Saturday, April 28, 2007

The highlight of our Spring...chopping wood!!!

Well, it isn't a fun thing for me, but Ralph seems to really enjoy this. We COULD rent a hydraulic wood splitter, but he likes to chop it the hard way. He and Kyle and Kyle's friends actually fight over who gets to do the chopping. Beth and I always get to do the hauling and stacking!

Changing over the studded snow tires...

Don't I just look thrilled to be doing this job? Ignore the dirt please! LOL Ralph taught me how to remove the studs from our winter tires so that we could just go ahead and use the tires this summer. The studs were pretty well worn out so they couldn't have been used another season.
This is what they look like when they are pulled out.
And this is how you get them DIG them out with a screwdriver. This is not a fun job, but I was glad to be able to help Ralph get this done. One of the many things we had to get done this weekend in preparation for Ralph's deployment.

Spring happenings...

Well, the wood pile is getting smaller isn't it?
This is our first fire of the season. Here in Alaska it is TOO cold to have an outdoor fire in the winter, but Spring and Summer are GREAT times for outdoor fires. Curtis built this fire pit our first summer here and it is wonderful to have. Helps keep the mosquitoes away also!
Snow shovels are heading back into storage.
IF we can get our mosquito magnet working, we hope it will help with the mega-mosquitoes this year.
Of course, I had to get my fishing gear ready today! We bought our fishing licenses today so I had 'fishing fever' We got the new line on the reels and are ready to go!! May 10th I plan on catching my first King Salmon of the season! I know, wishful thinking, but that is okay.

River update...

The river has thawed and the ice break up is over. This is the lowest the river will be. Soon you will notice it coming up and later in the spring it will be from trees to trees.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Eagles on the river

Make sure you click on the pictures for a better view of the eagles!
We are assuming this is a family of eagles. The eagle to the far left as you are looking at it appears to be an immature bald eagle, along with his/her parents, we think.
There have been 3-6 eagles staying along the sand bar of the river for about a week now. Obviously they are getting something good out of the water. Old salmon maybe? Not sure, but we do love to watch them!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Annual Bible Read-a-thon for Tanalian Bible Camp!

Beth and Kyle and their youth group (link is to pictures of last year's camp) are gearing up for their summer trip to Tanalian Bible Camp.

They all pay their own way, with the price somewhere around $350 per person. Beth and Kyle will each be paying $100 of their own trip. This will come from their jobs this last year. Beth worked for a local artist and babysat and Kyle worked for an organic farmer last summer and hopefully will again this summer. Ralph and I want to teach them that they are to put in their own money before they ask others for help.

They recently sent out an email asking for donations for the Bible Read-a-thon. Each year the youth group takes a 24 hour period and reads the Bible non-stop for those 24 hours. This year it will be on May 4-5 from 7pm until 7pm! During this 24 hour period they walk, jump, eat, travel to the river, go to a restaurant (to help the sleepiness) but they never stop reading. They each take turns reading one chapter. It is a stretch and growing experience for all of them. If you participate for four years in a row, you end up reading the first five books (the law) and one gospel each year, and after all four years will end up reading the entire Bible.

If you see this and want to donate, please send an email to with the amount you would like to pledge along with your name and mailing address. You will receive a letter from the church for your tax purposes. It is completely tax deductible. You can pledge a certain amount per chapter, book, hour or just a one time gift. They read somewhere near 300 chapters each year so be careful not to pledge too much! LOL

Again, Beth and Kyle would love your prayers for safety as they travel and for them to have an impact in the lives of the young campers as they love on them and introduce them to the Lord.

More photos of our road

These photos were taken just after we called road maintenance. They blocked sections off and soon after this were out rerouting the water by cleaning out the culvert. The water now runs beside the road instead of across the road. Hopefully later today they will fill in the huge crevasses that are left!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Our ROAD!! Yikes!

These are yesterday's pictures! Later I will have a few more pics of today! Soon we will need our 4 wheelers to get out of our neighborhood!!
Ahh...Spring in Alaska!

A few more sights from Uncle Phil's Diner...

