Saturday, September 29, 2012

North by Northwest

Juneau, Alaska
Last week, my Ramblin' Man traveled to Alaska on business and took some photos of his journey. In my last post, we explored Ketchikan.
Today we will explore Juneau.
Juneau is located on the Gastineau Channel in the panhandle of S.E. Alaska and is only accessible by sea or air.
Juneau has been the capitol of Alaska since 1906.
Downtown Juneau, looking across the Gastineau Channel to Douglas Island
Juneau sits at sea level, nestled at the base of Mount Juneau and steep mountains of about 3,500 to 4,000 ft high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow: two of these, the Mendenhall Glacier and the Lemon Creek Glacier are visible from the local road system.
Mendenhall Glacier - Juneau, Alaska
Juneau has a total area of 3,255 sq. miles making it the 3rd largest municipality in the US by area, with a population of about 31,000 people.
Major industries are Government, tourism, and fishing.
Juneau has an average low temperature in January of 21 degrees and an average high temperature in July of 65 degrees.
Rainfall annually is between 58"-90", depending on the location.
Spring is the driest and Fall is the wettest.
Juneau has Theater, Symphonies, Opera, and many Art Galleries.
Juneau is a major social center for the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples of S.E. Alaska.
Being so mountainous, there are no roads coming and in and out of Juneau, but plans are being made to build a road from Haines, Alaska, approximately 50 miles away.
Until then you have to take a high speed ferry, boat, sea plane, commercial airline or cruise ship.
In Alaska, the water is considered part of the highway system.
So what do you think? Would you live in a fabulous log cabin in Grizzly Bear country?
Or a fashionable apartment in the heart of Alaska's capital, going to the symphony and art galleries?
Or perhaps just a visitor, on a luxury cruise?
Just be sure to dodge the glaciers!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

On to Alaska!

Last week my Ramblin' Man headed up to Alaska for business.
His territory includes, Washington State, Montana, Northern Idaho, and Alaska.
Mostly he conducts business from a nice comfortable office about 40 minutes from home.
But sometimes he has to check on things.
This brings him far away from me.
But he takes wonderful photos.
I thought you might like to see these that he took while in Alaska.
First stop whenever he goes to Alaska is Ketchikan.
Ketchikan is Tlingit and is believed to be named after the Ketchikan River that flows right through the middle of town.
Ketchikan is the 5th most populous city in the state and the most densely populated with a population of about 14,000, with about 3300 households.
It's main industries are tourism and fishing.
It is only 4.1 sq. miles and sits on the very edge of the Tongass Narrows waterway with very steep and roadless mountains as a backdrop.
The only way in to Ketchikan is by sea or air.
The 1/2 mile wide Tongass Narrows separates Ketchikan from Gravina Island where Ketchikan International Airport is located.
You need to take a ferry to get to Ketchikan from the airport.
This was where the 2005 highway bill that would have provided $223 million to build the Gravina Island Bridge - nicknamed 'The Bridge to Nowhere' would have been built. It would have connected the airport to the mainland so you could drive rather than take a ferry.
But it was too controversial and people objected to the amount of money that would be spent, so it was scrapped.
This is the little harbor with part of downtown Ketchikan in the background.
Sea planes fly in and out all day long, boats come and go, and cruise ships slide right up to the docks, sometimes 4 or 5 at a time.
It is a very busy little city, especially in the summer when the cruise ships come into port.
Buildings are built of wood and some are brightly colored. Most sit high on stilted underpinnings to level them out in the hilly terrain.
Most have steep stairways and all rely on cisterns for water, as there is solid bedrock underneath and wells cannot be drilled.
This is not a problem because the annual rainfall averages 153 inches a year!
The climate is mild, modified by it's maritime location, and is likened to Scotland or Northern Ireland, though with much more rain.
Winter temperatures average 33 degrees and Summer temperatures average 64 degrees.
Many buildings are built right over the Ketchikan River, giving the town a distinct and charming appearance.
Trams take you to the higher levels.
There is a wonderful restaurant at the top of this tram that looks out over the beautiful harbor and sea.
You have never had seafood quite like here. Fresh and delicious!
The beautiful water glistens in the sun. You can imagine how deep it is for a cruise ship to be able to come right up to the dock.
It is a land of steep mountains, ocean, iceburgs and waterfalls, surrounded by dense forest and snow capped peaks for hundreds of miles.
I would not want to get lost here.
But it is an enchanting place to visit.
How about you? Would you like to live here? Would you like to visit?
In my next post I will show you Juneau, the capitol of Alaska.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Life Imitates Art

