15 aug 09 garden variety change

This weekend and last have been devoted to landscaping as we prepared for and now clean up from the replacement of our septic tank and the line to the leach field. All the digging, potting, raking, shoveling, and picking rocks lends a large quantity of time for thinking. The more repetitive tasks almost become meditative.

Thinking about the changes in the yard brought me to thinking about change in life in general. Why is some change anticipated to be good and other bad? Some change has obvious immediate good/bad quality. Being convicted of a crime and going to jail. Bad. Winning the lottery. Good. But other change seems to have a good/bad quality depending upon how you think about it.

The septic tank replacement is a good example. Having a huge hole dug in the yard under a large flower bed, part of the driveway, and the main walkway to the house means that there is going to be some work to do on our part and the rest of it is going to cost some money. Even though neither one of us would choose this as the way to spend two August weekends and half a dozen evenings, we didn't moan about it too much. Why? Probably partly because we both do enjoy working in the yard and improving our home. But also because this would be an opportunity to make some changes that we never would have put into motion otherwise. All that asphalt that the previous owners needed for snowmachine trailers or whatever -- some of that's gone. The pretty campanula that became an aggressive ground cover -- buried with the new tank. The dry creek bed that we admired on the garden tour last month -- it's inspiration is meandering through the renewed flower bed. The possibility of having another sewer backup into the basement -- not while we live here.

So because the change - even though a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of time - brings us multiple things that we call good, we can ignore the bad -- like the cost, the time doing manual labor, the loss of time for biking and kayaking. So if we could think similarly about other changes, we could call them good, too, and not bad. I guess there's my challenge the next time my husband, my boss, or life throws some change at me that doesn't seem very good at first. Isn't that called finding the silver lining?

1 aug 09 north of seward

B jumping drainage ruts on the Ptarmigan Creek Trail
Summertime .. little time for editing photos and blogging ... so another mostly pictorial edition of the (somewhat) weekly.

We spent the first weekend of the month in the Seward area. We camped two nights at Primrose Campground, the Forest Service campground at the very southern tip of Kenai Lake.

Paul and I biked part of the Primrose Creek trail up to Lost Lake. It was not one of my stronger performances. At least the woods were pretty.

Bhikkhu found a moose femur in the campsite. A little slice of doggie heaven. The bone was almost as big as he is.

On Sunday we hiked the Ptarmigan Creek trail before joining the long lines of cars wanting to beat the traffic.

july 09 in review

I keep thinking I should put an automatic reply on my email and a note on this blog that says: "I'm out playing in this perfect Alaska summer and will not be at my computer again until it rains." I keep tabs on email but have been a bad respondent this summer. And as you see, the blog has not been weekly. The photos are piling up on the hard drive ... just not being edited or uploaded or posted. So tonight it's raining, and after doing a little yard work, I thought I'd try to catch up on the events of the past month. Here is the month in photos.

Paul's sister Mary and her husband Gerry arrived on the 6th. Their visit prompted our first outing on the Winner Creek Trail and handtram near Girdwood.

We stayed at a cabin in Thumb Cove for 4 nights. Mary & Gerry kayaked for the first time and Gerry spent many hours trying to catch fish from the shore and kayak.

We climbed to a glacier one day and bushwacked up a creek another.

The last Sunday of the month was the annual Anchorage garden tour. Friends Pam & Roger from Talkeetna and their neice from Oregon joined us for our annual bicycle tour of the gardens. Paul and I pedaled over 41 miles to see some beautiful backyards in our fair city.

And the little dog became a hiker, lost some weight, got curlier, and is totally spoiled. We saw his twin at one of the gardens and have decided he's a purebred Bichon Frise.