Search This Blog

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Like father, like son-minus armpit hair!!!

Yes, Stuey is still sleeping in our bed. He sleeps HARD. Wakes up once for a dipey change and to feed then hes back to sleep. I don't know how long he'll sleep in our bed-I'm playing it by ear. I sleep well, he sleeps well so everyone is happy! He sleeps MUCH harder than Nora ever slept. SHe was up every 2 hours or so. Long term plan sleeping arrangements are still unknown... time will tell where the kiddos will sleep-both in the nursery room or in different rooms... (Zoya)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ella update

I spoke with Ella many times today. She sounded great. Amazing actually. The name of the little guy is Zeke Saltonstall. He was 8 lbs 6 oz at birth. Ella's labor was long it sounds like, but went very smoothly. I can't wait to see photos!! (Zoya)

Ella had her baby!!

Ella had her baby!! Less than half an hour ago.(9:27 AM her time). Mom and baby are good-they didn't know the weight yet. Ella sounded excited and relieved to have it over. More details to follow... Zoya

Monday, May 28, 2007

Odds and Ends

Ella is in labor right now-how wonderfully exciting to think that we'll have a new member of the family in just a matter of hours. I'm so thrilled for Ella and Dicky....and for Leo to be a big brother!

This weekend has been fun, but long. Stu, Nora and I all have the same cold so the energy around here has been low. Poor Nora's nose was stuffed up so much that she barely sucked on her binky today-i think it made breathing difficult for her. Kinda nice to see her for longer periods of time without her binky. (Patrick would disagree-he is against any measures to limit binky time).

The baby years are exhausting. People see Stuart and they say "Oh, I miss those years-those were so fun" and it makes me wonder how I'll look back at childrearing during these first formative months. Perhaps we tend to remember the good points-and selectively forget the evening fussiness, mid-night diaper changes and feedings, holding, walking, carrying. That way mother nature ensures that we'll have more kids! Sorta like how we forget the pain of childbirth. Pretty amazing how fast those memories fade and before you know it, you're thinking about more kids!

Today Patrick took off for 5 hours to go rafting-fun for him-see photos and stories below. I, meanwhile, was behind with two sick kids. I was a little upset about the lack of help until my friend Alexis came by with food from Crab Festival. We ate yummy deep fried goodies, held the kids, chatted and laughed. By the time Patrick came home I wasn't as concerned about the large chunk of time I had by myself. And I was glad his rafting trip was such a success. (Zoya)

The Mighty Russian River

Today Jeremy Counceller and I hiked up the Russian River and floated 2 1/2 miles back to Bell's Flats and the truck. Drizzly weather - bad for skiing but great for boating (we still have great snow on Pyramid - you can even ski to the road). The first part of the float was a little daunting - looking down at the rapids I wondered what we were thinking. And climbing down into the canyon seemed crazy. It was very steep and the roar from down below drowned out all sane conversation. Once down there was no climbing back out either. We were committed. Two grown men in a plastic, inflatable tub and the mighty, snow melt engorged, Russian the only route back to the truck.

We quickly discovered that what looked like small drops from above are actually waterfalls. But the tub was up to the task. Apart from one tense moment when Jeremy flipped and lost the boat in a particularly large set of rapids while I watched from the base of the rapid, all went well. And after about a 1/2 mile we left the deep canyon and entered a lower, less steeply walled canyon with cottonwood trees by the river. Still some class 3 rips, but pleasant. And beautiful. A part of Kodiak that few people ever see.

If you go back to the archives for January you can see what the lower, less steeply walled canyon looks like in winter. in the past, I have skiied up to where we began to raft down. But it is a totally different place with out the snow and ice. Patrick

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Crab Festival weekend

This weekend is the annual Crab Festival-an exuse to eat yummy, often fattening food! Patrick was brave enough to get a plate of king crab (only $15!!!!!!!!) to shuck and share with Nora. Nora sat on his lap the whole time- which surprised me!! i thought she wouldn't last more than 5 minutes.

We met up with Katie, Matt and Natalie St. John (see photo) as well!!

This morning both kiddos aren't feeling great. They fell asleep in my arms in the rocking chair this morning. Today is solely a taking care of kids day!! Nora is a bit warm. I think she may have a touch of a fever. She is asleep on the couch as I write this. Stuey is asleep in my left arm. One-handed typing is getting easier with practice!!

