Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
As the daylight hours come screaming back, now at 6 minutes a day... an extra 3/4 hour of daylight every week, we are scurrying to finish up this winter's house projects (all inside) so we can start some outside projects. The last thing on our list of house projects is the first thing added to the list last fall, a shower/tub makeover. I had honestly hoped that winter projects would come to an end and leave the this job as the number one job on the list for another year. But we bit the bullet and began the dirty work in earnest this morning. Ugly, dirty, noisy work! Removing tile from the walls and cutting out part of the concrete tub enclosure. As is usually the case, the days and nights of imaging how difficult this job was going to be were more difficult than the job itself. Of course we have only done the demolition, we still have to fix the mess. But it was the demolition that I envisioned being the worse, so maybe the worse is over. I'll report back in a few days when the changes have been made.
Most of our remodeling work is done to keep our house, a summer vacation rental, in great condition with desirable features to compete in the Homer market which is very congested. Here's a few pictures of some of the projects in work and new wall textures, paints, carpets, etc, that are the result of our winter project hours in the http://www.homerretreat.com.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Since this is our 10th year in business as Chicken Gold Camp, we are celebrating! Come join us...the party will be June 12th at the 4th annual Chickenstock Music Festival. This year's bands have not been lined up, but now that the Yukon Quest is finished, the organizer, Josea, will have a little more time to devote to that effort.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The front runners, Gatt, Neff and Mackey, are all in Braeburn, the last checkpoint of the Quest and a mandatory 8 hr layover. Hans Gatt, first in, will leave at 2:19 am. The race should have a winner around 9 am whcih will shave over 26 hours off the faster previous race. The Yukon Quest, like other non-profit organizations in this current economic downturn, is in the red. So one way to help the cause is to buy booties, or tags, or bibs. They are all being auctioned at http://www.yukonquest.com/site/auction/#Current_Bids. Check it out! I have my money on a signed Hans Gatt #13 bib.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
The checkpoint at Central offered a good opportunity to get up close to the race, mushers, dogs, handlers, vets and close fans. Central is beautiful in the winter with all the frost cloaked birch trees which set it apart from the surrounding lands that are sparsely blanketed with mostly taiga spruce. Kind of a winter oasis in a stark subarctic wilderness. Although there were several leading mushers resting their dogs while we were there, I focused on Lance Mackey (http://www.mackeyscomebackkennel.com/), partially due to his notoriety, but more because of his magnetism. Lance is very competitive, but he is a compassionate, considerate, detailed competitor. He's not about self; he's about his dogs, his mushing companions, and no doubt his connection to the tradition.
Tonight, as the VanCouver Winter Olympics begin with it's incredible assemblage of global athletes, it is only a small group of mostly northerners that recognize that some of the finest athletes of the world are quietly running night and day across a 1000 miles of snow covered, empty wildness in whatever weather comes.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
We headed north February 5th to arrive in Fairbanks the following day to help with last minute preparations for the 27th running of the coldest and toughest race on earth, the Yukon Quest, although this year the race is not expected to see extreme temperatures. Friday night, we met with our daughter Josea, the Race Manager (see the article: http://www.ktva.com/alaskanews/ci_14263734), and a few of her volunteer logistics team members, to add the finishing touches to the dog team staging area. Josea's team, as well as many other Quest volunteers, had been working hard for weeks, even months, to prepare for the 1000 mile race which covers some of the remote stretches of the Yukon River valley first explored before the discovery of gold in the Fortymile, Birch Creek and Klondike regions nearly 150 years ago. Not much has changed in some of this country since that time.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
For the 2nd time this week, Homer temperatures topped 50, at least on our thermometer. Shirt sleeve weather, if you stay in the sun. Tomorrow, we head for Fairbanks and some negative numbers so for warm thoughts, a few memories of the last several winters camped in the AZ desert. A good deal of our winter camping during January and February was south of Tucson in the Coronado National Forest , or more specifically, the Patagonia Mtns, San Rafael Valley and Canelo Hills. We hiked the countryside exploring old mines, looking for a possible turquoise deposit, of which we found several. The small town of Patagonia (http://www.patagoniaaz.com/) sits in the middle of the area we explored and is composed of an interesting mix of ranchers, artisans and retirees. The area's history is rich with traditions from early Spanish explorers, Mexicans, gold & silver miners, ranchers on large Spanish land grants, Native Americans and Jesuit priests. The area varies from desert flora to lush lowlands surrounding Sonoita and Harshaw Creeks to Sonoran grasslands to pine and live oaks forests; it has as much bio-diversity as anywhere in America.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Winter is slipping away. Tomorrow is Groundhog Day in the lower 48 and Hoary Marmot Day here in Alaska. With increased daylight, maybe Mr. Marmot will see his shadow and we will actually get some winter yet. Twenty days since my last post and the weather warmed again immediately and has continued mild without any precipitation. In fact, 2 days ago our thermometer topped 50. We have been pursuing some warm beach adventures, but it is time to go north. We are heading to Fairbanks for the beginning of the Yukon Quest which starts in 5 days. The weather has been warm and dry in the interior as well, but is supposed to cool somewhat. This photo above is from the 2007 Quest.