21 December 2009

The Long Dark Night

Happy Winter Solstice!

Otherwise known here as the beginning of the end of the long dark night. In celebration of the day I took my lunch break by ski around 1pm when you could almost tell the sun had risen. We've got 5hours and some odd minutes of daylight at the moment - not bad really from other places I've lived - and by January 1 we will have gained 12 more minutes. This is worth celebrating. With fire and malted beer and good warm foods and laughter and friends.

'Tis of course the season for things such as:
-funny takes on holiday songs such as "the 12 days of Christmas my ex-governor brought to me" over at The Mudflats
-listening to King Island Christmas (over here)
-making chocolate truffles and packing them two to a cute little box and giving them out to all and sundry: my favorite gift
-office holiday parties and the attendant white elephant gift giving: this year at the big boss's not quite completed house
-a flurry of mail: all of his family and all of my family this year got silly pictures of us dancing in the snow as did some of our friends.
-the X-mas bird count: this year we saw 7 ravens and 2 redpolls and at -27F we considered that huge. However, it was an excellent excuse to go for a ski along the bluff.
-Lebkuechen, the food I still miss from living in Germany at this time of year: available this year in Los Anchorage!
-decorating the house with Santa riding on every imaginable creature (whales to mooses)
-skiing, skiing, skiing, and sauna-ing....and then repeating!
-contemplating how much my life has changed in one year...but that's for another post!

27 November 2009


So this is the little guy who showed up on our doorstep. So far no one has come forward to claim him. He has been very friendly towards the other Disreputables and as such well, what can I say? We're soft hearted. So I think he's going to stay as Disreputable Cat Number 2 or D2Cat unless anyone else has a better idea? Feel free to suggest in the comments.

On a completely unrelated note, I've been getting lots of spam comments lately so I've re-engaged the word verification. And I'm sad that in the time I've been gone some of my favorite bloggers have gone to password only blogs and I can't read them now. :(

18 November 2009


There has been a bit too much excitement in my life lately. I'm hoping for a mellow night some time soon. There follows three ways to have your adrenaline surge:

1) Hearing the cry of some beast while stepping naked from the sauna while it's blizzarding (not a verb, I'm sure). Turns out it was a stray cat with a canning jar ring around his neck. We coaxed him into the warmth, took off the lid, and fed him a little spoon of wet cat food every hour. He was clearly starving and miserable. He has since gotten a clean bill of health from the vet (a 5hr round trip) and is schmoozing with the DDog while still a bit afraid of the DCat.

2) To come home from a lovely walk with the DDog to the sound of a smoke alarm going off only to find flames merrily dancing their way up to the ceiling outside of the stove in the basement. Got to pracitce my fire fighting skills and use of the fire extinguisher which made a huge mess. My love comes home from the vet with the newly vetted cat to find me looking wild in the basement with all the windows in the house open eve if it's -20F and soot and fire extinguisher dust all over the place. "Honey I almost burnt the house down."

3) Crash! Bang! After the fun post fire clean up the middle of the night finds the newly liberated stray trying to find extra scraps of food on the kitchen counter and dislodging and breaking all the dishes he found there.

And to top it off one of my Love's employees loaned her brand new car to someone (3 payments made) only to have it totaled by a driver in Los Anchorage who ran a red light and then got out and ran. Turns out the car was stolen. Luckily all the occupants where okay other then some minor bruises and cuts thanks to seatbelts and airbags.

14 November 2009

Let it snow, Let it snow!

I've made it safely home despite a white knuckle drive from Los Anchorage after my two conferences and a brief bout of not-quite-the-flu. I was not too keen on the snow when driving home. It is always a little scary when you only know where the side of the road is when you drive over the rumble strip. It makes one thankful for rumble strips in a way that one normally is not. Perhaps it wasn't too good of an idea to listen to an audio book that involved a guy deciding to cut off his arm to escape from a canyon (Aaron Ralston). I was as relieved to skid into my drive as the Disreputables and my love were. I was wired for half the night on adrenaline.

Now however, big fat fluffy flakes and snow piled higher then my knees, slush rushing down the increasingly constricted river, and lots of white stuff just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love snow. I really do. Ask anyone who went to undergrad with me where there was no snow. I love snow, I love winter. Tomorrow the skis are coming out!

08 November 2009


I've been traveling this week - lots of conferences and meetings, 3 to be exact. Two days for the first meeting, a day of travel, 3 days for the next, a day of travel, weekend with friends, a day of travel, 2 days for the next one. Yippee! And the really expensive hotel where I stayed would only give me internet access if I paid $25/ hr and I balked. The picture above does not really related to my travel other then it was taken in another west coast temperate rainforest. The photo is from the Popular-Icy-Surfing-Town whereas I am farther south. It was -15F when I left home, winter by all accounts although we certainly don't have enough snow to show for it, and now I'm in fall again. Me and several crates of mice that were loaded onto the plane with me. I wonder what that was all about.

02 November 2009


It's time for a new header, don't you think ?

Pictoral Summary of My Summer

As I mentioned before I had a very busy summer. This tends to be the trend in all places where the summer is 3-4 months long but this one was even more so then usual. So, rather then bore you with too much verbage here is a pictoral summary with a little bit of clarification of the highlights.

Measuring vegetation monitoring plots.

I spent a week in Denali in the same house that Olaus Murrie lived in. What an amazing place to be - staying in the place where one of the greatest -oligists of this state and one of the first conservationists here lived. I was there to help train and to pick up my 3 person crew. (Just one of my crews this summer - last week the last seasonal left. Break!)

Rafted the glacially laden river that is very famous for it's salmon. It's Red (Coho) Salmon fetch the highest price on the Seattle market. This was a invasive weed survey and patrol.

Scary holes in the water. I will post more about fishwheels (I promise Rubberducky!) later but there were plenty of them on this river (our is) including some carcasses of wheels that had washed downstream. I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures this summer, when I found a minute, was to text my sister about the very famous, expensive red salmon "Five minutes from the river to grill - you should come visit". To which she invariably replied "u stink". My sister can always be relied on to know exactly what the price is that it is fetching on the market at any given time.

Watching glacier calving from the Million Dollar bridge (not to be confused with the bridge to no where although it may well fall into that category depending on your view) - it counts as movie entertainment up here. We were camping here at the end of our float and waiting for a pickup the next morning.

Brutal hikes to research caves and mines in July heat. It was hot! Don't let anyone ever tell you that it's always cold in Alaska.

I wonder if they built to code?

A massive 60,000 acre fire, lightning caused, in wilderness, dual agency response (i.e. disagreement of what needed to be done). Flying helicopters into the smoke, trying to lay plots ahead of where it will burn.

Didn't think these guys lived here either did you? Nope, nobody else did either.

Flying over the Malaspina, a small little ice field the size of Rhode Island. Climate change and whale and harbor seal / boat collisions.

Another lovely piece of ice that threatens an entire way of life every time it closes that gap. Last time the military (and the major) thought we should detonate a small nuclear bomb to clear up the problem.

The Disreputable Dog grows tusks! Nope, he just found some sheep horns on a backpacking trip and decided to bring them home as a souvenir.

Backpacking with my love, my parents, and the DDog. (You already heard this story so I won't belabor it)

Ice storm. It did this to our tent zippers too.

More cave work.

Fire severity.
The Disreputable Cat always ready to warm my lap at home.