End of the Fireweed

I like how Alaskans measure their summer by the bloom of the Fireweed plant.

I picked up running this summer. My goal was to run a comfortable 5K by my birthday. I did it and it was great! I started from the very beginning using an ITouch app that had me out three times a week for eight weeks leading up to 5 kilometers. Got to admit, it was a nice motivator.

I watched the Fireweed burst out of the ground, bloom its gorgeous fuchsia flowers and turn to cotton while working my way to a more fit me. Looking out the window, I see bare stalks of Fireweed and that can only mean that frost is on its way and its time to bust out the window scraper. I tell ya though, what an amazing summer it's been!

Our summer was mostly spent on the boat exploring Kachemak Bay. We took along those laminated invertebrate identification cards and hit the beaches with Toddler. We found all sorts of fascinating creatures: baby sea urchins, anemones, sea cucumbers, chitons and giant barnacles. Toddler and her friends had a blast looking for critters and using the cards to identify what we found. We've had those cards for a while and it's been fun watching how Toddler's interaction with them changes over time.

It was hot. Scorching by Alaska standards. Toddler actually swam in the waters of Tutka Bay this summer. She had a ball! We bought a small turtle pool for the yard and the kids loved every second in the water. That thing was totally worth the $14 I spent on it!

The restaurants were better this summer, too. La Baleine, The Little Mermaid, Finns, Fresh Catch and that new bagel shop on East End - great places! For those (like me) who love to eat, this summer brought plenty to keep us happy. Hopefully the winter eateries up their game because this summer's culinary scene totally raised the bar.

Hunter decided to start teaching Toddler to fish. He bought her a small Barbie fishing pole and taught her to cast. She loved it. A few weeks back, she hooked a 20 pound halibut on the Barbie pole, seriously testing its outer limits. The pole stood up to a good fight as Hunter reeled in that fish for his little girl. Made for a delicious dinner and an even better story.

Little Hunter is growing into a spitting image of his daddy. We celebrated his first birthday last month. Its amazing how time flies. I can't wait to see how he grows up in and interacts with this amazing place.

As for me, this summer has been marked by friendships. That ever so lovely air fare war this summer brought my cousin and her son up from California. I was so grateful for her visit. It's been at least a decade since I last saw her and I missed her. Friends from Florida came up for a visit, friends from Fairbanks came down for a spell and this weekend, I get to reconnect with a friend from Dillingham. Love it.

I tell you dear readers, there are some wonderful, inspiring and amazing people here in Homer. This summer was amazing but it wouldn't have been half as amazing if it wasn't shared with fantastic friends. You all know the saying that friends are the family you choose? Up here in Alaska, that's most especially true.

As I blow the dust off my window scraper, I'm thankful for an amazing summer full of wild experiences with amazing people. I look forward to the next season. To cool weather hikes, bonfires and house parties.