Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Love Summer in Alaska

Spencer on TrampolineSummer in Alaska is what we get paid after six months of dark cold winter and it couldn't be better. If the weather were like this all year round you'd live here too I promise you. So here are the things that keep the romance alive in my Alaskan love affair.

1. Daylight at 10 pm. And 11 pm. And midnight. Last week was solstice and it's bright all night long. What's not to love? Unless . . . um . . . you have kids who aren't used to the daylight and won't sleep. That wouldn't be pleasant.

2. Hanging my laundry on the line. I have a dryer but why use it when I can hang clothes on the line? I wonder what my neighbors think of us with our laundry flapping but it's so therapeutic when the sun is out and there's just the slightest breeze. It makes my sheets smell so good and drops our gas bill to nearly-reasonable rates.

3. The smell of tomato plants. Why don't the leaves smell like the fruit? Tomatoes are fine but the smell of the leaves when they've been sitting in the sun is like a drug to me. I can't get enough.

4. Sitting on my back deck in the sunshine. In the winter Andrew and I get frustrated with our drafty old house but come summer we forget that we were ever anything but hopelessly in love with our back yard. It's hard to find large back yards in Anchorage nowadays but we have this great two-tiered deck that overlooks a fabulous green yard and every summer all I want to do is sit out in the sun in the hammock chairs and relax. Only down side is that the glare off of my computer screen makes it hard to blog in the bright sunlight. I guess you can't have it all.

5. Peonies. My very favorite flower. Is there anything more delicate yet dramatic than a peony? Do you say pee-YO-nee or peeya-NEE? (I say it the right way).

6. Sleeping with the windows open. Smelling night air while I sleep is a luxury I cherish each summer. Especially when it gets a bit chilly and I can put on an extra blanket before morning. I like that. I enjoy hearing the birds singing all night though one year we had this horrible magpie problem where mating season was scheduled in our back yard. Talk about your noise! They were animals I tell you.

7. My garden. Raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, kiwi, chives, thyme, lilies, peas . . . I love growing things, it makes one feel so darn productive. Though by fall I do get a little tired of the weeding and watering and mowing and am rather glad to get a six-month reprieve.

8. Watching the kids run through the sprinkler. They set it up under the trampoline and go at it. My silly Alaskans will beg to bring out the bathing suits the first day the thermometer hits 55. If it weren't for their mother's good sense they'd have died of hypothermia long ago.

9. Going barefoot. I dislike wearing socks or shoes but do so because I own the world's Coldest Pair of Feet. No kidding, just ask Andrew. Like icicles grafted onto my legs they are. So I'm forced to wear slippers and socks all winter to keep from having my toes shrivel up and fall off. When the weather's good I say goodbye to the socks and run free through the house unfettered by footwear.

10. Being hot even in the shade. It doesn't get this hot in Anchorage that often but when it does I just love the feeling. Being shaded and still being cozy--how luscious is that?

11. Eating al fresco meals. We have a large banquet table that we set up on the back lawn--food tastes better when outside. It's a scientific fact--even asparagus is 63% more palatable to Spencer when eaten outdoors. 75% if eaten while on a germ-infested, charcoal-coated stick. Can't beat statistics like that. Not with a germ-infested stick.

12. Walks with Andrew. We have a great walking neighborhood. Fun gardens and pretty places to walk, footpaths and bike trails--one of my favorite things all summer is to take an evening walk with Andrew. Sometimes it's hard to keep up though, he walks pretty fast.

13. Thunder and lightning. It doesn't often get warm enough to produce lightning and thunder in Anchorage but once or twice a summer it seems we get a little storm that thrills the kids and makes everyone shiver with excitement. Can you believe that after growing up here the first time I saw lightning was at college? It's too bright to see the lightning this far north so seeing a bona fide fork of electricity shoot across the sky was something to write home about. If I can get some thunder and lightning I'm loving it, and if there's a good summer downpour while I'm comfy in bed it's even better.

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39 comments:

cheeky said...

It is something to enjoy daylight at such a late hour, I agree.
There is nothing like crisp, clean washing "put on the line".
I just plain *LOVE* tomatoes. There is simply nothing like homegrown.
Back gardens with space - heaven.
I say pee-a-knee, em I think that's the right way according to Merriam Webster . . . :) I can't help taking the p**s with you.
Windows open - good, and fresh air is lovely.
Gardens - also good.
Barefoot - I like but I do not like dirty feet so I usually opt for shoes.
Al fresco - can we say *fantastico*
Nothing like a long walk, even amidst thunder and lightning. I love a good thunder and lightning storm. Magical!
I enjoyed this - could you tell? Not sure if I enjoyed reading it more than I did responding to it.
Thanks!

Cagey said...

Growing up in Kansas, I LOVE thunder and lightening. Angry, black clouds get my blood going! We just had a lovely rainstorm last night - I totally relished just hanging out on the front steps with my son in it.

I also relish sitting on our back deck. I will huddle out there clear into late October, under a blanket, trying to suck as many more minutes as I can before the cold settles in for good.

