March 31, 2009

YOU GOTTA SEE THESE!!!! Time lapse video of Redoubt erupting!

These videos are SO COOL! I cannot believe the sheer forces of nature at work here!

These were taken near Seldovia, Alaska about 80 miles away from the volcano.

Redoubt Eruption March 27 2009 from Bretwood Higman on Vimeo.

Time lapse of Redoubt Volcano ash from Bretwood Higman on Vimeo.

March 29, 2009

Volcano therapy

(Thursday's 65,000ft ashcloud as seen from space!)

OK, so it turned out not to be too big of a deal, but it was a little exciting none the less! We were enjoying hanging out at Nature Lady's house when the Prof mentioned that a report said we were getting ash. There had been a couple eruptions earlier in the day. We all headed outside onto the deck. I ran my finger over the banister and was surprised to feel grit! The sunny day had greyed up and what looked like winter fog was actually ash. A while later we went back outside to find a thin layer of ash everywhere and accumulations along the windows and windshield wipers on the cars. I could now smell a bit of sulfur in the air. Nature Lady got some pics(a couple are posted on her site!) . We enjoyed splitting our EARTH HOUR between Nature Lady's, the drive home, and our house. I was hoping to get some pics here this morning but we had a lot of wind and it looks like most of it has blown away. I haven't been outside yet but if there is anything to photograph, I'll post it later.

We've known some ashfall would be imminent after eruptions and last week I discussed this with Lo who was quite wide eyed at the thought of having to stay inside or wear face masks if we had to go outside. I Know she's been a bit frightened by the whole volcano thing these past couple of months. The volcano has been one of the most predominant subjects of her imaginative play and drawing. This is Lo's main way of dealing with both stressors and things of great interest. Sometimes both are not mutually exclusive.

So that wide eyed look on her face prompted me to engage her in some art therapy. After reading about stratovolcanos, magma, why volcano's erupt, etc. she did some drawings. We examined Daddy's volcanic rock from Craters of the Moon as well.We didn't have any clay but I thought I could put together a quick makeshift volcano out of foil and a plastic container and show her the ole' baking soda and vinegar erupting volcano experiment. Dea walked in from school at that point saying,"Oh! i remember doing this with you! And in EVERY single grade at school...". Lo was thrilled with the volcano and we went through quite a bit of vinegar and baking soda!

(Lo and Dea's interpretive dance, Erupting Frightening Volcano!)

Over the next few days volcanoes were incorporated into a lot of play. A little doll was errected out of silkies in volcano colors. Rice and beans became a volcano, as well as blocks and pillows/blankies, and paintings. I do think it all has helped her to process these very mysterious and powerful volcanic events.

March 28, 2009

EEEEEwwwwwwww! It, like, totally smells like ASH around here!

'Tis snowin ash-more latah.

March 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

March 23, 2009

Thar she blows!!!! Mt. Redoubt ERUPTS!!!! 8PM UPDATE

UPDATE: Another major eruption as of 7:41 this evening. A new ash cloud is billowing forth and reaching 60,000ft. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ANCHORAGE HAS ISSUED AN ASH FALL ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM AKDT TUESDAY. As per the Anchorage Daily News: "At a 3 a.m. press conference today, AVO geophysicist John Powers said -- looking at the history of Redoubt eruptions -- this event might continue for months." WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

Nighty night!

Image courtesy of AVO

Camera is located at AVO's Redoubt Hut, approximately 7.5 mi (12 km) from Redoubt's summit crater. This camera provides a view of the north flank of Redoubt. This camera is in a remote location and operates on battery power.

Approximate sunrise/sunset times at the Redoubt - Hut webcam:

Monday March, 23, 2009:

Sunrise: 08:03 AKDT

Sunset: 20:31 AKDT

Heather Bleick / AVO / USGS
Redoubt volcano spews steam and ash from a crater on its north flank March 15, 2009.

*Ash cloud is now up to 60,000 ft after the 5th and strongest eruption around 4am this morning. Ash is still expected to miss Anchorage. Whew.

Updated story here:
Fifth explosion rocks Mount Redoubt volcano by GEORGE BRYSON

After months of threatening rumbles, Mount Redoubt finally exploded overnight in five separate eruptions, the latest sometime 5 a.m. today.

A fourth explosion had rocked the volcano at 1:39 a.m. after three eruptions earlier in the night sent an ash cloud an estimated 50,000 feet into the air, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.

