Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cold Snap

Hello All

We had a cold snap here recently with temps as low as -38. They really didn't affect us in the house too much though we did use the upstairs wood stove a couple of nights. We usually don't use it because it gets the place too Hot. I LOVE my Kitchen Queen wood cook/heat stove http://www.woodstoves.net/queen.htm . My only regret is not getting the optional water resevoir so that we would have a better supply of hot water. Right now we leave kettles on the stove all the time. That stove keeps the place toasty warm and we only have to get up once in the night to stake it and add wood. It has a nice big oven with an 8 loaf capasity and a big fire box so you don't have to cut your logs so small. We didn't spend a whole lot of time outside just running out to get wood and such but limiting time outside.

We're looking forward to Christmas. I think this will be the first Christmas that Lisa is really into it. I'm also planning on making a big dinner and having our friends/neighbors over. My family has always had some nice Christmas traditions and it feels a bit odd this year that we are pretty much breaking all of them and starting from scratch. I will miss driving around to see the lights and going through the Valley of lights in Fain Park and seeing the gingerbread village with the train at the Prescott resort, and taking the kids to see santa at the Gateway Mall. What I will miss the most is Christmas morning with my mom and the second generation traditions like dougnuts and bagels on Christmas morning. This year there will be no lights except as my dad said the "ones in the sky". No running from one house to another or having a huge crowd at our house. It will just be a small event a quite morning with the kids and a casual dinner with a couple of close friends. They are having a Christmas play at the School tomorrow night and I am told that Santa will be there but it doesn't start until 7pm and that is our kids bed time. We probably wont make the drive in this year even though Lisa has been bugging to see Santa. I just have to keep reminding myself that while traditions like Santa, trees and gifts are all fun they are not the reason for the season. This time is really about the Christ child and the love that God showed us all, and a chance to show our love for others as God loves us.

I want to put out another big thanks to our friends family and community for thinking of us durring the holiday season. For the love that you have shown in so many ways through well wishes, cards and the gifts under the tree. We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives. I love having an eclectic group of friends with such varried opinions, ideas and interests. It is truelly the varriety that brings the spice to life. I love you all!

Sarah Sue Smith

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Out in The Cold

The temps and weather have been just crazy ranging from above freezing temps and freezing rain to -30 and all over the middle with winds bringing temps up to 1 above and then having them drop quickly by 23 degrees back down to -24 within a matter of a couple of hours. We have less than 4 hours of light now with really only maybe one good hour of actual sunshine. The rest of the time it's just skimming the horizon below the tree line. We've had some beautiful sun rises and sets that just seem to go on and on. The northern lights have also been active the past three nights with what looks to me like a bending and flexing green rainbow.

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted just heven't had too much going on. The biggest event was trying to get my car started after Thanksgiving. We spent Thanksgiving at the Manley Roadhouse with other folks from the community. It was a nice time with great food and wonderful people. The kids got to run around and play with other kids and had a great time of it. Ken got to have some guy talk and I spent most of my evening chasing after the kids trying to keep them out of trouble. We got to bring home some leftovers and that gave us lunches for three days. After Thanksgiving the temps dropped down between -20 and -30. The car sat undriven for several days and then would not start. It took two days worth of trying before we were finally able to get it up and running. We tarped it over, plugged in the heaters that we have on it to the generator and ran that for several hours, while also running a charcoal heater under it. The second day we started this at about 6:00am and the car started at about 3:00pm. The outside temps also rose to around -10 which I think helped out alot. The next day Ken went into Manley to install some upper cabinets that he made for Ms. Connie and the kids and I went to the Crafters Guild Christmas Craft Fair. I had a few Items that I put out. I didn't sell much but we had a nice time the kids got to play with other kids and I got to visit with the lovely ladies of the guild as well as the folks that came by to do some shopping. The guild has several talented members. We even had live music provided by Bea and Damaris. Dana had knit socks, Pam knit gloves and ivory jewlery made by her husband Joey. The other Bea had crochet items as well as some yummy treats. There were also scented candels and other goodies including Bekah's Candy shop. I have alot of ideas for things to have at next years event.

Ken is finding some work this winter doing a few inside remodel type jobs and just got hired on as a fill in driver for the Manley Village Express. He gets to drive the bus the next two weekends to help people get into Fairbanks to do their holiday shopping. After that he will fill in if one of the two regular drivers are unable to drive for any reason. At least it's something to bring in some income. Ken driving the bus will also be helpful if we ind ourselves needing something from the big city. The bus takes passengers from Manley Hot Springs and Minto into Fairbanks and back. They drive in Monday back Tuesday, in Thrusday back Friday and every other weekend they go in Saturday and back Sunday. It costs $20 a person each way.

Now we are getting ready for our first Alaska Christmas. We went out the other day and cut a tree. The boys did ok on the packed part of the driveway but in the fresh snow it was up to their wastes. We brought it home and let it melt off over night. The next day the kids and I decorated it as far up as we could reach, the following day I brought up a ladder and topped it off. It's a bit skimpy looking but the kids are happy with it and thats what counts. I think it has alot of character with the few spruce cones still hanging. We had to put it upstairs so it's sitting between to lines of clothes line.