Actually, we treat our deck as another "room" to our house. I found out how true this was a month ago when I was searching high and low for my cell phone. I spied it through a window sitting on a table on the deck. In the pouring rain.

alter Ego said...

I used to enjoy the same... but now, temperature is 110+F cannot stepout of air conditioner...;~(
athens/greece is in heat wave..

good that you are having great time.. so they say, make hay while the sunshine

susan said...

It sounds like paradise, well except for the other 6 months! Those dark cold months are probably used to weed out the weak ones who come in the summer and think they want to stay...

Your 13 is very summery and refreshing!

I feel like I have been running barefoot through the sprinkler to hang out the laundry and pick tomatoes before the thunder storm...

G's Cottage said...

Wow, great list! I loved reading through these.

Daylight: I enjoy it more now that I have no little ones around to wake up at 4:30 a.m.

Tomato plants: I think next summer we'll have to start planting these again.

Peonies: Grandmother always said they were "Pinnees"; and age trumps, right.

Thunder and lightning: I am not a huge fan for historical reasons but I am awed by the light show and power from a safe distance. And "Alter Ego," the most impressive lightning storm I ever witnessed was from my hotel in Athens in 1972.

Babystepper said...

Hmmm. It's nice to see such excitement and energy about the summer months.

Lets just say that here in Oklahoma; thunder and lightining, and being hot in the shade are definitely not things to write home about.

This year has been incredible, though. It's almost July, and we haven't had a single triple digit day. It's incredible. We're usually in the triple digits by the beginning of June. And the rain! Oh my goodness! It's been crazy!

Darla said...

And here I thought it was great that it stays light after 10 p.m. here in Germany! :)

I'm with you--I love the smell of tomato plants. There must be something in them. And there's nothing like line-dried bedsheets. Ahhhhh....

Unfortunately, our summer appears to be over already, and we're stuck with cold, wind, and rain. Bleah. :(

Kelly said...

Your Alaskan list would be very similar to my Minnesotan list. Only we don't have daylight all night at solstice; only until 10:00 PM. But oh my, I love leaving the windows open at night (as long as the lights are off inside so the bugs can't get in through the screens). I love my garden. And like you, I'm ready to be done with it by October, when I pull up most of my plants and take a break from the wedding, watering, staking and harvesting.

My mother, who moved to California from Minnesota about six years ago, actually pulls up many of her plants in November becuase it feels "wrong" to her to be growing things year-round. WRONG, I tell you.

Daisy said...

Your yard, while much farther north and probably much larger, sounds a lot like mine! Rhubarb, tomatoes, raspberries, peonies, and alfresco dinners on the deck. I say pe'a-nee, and according to my daughter (who works in a garden center), that's correct.

The Late Bloomer said...

I loved this list! It makes me want to come visit you and spend time in Anchorage... in the summer! (I tend to get cold feet too.)

I need to make some positive lists like this about where I live and what I'm doing. My boyfriend tells me I tend to focus on the negative, and I definitely need to stop that habit!

One of these days I need to start growing my own herbs and possibly tomatos, on the windowsill here... I probably won't have my own garden for quite some time. But in the meantime, I do have a little fresh basil plant on the counter in the kitchen -- you have to start somewhere, right? But how I've become addicted to fresh herbs...

The Late Bloomer said...

P.S. ~ By the way, you're lucky to be having a real summer over there in Alaska, because for the moment our summer here in Paris isn't much to write home about! Actually, I don't even know how we can call it summer, with the cold, rainy weather we've been having. It feels like March all over again!

(Guess we were too spoiled by our wonderful few weeks in April...)

la bellina mammina said...

You DO have it all! Maybe you can show us a pic of your deck!?

Ally Bean said...

I'm right there with you on #3, #9 and #11. Those are some of the joys of summer here in the midwest too.

Trixie said...

What can I say besides WOW! It sounds like paradise.

I definately ike the balcony and hammok thing.I could lay in a hammok all day long.

Do you get many bugs? I'm probably like most people and have many misconceptions about life in Alaska. Maybe the bugs are one of those?

I'm really amazed at all the different things you can grow, too!

happy summer,

Trixie

Lei said...

Sheesh... I think I may be in love with Alaska now, too! That is a great list. Havign constant daylight would be so bizarre to me... I bet that really takes some gettign used to! I also LOVE hanging my laudnry. Unfortunately, by tje time I muster up the desire to do it, we are having our mega humid months. I think I msut be saying peony wrong. Huh. Oh, and I am a barefoot mama. The callouses ain't pretty, but I love to see my toes. :)

Heather said...

Great list. I can't do the barefoot thing too often, though. I like having socks and shoes on at all times. I really don't even like flip-flops. They drive me insane! I can only take them for so long.
I thought I owned the coldest pair of feet. If it is below 75 degrees, they turn into ice. Crazy!

Ni Yachen said...

Good list. I would had camping, fishing, and lilac bushes. But that is just me. :)

Melissa R. Garrett said...

Your Alaskan summer days sound a lot like ours here in Ithaca - WONDERFUL (except on the rare occasion when temps creep above 90). These are the very things I love about summer, too. Except we don't get so much daylight!