The first eruption came at 10:38 p.m. Sunday followed by another at 11:02 p.m., and a third at 12:14 a.m. today.

Winds were carrying the ash plume north toward the Susitna Valley, and an ash advisory has been issued for the area until 8 a.m., the National Weather Service said.
Ash was not expected in Anchorage or Wasilla at this time, the Weather Service said, although they said a light dusting might be possible.

March 18, 2009


(Early evening light on a ridge across our valley)

March 17, 2009

Kiss my ARSE, St. Pat

You won't find any shamrock cupcakes or construction paper Leprechaun hats or rainbow plushies over here on MountainPulse today. Inspirationally, it's been a slow few days and I've been having a bit of the withdrawals from all the wonderful crafty colloquiums out there because so many people are enmeshed in the whole St. Patrick's Day thing and I won't be a part of it. There's no celebration here.

I won't celebrate the decimation and destruction of other's cultures and I won't celebrate some superficial facet of the holiday of another religion as my own. Learning about and respecting another religion's holiday with my children is one thing...
But you wouldn't find me celebrating Ramadan...Just because it's Ramadan time.

St. Patrick did not "drive the snakes from Ireland" (naturalists are convinced that larger reptiles were never part of the fauna of the Emerald Isle...and that includes no snakes BEFORE St. Patrick's time either!) St. Patrick played a part in culturecide and murder. Like so many other cultures and earth/nature based religions that have been destroyed in the name of Christianity. I dig Jesus. Jesus would roll over in his tomb with all this malarkey.

According to the legend, St. Patrick stamped his staff on the ground to rid the snakes out of Ireland. The snakes that were "sent from the island" were the Druids, medicine women, shaman and pagan population- people who lived in harmony with nature. At first, his methods were insidious. Luring in and gaining the respect of pagans, utilizing their symbols and tools to weave their beliefs into Christianity. Bon fires were lit in false respect for their fire gods. The shamrock, symbolic of the Triple Goddess, became the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. A circle, representing the sun, was incorporated into the Christian cross. But the Christian Church taught its missionaries that if they could not convert any natives, they were to use any means necessary to convert the nonbelievers. The Druids refused to relinquish their beliefs and convert to Christianity. St. Patrick realized if he could eradicate the symbol of the oroborus(a snake eating it's own tail) -often worn or tattooed on a druid's body- he could take away their power and leadership ability. So the snakes we're removed by force. He whacked the tattoos -placed on whole chunks of skin, or limbs-off their bodies, branded them off, and/or took their trinkets. For their own good, of course. St. Patrick is said to have incited the murders of almost eight hundred Druid priests and priestesses. He destroyed all of their records.
Another culture lost to the crucible of Christianity.

For those who are Catholic, this is your day. A religious observance of a Catholic Saint, his death and what is viewed as his accomplishments: thirty years of converting pagans to Christianity and building and setting up monasteries and places of worship all around Ireland. Traditionally a holy day in Ireland, spent eating a feast with family and worshiping in church, it has been hijacked and turned into a boozefest. A capitalistic wet dream like so many other holidays. An excuse for non-Irish and/or non-Christians to get busy wearing green and being drunk at 9am. The Wearin' of the Green and the Brownin' of the Shorts. Another example of disrespecting other cultures. Do we honor the Irish by getting falling-down drunk? !!? Isn't it a mockery of a culture who may have a propensity toward alcoholism? There are studies indicating that there is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism in the Irish:

Genomewide linkage study in the Irish affected sib pair study of alcohol dependence: evidence for a susceptibility region for symptoms of alcohol dependence on chromosome 4 Alcoholism is a relatively common, chronic, disabling and often treatment-resistant disorder. Evidence from twin and adoption studies indicates a substantial genetic influence, with heritability estimates of 50-60%. We conducted a genome scan in the Irish Affected Sib Pair Study of Alcohol Dependence (IASPSAD).

St. Patrick's Day is without question the biggest celebration of a national day across the globe. In big American cities, in Moscow's Red Square, in Montserrat (the only place besides Ireland to declare 17th March a full public holiday) and even in Nigeria, people bedecked in green will be proclaiming themselves Irish for the day. St. Patrick's Day has traditionally been celebrated with more fanfare abroad than in Ireland. I'm sorry....but, What the fuck?!?!?

