Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alaska Tidbits, Part 2

I don't know how I could manage to forget blogging about some of these things, honestly I don't!

FORGET-ME-NOTS - The funeral home prepared a sweet surprise for us. They took the photo of Mom we'd given them and put it on packets of flower seeds with "In Loving Memory of Gloria Dee Thomas 1927-2009" They are Forget-Me-Not wildflower seeds. As the Forget-Me-Not is Alaska's state flower, I figured they might grow up there a whole lot better than down here in Arizona. So I took several packs up with me to plant on our property. On Day 3 of our road building weekend, I took some time and found a spot in a lush little bowl along the south side of our driveway. There is a big beautiful birch tree there and it is on the southern side that looks out to our beautiful view. I found three spots around a white trunked tree and planted a total of 5 packets. We won't be there to attend to them or assure they get enough water during the dry month of June. But I sure hope they grow. I have some packets left and would like to plant them in a few other places. I haven't decided where yet because it's hard to project what spots will not be disturbed in our future efforts to improve and clean up the land.

I will be thrilled if I come back next year and see some pretty pale blue flowers growing around that birch. It's such a peaceful spot with a beautiful view.

Another interesting bit about Forget-Me-Nots. When we left Detroit in 1966, the wife of my dad's partner gave Mom a pin with Forget-Me-Nots on it. They had become friends and with the pin, Esther encouraged Mom to not forget her. Several years ago, Mom gave me the pin and told me the story, saying something like, "so here's so you won't forget me either!" Like I ever could, but it was cute. So, I love that the funeral home gave us these seeds, that it's Alaska's state flower and likely to grow there, and that some of them are now planted in a beautiful spot on our land there.

I DROVE THE BACKHOE! - Woohoo! I am such a scaredy-cat I can't believe I actually wanted to and asked The Fisherman if I could try it. But I did. First I got in with him so he could show me how the controls work. There is NO room for a passenger in a backhoe. At least no room for a passenger to sit. I perched on the edge of some tiny little half-ledge and hung on for dear life on the bumpiest bounciest ride of my life. The driver has a nice cushy and spring-loaded seat...a definite necessity.

I was to operate the bucket part. The basic controls were simple: Forward, Neutral, and Reverse. Then there's the bucket controls: Bucket Up, Bucket Down, Tilt Up and Tilt Down. We switched places and he directed me through a little jaunt! I went forward and reverse (beep, beep, beep) and then he had me manipulate the bucket. It was fun. He had me drive up to the dirt pile and was ready to end our little session (I'm sure presuming I'd be ready to quit, too) but I said, "Can I scoop something?!" "Yeah, you can!" He had me back up and when I put it in Forward, he told me to give it more gas as I approached the tall pile of dirt. "More gas. More still. Mash it!" he said as I was barely increasing my speed at all - ever conservative and timid. In order to dig into the dirt, you have to go faster than you think because the resistance of the wall of dirt will prevent you from going very far into the pile and you won't get a good bite. It is so counter-intuitive. Needless to say, I didn't get a full bucket of dirt but I did it! I backed up and carried the scoop a little ways. Then we switched and I got out. He delivered the scoop to a portion of the road. Woohoo! It was fun!

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