Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our orchard

So as it turns out, our house came with a bunch of fruit trees including three apple (one red delicious, not sure about the others), two pears, and a black walnut. The previous owners said that we'll have more apples in the fall then we'll know what to do with. Joy! Looks like I need to learn how to can applesauce this fall. I also need to learn how to dry walnuts. Can't WAIT! Here are a few shots of the small apples and one of the trees. If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to share.

Brian's new lawn mower

Even though we didn't get 8 acres to take care of, we do have enough (1.5 acres of lawn) to *require* a riding mower. Here's Brian's new toy (a Craftsman) and some video of the inaugural ride. We even stopped and got some Miller High Life for Brian to drink while mowing (though not more than 2...shouldn't drink and drive). He said that High Life is required when cutting the grass.

1st trip to the Farmers' Market *joy!*

Well, we took our first trip to the local Farmers' Market this morning. Pretty small this early in the season (only 3 venders), but we did manage to score some local tomatoes and zucchini. Had tasty sandwiches for lunch! Here's to fresh produce!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Our Unfriendly Tenants

Brian and I have some unfriendly tenants. Every time we use the front door of our house we are greeted by drive-bombing swallows (or at least I think they're swallows) protecting the nest they've built on our outside light. The birds don't stop long enough to get a decent photo, so the last picture below is the best I could do. Any ideas on what kind of bird this is?

"as is" house photos

Okay, we still have a ways to go, but here are some photos of the inside of the house. We were having thunderstorms this morning when I took these shots, so they're a little dark. There are lots of windows, so the house is usually very bright, sunny, and happy.

Living Room


Dining Room
Downstair Bedroom (Guest Room)(We're currently camping out here until our bedroom set arrives in July) Stairs to Second Floor
Downstairs Bathroom
Master Bedroom (furniture to arrive July 11th)
Upstairs TV/Sitting Room
Bedroom 3 (Isn't the camo great?...Yes, we will be painting)
Bedroom 4 (Hobby and crafts) (This was a little girl's room with lots of fairies and flowers on the walls...painting required!)


Play Equipment in the Backyard

Monday, June 23, 2008

Painting and Brian's first day of work

Okay, here's a sneak preview of the interior of the house. Here's Brian painting the living room. He's cute, isn't he?Brian's first day of work went well. He met some interesting people and got his first whiff of amonia. He's very optimistic about the position and for the timebeing will be on a regular 8am-4pm Monday-Friday work schedule. Once his training is done he'll go back to shift work, but in the meantime we'll use the weekends to work on the house. Should work out well.

Our new house

Here are some photos of the outside of our new house. It is over 2,000 square feet with 4 bedrooms and two full baths...lots of space to fill! We're still moving in, so the inside isn't quite ready for published photos, but we should have some up in the next few days. We've been painting for the last three days and are starting to move things in. It's beginning to feel like home. We've purchased lots of new furniture, but won't have all of it delivered until mid-July. We did buy a riding lawn mower yesterday for Brian (complete with cupholder). We're eager to be settled in, that's for sure. Brian started his new job this morning. I'm hoping all went well!

Here's the front of the house. Side yard view with deck and detached garage. Detached garage.Other side yard.Front yard facing the road. Garden (which needs some TLC, but there are plenty of ripe strawberries!)

Grapes in garden.

Fire pit area.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our trip south

Our drive south from North Pole, Alaska to Fort Dodge, Iowa was an adventure! We had a great time together seeing so much of Canada and the USA. The trip took us nine days, 3,603 miles, and $1961.42 in gas. The trailer we pulled could accommodate 10,000 lbs and we packed it to the max. Unfortunately the jeep wouldn't fit (Brian said thinking it might "was a fantasy"), so we left it with Brian's dad for the time being. We camped about half the time, finding hotels that would accommodate Mattie and Dawson the other half. We were only turned away from two or three hotels the entire trip. We decided to keep a journal throughout the trip, documenting interesting happenings and critter sightings. Here are photos with some corresponding entries.

Brian and the pups pose the day before we left.

Here's Brian closing up the trailer the morning we embarked.

June 10, 2008: Day 1
7:08am: And we're off! Got up @ 5:30am...went to bed @ 1:30am. Brian's cell phone is missing.
7:15am: Discovered Brian's cell phone is at Nate & Tammy's. Contemplated driving into Fairbanks. Decided not to and just carry on with Hope's phone. Hungry...
7:51am: Have bagels and coffee. We're off!
1:21pm: Stopped to have lunch with Mom and Dad @ Fast Eddies' in Tok, Alaska. Had a great time. Yum! Mom made cupcakes for us to take. (We ended up living on cupcakes for the rest of the day due to a lack of snacks. Thank goodness we had them!)

1:55pm: Stopped @ a campgound outside of Tok to give the pups a walk and some water. Mattie waited patiently for Brian to return from the outhouse.
5:41pm: Arrive at the Canada customs. We got puppy treats for Mattie and Dawson, but Brian had to go inside the office to complete his gun paperwork.

Mattie and Dawson slept most of the time, but they occassionally got up to see where we were. He's a nice photo of Dawson. You may notice that he has a choke collar on. He minds well and is a love of a dog, but Mattie pulls any other collar that we put on him. Makes him look like a tough dog, doesn't it?

7:02pm: Saw grizzly bear! 9:02pm: Made camp at Congdon Campground which was at the end of a very bright rainbow. Very sleepy. Apparently there are bears here. Drove 433 miles today.

Brian makes camp for the night.

A good shot of the truck and trailer the morning of Day 2.

Nice views were aplenty throughout Canada.

Day 3, pups ask, "Are we there yet?"

