Showing posts from 2016

Happy Holidays

Wishing you all a wonderful winter season and upcoming year. Thank you for following along on our journey and for continuing to read my blog throughout the years. We can't wait to see what adventures 2017 holds.

Happy Holidays!

The Middleton Family (Cody, Hannah, Specks, & Luna)

Holiday Potluck & Performance

Holiday performances are a staple of public schools everywhere.  Poems, skits, songs, and dance are all part of the normal routine. Here in Pilot Point, things are no different. The students practiced endlessly for the two weeks leading up to Christmas Break.  They prepared three songs, two poems, and we even invited the crowd to join us for a quick verse of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." The students looked adorable, and helped design their own cute costumes. Their performance was a hit!

Following the performance, we invited everyone to join us for a potluck, which is a very traditional part of life in the bush. Members of our community brought spaghetti, casserole, dinner rolls, veggies, fruit punch, cupcakes, rhubarb pie, and so much more.  The families really turned out and provided some great dishes to help us celebrate.

As a part of our performance we also ran a food drive. We collected food for the two weeks leading up the the event, and then families could sign-up…

Winter is Here

Winter has officially arrived on the Alaska Peninsula. The snow arrived about two weeks ago, and it seems set on sticking around for awhile. With the snow, comes the cold - and temperatures in the -20's have been making regular appearances. Despite the cold, winter has always been one of my favorite seasons. I love celebrating the holidays with my family, watching fresh snow quietly settle over the landscape, spending the afternoons ice skating on frozen lakes, and snowshoeing through the hills.

With winter in Alaska also comes the darkness. Sunrise is now at nearly 10am and sunset is at 4:45pm.  The shortened days make me feel like a hibernating bear, sleepy and ready for a long rest. I'll admit that winter always makes me sleep more, which I don't mind at all.  I also spend a lot more time indoors doing little projects, watching movies, cooking, and reading.

When the sun does show its face, I try my best to find my way out into it for awhile.  After school, I rush out th…

Finding Balance in Alaska's Changing Seasons

Alaska is a place of extremes. The never-ending sunlight in the warmth of summer. The all-encompassing darkness as winter settles around you. The larger than life mountains with their snow-capped peaks. The huge predators that leave you speechless when you come up on one accidentally. It is a place that makes you thankful for a warm house, or blackout curtains, or the ability to carry a firearm as you hike through the tundra.

The changing of seasons is strongly evident here, especially as we've transitioned into November. Snow fell in mid-October, ushering in the end of autumn. While the snow didn't stick around for long, it was obvious that winter had settled on the Alaska Peninsula. Thick frost greets us each morning.  Layers of the frost cover everything, and the sun no longer rises high enough in the sky to clear the ice from our porch.

As we make the inevitable transition into winter, which happens to be one of my favorite seasons, I'm finding myself doing more and mo…

October Inservice

The third week of October was a short week of school throughout our district. Students and teachers attended on Monday, with a half-day on Tuesday.  Tuesday afternoon, all of the teachers were scheduled to fly out of their villages and to our district's "hub" in King Salmon. Mellisa and I were all set to fly out of the village on Tuesday, but, as with everything in the bush, the weather had other plans.  By lunchtime the winds were howling and our first mini-snowstorm of the season was happening.  I felt certain that we'd be stuck in the village overnight.  Imagine my surprise when I got a call from Lake Clark Air to tell me their pilot was only ten minutes away, which meant we had five to grab our bags and go.

The pilot picked us up and shuttled us to Port Heiden, another village about 70 miles away.  Our landing in Port Heiden was the roughest part of the trip - by far. We dipped sharply as we approached the runway, rocked by a strong wind, and then proceeded to fi…

A Day in the Life of an Alaska Bush Teacher

::6:30am:: My alarm goes off around this time each day.  The second it goes off the dogs assume it's time to play, so I don't get to lounge around for long. After walking and feeding the pups, I make myself a smoothie.  In the past, I've always been a cereal person, but milk is scarce out here so I've made the switch to drinking a Shakeology shake for breakfast.  

::8:00am:: After finishing up my morning routine I head to the school sometime between 7:45-8:00am.  Cody and I make the long trek (approximately 30 steps) from our front door to the school.  It's almost completely dark when we walk to work now because sunrise isn't until after 9:00am.  Students can arrive at school anytime between 8:00-8:30am.  Cody holds open gym for the 30mins before school starts to give the kids a chance to wake up and get in a little physical activity. 

I use the thirty minutes before school to get ready for the day.  I teach four skill levels, which is the equivalent of teaching…

Our House in the Bush

"Do you live in an igloo?" This, and other questions pertaining to housing, is one of the most common questions I encounter when people find out where I live. They always seem a bit disappointed when I tell them that I do not, in fact, live in an igloo. We actually live in a fairly normal house, although it does look a bit like a Morton farm building from the outside.

The house itself is very large, with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  It is, without a doubt, the largest place that Cody and I have rented, and while we don't really need the space it is nice to have. Our rental rate, which is decided by our landlord - the school district - is quite low.  We only pay $625/month, and that includes all utilities. 

In traditional Alaskan-style, when you enter our home you walk into our arctic entryway (similar to a mudroom in the lower 48). This is where our standing deep freeze is, as well as where we keep all of our shoes and outdoor gear.  It's actually a very large room, …