Sunday, September 25, 2011

Babies, birds, moose and more fall colors!

Now that we've gotten the scenic pictures out of the way (or at least the bulk of them), it's time to move on to what we've been up to these days. We're still looking at property and will probably close on a piece within the next week. I'm not going to bother with much discussion of it though until it actually closes. I learned the lesson after the last one! I have been busy though with a project with some deadlines.

This past spring when Chelsea, Heather and Nicole all announced that they were expecting babies this fall, I decided that I wanted to make something for each of them. When we adopted our kids, we purchased a baby's busy book from a local quilt store. I decided that it would be fun to make something like that for each of the babies. Despite starting with plenty of time, I was still busy working to complete the book in the days before Chelsea's shower! I made one in time for Jared and Kacie Werkema when they came in May and Kacie gave me some ideas about what was and what was not working in their book so I could make some adjustments for these. Here are the three beautiful moms at Chelsea's shower a few weeks ago. Chelsea had her baby girl about a week after the picture and Nicole just had her baby boy this past week right after Heather's shower! Fortunately Nicole decided to have her shower after the baby was born so I still have a few more days to work on finishing that one! Meanwhile Heather is still waiting for her little girl to arrive!

Rachel made this GORGEOUS cake for Chelsea's shower:

Soooooo cute!!!

And here are the pages of the busy book. First is to match the animals with the fur. I tried to use as many colors and textures in the books as possible.

Buttoning and a belt. I tried to put something behind each item to "find" when they worked the page.

Matching shapes

Overalls can be girlie too!

The counting page

Snaps and tying shoes, plus a mitten to stick their hands in.

The clock. Andrei thought it was so clever to put the arrow on their to tell you which way the hands turn. Until he realized that I'd put it on the wrong way! It hadn't occurred to me that the arrow would point in the direction the hands should travel. I just put it on there to brighten up the page. I DID put it on in the direction the hands should travel on the next one!


In the midst of my sewing projects, Sergei ended up shooting a moose. We'd been out at the VanDaam's house for dinner and between Dianne needing to put Hailey to bed and Rod wanting to go for a hike to see if he could see any moose, we ended up leaving relatively early. Across the lake from us is a peninsula where we often see moose grazing. When we got home, Rodney saw a moose out there and got out the spotting scope to see if it was a bull or not. It took some time to decide that it really was a legal bull (spike or fork, they knew it wasn't a big one). There was a group in at camp and even had there not been, it would not have been desirable to shoot toward camp. They then grabbed some guns and took off with the boat to go to where they could shoot safely. This was more like grocery shopping than hunting.

Sergei's first moose - a bit blurry, but better than nothing!

Fortunately, Rodney had just recently hung a pole for a punching bag. It worked perfectly for moose too! Well, almost perfectly. The thing was a bit heavy even with two ATVs, two teen boys, one old lady, one teenage girl and one husband pulling to lift it up!

ATVs on the other end

Ellie thought she was in HEAVEN!

Ray Tomory came and helped us cut and grind the beast in one looooooong day! Unfortunately I can't eat moose, which we sort of knew, but we figured that some moose that didn't eat willow (salicylic acid - aspirin) might be ok. We'd decided that if we got our own moose that I'd try it to see if it was ok. I'd only had stomach pain the last time I'd had moose which wasn't fun, but was worth the try before deciding not to eat the entire beast. Two tiny bites and my throat and tongue started swelling so absolutely, positively no more moose for me! Not worth the risk.

Days later another moose threw caution to the wind chasing a cow through the back yard! Maybe he just knew he wasn't legal yet! If they aren't a fork or spike, they have to have 4 brow tines or have a 50" or greater spread. He was moving too fast for a good shot, but you can still tell that they are there!