Celebrating my Irish heritage as well as Celtic spirituality on this day is not outside my realm of interest. I've thought of "rebelling" and taking this day back. By reliving the long-lost traditions of the Celts, telling stories, serving a feast, and discussing history, theology, spirituality...
I admit haven't given it a lot of thought, and I probably should. How to incorporate a pre-Chistian celebration on this day? How to distinguish it from and the hullabaloo that goes on today, for my children's sake? I should plan to have something more concrete for next year, but there is still time today for us to make this wreath of the banished serpents!

March 16, 2009

Mo Sushi

So here's our follow-up on the whole sushi extravaganza. I made my first attempt at real (but not so traditional)sushi rolls and they came out..."eh" for presentation and "effin' YAY!" for taste. I have a real aversion to to bleached/blanched/refined/milled and polished/EMPTY CALORIE food so I stubbornly used some short grain brown basmati rice instead of the recommended sticky japonica rice. I assumed it wouldn't be sticky enough, but what the hell. It actually worked quite well! I threw in some avocado, carrot, cucumber, and leftover salmon, did what the Sushi book told me to do and BEHOLD! and healthy, too! Bonus!

As I dinked around with my sushi, I looked over at Lo who had been watching and mixing a bowl of pretend food. She had found some felt scraps and was attempting to roll her wood food in a spare piece of nori !
It gave me the idea to set up an assortment of precut pieces of felt and fabric so that we could make some play sushi rolls. We used dark green felt for the nori, white terry cloth for the rice, light green fabric for the avocado, orange felt for the carrot, and little tufts of wool (that we had dyed last year with dandelions) for the egg. You can pretty much make these the same way as the real thing-except you'll have to make each individual piece as opposed to a whole roll and then cutting the pieces. Just roll up and stitch closed! We made some with the rice on the outside and some with the nori on the outside.
OK! Enough with the sushi, already.

March 12, 2009

Psychedelic sushi! -Recipe Thursday

A couple days ago I rediscovered my Barnes and Noble Sushi kit when searching for something in a cabinet. I'd totally forgotten about it and had never used it! I'd been on a sushi jones anyway so I thought I'd give it a go. It' s been lots of fun making all kinds of sushi paraphernalia and later, I'll post the results. But, since it's Thursday, and been awhile since I did a Recipe Thursday, I'm going to share the candy sushi that the kids and I made last night.

I know this is bad...sugar, sugar, sugar.'s so FUN!!!! You'll find them passed out on the ceiling later, but here we go:


3 tbsp butter
3 cups miniature marshmallows
3 cups crispy rice cereal
gummy worms
gummy fish
sour trouts(sour gummy fish)
1 box assorted color Fruit Roll-Ups

First: Pre-peel the fruit roll-ups from their plastic and otherwise fully prepare all equipment and ingredients before making the "rice dough". Lo had lots of fun organizing and sorting the candy by colors.

2. Place 3 tablespoons of butter in a large sauce pan and heat until melted.

3. Add 3 cups of miniature marshmallows to the bowl, and stir until the marshmallows are completely melted and smooth.

4. Add 3 cups of rice cereal and stir until completely coated.

Immediately pour mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet. You want to do the pressing, candy set up, rolling and cutting quite quickly while the krispie dough is still warm and malleable!!! Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray, and begin to press the dough into the sheet in a thin layer. Begin working from the edge of the shorter side of the sheet. The mixture will only cover approximately half of the baking sheet.
*You can also use a sushi rolling mat lined with cellophane to roll your logs.

5. With the short side of the baking sheet nearest you, place a pair of gummy worms an inch from the edge. Place another pair directly below, and repeat until you have a line of worms stretching across the baking sheet.

6. Using the waxed paper to help you, roll the cereal mixture around the gummy worms, pressing firmly to make a tight roll. Take a large sharp knife and cut the log away from the rest of the mixture. Place it off to the side, and repeat the worms/rolling/cutting procedure for the remainder of the cereal.

7. Slice the logs into 1-inch rounds. Wrap each round in a strip of green-colored Fruit Roll-Ups.
*I later found that placing a whole fruit roll up sheet in the baking pan, pressing the krispie dough on top of it, and then rolling the whole thing up worked better than steps # 4 and 5. It eliminated a step and just held together better.

8. To make the fish-topped “nigiri,” make an oval-ish shape with the warm krispie dough and press it onto a sheet of wax paper. The thickness should be about 3/4 inch. Place a gummie fish or sour trout on top and wrap a 1/2 inch thin piece of roll up around the whole thing.

