Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!

I am just about ready to start being a steady blogger again. I promise I will tell you a little about this last month soon. The holidays have been wonderful and action-packed. I have had no time to write here. My apologies to all my friends and family. I will post loads of photos and give a little narrative shortly.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Raven Morning

video

Last night we had some winds, so we took our most vulnerable feeder in the house. We've already lost one and no one in town sells the kind I like anymore, so we are a bit protective. I had Zoey take it back out this morning before the sun came up. I watched her at the window and she stopped, I could tell she was listening. She came running in, yelling "Momma, Momma, Momma, come outside, quick!" Hmmmm...too frozen for bears.

When I got out there, I was greated with the most ancient sounds. We were surrounded by ravens. Ravens right above us, ravens flying to the right, ravens flying to the left. Ravens talking, talking, talking. Zoey and I were enchanted. They have such an amazing range of vocalizations. Living along the raven flyway is amazing.

The above video is a poor reproduction. I think I now have a new obsession. I am going to have to learn how to record these sounds so that you all can share this. Anyone know how to do that? Anyone know what equipment is needed?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Oh Downy Boy

video

Sorry for the ambient noise in the background. The water noise is the fish tank needing a re-charge. Our downy boy has been the only regular at the feeder this week. I am not sure where the chickadees are. Neither the boreals nor the black-caps have been visiting since the wind. Hmmmm.....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

YWCA Women of Achievement



The girls and I had a lovely luncheon at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage. We got to attend the YWCA Women of Achievement Awards. My friend, Lupe, was being inducted as a Women of Achievement. I was so honored to be invited to attend! Vivi felt like such a grown-up. Lupe has made sure that Zoey is a Woman of Achievement in training. Lupe is the girls godmother and is such a great role model to them both, and an incredible mentor to Zoey. And thank you to Lupe's husband, Kelly, for the photo. All mine were blurry.

Very Lovely!




WOW! My blogging friend, Kristy, sent these to me this week. Two pairs of beautiful hand-made earrings and fun stitch markers. I guess I need to knit something that requires markers. That may have to wait until after Christmas. Thank you, Kristy! If you have time you should check out Kristy's site and wish her luck. She had surgery on her ankle on Tuesday.

I am finishing up a little something for Kristy, but I cannot show it as there just might be other folks out there who will receive something similar. Hee hee!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Aurora



On Friday night the wind blew. It blew in a wet, warm storm from Hawaii. Our top gust was 85mph. We lost power with that one. It was okay, we were wrapping up and getting ready for bed anyway. When we woke the power was still out. I am impressed that our old house kept the heat to about 53F. Tom brought out the camp stove to heat water for tea. He even pounded coffee beans in the mortar and pestle to make coffee before I got up. He is a keeper. He was also motivated. I had a rare Saturday off work. We were driving to the Chugach National Forest to get our Christmas tree. The rest that follows is a little photo essay of our Saturday tree excursion.




























And yes, it is now Henry's favorite place in the house. He is soooo happy we have brought a tree in from the outdoors. I think we will have to reserve a space for him even when the gifts get put under the tree. Oh, and the title of the post is the name the girls gave the tree.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Farewell



Judy Geraghty
October 24, 1963 - December 2, 2007


I can say that I've lived here in honor and danger
But I'm just an animal and cannot explain a life
Down this chain of days I wished to stay among my people
Relation now means nothing, having chosen so defined

And if death should smell my breathing
As it pass beneath my window
Let it lead me trembling, trembling
I own every bell that tolls me


Neko Case off her album Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Raven Sunsets



We are nearing the winter solstice, the time when the sun slowly returns to the earth. Or so it seems this far north. This is a day I really look forward to, I love to watch the days grow longer. When we were house hunting, I had to picture what the house would look like in the middle of December. I needed a house that could be bathed in whatever available light there was. I did not want a dark house.

Right now the length of the day is 5 hours and 55 mins. That is from sunrise until sunset. I have included a little blue button below the blogroll that says what time the sun is rising and setting here in Anchorage. Since the twilight times get so extended this far north, we have visible daylight for about seven and half hours. That means we get a slow, forty-five minute dawn and sunset. Those times can be lovely; full of pinks and reds and golds on the clouds and mountains. The sunsets nearly due south, there is very little west about it.

Another activity around sunset is watching the ravens roost. Anchorage's ravens roost in the Chugach Range, somewhere close behind my house. I can stand at the end of the driveway at sunset and watch twenty to fifty ravens in groups of four or five wing their way east. Many will come from the dropoff below my lot, and skim just a few feet above my head. Sometimes they are talking to each other and sometimes I only hear the deep drafts of their wingbeats.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sick Haus



It is a good thing that the Arctic Winter Games qualifier for biathlon was cancelled due to no snow this weekend. Zoey has an infection in both ears and irritated lungs. Vivi has a horrible infection in her throat. The same goes for Tom. He has no voice. It makes controlling a classroom difficult. As of this morning I am the only family member not on an anti-biotic. Sigh...I am exhausted.

