Our mosquito season began on June 5 this year, the same day as it did last year. I [Michael] use the 5th because Becky's birthday is on June 4, and I don't want to discourage people from coming to Becky's birthday party. In truth the mosquitoes appear in April, and their numbers slowly build through the spring, but for the last two years they haven't really acquired their taste for blood until early June. I didn't have to start using bug spray until after the party this year.
Until then, our little acre of forest is a paradise. Our lot straddles the terminal moraine of the Mendenhall Glacier, a pile of sand and small rocks (and a few larger ones as well) left behind when the glacier began retreating from here about four hundred years ago. There are trees now, hundreds on our property alone, predominantly spruce and hemlock with some alder and cottonwood (I think) thrown in, several of which are more than a century old. We have many blueberry bushes below the trees, and a layer of moss that covers over the slight ridgeline our house straddles. There are two creeks on the property, both of which tend to go almost dry this time of year, and a lovely variety of small plants pushing up all along the banks. It's all lovely.
Like last year, we hosted Becky's party in our back yard. Also like last year, we were greeted with warm and sunny weather. This year's bunch of kids was much more active than last year and were a treat to watch. They took full advantage of the swings and the woods, running, playing, pretending, investigating, and doing all the other things kids just out of Kindergarten might do. The kids were busy enough with each other that the adults even had a chance to socialize! A good time was had by all.
Becky lost her long hair again. I was keeping up with it during the school year, brushing it out and tying it up every day, but once summer set in I didn't. Her hair soon became quite an annoyance, and she quickly agreed that she wanted it short if short meant no more tangled hair. Sheryl was so eager to stop fussing with it she even allowed me to cut it!
We had a wonderfully dry spring with many sunny days and very little rain, allowing me to get much of the foundation insulation done. The day after Becky's party I dismantled most of the rear deck and began trenching along the north wall. Most recently I built a small landing for one of our back doors and finished the surround for the crawlspace entry; the next task is to remove the rest of the old deck and complete the below grade work along the north wall, which I hope to have done before my dad gets here in July.
Throughout the dig I have been pleased to find very few rocks and about the easiest digging I have ever done. This is especially pleasing because I'm not young (48 today) and I really do want my projects to go as easily as possible. Fortunately, our house apparently rests on top glacial deposits rather than on the bedrock our nearby river had to carve through.
Despite their numbers, the mosquitoes have been almost a non-issue. When I go out in the morning I'll dose myself with a little Off (it smells better to me than their competitors), and even when I'm out for hours, sweating hard from digging, I'm not getting any bites. The mosquitoes are certainly there, and it's a little unnerving at times when I start to look at how many are flying nearby, but the bug spray does its stuff, allowing me to do mine.
Sheryl is administering a summer camp program for the next two weeks. My dad gets here when that concludes and we all go to Anchorage together (to visit Sheryl's family and attend her 30th high school reunion), I come back here with my dad to meet my brother and spend some quality time together working on my insulation project, my dad goes home and my brother goes to Anchorage with me, and we all come home. But wait, there's more! After that, I fly to Austin for my 30th high school reunion (even though I graduated in Oakland) and to see my mom and my oldest daughter. Then Sheryl will need to get ready for her new teaching assignment.
The rest of the summer will be busy.
at 9:35 AM YDT
Updated: Monday, June 22, 2009 10:11 AM YDT