Saturday, June 23, 2012

Seward to Valdez

Okay, these following photos are in no particular order.  I (Rodney) was able to take an overnight trip moving a seiner (48 foot fishing boat) from the Port of Seward to the Port of Valdez.  I have no photos of the Pacific Ocean as, I am told, I was quite green at the time.  For the record I did not feed the fish.
The Boat is the Chelsea D owned and captained by a neighbor and friend who invited me to take the ride and act as an inexperienced deck hand.

                 Humpback whales were visible most of the trip. these two spouts were from a mother and calf.  Sorry I was always to slow with the camera.
                                                                  Another Spout
                                                  A glacier on the Prince William Sound.
                               This trip was taken on June 2nd and 3rd, and there is still snow at sea level.  I live at 1800 feet and the snow pack is up around 5000 to 5500 feet.  We had over 9 feet of snow  They had much more here, probably more then 25 or 30 feet.  Needless to say we saw none of the Sitka Blacktail deer.
These are porpoise and we were joined by as many as 6 on our voyage. 6 are in this photo.
A Sea Lion rookery I could not get a photo that showed all of them.  Yes the water is that color.
We did have to pass through a flow of Icebergs.  Many were larger than the Chelsea D.
A better Photo of my black and white friends,  I found every encounter with them thrilling.
                                Another attempt at a Whale Photo.
                                                         Sea Otters at a distance,
                                                   the Sea Otters were plentiful.

The Worthy Vessel
                                    The Falls were spectacular heading up to the pass out of Valdez.  Lots of rain adds to their beauty.

The trip was fantastic with Lori and Brian.  It was beautiful even when I was green.   We saw many Humpback whale, Sea lion, Porpoise,  and Sea Otter, a couple of Black bear and harbor seal.  Countless unidentified sea birds along with some that I knew including a Puffin.

 I still feel blessed with being afforded the opportunity to accompany them in moving the vessel and ensuring it was prepared for the upcoming seining season.  Currently Brian is Gillnetting which is where the Red Salmon and Chum salmon are caught for sale.  He will soon be seining which is used primarily for Pink Salmon or Humpies as they are also known.  Earlier this spring I helped Brian with the maintenance necessary to make sure the Chelsea D was ready to go when he could move her to Valdez.  I would love to make the trip again, and maybe see a Sitka Blacktail.

I was home a day when Brian's brother Dan stopped in and told me to grab my gun and tags.  I was in smoothed soled shoes I only wear in the house and asked him why.  He said we are going bear hunting.  I grabbed my tags and pulled the rifle out of my truck.  I climbed in his truck to find his daughter wearing flip flops telling a similar story to mine he came home and told her to get into the truck.  He was on his way home from Anchorage when he spotted a bear (black) out feeding on the grass.  To make a long story shorter, his daughter spotted the bear and we eased into position to take a better look and the bruin was sitting under a spruce tree.  After I watched it for a little while Dan told me I better shoot it.  So I did.  Well it turns out that it was blind in one eye and had a hole that went into its sinus cavities right below his eyes.  It looked like a moose kick wound.  Yes, I needed a blind bear so I could get close.

Well Dan suggested we bearbeque the bear that following Sunday while I was cutting it up.  I slow roasted most of the bear starting Saturday Night and we had a large gathering of people together on Sunday afternoon and had a wonderful time feasting on Bear and delicious food people brought to share.

Join us for an episode about   ...   a driveway.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Spring to summer in one post

As is usual here, spring came and went before we knew it.  One minute the snow was melting and the next minute it was replaced by flowers.  A sure sign of spring or early summer is the sheep coming down to have their young.  They are pretty easy to spot with the bright white against the hills. 

Things green up incredibly quickly!  The difference in pictures is just a few weeks apart.  The critters sure enjoy all the greenery too.  I always get a kick out of seeing Rick take his horses out for a ride.  "Momma" horse just tags along behind her "baby" who is bigger than her!

Rodney has been cutting down trees for a driveway.  Heavy equipment is coming this week to start moving things around.  The view from the road is not quite as impressive

as the view from the top of the first stretch of driveway.

I think the glacier is particularly gorgeous this year!

And so are the flowers!  I just love the variety of flowers!  This isn't a native variety, but it sure is pretty.

And we get plenty of dandelions, which are one of my favorites.  Seriously, how can such cheerful flowers not be considered beautiful?

There are some that I just can't remember and I don't have my wildflower book handy to look them up.  I think this is Sandwort.

And I think this one is called Jacob's Ladder.

