29 May 2011

Castle in the Sky.

Since I first heard about the Reindeer Farm, I’ve been saying, “We’re totally going there before we leave Alaska.” Days rolled into weeks and weeks rolled into years. Now we’re down to the wire; heading out of the state in a handful of days, and what do you know? We have yet to make it up to see the reindeer. Blast.

I awoke extra early, shuffled my feet out of bed, and tip-toed my way downstairs to a freezing kitchen due to a window that was left open throughout the night. Shivering, I started to brew a pot of cheap hotel coffee that was far too robust for even the toughest of cowboys. I had only one goal in mind for today’s agenda, and that was to trek our way through Alaskan back roads to feed a herd of reindeer.

It was secluded picturesque farm, complete with a big red barn and grazing horses in the corral. It was your typical everyday American farm except for a few special differences that made it distinctly Alaskan --reindeer, caribou, and a moose. We made our way through a tiny one room cabin and onto the back deck where we were given brightly colored plastic cups full of grain to feed the reindeer. We patiently waited as the farm workers opened the gates, and in a school line fashion a herd of reindeer marched out to greet us.

William is a fearless boy. He’s the kid who pets the snake, hugs the alligator, and dances on the ledge of a cliff without giving it two thoughts. He looks danger in the face and says, “Hello, my name is Will. Let’s be friends.” We had to keep a tight rein on him because he goes from zero-ten in 10 seconds flat, wanting to give the reindeer all kinds of loving.

Krysta on the other hand, shivers in fear at just the slightest thought that there could possibly be danger. So, seeing her sweetly feed reindeer --one, two, three-- at a time was a huge deal. They dominated her and her little cup of grain begging for more. She was scared. I could see that her breathing started to quicken, her face turned red, and eyes started to swell, but she kept herself composed; mainly out of fear that if she ran, they would chase her.

I told her that Santa would be so proud of her. She instantly light up and excitedly said, “These are Santa’s reindeer?” I don’t know, but I bet Prancer and even Dasher is here. And that was all it took for her to muster up the courage to continue getting up close and personal with the herd.

And as if feeding reindeer wasn’t enough to send you soaring through the clouds of hey this is the good life, add horses to the mix and you’ve just built your castle in the sky. Krysta adores horses and we’re looking into getting her horseback lessons when we arrive in Oklahoma. But for now, she’s pretty content with rubbing their noses and sweet talking to them in her highest pitched voice, “you’re the most beautiful horse ever, yes you are. You’re a good boy, yes you are”. Pure sweetness coming out of this little girl’s mouth.

On the way back we took a spontaneous detour. Detours are awesome. Detours are what keep us on our toes. Detours keep us adventurous. “Like a flash of lightning between the clouds, we live in the flicker”. ~Joseph Conrad

We quickly veered right onto a dirt and gravel road which opened up to a spectacular untouched piece of land –a rock beach with charcoal sand that ran into a soft colored turquoise river and lush mountains against a bright blue sky. Cue the singing angels because this is exactly what I imagine heaven looking like when Peter stands by those pearly gates. Breathtaking.

My little ones are water babies through and through, and will get it in any way they can. Both of them were in that freezing mountain water, splashing and running up and down the river bed before we could even get the car in park.

And there goes my fearless boy, running straight into the deep end.

It’s the unplanned and uncharted little adventures that make this life so grand. I’m so blessed beyond reason to be able to make these beautiful memories for my babies.

It’s worth it. Family outings always are.

 “Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
~Henry David Thoreau


  1. My sons so enjoyed the pictures and were naming the reindeer. I'm from NC myself and I'm very interested in reading more about your life in Alaska.

  2. Beautiful pictures, as always!! Hope things are going well during the transition! :)