Fun bathtime photos.. Patrick loves the underwater feature of his camera-as you can see!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Our Olga Survey and Excavation

While we were down at the Olga Lakes we conducted an archaeological survey of the lower river and lake and excavated a 1000 year-old house on the banks of the upper river. We did the survey first. When we survey we walk the banks of the river and look for prehistoric sites. Generally sites are either dotted with old house depressions or covered with distinctive lush vegetation, but sometimes the older sites are less obvious and we only find them by digging a test pit and looking for fire cracked rock from old campfires or charcoal stained soil. Once we found a site, Mark and I would map it with a transit while Brian and Justin dug test pits into the house hearths looking for charcoal to radiocarbon date. Ideally we like to date one house from every village, but mostly we are able to estimate the age of the site by the types of artifacts we find and the architectural style of the house depressions.

The top photo shows us setting out one morning from camp on survey. It was spitting rain and snow - hence the new snow on the mountains behind us. In the second photo I am sitting on the side of an old house depression working on the site sketch map. When we map a site I sketch it first, making sure to draw all the house depressions and their orientation to the river bank. We use the transit only to shoot the hearth of each house and to map all of the landscape features (river, bluff edges etc). In the photo if you look closely you can see the main room of a multiroom house in front of me and little siderooms on either side of me.

After we finshed surveying the lower river and lake (we found 11 new sites and mapped around 200 housepits), we moved our entire camp to the mouth of the upper river. This involved an overloaded boat journey across the lake. We noticed that the lake is not very deep - we could see the sandy bottom the whole way across. The house we wanted to excavate is part of a site that is just a 20 minute walk up river from our new camp.

We chose this particular house depression because it represents a certain style of Alutiiq house that has never been excavated. We call them 'cluster houses' because they seem to be single room houses surrounded by storage pits. They generally date to about 1000 years ago. The year before, we determined that the neighbor to the one we excavated is 1000 years old. These houses interest us because they appear to be a transitional style of house between the single room houses - suitable for one nuclear family - of an earlier era, and the huge multiroom houses - suitable for 2 or 3 related nuclear families - the Alutiiq lived in until about 100 years ago. Some archaeologists have argued that the multiroom houses were brought to the Kodiak Archipelago around 800 years ago by invaders from the Alaska Peninsula who supplanted the local population. We believe that the new style of house was developed by the local Alutiiq to allow them to store more salmon under the control of one extended family. If we can demonstrate that the houses evolved on Kodiak we will have struck a devestating blow to the 'invasion' theory.

And we did it! After dealing with frozen ground, pushki roots and thick roof sods (dirt and grass sods that the Alutiiq used to roof their houses), we uncovered the house foundation shown in the bottom 2 photos (one is a map of the house). Mark is squatting in the main room and that is a box hearth in the middle of the room. The people who built the house dug the foundation you see, with the tunnels to the siderooms, and stacked all the dirt on top for a thick roof. A perfect transitional house form. Like the single room houses of the earlier era it had roof sods, a small main room (around 3 meters across), and long, deep entrance tunnel. But like the houses of the later era it had siderooms connected the main room by tunnels, and it appears that the siderooms were used for sleeping. The house also had 2 salmon storage pits not connected to the main room. We had not expected the tunnels connecting the 'pits' of our 'cluster' house to the main room, but they certainly fit with our theory regarding the evolution of the new, multiroom, house form. It appears that multiroom houses are just a lot older than we expected! Patrick

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stuart-my rocking chair junkie

Stuart and Nora are completely back to normal from their trip. The past two days, however, Stuart has a bit of a cold-little sniffles. Poor guy. He is my rocking chair junkie. Nora never really cared for the rocking chair, but it sure soothes Stuart! I brought the chair out to the living room next to the couch. He loves being rocked. Our chair has a big arc to its rock and it is fun to sit in and look out the window to the ocean. When Stuart is gassy, upset, the chair puts him right to ease. During our trip out East, there was one place we stayed where there wasn't a rocking chair and he was harder to soothe in the evening. I discovered that sitting on a bouncy ball may have the same effect... :)

Nora is starting to say "more" and do the sign for "please". And she is verbalizing more...making different sounds. Yesterday Megan said, "I think Nora will start talking soon." She may be right.

The big Crab Festival festivities are this weekend-starting today. The weather is rainy and windy. People will need snorkle gear to enjoy the festivities. The forecast is gloomy. I'll put Nora in her raingear and take her anyway. Megan took this picture of Nora before our trip-she has her toddler grundens and jacket on.