But I do remember that these are Lady's Slippers.

And I can't forget the lupines!  We get so many lupines!

And then there's the other flower, that stinky Ellie Belle.  Seriously, this dog is spoiled!  She can't be bothered to come in for dinner, she expects it brought to her highniness!  Note that she has her boobah with her.  No one is allowed to touch the boobah.  Not that anyone wants to.  It has been left out in the rain a few too many times so it is a bit rancid.

Jake Klapak found a great patch of morel mushrooms and shared a few with me and I immediately became addicted.  We went out morel hunting and found enough for a few meals.  Now Rodney is trying to figure out if he can create some space that they might like to thrive.  Seriously yummy stuff right there!!!

But most importantly, spring and summer bring camp and campers.  I'm working part time at the desk in camp this summer and really enjoying getting to know the counselors a bit.  It's crazy busy at times, but so much fun to get to see what goes on and be able to be part of that.  We've had a lot of rain the first few weeks of camp, so sunshine the last few days has been so welcome!  I snapped this picture yesterday evening after a short shower moved out and brought in some glorious sunshine.  This picture sort of feels like my life right now - blessed with God's promises!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Oksana's graduation

Ack!  Blogger has a new format AGAIN and I'm too tired to figure out how to move pictures around so these are a bit out of order.  We went out to dinner after Oksana's graduation so the first picture is the happy graduate between two of her best friends, Ruby and Alaura.

Every time I look at the mountains they look differently beautiful to me.

 We've had plenty of rain this summer so far, and this momma moose with her twins just set up a beautiful picture in the mist.

This is the result of all the snow this past winter.

Oksana took a short trip to Hawaii for graduation.  Not really.  They came here!

This Goldeneye is pretty shy.  He seems to have found a mate and hangs out on one of the small ponds nearby.

She's looking a little pleased to be graduating!

Oksana graduated through a home school program called IDEA (Interior Distance Education of Alaska).  This was one of a number of graduations held throughout the state.

 All grown up!  How does that happen so quickly?  She is working at Kingdom Air Corps this summer helping feed missionary pilots training there.  Duane King is working hard with her to help her learn Russian.  She would like to study Russian this coming year so she's getting great practice this summer!

 Yes, it's another disorganized blog post!  Hopefully one of these days I'll catch up and get back into a more manageable routine!

Spring and Andrei's graduation

So I've done it again!  I've left blogging too long and now I have too much to catch up again.  I'm afraid you're going to be stuck with another blog just full of pictures.  I'll do it in stages again so that I don't overload the system!  Besides, breaking it up allows each kid to have their own "graduation post".  First, a couple of pictures of the tail end of the snow at the end of April.  

Poor Eider is really missing his own air conditioning unit!

Just when we thought we were done with snow, we had a nice little dusting in early May!  Pretty!

It cleared up in time for Andrei's graduation.  He wanted a farm themed cake, so that is what he got!

This is the guy's senior project.

Glacierview had two graduates this year.  There are MANY advantages to such a small school, but one of the disadvantages of only two graduates is that they both had to give speeches!  Neither one was too excited about that, but Trayton was quite happy to be done with it!

So was Andrei!

The end!

Andrei left for NY the night after graduation and came back just in time to start camp.  He plans to go to Frontier School of the Bible in Wyoming this fall.

Someone wasn't very quick on the "funny face" picture!  Or maybe that is my funny face!

The ice on the lake was really thinning out by that point!

Pretty rocks that I'm planning on using for a project but you'll have to wait to see what it is!

I love dandelions!  They are so sunny and cheerful!  Good thing I got a picture that day because the moose came and ate them the very next day.

There is always a year end picnic at the school on the last day of school.  This year they had an ambulance, a State Trooper and a fire crew there.  Sergei and Jenny had both passed their ETT (Emergency Trauma Technician) training so they were practicing on some of the school kids.  It seems like it wasn't that long ago that Sergei was one of the kids climbing around the ambulance with wide eyes!  Then again, I guess he still is!

Pretty spring windflower!

 The ice at the river started to turn to crystals.  It's not that safe to walk or ride on any more at this point!

I thought there might be a bear up the tree, but it was just a porcupine.

I just thought the motorcycle parking was cute!  The time between riding the smaller one and the larger goes so quickly!

I'm pretty sure this is the momma moose that ate the dandelions!  You can see her twins on the other side of the slide.

And one final picture of Ellie the neurotic.  I have no idea why the floor was considered more comfortable than the seat!

Morning commute

Morning commute