You could pronounce peonie as does Jacob - pyanie :-)

Jenn in Holland said...

Splendiforous scribbit!
I just may rival your frozen feet, but like you love my feet bare. I was made for Arizona, but somehow am surviving Holland.

I always said Pee-OWN-nee, but the Dutch say Pee-own-NAY. So I say it both ways I guess. That makes me right, right?

The bright days of the North are really something to get used to. We are fine with it now, but that first summer? Woah.

Let's design a screen shade for the laptop so we can blog outside. We'll be rich, and we'll be happy because we'll be blogging in the summer sun.

My laundry is out on the line even as I type...

Robin said...

We have a season like that too, except here it's called winter ;-). Not quite, it does get a bit chilly (maybe down to the low 60's) and I do wear socks in the winter, but there are occasional days where you can enjoy eating outside even in January.

The long hours of daylight would be fantastic. Here even on the day of the solstice it was dark by 8pm.

Amy said...

I used to really hate the summer months and this is the first summer that I am actually embracing it. I have been spending more time outside, line drying the clothes, doing a garden, etc..This has been the best summer yet!

Damselfly said...

You're just trying to make me jealous!

The Lazy Organizer said...

It sounds heavenly!

Anjali said...

Well damn. I hate cold. I hate long winters. But you sure are selling me on Alaska in the summer. Sounds lovely (and so does your yard)!

my4kids said...

First off I say peeya-NEE....it is the right way....how do you say it?:)
also what are you trying to do? Make me more anxious to move? Like having the hubby up there already isn't enough.......
It gets to hot here not quite yet but its working its way up (except today it decided to rain)! July and August will be in the 90s alot. We get lots of lightning and thunder storms here pretty much year around just depends on what the weather feels like throwing at us....

crissybug said...

Alaska has always facinated me. I would love to go visit it someday! Atleast I know I have something to look forward to!

And I pronouce it peeya-nee.

mistihollrah said...

I love summer too! Many of these things are things that I enjoy in Missouri!

Happy summer & TT!

My is posted...

Jenny McB said...

Nice list, Summer is our reward for cold winters.

My husband put up a clothes line last week, but we've had thunderstorms on and off all week.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Suddenly I have the stong desire to move to Alaska.

Eva said...

I say pee-YO-nee, even though I know it isn't correct. That is the way I learned it and it's hard to change.
I loved to sleep with the window open, but now I live too close to I-15 and it's too noisy.
I don't have a garden, but hopefully next year I'll get one. I want to do "square foot gardening." You should check it out, those who do it don't have much weeding to do. No weeding, now that would be great.
Barefeet are the best, only I have gotten in the habit of wearing "scuffs" all the time. Cold feet, it sounds like we are all contestants for the coldest feet.
I really miss watching lightening. As I kid I watched it all the time, now there doesn't seem to be as many storms to watch and enjoy.
Great blog, does make me wish for a trip to Alaska.

jchevais said...

Sigh... It would be really nice if summer in Paris would get started. It has been abysmally grey for weeks now. Boo.

Blondie said...

I want to go to Alaska right now!

Melina said...

Sounds so beautiful, my mom is from Finland and it is a lot like Alaska, right now the sun barely sets... and in the summer it is SO beautiful.

I have always wanted to go to Alaska. Awesome List!

BTW My TT is up too 13 Sexiest Musicians

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Every time you do a post like this, you make me want to come visit!

One day!!

JAM said...

Great list. Sorry I missed it "on the day".

You make summer sound wonderful. I think I'll pack up and head north...woops. I don't have any more vacation days, so scratch that idea.

I remember arguing with my mother about going to bed because it was still light outside. That's a tough one to argue in Alaska when it's still light enough to make that claim at midnight.

I lived barefoot as a kid, but had the most amazing ability to accidentally step on bees in the clover. Then on Sunday I'd get in trouble for pulling my shoe off in church to scratch the itching bee sting.

Stephanie said...

I love most of those tings about summer too. You grow kiwi? I've never heard of anyone doing that! Tell me more!

Sheila said...

The picture you paint of Alaska is surely one I'm not familiar with. To me, Alaska has always been a rather exotic place or a place people from the lower 48 run away to to escape. Nice to know real families and people live their too. Maybe I watched too much Northern Exposure.

Susan said...

You know, when you live in a warm weather climate all year, you take many things for granted. Your delight in the warm weather is touching to me. I forget how joyous simple things (like going barefoot) can be. Enjoy!

Jane said...

I spent a land week in Alaska in end of May 07 followed by cruise week. Two nights in Anchorage, two nights in Denali NP, one night in Fairbanks, one night Coldfoot (Dalton Hightway), one night Prudhoe Bay (beginning of pipeline). I am in love. But, since I spend winters in FL, I probably wouldn't do well in the winter, but I'm going to do my best to get back there in the summer. North of the Arctic Circle it was daylight all night long and we had to cover the windows where the drapes gaped (with our heavy coats) in order to sleep. The most beautiful area I've seen in my 69 years, and I've been in many places in this world. How glad I am we have this as part of our country. Oh yes, thanks for the purse pattern.