In Kodiak, theres no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear!! Zoya

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

South End Landscape

The South End of Kodiak is a very different place from the North End where the city of Kodiak is situated. Near town on the North End there are rain forests of Sitka Spruce with an understory of alder, devil's club and blueberry. There are no forests down on the south half of Kodiak - just grassland and coastal tundra. This part of the island is more like the Aleutians while the north end is more like Southeast Alaska. Needless to say, but the south end has some great hiking!

Kodiak actually has two treelines - one is the edge of the spruce forest as it colonizes its way south while the other is marked by how up the mountains the trees can grow. Both treelines are on the move. Earlier in the 20th century the City of Kodiak lacked spruce trees - it is only in the last 100 years that the area has become forested - and it appears that prior to around 800 years ago there were no trees on Afognak (the big island north of Kodiak). Biologists have even figured out the rate in terms of miles per decade that the forest moves. The alpine treeline is also on the move, probably due to global warming. Old USGS maps from the 1950 show the forests extending much less far up the mountains than they do now. And I have even noticed that the alder and low growing bushes extend further up the mountains today than they did when i moved here 10 years ago.

But neither treeline has made it to the south end. Just glorious tundra down there. One wonders what it will look like in 200 years. Will the trees ever make it that far south?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Adventure on the South End

Mark, Brian, Justin and I got back yesterday from our archaeological survey and excavation on the Olga Lakes on Kodiak's South end. It was quite a trip and deserves a couple of posts. Today I'll post on the bears and food. Weather was a bit on the chilly side, but we had a big teepee and wood stove. Ground was still frozen and it snowed a few times. But hey - no bugs! And I only got cow parsnip burns at the very end (cow parsnip is a plant whose juice makes your skin highly sensative to sunlight - like huge blisters).

The top photo is a pan of the area we surveyed. Mostly flat with high mountains all around. The river and lakes are one of the top three salmon producing systems on the island ( up there with karluk and Ayakulik Rivers). We actually did not see many bears - only two - but the second photo of the bear represents my adrenaline moment on the trip. I did not use the the zoom feature on my little happy snappy.

We saw the bear at a distance and I yelled to Mark that there was a bear about and to be bear aware - I fully expected the bear to run away like they usually do. But he trotted towards me. I figured he wanted to cross the river, and turned around to walk and join Mark, and get out of his way. Then Mark yelled at me to turn around because the bear was charging. And he was - quite a sight to see a bear coming at full speed towards you. So I hopped on the nearest grass tussuck to make myself taller and waved my arms and yelled. Banged my radio on the notebook. He closed the distance amazingly quickly. He suddenly stopped around 20 meters away but continued to circle closer. Then he stood on his hind legs. I decided that maybe my camera flash might scare him off, but i was convinced that people would find my body and wonder why I tried to get so close to a bear to take his picture. That would be embearassing. But the camera click worked and the bear ran off!

He ran over to a nearby dead deer and ran off carrying a leg. The reason he had been so aggressive was that he was defending his cache of deer meat. Anyway - I had a lot of adrenaline in my legs after that little encounter.

We ate quite well down on the lakes. Plenty of rainbows and dollys - and even the pictured stellhead which we did not eat. We'd have trout for appetizer before our big meal of either pasta or rice and beans. I'd cut slits in the flesh and rub the trout all over with 'Tokyo Spicy Rub' and then cook them in the cast iron fry pan. Very good! We also ate plenty of nettles and fireweed. Excellent greens that people should eat more often. They were especially good with SPAM - sort of like ham and collard greens.


Patrick is Back!!

Patrick and the guys made it home last night safe and sound. We enjoyed a meal of grilled steaks, grilled zucchhini and a big salad. They were craving some serious vegetables after 2 weeks in the field!

Nora was excited with all the attention and she played with Justin, Mark and Brian. The weather was gorgeous as we grilled outside. It feels SO good to have Patrick home. I"m glad I went out East for the majority of the time he was gone, as being here with the kiddos and dogs alone was a lot of work. It sure is nice to have Patrick's companionship, humor and support with parenting.