9. For a finishing touch, decorate your sushi platter to look more authentic. Green-tinted whipped cream (or melted white chocolate) -to REALLY get 'em reved up- for wasabi, and thinly sliced pink fish or crinkled up red roll-up for pickled ginger.

Enjoy your sushi right away! The cooler these puppies get, the harder. DO NOT REFRIGERATE or teeth and fillings will be pried out!

March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Arctic Wind
(Moonrise above the ridge behind our house)

March 9, 2009

Next time your kiddos are sick...

...let them manifest their crummies into lovable germ stuffies!

When Lo was sick with a fever last week it sparked quite an interest and much discussion about GERMs-mainly bacteria and viruses. She wanted to know what they are, how we "get them" and what they do in our bodies. Lo also repeatedly asked about bacteria and the difference between bacteria, germs, and viruses.

We started off by talking about what an organism is- living things
what microscopic means-something soooooo tiny that it can't be seen with our eyes. A million viruses could fit on the head of a pin.
what a micro-organism is-a tiny living being that can only be seen with a microscope.

Lo had been under the impression that germs are actual bugs, insects and other icky thingies.
She then learned that a germ or is a non-medical term for micro-organisms that are like tiny invaders that can make our bodies sick. These invaders can include parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses, that are so small and sneaky they creep into our bodies without being noticed. When they get in our bodies, we don't know what hit us until we have symptoms that say we've been attacked!

We talked about bacteria- tiny, one-cell creatures that get nutrients from their environments in order to live. In some cases that environment is a human body. Some infectious bacteria can cause sore throats, ear infections, cavities, and pneumonia, but some bacteria are good for our bodies. These bacteria help keep things in balance. Good bacteria live in our intestines and help us use the nutrients in the food we eat and make waste from what's left over.

We learned about viruses and how most can't survive very long if they're not inside a living thing like a plant, animal, or person. Whatever a virus lives in is called its host. When viruses get inside people's bodies, they can spread and make people sick. Viruses cause chickenpox, measles, flu, and many other diseases.

And last, Lo discovered the "good soldiers"-proteins known as antibodies. They identify, attack, and destroy germs and other foreign bad stuff in our bodies. Remember the scene from Fantastic Voyage? Where Raquel Welch gets attacked by the antibodies?!?!! My first intro to antibodies and i NEVER forgot what those were.

One evening Lo went through a good chunk of a ream of paper drawing pictures of germs and "soldiers". She was creating these scenarios and making the pictures talk to one another! I thought it might be fun to turn those drawings into something tangible as well, and suggested making stuffed micro-organisms from her drawings.

Watching her drawings take on a 3-D life of their own was a blast! Older kids will fare better with these stuffed germs without needing so much assistance. Lo required a lot of help but was still very much involved. She was the art director-she picked out the fabrics, felt, floss colors, beads, buttons, etc. and decided on the placement of everything. She helped a bit with the sewing but was a little intimidated by the needle after she pricked herself! She loved stuffing her germies when they were set to go.
The octopus lookin' one is a "good" bacteria and the 2nd one was supposed to be a virus but it was so endearing to her that it ended up turning into a "good virus" who is friends with the bacteria. In her game, I got to be the host body. Yay. She loved up one those goofy things all day and they all snuggled together in bed last night. Lo and her germs.

March 6, 2009

Another craft blog to pimp. Caveat: This one is HYSTERICAL!!!

I worship....I GENUFLECT and kiss the ring of anyone who can summon a satisfying crescendo of hardcore belly seizing laughter-complete with eye puffing tears-from the bowels of my ennui. Hell, even a hearty chortle will do!
I thank you, HOMEMADE HILARITY, for the daily dose of uproarious vitriol disgorged upon someones poor, lovingly and proudly made, handcrafted nightmare.
Thank you for giving me reason to employ my Kegel exercises in trying not to pee in my "blogging" pajamas.
Don't cyber-walk, cyber-RUN to this blog!!!!!!!!!!
(Yes. I know. I've plagiarized myself from my other blog....Not enough hours in a day.)

These 2 ladiesez blog is sweet comedic relief for we/us (I never know which one is right) intensely crafty mamas. Let's just hope we don't stumble upon any of OUR genius creations there!

A taste?