I think between the three week long plague and the fender-bender doctor's visits, I may just write off November. I am ready for everyone to be healthy and happy and popping right along. It would be a nice change from hacking and sneezing and crankiness.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dawn's Rose Fingers



"Dawn's rose fingers touched the sky."

Homer's Odyssey




The sun takes a great deal of time to rise this time of year. It infuses the eastern sky with a cool pink glow. I love to watch it kiss the tops of Denali and Foraker to the north. The alpenglow then shimmies down the mountains as sun rises higher in the sky. I love to stand at the sliding glass door with a cup of tea in my hand and watch this lovely display. Yesterday was perfect for this activity.

Add on about 9:13p...
If you want a more interesting angle on the sunrises, go look at Dave's site.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rather Moosey




Look across the street with me. What is that among the hemlock and the alder? I think I see two moose.



Is that a third moose? Gee, one looks like he has grown just one paddle. I wonder how that feels? Does he have a constant crook in his neck?






The next day I heard something on the front stoop.



A baby moose! Are you going to ring the bell?


She was browsing our old hanging baskets with her momma.




I have been thinking of Meggie this last week. We have had so many moose hanging around our neighborhood. Mind you my moose photos are not nearly as nice as Dave's, they are very local.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Star of the Internets


My beautiful little mansquito kitty cat, Henry is a star of the internets! He can really work his shrug. Check out all these kitties in hand knits, it is hysterical. If you are in need of pick-me-up, or a giggle, or a break from the trytophan haze, dip into the Flickr gallery. It is so worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends who check in and keep up with my weird schedule through this here website. I hope you all find some contentment and hospitality this weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Smokin'



It's been a while since I posted a volcano shot. So, here is Mt. Iliamna backlit this afternoon, a nice coda on a busy, busy day. We were lucky enough to catch this lovely sunset from the end of the drive way as we came home. It was letting off a little steam. According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory there is no change in that status of Mt. Iliamna.

Now I am off to make White Lightning Chili. Yum!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Boreal Goodness

video

For your enjoyment. I had one really tenacious Boreal Chickadee at the suet feeder yesterday. The winds blew in a small front that is now bringing us a little snow. Enjoy. Disclaimer: On my computer this video is NOT sideways. I have tried five times to get this thing to upload correctly. Apparently, Blogger thinks this is correct. Who am I to argue. So, tilt you head. If that hurts, tilt you monitor. Sorry folks.

My sister has been in town from Bellbrook, Ohio. She is thinking of moving back up. I am encouraging her. It would be great to have her around. My girls just adore her. She is looking at want-ads, websites of employers and real estate. Keep your fingers crossed.

I am making my plan for next week so I am not running around like a crazy lady. I have guests coming for Thanksgiving. I need a plan! I will still, at some point, be a crazy lady, but my plan should minimize that. I also like to do surgical strike shopping, get in, get out; preferrably with very few other folks in the store, usually about ten o'clock at night, on my way home from work, with no children.

This is all on top of fixing myself. We were rear-ended on Sunday. Oh joy! Tell me what parent allows their seventeen-year-old kid to drive a bunch of his friends 2200 feet up a mountain to illegally snowboard on private property during the first snowstorm of the year? And bonus, he did not have studs on his tires. Sheesh! The accident could have been worse. He hit us while we were stopped at an intersection, we were not pushed into traffic. Zoey and I are the only ones sore. It really could have been worse. And I will feel better when I can get a full night's sleep.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Big, Fat Fluffies



Finally, I think the weather pattern may be changing. We are getting big, fat fluffies. Maybe we will be getting them most of the week. Yippy! This makes Tom and Zoey very happy. I even like it, too. Vivi will get to hone her newly emerging nordic ski skills. And everyone in town will finally get their winter driving chops back. I am so glad I do not have to go to work today.

Happy Veteran's Day! Happy Armistice Day!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Not Quite Freezing


It has been not quite freezing in town. We have been having a very warm October and November. Up here it has been cold enough to keep the snow on the ground, but not cold enough for the snow and ice to form sticky crystals. The upstart is that our road is super slick. If it were only my neighbors driving on it, we would have minimal problems. However, we have the most popular trail head in all of Alaska just below us. So, three times this fall the road has been closed by the Anchorage police department due to flatlanders trying to drive on plastic ice without studs. Two of those times I have had to be at work. Today was one of those days. I got to watch the guy ahead of me turn two and a half times around and then bumper off the sides of the road until he was at the bottom. While he was doing this the gentleman behind me was trying not to hit me as his car was sliding down out of his control. All this because they wanted to play in the snow but did not want to monkey with their tires. I did not have a single problem. Sigh.... Once the rest of Anchorage gets some snow the problems will abate, as then nearly everyone will have their studs on. Either that or the temperatures will dip and the make up of the ice and snow will change.