June 12, 2008: Day 3

6:50am: Stayed last night in a hotel @ Watson Lake, Canada. Stopped for snacks this morning and swung thought the Sign Post Forest. Very cool. Truck smells like dogs. Coffee ho!

8:15am: Buffalo! Careful!

Buffalo walking down the road right after Watson Lake. Brian was nervous that he would charge the truck. He just gave us a dirty look instead. He was only about two feet away from the truck. I didn't use the zoom in this shot.

10:26am: Moose!

12:18pm: Stopped for lunch at Northern Rockies Lodge in Muncho Lake. Tasty lunch and a great view!

12:20pm: Goat! Found out that my car (the Equinox) is already in Fort Dodge, IA. Only took 2 weeks. Brian's making up a song called "Driving to the mountains, gonna burn me a lot of fuel" to the theme of "Peaches."

1:32pm: "Spirits are high," says Brian.

1:53pm: Check engine light came on.

2:10pm: Stopped to let truck cool down and see what the problem is. Brian's checking the oil level adn some other stuff. Hopefully light will go off.

2:35pm: Light is out! Low transmission fluid was the problem.

June 13, 2008: Day 4

6:51am: Off! Pups got us up after spending the night at Pink Mountain Campground, so we're hitting the road kinda early.

7:36am: Small pup fight breaks out in the back. Mattie and Dawson need a break. They're probably hungry.

8:30am: Listening to Stephen King's "Duma Key" on cd. (By the way...this book lasted until the day before we arrived in Fort Dodge...18 cds.)

2:47pm: Really, really needed a bathroom. Not enough rest areas in Canada! Found a very nice outhouse in the nick of time. Feeling much better and the pups had a run. Now having lunch and decided where to stop tonight.

6:09pm: Stopped @ a Quality Inn in Whitecourt, Canada. We munched on pizza and drank some beer. With bellys full we are going to look at the maps and see which way we should go tomorrow. Hope the check engine light shuts off! (It had been coming on periodically.) Clean room. Rock! Dawson puked, so our room isn't quite as clean. (He ate and drank too fast.)

June 14, 2008: Day 5

9:00am: Woke up around 7:30am. Had a good night sleep except for Mattie barking a bit at people in the hall of the hotel. Very comfy sleep. Dogs slept in front of the air conditioner and loved it.

9:17am: Stopped @ the Chevy dealer in town to check on the engine light that keeps coming on. Brian talked to one of the mechanics who said he thought it was an O2 sensor issue and that it could wait until we got to Fort Dodge. We're showered and ready to hit the road!

2:41om: Passed historic telephone museum...decided not to stop, but will stop for a puppy break. (Took a good shot of the truck and trailer.)

3:34pm: Made it to Saskatchewan!

9:30pm: Decided to stop at Blackstrap Campground by Dunbar, SK. The campgound is good. The dogs ran around and had a good time.It is raining on us right now so we may wake up early to get out of here! Tomorrow we shoot for the US! Yah! Having fun together. This trip has been a blessing and is a nice kickoff to our new adventure in Iowa! Hope the tent is waterproof. Good night.

June 15, 2008: Day 6

9:08am: Actually slept really late. Leaving a very pleasant campgound. Bright, sunny skies this morning. Pups did some running around and are happy. Now off to get some coffee. Our goal today- Lower 48! One low- our shoes are wet from the rain last night and setting up the tent.

12:38pm: Check engine light came on. :(

1:10pm: Realized the 4wheel drive has been on since we left the campgound. Oops.

4:40pm: Stopped @ the boarder. Brian had to open the trailer. No treats for the pups, but we're back in the United States!

4:45pm: We are officially in the middle of nowhere. Wow. Not much in North Dakota.

Just a photos of a cool barn in North Dakota. It seems that they don't tear down old structures here...they just build new ones.

June 16, 2008: Day 7

8:12am: Crossed the Missouri River. Looked really high. Hope we don't run into any flooding.

11:53am: Entering South Dakota!

4:45pm: Stopped @ Wall Drug. Looked at Will James prints, rode a jackalope and a covered wagon, and Brian flirted with a floosy. Bought a Black Hills Gold ring and some ice cream. Pups waited in teh car and are ready to run around. We're going to take 240 through the Badlands.

5:00pm: Badlands ho!

6:39pm: Out of the Badlands. Tired. Looking for hotel.

10:15pm: Found hotel. It's the Best Western. Dogs ate. Brian and Hope ate. It was good! Very hungry. Really enjoyed walking with Hope through Wall Drug and driving through the Badlands. Beautiful! Almost there!!!

June 16, 2008: Day 8

10:14am: Ahead of schedule. Got to sleep in and take our time getting ready this morning. Beautiful day!

11:09am: Pit stop for pups and Brian. Nice bathrooms. Dawson is very hugable.

3:02pm: Check engine light comes on. Blah.

June 17, 2008: Day 9

10:11am: Stayed in a very nice hotel last night in Albert Lea, Minnesota after checking into a very skanky Motel 8 and leaving. Brian was a trooper and even got our money back. It was really bad. Pups were good. Watched "World's Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel. Think we need cable in our new house.

10:26am: Entering Iowa!

12:51pm: Arrived in Fort Dodge!!!

9:26pm: In hotel in Fort Dodge. Talked to a lot of people today. Looks like we will close on our house tomorrow morning! Yay yay! Sick of camping and hotels. We looksed at furniture today and have some of our choices in mind. Will purchase them tomorrow.

June 18, 2008: Day 10

6:30pm. In our new house! Celebrated with a beer that we brought from Alaska. So glad to be home! :)