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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Grey, White & Black

I know, I know, I have been posting a few too many snow and skiing photos.  I just can't help myself because it is just so beautiful up there.  Also in the next few days there will be plenty of Maine family vacation photos.

Last night it rained in town but we got another 4 to 5 inches of new snow at the pass and on the mountain.  The snow is getting deep and the skiing is now good.  Today I did not use rock skis and I did not regret it either.  It was almost too deep to take the doggies.  When it gets too deep they posthole and have a really hard time.

Now let's just hope it sticks around.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Home to Snow

Look closely to find Brewster - his yellow camo works here in the golden sunshine

Yesterday the kids and I got back from Thanksgiving with the family in Maine.  There were no blog posts while we were on vacation because the blog would not let me log in from a remote setting.  It wanted my cell phone number to make sure it was me - and I do not own a cell phone! Needless to say, but now I have quite a back log of Thanksgiving Break blog posts to write.  So check back for more in the next few days.  Or check what Stuey wrote on his blog - google did let him log in.

But I will say that one of the highlights of the trip was returning to Alaska and having it snow the day we got home.  We returned to snow!  This made what could have been a sad home-coming a very happy return.

This afternoon after work I took the dogs up to the pass and went for my first cross country ski of the season.  And it wasn't so bad either.  There was about 4-5 inches of old, hard and frozen 'cement' covered with an inch or so of powder.  Not much of a base, but the sunshine was glorious.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hoarfrost and Rime

Brewster and alders covered with rime ice

Kodiak has a moist environment and we commonly get ice storms on the mountain.  During storms the moisture in the air freezes on everything and creates a layer of rime ice.  It is like armor. Then as it gets colder in the days after a storm the remaining moisture freezes as little crystals onto everything as hoarfrost.

It seems hoarfrost is more than just getting the cold shoulder. And it really is beautiful.  Patrick

Hoarfrost glints in the sunlight

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Favorite time of the day

Doggies have a good attitude towards life.  If we want to be more content, us humans should observe, learn, and to some degree emulate doggie attitude.  There is no seeking of some higher purpose, no angst, or overthinking things - doggies just enjoy what they do have when they have it.  Like a good bone, a bowl of food, or a long walk on the beach, they enjoy the moment.  And when it is available they go all out enjoying whatever is they got.  The rest of the time they nap and cuddle.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

White dog in a white world

One of Brewster's nicknames is 'the white dog'.  This is because he stands out pretty brightly against a colored background - he's just so darn white.  And yet, as I realized yesterday when I took him and the other dogs skiing, he is actually slightly yellow when the background is pure white.  I'd have thought he would be hard to see against a snowy background, but no, his camouflage color does not work on snow.  In some respect the black labs, Tank and Sheba, blend into a snowy background better because they look like black rocks, or shadowed holes.


The frost on Tank's eyelashes created false little 'eyes' on his forehead

Can you find the black labs?

And hee hee, made you look! - no black labs in either of the bottom two photos.  It would be hard to hide Tank in any photo!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hike to Longbeach

A high tide flooded the mouth of this small creek

Here on Kodiak it has been raining and blowing a lot of late.  Not the type of weather conducive to climbing up into the exposed mountain tops.  This is the type of weather where one comes to value the hiking opportunities in the much more protected spruce forest. 

So Sunday morning Philip and I took to the sheltered forest trails and hiked 3 1/2 miles each way to what is normally a big sandy beach.  However, with the full moon the tide was so high that the beach was completely under water.  It was a spectacular scene with the big waves crashing and the rain pelting down. 

And then on the hike home the sun even came out for a moment or two.  Patrick

Hey is that the sun shining up there?

Some blue sky!

Big beaver dam

High tide flooding the creek - and true high tide was still an hour away!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Super Moon

Today while hiking I noticed that the high tide was super huge - almost up to the road out at white sands beach!  And I suddenly realized, 'oh yeah, full moon'.  So this evening I looked out the window and there was the moon rising above Mill Bay.  It was HUGE.  It turns out that this is not an optical illusion but that the moon is actually really close to the earth at this time.  This is what is known as a super moon.

I got this from the internet:

Monday morning you might get a chance to see the Supermoon. Monday at 5:15 a.m., the moon will appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter when it makes its closest pass to Earth. The moon will also be completely full. This hasn't happened since 1948. The moon will not appear this big or bright again until 2034. (Published Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016)

So for tonight's night drive Stuey, Nora and I tried to take a picture of the moon.  We first drove out to the Deadman's Curve pullout, and it was looking good.  But just as we got there the moon went behind the clouds.  Still I got a cool picture of Stuey looking back in through the windshield with the lights of town in the background.  And while vainly waiting for the moon to reappear we noticed that the moonlight was lighting up patches of the ocean in the distance.  It was like the moon was shining a spotlight on just certain spots of the bay.

Stuey REALLY wanted a picture of the moon for his blog so when we got back to Mill Bay, and there was the moon, we stopped and tried again.  I think I did pretty good for using a point and shoot and no tripod.  I braced off of the roof of the car.


PS - This morning I woke up for some reason and moonlight was shining in the window - I looked out and saw the full moon high in the sky.  I looked at the clock and it was 5:15 - the moment the moon was actually full.  Later after Nora got up we both went outside to look at the moon (it is pretty much clear this morning), and Nora said, 'It's so big it looks like it is going to come to rest on the guest house.'

