Thursday, September 27, 2007

Late fall in the interior

This evening, Martin took the club airplane, N-five-three-seven-five-romeo for a quick spin by the mountains. Below are some pictures from his trip. I stayed home with the kids. Sonja would not have boarded the plane. Martin took instead Pierre, a swiss guy who was here working for Martin during the summer. Sonja was clinging to me while we stood watching Martin and Pierre get ready. Then I thought she might feel better in the car, so I sat in the drivers seat and had her on my lap. She seemed OK then, even when the motor started. Perhaps the sound was a bit more muffled in the car? Martin and Pierre had beautiful weather - not a cloud in the sky. They went over to Black Rapids glacier and back. I will have to work on a nicer writing style. Most of birch trees in town are leaf-less, while the cottonwoods still have their dark yellow leaves.

A woodpecker by our house.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Emilie's smiles

Emilie can smile. They are definitely smiles in response to us, not just gas or indigestion...We think this is way cool. One month old. Hopefully she will master calculus in the next month.:)

"Hide and seek" with a two year old

Martin and Sonja love to play hide and seek. The other day Sonja and I hid in a closet in her room, and Martin came to look for us. Of course he knew perfectly well where we were hidden, but part of the game is to make a little theater of it of looking all over the place for Sonja. And so he was turning the room upside down searching, while talking out loud to himself (in his language)...
I wonder where Sonja is. Let's look in her crib. No Sonja there. She's not hiding underneath her bed either... I wonder where she went? I bet she went outside! She must be outside!
To which there was a vehement "No!" coming from the closet. With that help, within a minute or so Martin proceeded to "find" us, much to Sonja's delight.


One thing Sonja told Martin earlier this week, holding a small wooden pig that Elsbeth+Lena+Tinu (Thanks!) gave her:
This is malinky schwingi.
Trilingual girl. "This is" is obviously english. "Malinky" is small in czech. "Schwinki" is pig in Martin's dialect (Schwein in german).

Most of the stuff that Sonja tells us is in English. Given that she really likes Dr Seuss, which really does need to be read in English (of which we only have Green Eggs and Ham; and Oh, the Places you'll go, but we read them multiple times per day); that together we speak in English; and that she did spend two years in daycare, it is not hard to understand why she does use mainly English words. Still, she does know words in the other languages, and knows how to use them, for example in the above sentence :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Top of the world (or at least of the States)

Emilie's and Martin's first trip to Barrow, Sonja's second...

Emilie, less than 30 days old, has now been in a Boeing 737-400, Piper PA12, and a Caravan.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Play dough

I subscribed to the parents mag. The september issue had a recipe for homemade play dough. We made three colors so far, and Sonja likes it. She especially liked making a foot print, and comparing her foot print to Emilie's and mine.

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 c water
  • 1 Tbs veg oil
  • Food coloring

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients together. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until a ball forms (that's the only step that a child can't really help with). Take off heat, when cool enough, knead the dough until smooth.

It seems like here in Alaska, everything including the flour is dry enough, so that I had a reasonably stiff /non watery/ dough even before warming it up. But, it is very pleasant to knead the warm dough, so I always did warm it up a bit. Of course right now googling it, it appears that I should "Cook over medium heat until [dough] forms into a ball and becomes 'translucent', not 'milky'." Ref. Hmmm.

Now that Martin is back from his trip to the east coast, perhaps we could make a family portrait of foot prints.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Yet another thing that happened yesterday: on the way back from getting mail, around 9:30pm, which this time of year is already deep dusk, I saw a bat flying in a small clearing over our driveway. Of course our bird book is no help to figure out what that flying thing might have been, so it was google to the rescue. Funny thing, one of the first links to a search on Bats Alaska is to my former officemate's webpage - you got wide interests, Matt!

Unfortunately the main UAA web page that apparently had the distribution maps of the different bat species found here does not exist any more, so all I can say is that it is likely that it was a Little Brown Bat, which is apparently the most common one.

Too bad I can't make a bet with Martin on the name - in California, he was wondering what that bird yonder is, and when I replied that it was the red winged blackbird, he said, yeah, that's the one I am talking about, but what is it called? (I forget what I won after showing him in a bird book that it was indeed the red winged blackbird, a sixpack was it?) It seems like with the little brown bat, we could get into a similar discussion.

Saphira the acrobat

About our dogs the escapists: While neither Mica nor Saphira are the escape artists that Choly (or Tschooli, as Martin would write) was, both again started jumping over the gate that leads from the porch into the greater world (freedom!).

It is funny to see the differences in style though. Mica takes a short running start and uses the top of the gate only for a fraction of a second as she jumps over it and down the stairs.

Saphira's style I got to see yesterday when I caught her red-handed trying to escape: as I rounded the corner of the house with Emilie and Sonja, there was Saphira balancing on top of the gate. She must have jumped up but not been sure about jumping down the stairs... she does not have the most courageous heart. After watching her for a few seconds as she balanced on top of the gate, I told her to get back on the porch, which she did, and she remained on the porch until we got back an hour later. Sometimes it is nice to have dogs who are wimps :).

Beaver dam destroyed

It was with disappointment that I noticed yesterday that someone destroyed the beaver dam that was within 50 yards of the Justa Store/gas station at the corner of Chena Pump and Chena Ridge road. Somehow, I thought it was pretty cool to have beavers right in the middle of Fairbanks suburbia. I even started to point the beaver dam to our visitors.

I wonder who destroyed it and why?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Smith Lake; burning some brush; garden

From a walk down to Smith Lake: never too late to start a family...

Swans on Smith Lake:

A couple family pics.

Martin was burning some brush out on our driveway, and Sonja was helping. At one point, she came back inside the house, and told me "Mama, I need a banana and milk". I gave her both items, and out the door she went, to eat outside with dad. She is definitely at the point where if she wants to, she can tell us what she wants.

Enjoying some time sitting on dad.

And the newest member of the family (playing with Picasa)

We have some dwarf sunflowers on our plot in the community garden, most of them finally started blooming this past week, just as the season is done. Still, the bees enjoy them.