Okay, two weeks have passed, and a couple hours ago it was snowing – again! There’s still some ice on the lake, but this afternoon I heard a loon cry. Hooray! I don’t know if it is crying from joy at being back home on my Alaskan lake, or crying because there’s still ice out there. I’ve always wondered how they know exactly the day the lake opens so they can move in and take it over again. But having watched their ferocious territorial protection through the decades, I know they intend to be the first birds here. Last year a Common Loon showed up early, like in the days of my youth, but this one must have been a teenager looking for a pond of his own, because soon the now-resident Pacific Loons arrived and the chase was on for over an hour, that smaller Pacific daddy never rested until the challenger took off. As I’m typing, I can hear a duck too, but I know it won’t be around long since loons hate ducks and won’t allow them to stay. Loons can be very deadly to unwelcome waterfowl, in fact my Aunt Pat still hates them for skewering her pet ducks by coming up from under like a torpedo, long bill going right through those fluffy quacking bodies.
That’s a rough story to begin an entry, but it’s been a difficult month for everyone, waiting for the latest spring in Southcentral Alaskan history, after the biggest recorded winter snowfall. Who knew when I left the hot days of Arizona spring that I would return to another entire month of winter? Enough already. Maybe we’ll finally have robins and the grass can turn green, leaves open on the trees and something besides new rhubarb poke up through the ground. I’m complaining even though I was gone for part of the winter! I think of all the many years that I never escaped from winter at all.
My friend Shar came over again from Seward, and we had a fun day. She taught me to make a basket, here is my first creation. I made another by myself this week, just for practice. Since we both miss RV life on the road, in the evening we watched the only two motor home related movies I could find, Lucille Ball’s Long, Long Trailer and Robin Williams’ RV. It was great to laugh together, munch popcorn and forget the non-spring outdoors.
By the way, before you ask, the ivory charm on the basket is an Eskimo-carved Billiken from the 50s, one of several I’ve had stashed away for many years.
This week I went to Kenai to help with appropriations to the area Senior Centers for United Way. Each of the six applying centers came in to make their presentations, then our committee had to decide how much of the available money would go to each one. Of course they all asked for far more money than we had to give out. One of the women who came was someone I knew decades ago in my early real estate days. She lives in senior housing and teaches oil painting at a nearby senior center twice a week, so I think I might go sit in on a class.
I attended a “car care” class sponsored by the Extension Service and put on by my favorite auto shop. This free program is called “Neighbor to Neighbor” and I think it’s a great idea to have local people share expertise with others in the community. All their mechanics stayed after closing hours to talk to the group (unsurprisingly all women). We each brought in our cars to learn about them, so I had the Subaru. As I expected from exaggerated recent bouncing on road dips, my front shocks are shot and some other stuff. But nothing critical and the car will drive just fine until I can afford to fix them.
The next day was an adventure that I can laugh about, now that it’s over. I finally called AAA to get air put in the truck’s flat tire and had it started, drove to town and visited an old friend while I let it run, then on the way home the truck coughed a couple of times and died just as I pulled up to a major intersection. Dead in the street. What a helpless feeling… but funny, too. Even in the moment I could see the humor of it. Several people stopped and I used someone’s cell phone to call the tow truck guy who had just helped me with the tire, so he quickly came to tow the truck (thanks, AAA) to the repair shop where I attended the class the night before. He even gave me a ride home first. Nice guy. The repair shop replaced the alternator, battery and serpentine belt, but say the truck is in good shape otherwise. Cost: $620. If I had a piggy bank, I would have had to break it to pay the bill.
After a lifetime of changing over winter and summer tires every spring and fall, I decided to have the studs taken out of the Subaru tires. Now I’ll just leave these on all year. Thankfully both vehicles are done for spring now, so I can take them off my To Do List.
You can see from this picture of Cheyenne how boring it’s been lately… too nasty to even go for walks, but I promised her that I’ll make up for it soon.