don’t play well with my lifestyle.  So, in an effort to show his gratitude for all that I do–physically, emotionally and otherwise, Evan got me this trip!  It was practically all planned by the time I found out about it a couple months before we left.  While I really enjoy planning and organizing vacations, I have to admit it was great to have the big parts already nailed down. Furthermore, it’s heartache-ingly beautiful to dwell upon how much Evan loves me and cares for my sanity :).

Rock climbing outside for the first time in a few years.

Rock climbing outside for the first time in a few years.

How do people live where it is always perfect?

How do people live where it is always perfect?

The vacation was relaxing, fun and rejuvenating.  The activities we did were great–rock climbing, went to a funk concert, farmers market (so many beautiful items!), zip lining, wine tasting at a vineyard, yoga and of course hanging at the beach and eating yummy yummy tacos. One of the things I keep reflecting on was how nice it was to be able to just walk outside…any time of the day or night.  It was always a perfect temperature outside and there weren’t any mosquitoes.  I had to pump while I was there because Fernie is still so little, and I could take my little portable pump out to the pool at 6:30 a.m. and pump OUTSIDE! We drank mimosas in the pool and had a bonfire on the beach while still wearing swimsuits.  These are all pretty huge things for me coming from places with pretty extreme weather and tons of mosquitoes.

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Coffee and lazy breakfast outside every day.

Coffee and lazy breakfast outside every day.

The best thing about this trip was reconnecting with friends.  It’s kind of a cliche, but it is really easy to lose yourself when you become a parent.  While “mother” is now a part of my identity, there is a purer me that exists somewhere under the labels.  She can be kind of hard to find sometimes.  I also LOVE talking about my kids, as most parents do, but it was a treat to hang out with people and barely talk about my kids!  We spoke a lot about our psyches, our evolving personalities and beliefs, our failures and our goals, our love lives, our side projects and new hobbies.  We hollered our deepest desires at the roaring ocean and we read each others’ fortunes.  I was going to title this post, “Sisterhood of the Rose” as it was a card that was often drawn during our card reading sessions.  Rose was a theme of the trip–I brought rosewater to share, another friend brought rose incense, rose quartz made a few appearances, roses were in bloom and there was a rose balloon marking the spot where our yoga class was.  I did some research into the Sisterhood of the Rose and it’s pretty interesting stuff–with roots in Atlantis and ancient Egypt, but I don’t think I could have done it justice in this post!

Rocks and oracles and spiritual things, oh my!

Rocks and oracles and spiritual things, oh my!

Watching the sunset from a vineyard in the country.  That is Rosemary creeping over that ridge.  The herbs grow into monsters in San Diego!  It is incredible.

Watching the sunset from a vineyard in the country. That is Rosemary creeping over that ridge. Herbs grow into monsters in San Diego! Huge lavender plants, sprawling rosemary and luscious sage as landscaping!

We drank champagne on the beach and lost our cork to this gull.

We drank champagne on the beach and lost our cork to this gull.

Oh, and we laughed so hard! So, so hard!  One of my friends claimed that she almost vomited from laughing so hard.  I noted at one point that these were my healer friends–a medical doctor, a women’s reproductive health rights activist, a public health worker, a therapist and an ayurveda and yoga practitioner.  I have to say that I did leave this trip feeling healed–from what I’m not sure, but I’ve felt pretty grounded and centered since coming home to reality!

Good bye, Mission Beach!

Good bye, Mission Beach!

It was so good.  All of it.  It was equally as sweet to return home to my lovely little family and my sweet baby whose weight I missed in my arms so badly! What a great trip. I’m a fortunate woman and oh so grateful.

I hope this finds your Thanksgiving preparations going well.  I’m thankful for all of you!

Sending peace and love from Alaska,

Until next time,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

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Sprouts on Sprouts on Sprouts (Brussels, that is)

Hello Farmgirl Friends!

‘Tis post harvest season up here in Alaska, although we have yet to experience any real damaging overnight frosts.  It’s been an incredibly warm and balmy fall for this neck of the woods.  While Mother Nature is allowing for a longer than anticipated season, we just really didn’t have anything left to harvest.

Warm Blissful days on the farm!

Warm Blissful days on the farm!

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Farming with Kids

I am guilty of having been the best parent before having children of my own.  My kids were going to be the hippest kids around.  They would become the most environmentally-conscious-vegetable-eating-adventurous little bodhisattvas around, for sure.  I definitely knew how to curate kids to embody these traits!

