Thursday, January 5, 2017

Living The Dream . . . Reality Check!

These photos remind me of why I do what I do in life.  I live in a rural mostly Inupiaq village on the shores of Norton Sound which is just off the Bering Sea.  Life has it challenges out here and it has great rewards!  It is usually when I come in from being outside with my husband or the kids from here I have to stop and think how grateful I am . . . and I find myself saying, "You are living your Dream!"  Work can be hard and frustrating! Then I get outside and the world opens up and the faces smile and we all have a blast!

Living my dream . . . I am humbled and so grateful!

Last weekend, some of our race team skiers are out for a ski tour.  I am thrilled as there is snow on the trees, no wind, and warm.

Today's sun setting into the Bering Sea as we ski.  Our days are now about 4hours and 40 minutes long and it was about +10ºF out.
Our race team is mostly kids in grades 5-8 and a few high schoolers.

The village in the distance.  Due to our stormy weather, we have to drive out to ski, but at least we are skiing.

Sun set was a burst of color.

New Year's Day ski!  After our storms, the skiing was such a treat and so much better than we had thought!

Trail work: our snow fences we make out of pallets.  They help to build drifts so we can ski on the drifts.  It is quite a project but it works!

Sadie the ski dog!

My yoga partner . . .

Christian the groomer!  His dad was a groomer on Big Mtn.  It runs in the family!  I get fresh groom corduroy daily!

We have two sleds we pull for grooming and this is the older one but perfect for where we have to ski now.

My latest creation which is almost done.  A combo of chunky Shetland and Unspun Icelandic wool.  During our storming Christmas holiday, I was able to knit like a crazy lady.  The end result is I may have a new sweater this weekend!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year & Welcome 2017!

Good Morning 2017!  
Another new year is upon us. I always like a new beginning.  I think this may be why I love the mornings so much!  A new start in life daily . . . who could ask for more?  I write an email to my dear friend Lynn most mornings and I often feel she gets all the good stuff in those letters. Somehow, I want that writing to be present in my blog. 

Here it is January 2nd.  I am not a person so much for resolutions but rather challenges and changes for myself are a good thing.  

Two years ago I gave up wheat and have done well with that challenge.  I think about eating it every once in a while but truly I know I will never go back to that unhealthy food.  The main reason is I feel GREAT NOT EATING WHEAT!  I would recommend giving it a try but first please read Wheat Belly and Dr. William Davis work and be educated about this choice.  I would also recommend Dr. David Perlmutter work as well. Be well informed and educated before you give this HUGE lifestyle change a try.  One of my goals for this year is to get back on track with this healthy lifestyle by watching the carbs I eat as I don't keep this under control like I should.  I am presently cutting back on sugars as much as I can and trying my best to stay away from the NO-NO carbs.  I love eating healthy organic food, foods that are not processed and from a bag, box or who knows where.  I want my foods to be organic, non-GMOs, and I want to know where it comes from!  I know what the food industry and big business have done to us!  All you have to do is look around . . . it is disgusting!  

Next on the "To Do List" is to continue the daily workouts.  I love this routine and it works for me!  Five days a week I head to my classroom to use the SkiErg a great piece of exercise equipment from Concept Two. This equipment is for nordic skiing and I have been impressed with how great it works.  It has certainly helped to strengthen my upper body don't be fooled!  The SkiErg works your whole body!  If you have never used exercise equipment from Concept Two I would highly recommend taking the time to try some of their pieces.  I also include a simple 8-10 minute sit-up routine and a yoga routine for my back.  After work, I ski with the ski team or on my own just about every day in the winter.  I always get to 100 ski days a year but am always trying to push my days to 125 or more on skis.

Knitting:  I need to use up my stash as I have a healthy amount of yarn that needs to just be knitted!  I hope to knit another Lopi sweater for myself in an upcoming KAL on Ravelry.  The other sweater I hope to knit this year is a Norwegian as I call this style.  This sweater I will be designing myself and it will be a traditional Norwegian sweater. I have some ideas for motifs which will need incorporate snow, northern lights, and may be some kind of pine tree . . . I also have these amazing buttons with cross-country skiers on them a true treasure!

Blogging is something I have ended up really enjoying!  I have said many times I am not a great writer, but I do enjoy blogging.  I often think of moving this blog over to WordPress and I never follow through on the migration . . . still thinking about this possibility.

I went back to last year to see my Goals & Challenges from 2016 which are concise.  I will just leave them here and add 2017!

Goals & Challenges for 2016 & 2017

1. Continue with the No Wheat and No Grains eating, try to eliminate corn especially if it is not organic, and reduce meal size and carbs.
2. Learn more about Wheat Free/Grain Free and eating and improving good gut health.

3. Ski, hike, bike, walk, morning workouts---stay as consistently & active as possible!

4. Read more!

5. Keep work simple and be efficient and effective.
6.  Remember it is often best to keep one's mouth closed more often than not!

7.  Certainly not least but be positive and spend as much time as I can with my wonderful husband and our two fantastic dogs!

Christian and I at the Christmas tree lighting 2016.

Sadie, my girl!  I love this 4-legged companion of mine she has taught me a lot over the years!

Tea and knitting . . . life is grand!