And thanks for all the concern regarding the winds. We regularly ride out winds that high and higher. We are good for a storm each year where the winds gust to 100mph. We have always been just fine.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Flip Side



If birds could be awarded medals, this one would get a medal for bravery. He is feeding on the suet feeder that was knocked down by the wind. There was very little action at the feeders today. I hope all these little guys have safe harbour in the hemlocks.



I have shown you so many pictures of gorgeous sunsets and alpenglow, lovely snowfalls, and many critters. This is the flip side.



To live at 2200 feet above sea level and above Anchorage there is a price to pay. For all the gorgeous sunsets we put up with extremes in weather. Right now we have a big front coming at us from the Gulf of Alaska. It is warm and wet and strong. It hits Prince William Sound and gets funneled through the mountain passes. The above picture is from the corner of our lot, looking up the road. It is beginning to drift in. Normally you would see Flattop Mountain and up Rabbit Valley. This photo is unretouched, no photoshopping. It is VERY hard to capture a picture of wind.



This photo was taken from nearly the same spot as the lovely sunset of two days ago. Yes, that is the same view.



The weather service folks tell us to expect some gusts to 80mph this evening. This is actually not too bad a storm.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

November Sky


Like most photographs this one does not even begin to capture the beauty that met me when I saw the inlet. I came around the corner to my home, arriving from classes and piano lessons, and shopping. The girls were quiet and nappy, I was worn out and needing some quiet time. We all gasped. There was golden light imbuing the clouds, playing on all the waves below. Breathe in, breathe out. Yes, even with all the grey the light is gorgeous.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Spooky! Spooky!

Which is spookier and scarier? Hmmmm.....



A troll and a witch?



A pirate tween?


Or a kitty in a sweater? Wearing it all day? Mwaahhaaaa!!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is this the Left Bank?



It seems that all my cool sightings lately come on Tuesdays, after piano lessons. Yesterday when I was unloading the groceries I looked out the window and saw about eleven birds on the powerline. They were watching all the action at the suet feeders. I do not normally see a flock of birds on our lines. I looked closely and realized they were Bohemian waxwings. Hot damn! Yes indeedy! I have never seen them at my house. Thanks for the visit, please come back anytime!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007



Zoey received her new biathlon rifle yesterday. She and her dad tinkered with it until 12:30AM. Hopefully, Zoey will now make her goal of earning a spot on the Alaska team for the 2008 Arctic Winter Games. Cross your fingers!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Full Moon Yurt


Eagle River Nature Center

We have a had a reservation for the Rapids Camp Yurt at the Eagle River Nature Center for about two months. We have been so looking forward to camping out there in the fall, with a full moon. The kids have been calling it the Yurt of Terror since it was so close to Halloween. When I woke up on Saturday morning this is what was on the front page of the paper and my task that morning was to pack up for our reservation at the Yurt. Hmmmm.....

Our friends Joe and Sarissa were coming, too, so a plan formulated among the outdoorsmen and we decided to go, but go making lots of noise and taking a mobile bear re-education program with us. We also knew we had Coho the Wonder Dog tagging along. I had all confidence we would be just fine.



We counted no less than six signs with about this same wording in the two miles it took to hike out to the yurt.







We spent the evening near the river. The men pumped water.



The girls spazzed out. They had fun with the little eddies of the river being in various states of freezing. Here they had managed to pry a piece about an inch thick out and have some fun with it.



They also tested the strength of the ice, no one fell in, but it did come very close. After holding the ice the girls were ready for a fire.







The next morning it was time to hike out.



In the morning before we hiked out Vivi had found some beautiful fur on several trees right at about her eye level. The kids were trying to guess what critter left it (Science Chimp, you would be sooo proud). They were sticking to wild animals. The color was right for several locals, and with the bear attack first in our minds the kids were convinced it was brown bear. Once I got my hands on it, I was pretty sure it was llama or alpaca.

When we ran into these folks. They cleared up a mystery for us. It was from this handsome llama named Skilly.







There were loads of high bush cranberries left on the bushes, some watermelon berries, and rosehips all revealed by the leaves leaving. I tried to get a shot of this gorgeous bunch of cranberries with ice rime on them, but the camera would not cooperate.



Fall was revealing sights not seen with all the foliage of summer.



Vivi spotted this juvenile bald eagle checking out the slow, late salmon in the beaver lake.



Isn't she lovely?



As we neared the visitor's center we ran into the witch of the hollow tree and her intrepid bear cub assistant. Vivi was awed! They were setting up for their annual Haunted Trail party.