Monday, May 16, 2011

School groups + work teams = busy

The sun that I posted about in the last blog post has been doing its work and spring has made tremendous progress in recent weeks. When I look at the pictures in that last post I'm amazed at how much snow we had so recently! There is very little snow left at this point (only at higher elevations and in protected or north facing spots) and yesterday the ice didn't reform on the lake overnight for the first time this spring. That REALLY sped up the melt and we lost a ton of ice from the lake yesterday. The cove that our house sits on is almost completely free of ice now. The days are sunny and warm. Greenery is bursting out everywhere you look. We've had the first work team of the season. Spring really has arrived. I figured I'd better get another blog post written before summer and the business of camp hit in full force!

One of the first things that happens at camp in the spring is the outdoor education weeks. Some of the private schools in Anchorage bring their students out to camp for a few days of outdoor learning. These groups are a lot of fun. Rodney went with Matt to take the kids out to the glacier. Rodney got some pictures of the fossil bed hikes that he takes, but he's not in any of them so it mostly just looks like kids playing in the dirt. One of these days I'll get to go with him and get some shots of him in action! ;)

One of the first projects this spring has been working on a new septic system for Nadine, wife of the camp founder. The first thing to do was cut down some trees to make room for it.

Rodney and I went to Anchorage a couple of weeks ago for the weekly town trip and I was able to get some spectacular pictures of the Palmer/Wasilla valley on the ride home.

One of the best things about living on a lake is the amount of wildlife that you see in the spring and summer. This shy Goldeneye pair has been hanging around for almost a week now. Occasionally we miss the critters from the farm (mostly cows, but sometimes the ducks), but for the most part, this provides all of the fun without all the work!

We've seen coyotes out on the ice quite a bit this winter and we may have seen a wolf another day but by the time I got the camera out it had disappeared. But what is this? Is it a wolf? A bear?
Nah, it's just a Labradufus out on the ice where he shouldn't be. And no, he wasn't smart enough to get off the way he got on which means that yes, he did get wet. He'll pretty much be wet all summer from here on out.

I suspect this might be one of the last times we see the moon. I wanted to get a picture like this with the full moon, but it hasn't come up this high again. At midnight last night we still had twilight.
The other day the dufus Labradog was barking non-stop so I went out to see what the ruckus was about and saw this:
I love to watch the swans!

Andrei had the flu this past week so he finished his chaps on one of the days he was starting to feel better and was seriously BORED! He doesn't make a good patient.

Oksana is starting to catch the leather bug too. She took right off with the decorating!

Interestingly enough, horses are fairly widely used here. They are sometimes the only way to get into certain areas other than on foot. And Alaska is probably one of the only places where people come to church on horseback!

I've saved the most exciting news for last. We have been looking for land for about a year now and finally found a piece that we both love AND could afford (not the 1.2 million $ piece overlooking Long Lake). Our offer was accepted so we are on our way to becoming land owners again! It is 40 acres about 5 miles from camp toward town sitting way up on a hill. I'm sure ya'll will be surprised to find that access is somewhat limited (can probably get the truck in there in the summer, maybe in the winter with some road work) and it will cost less to go off-grid than to get electric up there. But the piece is GORGEOUS and well worth a little extra effort! I'll let the panoramic view tell the story. The Talkeetna Range southeast toward the glacier:

Southern view:
King Mountain is the last one we can see in the Talkeetna Range to the southwest.

The western view out toward Palmer and Anchorage:

And the Chugach Range is to the north.

You can really see the difference in these pictures between the south facing slopes and the north facing slopes. The sun really burns off the snow quickly!

That's all for now, folks! We'll see you


  1. Congratulations on both the land purchase and going off the grid. Beautiful scenery as always.

  2. We're off grid here too, Bill, so it won't be a huge adjustment. We use water power here which freezes up partly in winter and we'll probably use solar and/or wind up there which will probably be a lot better in the winter!


Morning commute

Morning commute