This table top still life was inspired by a painting on my wall.
It is actually a print, but one that imitates authenticity with textured brushstrokes on canvas. I found it in an antique shop years ago and put it into this hand painted frame. The frame was silver, but I painted it pale green, leaving some of the silver to show through, and added antique glazing to add instant 'age'.
It hangs between my 'Kitchen Queen' Hoover Cabinet and my Pantry Cupboard. (And above the pet food dishes- real life!)
I have always loved this painting for it's simple depiction of a bountiful harvest.
Sweet Hubby bought me the Dahlia's from this little flower cart on the side of the road.
Using the honor system, he just put some money in a jar.
This flower cart is very similar to a miniature musical flower cart he once bought me.
So what do you think?
Does art imitate life?
Or does life imitate art?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gettin' Cozy

It's starting to get noticeably cooler now in the mornings and evenings.
I'm feeling like I want to make things cozy inside.
I want to start sewing and baking and crocheting once again.
In our perpetually rainy winters, there is plenty of time for that.
But since the sun has been shining, I have put all that aside.
I've been gathering herbs to dry for the winter months of soups and stews and sauces.
Every day I pick a few more ripe blackberries to add to the freezer for hot bubbling cobblers and pies.
Hubby has been splitting and stacking for warm cozy fires.
The soup tureen and casserole dishes will soon be put to regular use.
The wood box will be filled and the wool sweaters unpacked.
The teapot will be put into service to warm up the insides.
There's nothing like a warm welcoming home to come in from the cold.
I think I'm really looking forward to Fall.
What about you?
How do you make things cozy for Fall?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Best Friends

With our dry weather, I have been doing lots of watering. Champ is very excited about this. He loves water.
He leaps and runs and bites at the water. He jumps back and forth like a happy child.
This is a happy dog. Soaking wet. Exhausted from leaping through the water. All clean.
It makes me happy, too.
For those who don't know Champ's story, he came to us from The Border Collie Rescue.
We had just lost our beloved Little Bear from old age.
Our American Eskimo, Whitey Bear was very depressed.
We had to find him a companion.
And a companion for me.
I am alone most of the time while Hubby is at work and traveling.
And we live in Bear and Cougar country.
Like everyone, Champ came with baggage.
He had many behavior problems from being teased and mistreated.
His foster family kept him for nearly a year to work on socializing him before putting him up for adoption.
When I saw his face, I fell in love, despite it all.
I am happy to say that I am still in love with this remarkable little survivor. Since coming to stay, he has continued to improve.
He is almost normal.
Like the rest of us.
He has bonded with Whitey and they are the very best of pals.
They play, they chase squirrels, they investigate every sound together.
But they still steal each other's bones.
Some things never change.
 Here are some tips to keep your beloved companion healthy.
Table Scraps That are Toxic
  •  Raisins: Both grapes and raisins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure.
  • Chocolate: contains a caffeine-like substance that can be toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more the effect. Just one quarter of an ounce of baking chocolate can cause serious problems in a small dog, whereas it takes two ounces of milk chocolate to produce the same effect. Consumption causes excitement, increased urination, muscle tremors, seizures, and rapid heart rate.
  • Sugarless Gum: Dogs will eat a pack of gum, wrappers and all, any chance they get. Sugarless gum, and candies for that matter, often contain xylitol, a sugar alcohol that can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar for dogs. So keep your purse out of your dog's reach.
  • Onions: A chemical in onions damages dogs' blood cells and can cause anemia. One small onion may be fatal.
  • Macadamia Nuts: Never leave these nuts unattended on your coffee table. A compound in them may leave your dog with temporary paralysis in his hind legs.

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