I suspect my eyes are getting better as I get older. I've never needed my glasses to pass my driver's eye exams, but no matter how I tried, I've NEVER seen clearly - up close, far away, it just didn't make any difference. Things just weren't that sharp. Now when I put my glasses on, I can see individual leaves on trees quite a distance away, see sheep up on the mountains, etc. It's kind of interesting! Eye opening even! Rodney used to see things off in the distance and all I could see was a spot, if at all. Suddenly I can actually spot things and often before Rodney sees them! It's a whole new world out there! So I don't know if that is helping my pictures, or if I've just gotten to know the area better and scope out better spots to take them or what, but at any rate it has been a lot of fun. So without further ado, here is some more eye candy!

First is a panorama at the Palmer overlook. I haven't done a panorama in a while so I figured it was time to do a couple.

This panorama is between Palmer and Sutton at one of my favorite pull-offs.

I've had a lot of fun with the reflection shots lately, mostly because there's been a lot of great material - calm water and beautiful scenery! This little pond always reminds me of the NY Adirondack Mountains for some reason.

Weiner Lake morning mist and reflection.

The usual, but never dull Amulet shots.

And a little later - the snow is on it's way down!

Long Lake reflective shot.

Another favorite spring, summer and fall spot - Granite Creek. It's pretty dull in winter with the white rock against the snow, but amazing the rest of the year!

This little stream near Chickaloon always intrigues me. I'd love to hike it some day!

The ATV trail is gorgeous in its own way.

Carolynn Tomory feeds the Chickadees and Nuthatches off her deck. She's gotten us addicted, so Rodney had to give it a shot too. I just loved this shot because the feathers are almost translucent!

The lovely swans are still here, though probably not for too much longer. I still need to work on getting some of these longer distance shots. I suppose dragging out the tripod might help.

We were able to spend an afternoon with Hal and Sherron Farrar a few weeks ago. Those two would be worth a couple of blog posts each, but I'll have to save those for another time! Here are a few shots from their place.

Hundred Mile Lake

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall colors

Oh dear! I'm so far behind that I'm not sure how to begin to catch up! I had a couple of projects that needed to be done so I sort of let the blogging slide and now I'm in BIG trouble! I have literally hundreds of pictures and not enough time to put them all together. I finally just decided to start and put SOMETHING down on digital "paper" and not worry about being disjointed or it will never come together!

Rodney ended up taking Oksana out caribou hunting but they didn't get one. It was raining and cold so they ended up coming home early. They did enjoy some awesome fall colors so I'll share those with you. These were taken on the Denali and Richardson highways.

The pipeline comes down the hill and disappears underground at this point.

I wondered if that was a road running through the picture, but it isn't. It's a stream!

Cold, wet and wanting her own bed to sleep in. Is it time to go home yet?

Another day Rodney and I drove down to Chitina where the guys had gone fishing for red salmon. We stopped along the way quite a few times just to drool over the scenery. There were a bunch of sheep out on Sheep Mountain.

Lake Louise area.

Overlooking Tazlina Glacier.

A fish wheel down in Chitina.

I think this is across from the Eureka Lodge.

Just outside of Chitina.

The beavers had left such a classically posed log that I couldn't not take the shot.

Fireweed turning to "cotton" which means there are about 6 weeks until winter starts. But that was taken a few weeks ago, so we're closer yet!

The yaks on this farm were supposed to be the attraction, but the horse stole the show! He was quite the character!
The pass out of Chitina heading to McCarthy.

Fall colors on the old Edgerton Hwy.

Russian Orthodox cemetery.

The yellows seem to glow!

Tazlina glacier on the way home. The skies had cleared up quite a bit over the course of the day.

Opening weekend of moose season. Tons more campers up on the knoll at the rear.

The new layer of corduroy.

Home, sweet home! What a view! The rest of these are just taken as we were going about our business over the last month. We've been doing a fair amount of driving lately so there were a lot of good opportunities for getting nice shots.

When there is a lot of wind, it whips up the glacial dust on the Matanuska River area. It makes for some interesting driving!

Lion's Head

Morning commute

Morning commute