Over the loud speaker they announced that table number 22 (which was our table) needed straws so EVERY waiter and waitress came by with a handful of straws for us! It was pretty funny. We make spitwad shooters, decorations and little poppers.
This is Richard getting in 'trouble' with Uncle Phil for using his paper tablecloth for his spit wads! The grown ups had more fun than the kids there on Saturday! LOL
Here is Kyle and his friends competing in the Bubble Gum Blowing Contest. They all lost to Carmen who blew the first bubble. Of course the boys say they thought the contest was for the biggest bubble and that is why they lost! Boys...
Okay! This was just NOT funny. One of the waitresses came up to me and pushed me out of my seat and told me she wanted me to come up front for something wonderful. I BEGGED her not to make me do this, but she insisted. I KNEW I was going to be embarrassed and boy was I. They brought me up on stage and proceeded to give me a crown and birthday cake and to sing Happy Birthday to me...until...someone in the crowd yelled out, 'It is NOT her birthday!" At that point they started ripping off my crown and trying to take my cake away from me and shooing me off stage!! If fought for the cake but lost in the end and had to slink my way off the stage with the crowd booing! LOL It was a hoot!

Uncle Phil's Diner

UNCLE PHIL'S DINER!! Here is Kyle with his friends. Don't they look so COOL!?

Kyle and Beth with their friends. So cute.
Those beautiful girls!
There they all are! Looks like it is time for the sock hop to me!

Weekend wood, wildlife and wonderful fun!

We had a very busy weekend here in Alaska. Much of our weekend was spent cutting wood from a huge pile of downed birch trees on Elmendorf AFB. The deal is that you cut a cord of wood from their downed trees for $20 per cord with a 3 cord limit. Pretty GOOD deal for here in Alaska. So Ralph, Kyle, Kyle's best friend BJ and I spent Saturday and Sunday cutting and hauling wood. One full bed of our truck equals about 1/2 cord so we had to make four trips. It is one hour each way and took us a lot of time cutting because we decided to go ahead and cut the big logs into 14" sections so we were ready to split them and get them stored in the wood shed. This is a huge blessing. We had no idea how were we going to get our wood for next winter with Ralph gone all summer long, so we are VERY thankful for the hard work this weekend. My biceps are sore and Ralph's back is tight, but overall we fared pretty well!

During this hard working weekend, we also enjoyed some amazing wildlife! LOTS of Bald Eagles and a few moose, but our favorite this weekend was a beautiful fox. We also took Saturday night to enjoy our church's production of Uncle Phil's Diner where our drama team transformed our church into a 1956 diner complete with meal, music, and lots of fun activities as you will see in the pictures to come.

Spring as SPRUNG here in Alaska. We hit 60 degrees yesterday for the first time and it was just beautiful! The snow has almost melted and the Sandhill cranes and Canada geese and Trumpeter swans have come back! Soon the Arctic terns will be here. The moose are retreating back up into the mountains some on the search for new buds and berries. The river is pretty well thawed and is very low at this point. Once the warm temps start hitting it will FILL with glacial melt and SALMON!! There are a few people attempting to fish the fishing hole already. Talked to my local resident salmon expert (Richard LOL) and he said we might give it a try about the 10th of May, just before Ralph leaves. Maybe Ralph will catch a King Salmon before his big deployment. That would be really nice. So, enjoy the sights of our weekend and our beautiful Alaska!

Here is a beautiful fox! We got to watch him play and jump and catch little chipmunks. At one point he had 3 in his mouth at one time!
Here he is catching another chipmunk.
He ran and jumped into this bush! Probably chasing prey, but we didn't see him come out with anything in his mouth that time. Great picture huh! I was so pleased to get it.
This is just one part of the wood pile!

Chainsaw repair is always a necessity with our wood cutting. Ralph's chainsaw is older than he is but he keeps it running pretty well. We purchased a new one at Christmas time, used it for 30 minutes Saturday morning before it quit running. Needless to say it went back to the store and Ralph went back to 'Old Faithful'
The wood pile is near the landing area on base. This C-17 landed right over our heads while we were cutting wood.
This is Della (dark red) and Harry. They are owned by a man cutting wood while we were there cutting wood. Della is 15 years old and completely deaf. She was a therapy dog most of her life working with babies and children who had bad experiences with dogs. They were a joy to have near us as we cut our wood.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The break up continues, the bears wake up!

Same river, just a little closer view of the area where the ice break is beginning.

What is left of the snow caves!
A sure sign of spring...empty bird feeders. In fact, they are being put away today because the news says the bears are out of their dens. Ralph also saw the first porcupine of the year and that is supposed to be a sure sign the bears are awake!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Overnight Break up

These photos were taken one day after the photos below. This is the Knik River after a 50 degree day. Soon there should be large blocks of ice breaking up. This is basically melted snow on top of the ice.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Sights of Spring...

The beautiful 'maple leaf' of snow in our mountain.
Three shots of the Knik River. Break up is just starting and I will try to post pictures of this river as it changes from frozen to flooding in early Summer.