Monday, October 1, 2012

Life as farmers

If you have followed this blog for a while, you already know that the concept of house sitting is strongly present in Alaska. This is due to the fact that most people have animals (goats, chickens, dogs...) so when people leave for a holiday they need someone to take care of everything.

Since Scott, Kerry and the girls wanted to spend the last two weeks of September in Pennsylvania ("Outside", like we say in Alaska about lower 48 states) visiting their families, and Julien didn't go back to work until October, it was Julien's job to take care of the animals and other tasks that needed to be done by winter.

Like we have mentioned before, Kerry and Scott have goats, chickens, ducks, a rabbit, a quail and dogs and cats that needed to be taken care of. Julien's job was also to cut and till some of the fields in the property and getting ready for winter. Piia was also able to stay at home because we did a lot of extra hours at work before. Her tasks were mainly food related, meaning baking, cooking and making cheese. It was a perfect setting, since we had unlimited milk and egg reserves.

It is useless to tell you how we enjoyed this farmer life!

In the morning Piia took care of the barn while Julien fed the dogs. Sometimes we would wake up with a beautiful runrise...

It took us usually one hour to do the chores, and then, since we have lots of eggs, Julien baked some crepes for breakfast. Then it was time for Julien to go outside to take care of the fields, the tractor, the wood or whatever was needed. In the meantime Piia did some cheese or yogurt experimentations and made something really good for lunch or for dessert (we had a lot of desserts :) ).

Usually Piia went for a walk or for berry picking with the dogs during the afternoon. The dogs enjoyed running around the fields and forests, and despite the relatively high average age of the dog group, they have a lot of energy!

At 6 pm it was time to feed again so Piia went back to the barn for feeding and milking and Julien took care of the dogs. He also had to take care of the electricity, since the solar power is decreasing the closer we get to winter, so a generator had to be run whenever the power was too low.

After we had a good dinner with salad, cheese, potatoes, eggs and cakes... And sometimes pizza, with homemade mozzarella...

And we watched a movie with the company of the two cats, Clyde and Lenny.

The sunsets were pretty amazing as well.

For the night we just run to our cabin on the other side of the yard...

Now the two-weeks-as-farmers is coming to an end, though we keep on helping with the chores as usual. It was an amazing experience, and despite the couple of lost nuts of the tractor, never-stopping pain in the hands caused by milking and near freezing temperatures in our cabin (since we didn't warm it because we didn't spend any other time there than sleeping) we consider this as a success and we enjoyed it more than we could have even imagined.

We also wanted to get more involved with the Two Rivers Dog Musher Association, so on Sunday we volunteered in a Rabies vet clinic, where people brought their dogs to have a vaccination. We certainly saw why it is said that in Two Rivers there are more dogs related to the population than in any other place in the world. We met many mushers with their dogs (almost 400 dogs were vaccinated) and it was exciting to help. Here is a video of the day, by TRDMA.

For Julien it was a nice holiday month full of amazing colors and fun outside. And on Sunday, WE GOT THE FIRST SNOW, that got Piia jump out of the bed faster than you could say "freezing"...

Now it's time to go back to work at SNAP, also for Julien, and wait for the winter!


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