Happy New Year. 2007 had more than one rocky moment, but in the end I’d say it was an improvement over last year. It started out with the snowiest winter on record--the storms began in early November and the subsequent ice remained for months. I live at the bottom of a long steep driveway with a diminutive Geo metro for transport—not a good combination! I couldn’t drive home for five solid months. The skiers loved it (and I reluctantly made it to the slopes a few times), but schlepping all my groceries a hundred yards on the ice and snow in the dark got old.
It didn’t help that the rest of my life seemed to collapse mid-winter. Home life was unbearable after, in a fit of generosity, I lent my extra room to an unemployed meth addict (to my credit, I didn’t know he was a meth addict at the time). An insomniac, he never slept when I did and kept me up all night tinkering in the garage or watching videos in his room. Every day seemed to bring a new unfortunate surprise. He took over the extra bedroom without permission (stocking the closet with about 70 pairs of shoes), moved an entire storage unit into my garage (after I told him he could store a toolbox there), put a locking door knob on his room, and gouged out the outside door in an attempt to break in when he locked his key inside. I’m pretty sure he is OCD and a hoarder to boot. I wish I could describe the piles and piles of crap he had in the garage and room, but nothing would do it justice. Thankfully, just when I was about to get serious with him, he told me he was checking into rehab to avoid incarceration for possession and would move out at the end of February. Of course he was absolutely incapable of accomplishing anything so in the end my parents and a friend and I forcefully moved him out on March 3rd amid much unpleasantness.
My new roommate
arrived the same day from
In early April I took
off for a spontaneous weekend
vacation to visit a new friend in
Back home I labored vigorously on my garden, filling in perpetually vacant spots in the beds, covering the edge of the driveway with weed-blocking cloth and cedar bark, and separating perennials. The result (influenced by decent spring weather) was fantastic--at least until mid-summer when it became totally neglected. I ate spinach and sorrel salads from my garden over the summer, picked small bouquets of flowers, and dug up loads of fat carrots this fall.
Many of you are part of my email list, and so have at least some idea of the adventures I got up to this summer (if not you’ll find them all at www.takudebbie.com/homestead2007.html). It was crazy (as usual) and comprised the bulk of my fun this year. Thankfully we were blessed with normal, pleasant summer weather. Starting in May I spent 15 out of 22 summer weekends (and some week days) out of town including four trips up to the Taku cabin and 13 down to Snettisham. This summer’s achievements include a potable drinking water system, propane range, gray water treatment system, porches on the cabins, stairs to the lodge, stain on all buildings, a second outhouse, and lots of other small improvements. I’m not open for business yet, but it’s getting darned comfortable. For the first time I spent a whole week there.
All this time in the
wilderness (often alone) may have
something to do with my increased wildlife encounters.
In the early summer when the grass was fresh
and the salmon not yet running, the place was alive with brown bears. I’ve seen lots of tracks and scat in the
past, but they always avoided me. Then
one afternoon Nigel alerted me to a bear; I put him inside and sat on
of the lodge watching a young female brownie vigorously tearing up
grass and munching
happily down the beach. This bear
continued to appear regularly for some time.
A few weeks later I was returning from a solo kayak trip to find
the edge of the water right in front of the lodge.
She was making her way along the shore back
I recognized two other bears this summer (one large, dark brownie and a cinnamon black bear), though I’m sure more passed through. Humpbacks frequented the inlet again and one evening I heard blows and looked up to see orcas. I spent about two hours in their company (much of it drifting at a distance), and was approached repeatedly by a couple of rambunctious youngsters spy hopping and breaching. For the second fall in a row I missed the September resident orcas, so this was my exciting encounter for the year. An unusual minke whale also made an appearance in the inlet.
So I was on the water
a lot. I’m in the process of renewing my
masters license and recently had to count up my sea time—35 days on the
this summer, mostly on my own skiff. I
spent a lot of time out there! I even
did spring maintenance myself this year instead of taking the boat to
shop. Long trips to the homestead meant
that I explored more, whale watched in Snettisham, ventured up the
little, explored mine ruins, kayaked, etc.
My cousin and her husband visited from
Nigel was my adventure buddy this summer and he continues to amaze me with his intelligence, sensitivity, adaptability and general good nature. With experience, his extreme discomfort on boats gradually faded until he now steps eagerly onto the skiff. I don’t think he enjoys the ride any more than he used to, but he’s no longer as scared and he knows that trips are rewarded with wilderness freedom with his mom. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary together in October and this card is dedicated to him, without doubt my best buddy, near constant companion, and the best dog in the world.
My little sister Nina and I continue to have fun together. This summer we hiked, camped, cooked, canoed, climbed, carved pumpkins, and learned to fly fish (I caught a pink salmon). Bunches of other things too I can’t remember. She always impresses me with her insights, enthusiasm, generosity, and sense of humor. She’s now half way through seventh grade. We were BBBS’s match of the month in December.
Over the winter I continued to climb once or twice a week at the climbing gym and even managed to climb on real rock a few times this spring before the rest of the summer began. I quit climbing over the summer, but picked it up again this fall and just climbed my first 5.10. Starting last winter I also began taking ballroom dance classes again, including Argentine tango, foxtrot, and waltz. Fall brought its own flurry of activity as I buttoned things up for the winter, engaged in social life again, got the house organized, and attended some of the many concerts, lectures, and other events around town.
As the end of the year
approached and the despair of
winter set in, I gave in and took another mini vacation the week before
Christmas, this time to visit a friend in
Hope you all had good years, and may the next one be better. –Debbie