Wild Jewel Crochet Love Goddess Rainbow Sparkle Jumper

Thank the fucking lord for ETSY. No, seriously. Without it, I never could have found my new favorite item ever, this Wild Jewel Crochet Love Goddess Rainbow Sparkle Jumper, which is, apparently, "Sewn with love, Sprinkled with magic and Created to Celebrate You".

Finally! Something made to celebrate ME! And, it's sprinkled with magic! Isn't it just my lucky day.So thank you, ETSY, you've made my wildest dreams come to life! To terrifyingly vivid, LSD-induced, nauseating life. I'll take three! Just look at how happy (and completely sane) this spectacular creation could make me appear: And the best part is; it can all be mine for only $610! It's a steal, I tell you. A steal.

I think I have a few items-NOT made by ME, of course- to offer up to these gals!

March 3, 2009

~Blush!~ 2 Bloggie awards!
I was given two awards over the weekend and am, again, humbled. Thank you!!! As much as I enjoy blogging and documenting my experiences, it IS really nice to know that somehow I may be contributing something special to others. Lordy knows, I've gained SO much from so many different people out there.

So This first award came from Mamamanna with the sentiment that "Each blogger given this award represents one who is like a tree: Rooted firmly in the soil-loving and caring for our earth and all it's inhabitants . Strong in body and soul- offering a part of themselves for the benefit of others. And yet ever reaching skyward-openhearted, open minded, striving..."

I'm asked to pass the Tree of Life on to 5 bloggers. I bestow this award to those who's words, creativity and creations, inspiration, and support touch my life and make it/me better.

If you feel the desire, please pass the Tree of Life award to 5 of your fella inspiring bloggers.

1. Small Tribe- A "Blessed Mama learning to live naturally and peacefully while loving my boys." Definatley check out this beautiful blog. "

2. Branching Out-A "proud home birthing, birth activist, mama crafter living in beautiful mid-Missouri. I share my world with my sons, husband and critter or two. I also am the owner of mamaroots, a home-based business that provides gifts for the child-bearing year, and the womb room, a local birth and mama activism center. "

3. Red Dirt mother- This woman is a wordsmith! Go and read this imensly talented lady! Lizz is a "Luscious, lively, visionary, bread baker, art maker, sun-drenched beach skimmer, poet, healer, dreamer, mystic, mama, muse, tangled and laughing. I spend my days making delish meals and magic. I give love as my highest offering. I welcome peace."

4. Wisdom of the moon-Things are so damn fun over at this ladie's house! Shaving heads(for a great cause), Weird Kid Wednesdays, chuckles aplenty, oh my!

5. Spiral Pathways- Check out Earthmama's activities for 64 days of Peace and Non-Violence. She's "a yogi in a past life and a hippie at heart. I love to craft with salvaged and recycled materials and get out in nature any chance I get. I am the proud mother of three fantastic, inquisitive, beautiful girls and I am married to a loving, hard working man whom I cherish. He recently built us our dream home in the country where we will one day put our rocking chairs on the back porch and remember all the wonderful days spent raising our girls and loving life. "

And the LEMONADE award for Attitude and/or Gratitude -even after my poopy Florida rant!!!-from Anna at Loopity Lou .

Here are the rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link this post to the person from whom you received your award.

This one goes out to:

1. Natural Playgarden-Julie's, from New England(one of my fav areas) blog is about her " journey with my family, homeschooling and my love of handwork."

2. Four Little Pixies -Erin and her family love to "learn, play, live, laugh, and grow together. My interests include Waldorf and Steiner philosophy, knitting, cooking, yoga, nature walks, chickens and goats, camping and music. Right now I am loving life because my family is such a gift to me."

3. You know how we're an art family...-Joy is "wife to Paul, mom to Elizabeth (8) and Finn (2), and stepmom to Paulie (9) and Philip (6). I blog to remember their childhood and to make sure I get plenty of pictures of it in the process. "

4. The Holt Clan-A fun family who have lived in many a cool place! They recently moved from Alaska to Colorado. "We are adventurers…explorers…and ready to try about anything…So here we go…off to Colorado to see what the beautiful Rocky Mountains have to offer us."

5. Boreal Kraut- Our dear family friend, Naturelady, who lives right over the mountain in the next valley over is "a krazy kraut who's lived in Alaska for 12 years (US for 30 years). I work as a naturalist, teaching and hiking the great outdoors. My family: The Prof (my husband); Eldest (flown the coop); Wolfman (teenage son); Liesl (youngest pixie). "