Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Alaskan Trip, Day 5 Wasilla--home of Sarah Palin and start of the Iditarod Trail

Now to continue our bear story...When we arrived at the lodge for breakfast the next morning, this sign was posted on the front door, so we had to tell our story of seeing the bears the evening before and take this picture as proof! Then we loaded up the bus again and toured Talkeetna on our way to Wasilla.

Outside Wasilla we went to do the Ididaride (no, that is not a typo!) The Ididaride is run by the Mitch Seavey family. Mitch has finished the Iditarod 16 times and won 4 times! His son gave our tour and told how the family used to fish, but when that source of income dried up, they came up with the idea of training their dogs during the summer months by using them to take tourists on rides pulled by teams of huskies! Quite a good idea. I said I wish someone could come up with something that good for tobacco farmers to do to replace lost income!

Our hotel in Wasilla was located on Lake Lucille only a few hundred feet from Sarah Palin's house so we walked there and took a picture of the now famous double-decker fence! Another activity-filled day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Alaskan Trip, Day 4, Denali National Park

Early the next morning we had breakfast at the lodge then loaded a bus for our 7 hour Tundra Wilderness Tour. We had hoped to see Mt. McKinley, aka Denali, the highest point in the US, but every time we got close the clouds were too low. We did get pictures of several other mountains with snow-covered peaks, though.

Although we saw several kinds of wildlife from the bus--moose, sheep and bear, none were close enough to get without a high powered zoom which our camera does not have. But, we did enjoy the beautiful scenery. The picture of me pointing to a flower is of Alaskan fireweed which is used as a harbinger of winter, kind of like the wooly worm is used to predict a cold winter in Kentucky. In Alaska, they say when the reddish fireweed blooms all the way to the top of the stalk, summer is over, and winter is near. It still had a few inches to go when we were there in late July.

When we got back to the lodge, since it was still bright daylight we took another walk and actually saw two bears across the river from our cabin. We wanted to get closer for a better picture, but the park employees advised against it, so you will have to settle for this picture of one of the bears (the brown smudge) eating berries in the brush! (to be continued.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Alaskan Saga, continued, Day 3

In the morning, our tour bus took us to Fairbanks University where we got to see their experimental gardens and took a hayride around the farming area of the campus. The Fairbanks area has 22 hours of daylight in July, (and only 2 hours of sunlight in January!) so although their growing season is only 3 months long, it is very intense, allowing them to grow cabbages that weigh over 100 pounds and the most beautiful flowers you could imagine!

Next we stopped and checked out the Pipeline. My husband is over six feet tall, and he had to stretch to reach the underbelly of the pipeline in this area, but about 100 yards from there, the pipe went underground. We were told that about half of the pipeline is buried underground. Here is some info I found online about it. The 800-mile-long Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is one of the world's largest pipeline systems. Starting in Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope, TAPS stretches through rugged and beautiful terrain to Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in North America.

On our way to Denali National Park we stopped at North Pole, Alaska, so I had to have my picture taken with Santa to show the grandkids! Then we headed on down the highway and arrived at Denali just in time to see a very entertaining show about Alaskan history at the Cabin Night Theater. The delicious food was served roundhouse style. Afterwards, even though it was almost nine o'clock, it was still bright daylight so we settled into our cabin then walked to the lodge and back.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review--A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

We interrupt this Alaskan saga to share a book by a wonderful debut author--Karen Witemeyer.

Karen presents us with a heroine and hero who are at odds with each other from the time they meet. J.T. Tucker is a livery owner who hates frippery. Hannah Richards is a dressmaker who ends up with the shop he hoped to buy.

They both discover surprising traits about the other. Hannah helps his sister catch a beau. J.T. helps many of the townspeople. What will it take for them to each see the real person inside the other?

I hope you will go to your Christian bookstore and buy or order this book to find out. It is such an enjoyable read. I received my copy from the publisher (Bethany House) for promotional purposes.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Alaskan Trip--Day 2
Our second full day in Alaska was spent at several working farms in the Delta Junction area, near Fairbanks. First we stopped at Rika's Road House State Park where we saw this cabin with a sod roof and toured the roadhouse, a common form of lodging for those travelling through Alaska in the days when cities and motels were far apart.

Our busy morning continued at Alpenglow Farms and Kennels where sheep and dog trainer Catherine Hadley showed how her collie could corral the sheep. After that we travelled to Misty Mountain Ranch where Scott Miller told us about raising elk and beef which was very interesting especially to the many beef farmers in our group. Next stop was lunch at the Buffalo Drive-In where we ate outside despite temperatures in the upper 50s.

After lunch we made one more stop--Kaspari Farms where Phil and Mary Kaspari showed us their yak ranch and Mary served us some great refreshments with the help of her grandson, part of the next generation of Alaskan farmers. Then back to our hotel (the Regency Fairbanks) for dinner. PS. pictures to be posted later. My dialup won't post this many pics without timing out and my air card isn't working tonight, but I want to go on and post this much.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti...
...will be finding a new home with Karen K. who is the winner of my monthly drawing. The drawing for this month will be for a gently used autographed copy of Colleen Coble's Alaska Twilight which just travelled over 6,000 miles with me to Alaska and back. To get you in the mood to read this book I will be posting some pics from our Alaskan adventure each week this month, so be sure to check often to see the pics, and the more times you post a comment, the more chances you have to win this great book! Rules are the same as usual--everyone with a US mailing addy who posts is eligible except for the previous winner--Karen K.

Our group of mostly farmers, retired farmers and retired teachers arrived in Fairbanks on the evening of the 20th of July. The next morning we boarded our tour bus for Chena Hot Springs, a resort and experimental farm about an hour out of Fairbanks owned and run by Mr. Bernie Karl, a man with more ideas than Einstein! We toured his hydroponics greenhouse and geothermal building, and also went to extreme temperatures when we toured the Ice Palace where it stays 20 degrees year around and then got in the hot springs which is scalding enough to burn at the edges, but very relaxing and soothing in the middle. My husband and the other farmers also enjoyed the old farm machinery around the place.

After leaving there, we drove back to Fairbanks for an Alaskan Salmon Bake and musical about life in the frontier of Alaska at Pioneer Park. We were joined for this meal by another Harrison County-grown young man, Nate Thornton, whom we have known since he was born and who is now serving in the Army there. We were also glad to see his wife--Stephanie, another HC girl. A great first day! Be sure to check back for this continuing saga.