Current sweater which will be done today or tomorrow . . . Knit On!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Shetland Oo and Life on the Tundra

Shetland Oo wool textiles work is a recently released book by Kate Davies and her husband Tom Barr.  Kate is one of my favorite bloggers/writers, designers, and yarn producers.  I found Kate years ago through a knitting friend on Ravelry.  She suggested Kate's blog and right away I was hooked!  At that time, Kate had recently suffered a stroke and was working her way back from this horrific time in her life.  

I was taken right away by Kate. She was writing about her battle to regain her life and health.  Her world was turned upside down! Yet, Kate was able to grab onto the fiber she loved (wool) and pull herself upright in a new direction.  This was not an easy battle, but I learned a lot from her blog posts.  The key point I learned was never ever to judge a person and their struggle to move at all, but rather to lend a hand or a kind word of encouragement. It wasn't that I was judging people (just having a hard time finding the right words here) but Kate's writing just made me realize how important it is to see the whole person and to cheer that person on with compassion.  Kate struggled and fought hard and I can never imagine her journey.

In the process, Kate seemed to have discovered many new talents.  As an outsider looking in on Kate's accomplishments, I can not think that the stroke unleashed a Kate of her dreams or new dreams.  

If you are not familiar with Kate Davies work I can do nothing but suggest you take a look at her blog and her work.  Like myself, you may have found a new cyber-friend! 

I was taken by the fact she was in Scotland and as we know all great wool and many great knitters come from Scotland.  She has a black lab named Bruce.  I have two dogs each mixed with Weimaraner.  Tally is also mixed with a lab and Sadie is mixed with an Akbash.  Kate knits. I knit. Kate walks the hills of Scotland. I walk the beach, tundra, and hills of Alaska.  In the summer I hike the mountains of Montana.  

I have been very impressed with Kate's detailed knit patterns and her knitting/fiber research.  I have only just started reading Shetland Oo. I am enjoying her new book immensely. In between skiing/coaching, trail work, and knitting, I will read snippets with a nice cuppa tea! 

Thank you, Kate, Tom, and Bruce for another wonderful read about Real 100% Wool!

On needles socks, plain old vanilla socks using PDS Tender Foot from Montana's Knit 'N Needle in Whiskey Spring.
The girls a bit wore out after a ski practice that turned rather cold fast.  This often happens to us up here in the north.  Never worry they are in booties and jackets.  

I was greeted by this at 5:50 a.m. We had howling winds all night 35 to 52 mph.  Thus the snow inside the front porch or many of you would call this the mud room. Despite our efforts to keep the snow outside, we end up with a drift inside.  Nothing like shoveling out the inside of your house to get outside with the dogs!

Knit Girls

I have written about the Knit Girls before and here is an update of them in action.  My niece has three girls and they have discovered that 100% wool is the best thing for staying warm.  They were all a bit picky about rustic real wool but I won them over.  When you live in a damp place and off the grid one learns quickly to be warm one wears wool!  The wool for any of the sweaters the girls have on are from one of my favorite yarn shops: Schoolhouse Press.  Hats are knitted with yarn from Polka Dot Sheep my other favorite yarn shop and hat designs from that shop as well.

December Happenings (part II)

Continuation of December 2017 . . .
This is the 12/29 storm that has rolled into the village.  This grab was from 6:00 a.m. today. I for one love a good storm and we are to have this storm for a good part of today then warming, rain (UGH WHAT??), possible flooding and well . . . the joys of winter on the northern coast of Alaska!

This is where we live and this is a recent photo from about a week ago. Unalakleet river to the left and slough we cross for skiing. Norton Sound and the Bering Sea to the right.

One of my favorite events is the yearly lighting of the community Christmas Tree!

Here we are loving our Christmas Holiday . . .

Trail work . . . moving the pallets to build the drifts we will be grooming later.

Sadie warming up at the end of a ski.  Tally rarely gets cold feet but Sadie does and I carry this pad for myself to sit or stand on as well for Sadie.

Skiing in freezing fog/mist and covered in ice.  I could not be happier.

Can you say "Time to frog and start over!"

See snow actual snow is yes falling!

Another beach sea ice WOW moment!

Almond flour orange poppy seed scone with homemade marmalade!

My girl hoping for a treat!

Tea time trail break a must!

Heading in from a tundra ski.

I just love frost, snow, winter . . .

A wonderful recent discover of tea we can get with our Full Circle Farm Weekly organic food order.

Window decorations . . .

One of the other special village Christmas events.  This is Ladies Night at the Garage.  The Garage is one of our two stores.  They open it up in the evening one night for ladies and one night for men for Christmas shopping.  I love the event and we try our best not to miss out on a village shopping spree.

What a ski groomer's yard looks like!  Pallets getting hauled out for ski trails, grooming equipment . . . I love it!

We use the pallets to build drifts and them move them up onto of the drifts.  This helps us to maintain the trails with our high winds and sometimes flooding.  Only a physics teacher would come up with this bit of trail engineering.

Christmas Day Ski on the Dragon's Back.  This snow fence makes it possible to have a ski program in the absolute worst cross-country ski conditions on the face of the earth!

Merry Christmas to all we got our wish snow and good health!

Two of my loves!

Thought provoking thought. I will leave you with this . . . please do all you can to help protect our natural world as we go into 2017!