Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Early Morning Visitor - March 20, 2012

When Doug got up at 6:00 this morning, he looked out the bedroom window and saw this moose resting right outside our back steps. About 30 minutes later, I spotted the calf just below the other bedroom window. He munched on our tree for a minute and then also settled down to rest. It finally got light enough to take some pictures. We tried to be quiet in the house and not turn on many lights so we didn't disturb mama. She and the calf stayed for about two hours.

Moose calf munching on our tree just before he left our yard.

Moose calf going past our family room window, headed for our trees.

Mama getting ready to leave.

We live on a hill. Although that perspective is hard to see in this photo, our yard goes downhill and our trees go to the bottom of the hill. As I was watching the moose, I saw the dog in the neighbor's yard below (just over the back of the moose calf). The dog headed toward our trees at the bottom of the hill. Very shortly I saw the dog turn around and go back home. Good choice, Fido!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Skiing in Anchorage - March 2, 2012

On Friday (between the Mushers Banquet and the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod) we decided to try a new cross country ski trail in Anchorage. As we skied we saw eagles in the trees just above the trail. One of them had a green tag. They were pretty acclimated to humans. It didn't bother them at all that we were there and taking pictures.

We were near the airport. A plane took off about every two minutes over our heads. You can read the writing or the pictures on the sides/tails of the planes. You can also see that it was a gorgeous day to be outside.

Greenhouse Visit in Anchorage - March 2,2012

We visited a greenhouse in Anchorage that grows tomato plants...thousands of tomato plants! But look past Doug in each picture and look out the windows. What you see is snow, snow, snow. You can see how deep it is.

Hot air is forced through these plastic tubes to tubes that are lying on the ground beside the plant rows.

Once the tubes on the ground are filled with hot air, a hole is punched beside each plant so that hot air blows directly on each plant.

Iditarod Ceremonial Start - March 3, 201

This year we made dog foot ointment and packaged it for use on the trail. We have done that the past three years. We volunteered for a new activity this year. We moved merchandise from the central race headquarters to the auditorium where the Mushers Banquet was held on Thursday evening before the race. We sold a lot of merchandise through out the evening. The highlight of the Mushers banquet is that each musher draws for his starting position in the race.
One of the highlights for us was meeting some folks from Schade Vineyards, a South Dakota winery. They had made an Iditarod wine and placed labels with each mushers picture and information on individual bottles. A silent auction was held for those bottles of Iditarod Ice wine. They also had designed some Iditarod wine glasses which they sold. The big surprise was that they knew Chris & Melanie (our kids in South Dakota).

On Friday we went cross country skiing (I put that in a separate post). Then on Saturday we attended the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod in downtown Anchorage. I have taken lots of pictures of the start and have posted them previously. So I didn't post any from downtown this year.
In this post, I did post some pictures from the Campbell Airstrip, where the teams end up after an 11-mile run through town.

Musher Hugh Neff is a huge supporter of reading. He wears a red & white stove pipe hat and his dogs wear striped red & white jackets (symbolic of The Cat in the Hat). These dogs even wear these jackets on the trail during the race.

The people in the sleds are Iditariders. You can bid for a chance to ride with a musher. Some folks have come for years and ridden with the same mushers. At the start of the race in downtown as his team pulled up to the starting line, musher Lance Mackey was riding in his sled and his elderly musher was standing on the runners. So he got a chance to drive the sled for a few blocks, in addition to riding in the sled through Anchorage.

One of the Berington sisters. Kristy is a three-year veteran and her twin sister Anna was a rookie this year.

The person on the trail sled is reaching out to give "high-fives" to people right beside the trail. In these next pictures you can see how close people can get to the teams. Just past this last group of people there was a huge whole in the trail. Because the mushers were interacting with the crowds, many of them did not notice that all the dogs on the right side of the line were dipping into that spot as they ran by it. Eventually many of the sleds tipped over in that spot or else had a near-miss.

Musher and Iditarider. (And yes, it was really snowing!)

Beautiful dog team

Musher Dan Seavey - 74 years old. He ran in the first Iditarod race in 1973. This was the 40th anniversary of the Race. It was also the 100th anniversary of the Iditarod Trail. Dan wore bib number 100 to commemorate the Trail anniversary. Also running in the race was Dan's son Mitch (a former Race winner) and his grandson Dallas. Dallas Seavey won this year's race and set a record for being the youngest mushers to win. Dan's other grandson Conway (Dallas" brother) won the Jr. Iditarod this year.

Walking back through the park from the Campbell Airstrip (where the Ceremonial Start ended)

Cool Stuff!!

A picture of the sunrise over the mountain, taken from our bedroom window on March 15, 2012.

We now have over 12 hours of daylight each day.

A neat photo that I took when the evening sun shone
through our living room window in January, 2012.

The Carter Children - Matt, Melanie & Dan.
All are doing VERY well!

How much snow? - Winter 2012

This picture of our camper and the pile of snow which we blew out of our driveway, was taken on January 17, 2012.

And then MORE snow came and came and came.
The pictures below were taken on February 29, 2012.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of my neighbor one day when he was out with his snow blower. He had on a Hawaiian short sleeve shirt (no coat) and was blowing 12" of snow off of his sidewalk! Only in Alaska!

Doug has tried to keep our little Ford Festiva unburied.

Doug stands head and shoulders above our mailboxes.
The packed snow he is standing on is about 2.5 feet deep.
Even I can see over top of the mailboxes right now!

We went to Thomas' house last week. (Remember Thomas? - many of you sent postcards to him.) Thomas has three brothers. He and his two older brothers built a cool snow fort in their yard. They just had to tunnel through the huge drift where the snow from their driveway had been piled. His older brothers also have a snowboarding jump ramp in the yard.

It was bitterly cold here for several weeks in January. But now that the temperatures are more moderate (in the 20's - I know you folks in Nebraska don't know what that is like this winter!), we have been able to get in a lot of cross country skiing the last few weeks. Having this much snow is great for outdoor activities like skiing and fort-building. Anchorage has had a LOT more snow that we have had this winter. They need only 3" to break their record. We are thankful that we haven't had as much as they have had. So far 14 roofs have collapsed under the weight of the snow - everything from loading dock roofs, to private homes, to church auditoriums. Two firefighters were hurt when there was a collapse at a fire that they were fighting. One of them was buried under an estimated 6 tons of debris and snow. Miraculously, he was only in the hospital for a couple of days.