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tough Game

Opening tip off

Earlier this week I watched Stuey's basketball team, A Balanced Approach (ABA), take on Family Pride in a L'il Dribblers game.  Stuey's team has been winning most of their games, and before the game he was talking up their chances - totally convinced his team was going to win.  I told him, 'Stuey, don't jinx yourself - they may be better than you think'.

And boy were they ever.  Stuey got one uncontested shot at the very beginning of the game and from there on out the other team totally jammed up ABA's offense.  They cut off passes and closely covered everybody on his team.  ABA literally could not get a shot off.  The shooter always had someone in his face. And the few good shots that they did get off always seemed to rim out.

By late in the second half it was looking bad - Stuey's team still had not scored.  I had been thinking, 'this is good for him - teach him a little humility'.  But getting shut out is another matter entirely.  So when in the closing minutes of the game Stuey put up a highly contested, 3 point range, Hail Mary, and it went in!  I cheered the loudest. 

After the game the basket gave him a little pride and he did not dwell on the blowout loss.  'Dad did you see it? it was a fade away 3 pointer!'  I also think the team learned something in the loss. 

Later in the week he came home from the next game and recounted how they had won by 4 and he'd scored 8 points. As he put it, 'Christian set me up on screens'.  It seems they did learn something!


Stuey's first and last uncontested shot of the game

Darn but they're good

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Plantlore with Nora

Nora with a spruce tree where the 'knee' was removed to create braces (also called knees) for a dory

At work I am helping with the publication of an Alutiiq plantlore book, and one of my duties is take photographs of various plants that feature in the book.  I told this to Nora and she got very excited.  She desperately wants to take a photo that gets published in a book, and she asked if she could help take some of the pictures.

So on our hike last Sunday she was very interested in the pictures we took of plants.  The light was not very good so I doubt any of these photos will make the book, but it is good to practice and I may go back on a sunny day and retake some of them.  Or I'll have Nora take them!


Nootka Rose hip - good source of vitamin C

3 different species of moss

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

White dogs

 During Nora and I's Sunday hike we were hiking through the trees on our way back to the car when we suddenly heard a commotion ahead.  'That's not Kody', 'Is that a Saltonstall black lab?'.  We rounded a corner and there was a milling pack of dogs and people, and another white dog identical to Brewster.

It was Shanna and Jason and their white lab Kody.  They got Kody through ARF. an Anchorage based animal rescue group, just like we did with Brewster.  Both dogs originally came from Bethel where they shared a common grandparent.  The white dogs are cousins!

Nora was wondering if Brewster could sense the family connection.  And they certainly hit it off right away.  They were chasing each other and rough housing, and moving about so quickly that we had a really hard time even getting a picture of the 2 dogs together - and every single picture is somewhat motion blurred.

Brewster got to meet with one of his 'peeps'.   Patrick

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rainy Day Hike with Nora

If you look closely you can see some new snow on the mountains

Sunday morning Nora and I went for a hike with the dogs.  It was sort of a dismal day and the weather was supposed to get worse. So we went for a hike along the coast where we could always duck into the trees for shelter.

A highlight of the trip was when we got to a beaver pond and threw sticks for the dogs.  Tank leaped out into the water and it was covered with a thin skim of ice.  Big crash and splash and ice chunks flying everywhere.  The ice had been invisible to the eye, and I think it really surprised Tank.  It made Nora laugh.


Nora liked the beach

In places the trail goes right along the cliff edge

Funny moment when Tank jumped into the water for a stick and it was covered with a skim of invisible ice

Nora checking out a really large beaver dam

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Monashka Loop

I recently needed a picture of me skiing and had a really hard time finding one.  I have hundreds of pictures of other people skiing, but very few of me. It made me realize I am usually the one taking the pictures when out on adventures.

So yesterday at the trailhead when I realized I'd left my camera charging its battery back at the house I was initially a little bummed.  Then Philip said, 'hey I got a camera'.  And I thought, 'good deal, this time I get to be in all the photos'.

As it turned out that did not end up to be strictly true - Philip did take some pictures of Brewster and deer too.

It was a pleasant 3 hour hike in the sunshine.  Patrick

Saturday, November 5, 2016

King of the mountain

We've lost the snow I was skiing on earlier in the week, but it still is beautiful up in the mountains.  Yesterday was absolutely stunning.  The ravens were making croaking sounds and dive bombing us as we went along the ridge to the summit.  I think they had evil intent and were trying to get the dogs to chase them over the cliff edge.  Patrick

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bunk Bed Dog

The other night I helped Brewster up the ladder to Nora's bunk bed.  He hung out with her for the reading hour before lights out.  Nora reports that when it came time to come down he went splat on the floor.  I guess ladders were not designed for dogs.  Patrick

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First Ski of the Season

Monday's warm rain ended with a bit of cold air - enough cold air that we got some snow on the mountain tops all around town.  So yesterday after work I took the dogs up Pyramid and went skiing.  I was actually surprised at how much snow we did get.  There was a dusting of snow all the way down to 900 feet or so and 3 to 4 inches up high. 

Without a base it was not great skiing.  But I used my rock skiis and did not mind hitting the occasional rock.  It was enough snow to go skiing and thus begins the ski season!  Patrick