Monday, December 14, 2009

Around the AK Homestead

Well so far this winter its been cold and we had a half foot of snow but it warmed up, rained, and melted it off. Now its just cold and frosty with light snow; no complaints as I at least dont have to shovel.

These are pictures taken in the last day or so and all within 3 miles of the house and as usual, if you double click on most of the pictures they go to large format:

Hay and land is very expensive

This place boards horses for hundreds a month

Dec 12th and note the lack of snow

Same place last year at roughly the same time

I wont be disappointed if we dont get heavy snow this year.

Montana Bills Old homestead; I always see a lot of deer around here on the way to work

Hardly even any snow on the roadway

I wish we could take this to our farm in Missouri, its so overbuilt it could stand up to a tornado (we were a little overzealous when we built it). I think we will take the King Crab pots just for conversation pieces.

The frost just keeps building up on everything which makes it look festive for the holidays

Three miles from the house in one direction is the glacier, three miles in the other is a boating paradise.

Not as many crowds in the winter...if I can see more than two boats on the water its a crowd.

This is a track of the elusive Felinus Arcticus

Felinus Arcticus in his natural habitat

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Just a couple of pictures from our Halloween activities; hardly any trick or treaters this year..kinda sad.

Harvested some taters......including Yukon Gold which are the best..

Granddaughter Emily after we carved the pumpkins

Granny Holly and Stephanie

The grandparents with Emily and Caleb on Halloween

Grandpa Andy with Caleb..he is a freshman in High School this year and a straight A student....yup I feel old

Emily, she was a princess for Halloween but it was hard to tell the difference...she is a princess everyday!! (and a Ham)

Caleb was Gangsta...or something cool and hip that I probably dont understand anymore..

All and all it was a good Halloween, good anniversary for Holly and I (11 years) and a pleasant day. I also started running again now that my surgery is mostly healed. I still have some weird pangs from inside where the stitches are probably dissolving but it feels good to be running again, I just have to take it easy for a while.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Trip to Sitka

Just got home from a short week in Sitka. I had to work 18 hour days so I didnt get to do much other than work but I hit a few places waiting for my flight. The totem park is awesome and its hard to describe the intricate details of the totems on display. Some were turn of the 20th century and some were more recent but they truly display the artistry of the carvers.

Sitka is a small fishing village that used to be the Russian capitol of Alaska and its also the site of several battles between the Russians, Americans, and Tlingits. The skyline is dominated by Mt Edgecomb, a dormant volcano that sort of reminds me of Mt Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

Dont forget that with most of the pictures you can double click on them for a larger more detailed format.

Cannon on the ramparts of Castle Hill over looking Sitka

View of the Russian Orthodox church steeple from Castle Hill

Coast Guard bouy tender on Jablonski Island across from Sitka

Sitka Pioneers Home; if you have to go to a rest home, this wouldnt be a bad choice.

City of Sitka, worth a visit if you havent been

Mt Edgecomb which dominates the skyline

A more recent totem at Totem Park

This was a more modern long house support carving; note it has human hair and abalone shells incorporated into the design

A turn of the 20th century long house support pole carving

A totemic carving in progress

The most important representative carvings on Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian totems were at the bottom and you will note many totems with carvings of humans with top hats on top of the poles, meaning they were considered less important.

Fall in the rain forests of Southeast Alaska

Note the whale on this totem

The difficulty in maintaining the symetry is hard to imagine

A totem from about 1903......not sure of the meaning or if I want to know!

Some contemporary carvers add their own twist to traditional representations which creates some striking carvings

They are large and tall and impressive up close.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adventures in Nome

I spent a couple of days in Nome this week. Nome is a mining town on the Bering Sea of about 3500 people and it still retains its frontier flavor. In addition to mining, its the northern finish line for the Iditarod Sled dog race. Weather was low 30s and Sun, rain, sleet, and snow all within a span of an hour or two.

I pity those who are cubicle stop Sitka in a couple of weeks for the 50th anniversary of Alaska Statehood.

Nome was incorporated in 1901 and at one time had Wyatt Earl as a lawman

Sill a lot of false front buildings...on the other side of these buildings is the Bering Sea

Umiak frames (skin boats)

The infamous Board of Trade Saloon

More my speed

Old mining equipment and ruins are everywhere

Early 1900s gold dredge south of town

Not much vandalism here compared to other villages

Tough way to make a living

Kevin and his kids Emily and Scott

Now days, people camp on the beach and float small dredges into the Bering Sea and they are still pulling a lot of gold from the beaches, its cold and unforgiving.

The Bering Sea coast

Fish Camp

Looks like a very cold Burning Man eh?

Ruins of an old mining railroad near Solomon 35 miles south of Nome

Its very beautiful in this area, kind of looks like the Black Hills

Hadnt seen a person for hours

An old roadhouse on the way to Solomon...dont be fooled by the weather in this pic, we had experienced rain, sleet and snow within 20 minute of this picture and it was about 33 degrees (September 21)

Solomon, year round population zero. Its not a painting really.

I wish this building could talk

I remember exploring old mining ruins in the Yukon when I was a kid (and we found some very cool artifacts that I still have)...would have loved to explore the inside of this building but it needs to be preserved for others

The old tracks had sunk into the tundra

White Alice Communications System. This is a relec of the Cold War and was used for communications for the DEW line and Ballistic missile control systems as part of NORAD. It was obsolete within a decade or so when satellites replaced them. The parabolic antennas are huge and dominate the skyline over Nome. In the distance you can see Anvil Mountain (Nome is also called Anvil City).

To quote COL Flagg from M.A.S.H., "it is so secret (but not any more) that even I dont know what I know"

Nome from White Alice site

Road from White Alice

Its a beautiful area and again, it reminds me of my travels through the Dakotas

Rock Creek mine, its a Canadian gold mine that promised an economic boom to Nome but shut down within 2 years...strange that with gold over $1000.00 an ounce that it hasnt re-opened but its owned by Canadians so what do you expect?

One of the groceries in Nome; prices were high but not as bad as the Yukon-Kuskokwim area.

Finally, we flew through Kotzebue on the way back...windy, cold, and a hair raising!