Pictures and stories about Patricks trip soon to come... and his little meeting with a bear... Zoya

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Family Times out East

The time change adjustment hasn't been as hard for Nora and Stuey as I imagined it would be. Nora wakes up an hour or so earlier than usual and needs an earlier nap, but other than that-we are pretty much back to normal.loo

It was so good to get family time out East. It is hard to be SO FAR AWAY from everyone-especially with our little ones growing up. Nora loved watching Emmy garden-planting, watering....she was fascinated. Emmy and her spent time in the evenings just hanging out on the lawn in the evening warmth. I look forward to when we return out East in November-Patrick and I have decided to go out for Thanksgiving this year. By then Nora will be even easier to travel with, but Stuey will probably be getting more challenging to travel with as he becomes more mobile and active.

Today I am going to a going away barbeque for two friends who are going to begin a sailing trip to Austraila, Alisa and Mike. They have sold their house and will head out in a couple of weeks. They have a 9 month old boy, Elias, who will go on the journey as well! So amazing. I can't wait to hear about it as the trip progresses. They have a blog which they hope to update along the way. :)

The pictures are of Emmy and I with Nora on the infamous lighthouse walk and of the cousins (except for Brooks and Davis) together. Zoya

Friday, May 18, 2007

Home safe and sound

We made it home safe and sound last night. All of our flights connected smoothly-thank heavens. Had to take the electric car in Minneapolis to catch our Anchorage flight, but we made it with about 5 minutes to spare. I had to carry the car seat over everyones heads as I boarded the plane-I think I knocked a few people with the seat and with my bags. Whoops!!

Stuey and Nora did quite well on the flights. Nora had several crying bouts, as to be expected. She particularly didn't like it when I had to walk up and down the aisle with Stuey once to get him calmed down. Just as he quited down, Nora started crying and motioning "Up". So I had to walk up and down once with her. For about an hour one or the other child was crying. Our fellow passengers were troopers!!

When we got home, Nora charged towards the mud puddles in the driveway and proceeded to play in them for a good 10 minutes. She stomped all around in them, got very wet, but I didn't mind. It was nice to see her so happy in her element!

Upon arriving back in our home, Nora cruised around for close to 2 hours checking out all her books, hanging with the doggies, playing with her toys. She was quite pleased to be home, I could tell.

The trip East went as wonderfully as it possibly could have!! We had plenty of hang out/relax time as well as time with family. The warm weather followed us everywhere we went, which was quite nice. 60's and 70's pretty much the entire time we were there.

Emmy and Nora had a fun time on the yard in Emmy's house near Boston. She helped Granny garden and would spend time in the evenings on the yard with Emmy.

The library photo of Megan with the kiddos is in the living room of Emmy's house in Rockport, Maine. That is where we spent a large part of our trip. The outdoor photo of the white house is the outside of that house. The alligators are metal sculptures Dicky made for Emmy several years ago. Zoya

Monday, May 14, 2007

Last day in Maine

Tomorrow we're headed back to Boston in prep for flying out on Thursday home. Its been a fantastic trip-sunny weather-fun times with family. I'm glad our trip has been long-it gave Nora and Leo time to get accustomed to eachother.

Yesterday we took a walk out to a lighthouse-along a rocky boardwalk. The walk was a mile each way. Meg carried Stuey and I carried Nora on my back carrier. She did great on the way to the lighthouse, but lost it on the way back. I had to practically run the mile back. I couldn't take Nora off my back, as the boardwalk is narrow and there are lots of cracks in it-walking for Nora would have been difficult. Nora screamed most of the way back. Lets just say it was quite the stellar workout for me!!

In the photos, Ella is holding Nora. It was a rare moment for Ella-as Leo was outside so Ella was able to hold Nora. When Ella holds Nora or Stuey, Leo comes up to her and says, "Up, Up" wanting Ella to pick him up.

In the family dinner photo, the people are (from Left clockwise) : Emmy (Patrick's mom), Meg, Nora, Dicky, Leo, Ella, Davis and Brooks.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Maine Times

Having a relaxing time here in Maine! Still warm and sunny.

Yesterday I had a Wat-su Therapy session-massage done in a pool. It was absolutely amazing. Ella got me the session as a birthday gift and I didn't know what to expect. The session was done in a round pool that was heated to 98 deg. Just fantastic. The therapist moved me around in the water-twisted me around like a pretzel. It was surreal-so fabulous. I never wanted to leave. I felt like I was in the womb!!! If I lived in Rockport, I think I'd turn into a Wat-su junkie-going every week. It was the best gift ever from Ella.

Megan is sailing with Dicky, Brooks and Davis as I write this. They're on the Faamu Sami-Dicky's trimaran. I'll try to post a photo of his sailboat sometime.

