Friday, June 25, 2010

Spring cleanup

Greetings again, all! We are officially into summer and past the longest day of the year. We'd never know it by looking out the window at night: it just always looks light out! I didn't say much about NY in my last post so I'd better wrap that up. At the beginning of my NY trip I laid out on an 8x11 sheet of paper a list of things that I HAD to do, people to see, places to go, items to purchase. That sheet was FULL but by God's grace and provision I managed to get it all done! There's no way I could have coordinated all that by myself! I only had time to visit people on certain days at certain times but EVERY time I went to visit (usually without prior planning and calling), people were home. How often does THAT happen! It was an exhausting visit, but I was able to make many connections. There were still many more connections that I would have liked to have made, but the reality was that in the limited time I had, I could only see a small number of people.

I did have a bit of reverse culture shock the first few days in NY (sooooooooo much traffic!) but it didn't take too long to readjust. NY was also VERY hot! It was 93 one of the first days we were there! For a person who feels that anything over 70 is wasted degrees, that was NOT easy! Again, God was gracious and kept me relatively healthy despite that heat, the humidity and allergies. I had migraines almost every day in NY but they were not the knock out kind, so with medication I was able to keep pressing on. It took me a number of weeks to recover once we got back to Alaska, but it wasn't insurmountable.

As often as you hear me say how beautiful it is here, it is also beautiful in NY. Oksana and I went to the "Amish Mall" down near Prattsburg and returning over the hills from Prattsburg north was just awesome! We could see lush rolling hills for miles around in all directions! We also saw a fox family hanging out in the middle of a dirt road, red-tailed hawks circling the skies, a great big snapping turtle crossing the road and the Amish farmers plowing with their teams of mighty horses. The lesson, I think, is that beauty is everywhere if we are willing to look for it.

But back to Alaska, I have only a few "scenic" pictures this time around. Most of my pictures are of all the work going on lately! First is momma moose and her itty bitty baby swimming across the lake. It is amazing how early they start the babies off swimming! I think I've said that the moose come into camp to have their babies because the bears aren't in camp, but this year there has been a young black bear hanging about in camp. He came through our yard a week or so ago at about 10 pm. Every night now I look out the window looking to see if he comes through again but I haven't seen him yet. I'd love to get his picture! Rodney may try to hang the trail-cams and see if we can catch him that way.

This is Annie who we've recently adopted. ;) She fits into our family so easily it is a bit scary! It never occurred to me that there was anyone else out there quite as warped as we are! AND as you can see, she adores Ellie. The feeling is mutual. Annie works in the kitchen at camp during the summers. Andrei and Oksana like to help her out, especially when she is making cookies! Annie was here for dinner and a movie last night when an earthquake gave us a good shake. The initial report was 4.9 just a few miles up the road but today the report says it was 4.7. All I know is that it felt like something hit the house HARD! First we felt a rhythmic rocking and as I stood up to check the wood stove to see if it was back puffing, all of a sudden the hard smash hit! I've experienced a few minor tremors before, but nothing that was so loud and visible! We seriously wondered if Victory Peak (right behind the house) had lost a large chunk, that's how powerful it felt. We were thankful that Lee and Suzie Althens did such a great job building this house! And yes, I said the wood stove! Since that is our only heat source right now, it is nice to run it for an hour or so on a rainy evening to take the chill off.

The LeMars, Iowa work team has been doing a lot of clean up projects around our house. It is such a joy to work along side each team, getting to know them, building relationships, laughing, joking and eating together. These guys accomplished a lot around the house (not to mention all the work they did in camp too). Denny moved a lot of dirt with the bobcat, including building a retaining wall outside the laundry room.

Some more of Denny's handiwork - another stone retaining wall and more dirt to level off the lake front area leaving an open space for the ice driveway in the winter. You can see the entire blue insulated pipe section from the house to the pelton wheel house that will show up more in the next pictures. You can't see the docks they put in for summer but that is where I'm standing to take the picture. There's also a little bit of the "stuff" they hauled to camp on the barge in the bottom left corner of the picture. They hauled away all the remaining construction materials and garbage around the house, sorted through many large piles of dirt, rocks (dumped them along that lake retaining wall) and brush (burned) so that almost all that remains is to finish moving the dirt left from various construction projects over the last few years. They also worked on our corduroy road up on the ATV trail, adding logs to places that were packing down and expanding it through another wet section so that hopefully the water will now pass along the logs instead of building up an icy patch on top of the road.

Armando dug the bulk of this trench to bury the water line down to the spring house. Other kids helped some, but he did most of it. He was a working machine!

Getting ready to pull when Bob indicated the need.

Bob cut down and removed three large Cottonwood trees behind the house. The rope was to keep them from landing on the house. Tight quarters, but he did an awesome job!

The kids hauled sections down to the barge to haul across the lake.

Harold (working) had to make a house call to fix the Bobcat after someone inadvertently filled it with gas instead of diesel. Good thing he has plenty of supervision! ;) We've enjoyed getting to know Harold and his wife Carol from Alabama and hope to get to know them a bit more as the summer goes on! More awesome people! :) Seriously, that is the best part of what we do - get to know such awesome people!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Home again!

There's so much to post that I don't even know where to start. I have a pile of pictures though so I'll try to tell the story with those. We got home safely and jumped right into life with teenagers. The flights went as well as could be expected. There wasn't a lot of sleep coming or going and some loooooooong days! I got some pretty pictures of the mountains in the sunset at the airport (right around midnight when the sun was just going down):

Then the moon rose over the mountains on the other side of the airport:

Doug Vittum found a pontoon boat for us, then Ron Davis coordinated a demolition team to make it fit into our trailer. My parents and I started the job by removing the top stuff, but Tim King, Mike McDonough, Ted Harvey, Don McAnn, Frank Fee, and of course Ron tore the remaining parts down to make it fit into the trailer. My parents came to help pack everything into the trailer the next day. It worked! And it wasn't as bad a job as I had anticipated once the boat was in manageable pieces. Let's just hope we can put it back together into something that floats!

New motorcycle to replace the wild one. Doug found this too. It goes as slow as I walk! :)

Remember how we talked about Long Lake and how the rocks come off the side hill and then they plow them over the other side? Well, here's one of those rocks that came off the hill that hasn't been removed yet.

And a gorgeous view down Long Lake:

Today was gorgeous so Rodney and I took an ATV ride all over camp this afternoon. The flowers are just exploding all over camp! I got some great flower pictures as well as panorama pictures. This is from inspiration point where the camp founder used to often go to pray while looking out over the camp.

Inspiration point panorama:

Moose damage:
Another view of camp looking back at Victory peak, the rock glacier below and camp below that.

Panoramas from Teepee Ridge looking south to the river:

Camp starts tomorrow so things ought to get REALLY crazy now!

Morning commute

Morning commute