“…and it was very good.”

Our summer.

This past weekend, well, the past 4 days, we ventured into God’s country. It was actually so beautiful and overwhelmingly so, at one point I literally wept! I think we take for granted this amazing place we all call home. The earth was created by God for His children to enjoy. All the plants and all the creatures are here for us. Well, I do question some of the bugs and reptiles, but overall, it’s an amazing place.

Kachemak Bay, Alaska

We headed down to the Homer Spit south of us for 4 days with our son and his family. I hesitate to say this, but it was one of the singular, most enjoyable 4-day weekends of memory. It was truly a wonderful time. So much love and laughter, grandkids, dogs, and nature. It was so fun. As we headed down there, it started to pour. The rain was insane. And then we’d hit patches of glorious sunshine. The drive is a little over 5 hours in total. And we were towing our trailer, with our dogs. What could go wrong?

On our back window…

We reached camp, and we got settled in and set up, all in the pouring rain. We ate dinner – pizza – in our kids’ camper and then we scurried off to bed, dodging raindrops. The dogs were afraid of the wind and pouring rain. There were so many strange sounds, but for me, it was like white noise and I crashed. Except when the two large poodles decided they were afraid enough they wanted to sleep between us. Sigh. After a rough night of barely any covering, we woke about 6am to people walking by gabbing their heads off, laughter included, and waking our dogs, who barked. And then wanted outside. I rolled over to discover the mattress was soaking wet under my husband’s pillow – the window leaked all night! So that’s what that dripping noise was?!?!? Ha-Ha-Ha. Window was calked later that day.

We greeted our day with glorious sunshine, our coffee maker on auto, and the dogs happily enjoying their breakfast after a romp on the beach. Our weekend “combat camping” was off to a good start. If you do not know what combat camping is, have you heard of “combat fishing”?? That is where fishermen line up in the pristine wilderness after the elusive salmon, making their way upstream. Fishing season in Alaska is no joke. Most of the campers parked alongside us were there for fishing. So for them, lining up their campers in row upon row, in black silt and rocks, was no big deal – they were there for the fish. I am a little more of the “let’s get back to nature” sort of camper. This was definitely not that. This was on a spit out into the bay – not a bush or tree in sight. Just black silt, and rocks, and driftwood. Did I mention rocks? I grew up in Southern California, which had miles upon miles of sandy beaches. Squishing your toes in the warm sand is a particular pleasure. That does not happen along the Spit in Homer. Flip-flops at a minimum! Hubby wore his water-proof boots all the time. The campground was at capacity…even tents dotted the rows of camping spots. Fish on!

Combat Fishing – Russian River, Alaska

The good thing was that most of the people camping were there to fish. So the Spit itself was relatively empty. We could walk our dogs and the grandkids could play in the water and hunt for those elusive shells. Beach combing has become an art form with my grandkids! LOL! They walk, head down, looking for shells, for literally miles. We hiked over 5 miles of shoreline in one day. This grandma was beat. I retreated to the camper, took some Tylenol, and had an afternoon snooze. Five miles on the beach in flip flops, at my age. LOL. Whatever was I thinking? Oh, I brought my hiking boots and poles, but somehow forgot I had them and left them propped up in our trailer’s shower. I plan so well…it’s remembering the plan that gets me.

The Homer Spit. We camped way out at the end. Surrounded by ocean.

The camping was all about the experience with our family. Being right on the ocean with the waves and the boats, even large ferries and tour boats, was amazing. The sounds of the gulls flying overhead. The sounds of the dogs running on the beach. Our grandkids laughing or yelling, “Grandpa, come here and see this!” These were the times we live for. We played cards with the kids and taught them the art of shuffling, gin rummy, and various forms of solitaire. No electronics in sight! We walked miles and miles of coastline, soaking it all in. And like I stated before, I think this was one of the best weekends we have ever had. We relaxed, we just experienced. No agenda. No timelines. We planned meals but also allowed ourselves to eat out and enjoy a meal on picnic benches overlooking the docks, with the sun rising and the day warming up. Experiencing some amazing biscuits and gravy, with outstanding lattes, that I did not have to make for myself – epic! The grandkids wondering why their pancakes tasted weird, so we all sampled them. Who would have thought to flavor flapjacks with orange?! LOL. Then we chose to head out to Anchor Point. Oh my. Just oh my.

