Hügelkultur and Fireweed, baby scents and puppy breath…


The seasons are changing. And as much as we argue about what the portends are and what they are saying, there is a feeling in the air that summer is pretty much over. Today was the first day of school for most of the state (some districts actually started last week). We have had overnight lows in the low 50s. The photo above is of the “Fireweed” plant, native to Alaska. The Native-oral-tradition about it is that once the blooms reach the top, summer is over and the first snow is less than 6 weeks away. Well, that fireweed is in my yard. (I love learning all these wonderful native traditions!! Brings out the Anthropologist in me!!). And our birch trees have leaves that are turning yellow. The hanging baskets are all dead or dying. The potted flowers are sagging. Well, except for my Dahlias, which still have unopened blossoms!! There is a thick fog on the ground and a steady drizzle. Temps are in the mid-50s with heavier rain on the way. Sun? Distant memory.

My newest Dahlia to open is the one above. The purple is stunning in person. And against the dark of the asphalt driveway and green of the grass makes it even more stunning. But it is fleeting. There are no more plants or flowers at the big box stores. Snow blowers are on sale. Boots and gloves back out at the retail shops. Back to school everything is everywhere! And for some reason I feel like I missed it. You know, the bar-b-ques, trips to the lake, or fishing. We never went fishing once. Poor hubby. We have had my mom to care for and our free time has been greatly reduced. And, our backyard took precedence over everything else….thanks to our huge sinkhole! LOL!

The outlined area (using already felled trees) is the border of the sinkhole. Massive. We are trying this method called “Hügelkultur” which is a method where you use decaying wood and leaves, your grass cuttings, and other decomposing plant matter to build raised mounds or beds. We are going to fill this huge area with our downed trees and will mound it, and plant it with native trees and bushes, and lots and lots of flowers. It is a method to re-use what you have, and to enrich the soil and help efficiently use your water resources. We have lots of trees and brush to fill it with, and it will eventually stop sinking! LOL! It’s a great idea and we are enthusiastically embracing it. It does, however, involve dead and decaying things. Just like the end of summer.

The world works in seasons. Everything has its time in the sun, and when its time is done, it fades away. Life fades away. And I feel like I am surrounded by the dying. Watching mom and our 12-year-old dog snore the morning away…watching the rain fall and the leaves actually fall on the ground, makes me sad.

I belong to lots of web sites and pages on Facebook. Every once in awhile, I purge them. I went through my Kindle this weekend and I actually deleted more than 400 books. I mean, who in their right minds needs more than 600 books on their Kindle? I am a voracious reader, and I only deleted the books I have read. Because with so many to go through, it was hard to tell which ones were read and which ones were just downloaded, waiting to be read. But I also deleted some in genres I know are not ones I need to fill my brain with. I mean, I do believe you are what you read. You know? So fill the noggin with good stuff, and good stuff is what you think about. I love this book entitled, “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives” and it really does speak to me that way. (Written by Elder Thaddeus). Because what we have around us influences everything about us. Where we go, who we hang out with, what fills our days and nights….we become the world we allow around us. Right now, the world is easing into sleep. The long night of winter. The snow will blanket even the ugliest trash heap with pure white. It makes things seem okay, as we wait for the first sprouts of spring. And the cycle starts all over again.

And living in a northern climate where the seasons are so separate and distinct, the passage of time becomes so very real. The days don’t run together so much because one day we are in flip-flops and glorious sunshine, and the next we are turning on our heaters and watching a storm barrel its way through. It really makes you stop in your tracks and re-evaluate. And I need to inject life in our home. We need joy and excitement and an excitement for what is to come. And some of the pages I belong to on Facebook are English Springer Spaniel pages. We have had Springers for more than 20 years now. We love the breed. I took one of those dog tests on Facebook and it says my dog should be a Great Dane. LOL. We had Danes growing up; been there and done that. A long time ago, I took a quiz adopted by the AKC to determine your best breed, and it was a Springer. So I am sticking to that. In addition, we have a wonderful Springer named Poca. She was a rescue through ESRA (English Springer Rescue America) when she was 5 and she is now 12. We love her to bits! We are members of ESRA, and are the AK Reps for them, as well as a sanctioned foster home for Springers. Like I said, love the breed.

This is Poca. She is really Andrew’s dog. Even has a spot on his bed! She is the heart of our home. And I have realized that with both Poca and my mom aging (not to mention me and my husband) I think we need a Springer puppy in our lives. Of course, my husband is being really, really reluctant to embrace the idea of a busy little puppy in the house, but I think I am wearing him down (hint-hint, since I know he reads this to humor me) and he is starting to warm to the idea. So I am perusing breeders in CA to visit when we are down there later this fall for the birth of our granddaughter, Iris Sophia. I know holding a baby and smelling all those baby smells and hearing all those baby sounds will boost my spirit. In addition to that, we will be playing with our other 3 granddaughters, and they will lighten our spirits, too. I am so looking forward to my grandma time. And I think that returning to Alaska, carrying a little puppy, would be the best thing. What do you think??? I am going to post photos of various puppies, because it makes me happy.

Now who could deny opening your home to one of these adorable puppies??? Injecting new life into our home???? I am thinking, “YES”!!!! Ha-Ha-Ha!! The smell of puppy breath, their joy at discovering life, the fun and laughter associated with new puppies and new homes. Their cute little whimpers and how they trip over their own feet! I love it all. (Okay; potty training not so much – I am realistic). I think it is like injecting life into decaying things, like the Hügelkultur method of using the decay around you to grow new life. Yep; I have puppy fever and I won’t lie. I think it is a real thing!



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