I mean...this could be an album cover!

I mean…this could be an album cover!

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Come Again Another Day

“I’d much rather work outside in the rain than inside during nice weather!”

I found myself exclaiming/reminding myself of this several times over the past couple of weeks.  It has been downright SOGGY up here in the northlands.  One of my friends recorded more than six inches of rain on her small farm between Sunday and Wednesday of last week, and we had plenty of rain on both sides of that window, as well.

Opal finds great joy in taking sips of water from the large brassica leaves.

Opal finds great joy in slurping water from the large brassica leaves.

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The Case of the Missing Calf

Hey Farmgirl Friends!

It’s been a busy and eventful month up here in Alaska.  The farming season is in full swing.  It’s the time of year when pretty much everything that can happen on the farm is happening (or at least supposed to be…).  We are transplanting seedlings, seeding greens and roots, harvesting, sowing a few more trays of starts, pulling spent crops, amending new rows, irrigating, putting up and taking down row cover, pruning, suckering, weeding (Oh, the weeds…), fearing the ever growing slug population, moving chickens around in their tractors, opening and closing all of the structures, going to market, running the farm stand and divvying out CSA shares. Phew!

You look radishing!

You look radishing!

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Stationary Sun

In prepping for this post, I looked up the etymology of the word “Solstice.”  It breaks down to two Latin root words–sol: “sun” and “stice” or –stit: stationary, stopped.  This is an apt description of solstice, especially in Alaska. The sun is stuck in the sky!

Rising high under the midnight sun (well...8:30 p.m. sun!)

Soaring high under the midnight sun (well…8:30 p.m. sun!)

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Who’s My Pretty Baby?

Hello Farmgirls!

As promised, the newest addition to the Wilder clan has arrived…and it’s another new Farmgirl!  We couldn’t be happier to introduce little miss Fern Ruth Wilder, born at home at 6:37 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3.  She was very content in my belly and apparently didn’t want to come earthside until the “last minute” (I was 18 hours away from timing out of midwifery care because of some arbitrary rules in Alaska regarding out-of-hospital births).  While I believe babies almost always come when they are ready and we should generally wait for them–I was so ready to meet the newest member of our family (and so were so many other people, of course!).

Fern-3

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Baby Wilder Blessingway

Happy spring to one and all!  Today felt very springlike up here in Alaska. The snow that has piled up over the past few weeks was soft and slushy, eaves and gutters dripped with snow melt, wooded areas were alive with calling birds and there was a palpable energy “springing” forth from all of the places and people I visited with today.

My midwife came by today and delivered a few things for the upcoming birth of Baby Wilder #3 who should be here within the next few days or weeks!  We are now playing the waiting game.  I’ve had some significant contractions, but nothing even close to consistent…just my body training for the real deal.  It is pretty amazing what the female body does to keep the human race chugging along!

My big decorated belly.  Baby Wilder is still cooking away!

My big decorated belly. Baby Wilder is still cooking away!

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All Wind Comes to an End

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. ~Bruce Lee

Whew! What a month!  The second half of January and first half of February have been a doozy for the Wilders.  We (well…I) have been sick for the last three weeks.  Ugh.  It is finally passing and I’ve been going out into the non-grocery store and healthcare appointments world.  I am fairly certain we had one of the influenzas tear through our home (fevers, body aches, general delirium, inability to move for more than ten minutes, loss of appetite, nose and chest crud, etc.); and I’ve had a lingering, exhausting cough that has been driving me bonkers! I’ve had the cough for going on three weeks, but it is much improved and doesn’t leave me exhausted by noon anymore.  Ava estimated that it would be over in six days.  I have a feeling her intuitive diagnosis is very close to reality!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Sick mama means lots of pajama days and books for the girls.

Sick mama means lots of pajama days and books for the girls.

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Happy New Year, Farmgirl sisters!  If you haven’t noticed, it’s been a cold January for nearly every corner of the United States at some point this month.  My family and I have been in Minnesota and North Dakota for the past two weeks and have seen temperatures as low as -30–and that was without the wind chill!  Where we live in Alaska has been surprisingly warm, with some days registering nearly eighty degrees warmer than spots in the Midwest.

Leaving balmy Alaska for the frigid lower 48. That doesn't sound right!

Leaving balmy Alaska for the frigid lower 48. That doesn’t sound right!

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