Eagles on Anchor Point Beach, Alaska

I don’t want to ever take this place for granted. (Nor the photographer who took this – it was not me). I was literally a couple of feet away from wild bald eagles. I was in awe. At one point my son says, “Mom, are you crying? You are crying! What is going on?” My reply? “Son, I was raised in Southern California where everything is in a box or a cage. These are wild animals, an arm’s length away, in nature, doing natural things. Right in front of me. I am in awe and so very grateful I get to see this. God is amazing and I am humbled.” There were literally 4 bald eagles around us. They were sitting in the trees behind us and on the beach in front of us. Along with dozens of seagulls. They were all vying for the fishermen’s cast-offs. And seeing an eagle fly overhead, carrying a halibut carcass, was so incredible. The eagles defending their food from the gulls. And allowing photographers up close so they could capture these moments. It was a core-memory-making event for me. I will never forget the sound, the smell, the sight of all that nature. I am blessed.

And I think He was standing in Anchor Bay…

I wanted to save all these words in my head because it truly was a remarkable weekend. We got to see the Spit in the summer, during fishing season. What a difference from our first visit during a snow storm in the wintertime! There were so many people. But you know what? Everyone was there to enjoy Homer in the summertime – we were, too. So you have to deal with humanity. LOL. Our next camping trip with our children is already on the books…next stop? Valdez, Alaska.The home of a fishing fleet, waterfalls, glaciers, and hiking. I’ll let you know…

Valdez, Alaska

“…a time for every matter under heaven..”

The days are getting longer, and much hotter. This past weekend we spent putting in all our starts into our raised beds. They did well the first day, but it got so hot, my baby lettuce is wilting. I have high hopes for the myriad of plants that are a little droopy! In Alaska, our days are so very long. Right now, it’s 75-degrees and not a cloud in sight. The sunlight today will be over 18 hours…

May 31, 2022

For new plants, that is a lot of light and heat, with an overnight low of 48-degrees. It is a rough time for those sprouting plants, but they will get the hang of it, and with that much sunshine, they grow massively fast and large.

There is a time and a season for everything under heaven: a time to be born, and time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Our lives are a rhythm and most of us who garden can really see those rhythms in the seeds, the little sprouts, the full grown plants, the harvest, and the autumn, when we uproot what is left over. As I have aged, I feel more and more like our time is speeding up. I recall thinking summers were endless as a kid, and longing to be back into the rhythm of school. And now, I wish the seasons would slow down a little bit more.

So me…

And as I come out of an intense weekend focusing on our plants and our yard, I am forever grateful for my husband. What a workhorse he has been. Never complaining, but just doing what needed to be done. In addition, gathering downed trees from a friend’s place to ensure we have enough wood this winter. I think he has about 3-4 cords. Up here, we try to plan for the worst and enjoy any extra that may bring us. I got sunburned and mosquito-bitten. He has scratches and cuts and bruises all over from hauling downed trees and then working on our raised beds. As our next door neighbor said on Sunday afternoon, “I see this and think that’s great, but man oh man, that is a lot of work. I’ll just buy my veggies from you!” And as we get older, it is a lot of work. Right now, we are still recovering from last winter’s dump on our yard, and trying to carve out a place for this summer’s activities and growth. It’s part of that life rhythm, to be sure, but this is the hard work part.

“…a time to tear down and a time to build…”

Ecclesiastes 3:5

Life is like that. We scurry around gathering knowledge and skills in order to make it in this world. We fall in love and get married. We begin families. We raise our kids. We mow lawns and go to little league games. We work and we work and we work some more. And then it sort of starts to slow down. The kids themselves begin their independent journeys and they move out and away. Letters from college. Letters from the military. Soon we are welcoming grandchildren and we wonder when this had time to happen. A friend just reminded me they had left CA where we were all friends, over 30 years ago. My word. She was in the delivery room when we had our middle son. He is married with 4 kids of his own. Time has flown by. And the cycle is continuing.

I lament that my life is in its sundown phase. It happened in the blink of an eye. I have 6 grandchildren and an empty nest. We spent Memorial Weekend in our garden… just us two. Kids off doing their thing. Simple days in the sun and dirt, quietly reigning in this acreage. Once I remind myself to ignore the sun and look at my watch, we will come inside and prepare a meal. Then we watch our TV shows and eat our dinner and climb into bed, totally spent. (Usually it’s a Gordon Ramsay show and we always discuss the contestants and some of the techniques, and even recipes! Can’t believe I have a man who enjoys it with me!!). The days are simpler, more direct, if you understand that. And still, this is an ordained pattern, a part of this rhythm.

“…a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain; a time to search and a time to give up; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to mend; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”

ecclesiastes 3: 5-8

And so as I keep an eye on my garden, and as I played with my grandchildren today, I think of these things, these rhythms, and I trust in the Lord. All time is His. My time is His. And He will be the voice I listen to, who guides me home.

New strawberries under our window and a bird cover….