Nora and Leo are warming up to eachother. Its taken a few days. Nora is notorious for going over and pushing Leo. Leo is a trooper.

Stuey is sleeping fabulously at night-last night he slept from 8:30- midnight-woke up for a dipey change then slept till 6 AM. i am in heaven with his current sleeping schedule. Hopefully it'll stick. :)

Patrick called from Olga bay yesterday-sounds cold and wet. Rainy and snow in the mountains. I'm glad he calls. Its so good to hear his voice. To know he is safe and sound.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Warm Weather in Maine!

We've been blessed with 70 degree weather this week in Maine! Yeah! Its been fun to wear summer clothes and not have to worry about jackets when going outside. The past several days have been filled with a trip to the pool with Nora, visits with Patrick's sister, Polly, dinners with Ella, Dicky, et al and just relaxing. Nora and Leo have had a few spats with eachother where there is some pushing and fighting going on-pretty funny to watch them duke it out!!

Swimming at the pool with Nora was FABULOUS> they have a therapy pool at the local YMCA which is waaayyyy heated, shallow and perfect for kiddos. Nora was in heaven. Just like a giant bathtub.

Stuey is sleeping from 10pm-5AM lately-straight through! I'm lovin' it. Waking up feeling SO rested.

Patrick called-all is well on the dig. thank heavens. He hadn't called for a few days so I was getting worried. Thank goodness for satellite phones!


Photos are of Polly holding Stuey yesterday and the rest are self-explanatory....Stuey, Nora, myself and Leo. :)

Sunday, May 06, 2007


We're having a blast here in Maine. The weather is gorgeous, Leo and Nora are finding their groove together and Meg and I are getting lots of rest and relaxation. Ella got us a 1 week family membership to the gym, which is fabulous. I've been able to keep up with my weight lifting-yeah!

Things are beginning to turn green here in Rockport, I bet by the time we leave spring will be in full bloom! :)

Last night Nora climbed out of her playpen. I heard her crying for a bit after I put her in it at bedtime. All of a sudden she comes walking out the door. The playpen will still standing, so she didn't knock it over to get out. Pretty amazing. Luckily there is another playpen which we were able to use-and she wasn't able to climb out.

Stuart slept from 9:30-4:00 last night-LOVELY!!! I was in heaven as I desperately needed 1 good night of sleep. Seems like between Nora getting a quick intestinal bug and doing feedings with Stuey and time change adjustments, I was lacking big time in the sleep department.

Patrick has called a couple times from his dig in Olga Bay-sounds like all is going well.

This upcoming week we have playgroups for the kids, trips to the parks, swimming with Nora and hang out time planned. Should be a fun time! :) (Zoya)

Friday, May 04, 2007

In Maine

We're in Maine now hanging out with Ella and Dicky and Leo. I was imformed by Ella that a blogpost is boring without a photo, but I opted to post anyhow. Nora is sleeping on my lap and I don't have a current photo handy to download.

The trip out East went smoothly. Megan and I were pleasantly surprised with how smooth and fast the flights went. 1 hour stop in Anchorage and Minn. and before we knew it we were in Boston. Nora LOVED walking around the terminal people watching and she grew to enjoy the plane ride as well!

We're in Rockport Maine now and Patrick's mom has generously offered for us to stay at her house here. She'll be up next week from Massachusetts to join us. We spent the first 2 days of our trip with her in Boston. Our plans for the upcoming week include trips to the local YMCA for swimming, exercise, walks, trips to the park, playgroups with Ella's friends kids, petting zoo, eating and just plain hanging out. Its fun to see Ella 36 weeks pregnant! This is the first time I have ever seen her pregnant.

Patrick called from his Olga bay dig today and he sounds well. Sounds like they have plenty of firewood to keep them warm. yeah!


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Off to the South End & Places East

Well I am off to Olga Bay to conduct an archaeological survey and excavation with Justin Hays, Mark Rusk and Brian Davis. Meanwhile Zoya is in Maine with the Kiddos and Megan visiting with her sister Ella. At this very moment she is driving up the highway from Boston to Maine. In an hour I'll be in a float plane winging on down to the South End. The doggies have their friend Missy coming to stay and keep them company and watch the house.

The photos are of Olga lakes where we will surveying. I took them last year while I was down there. It's a wild place. No more posts from me until the 20th of May when I return, but Zoya plans to post from Maine. So stay tuned. Patrick