Tuesday, July 29, 2008

“Gloomy summer headed toward infamy”

This is summer? It feels like spring. The snow, in the crevices of this low mountain, is usually melted in July and August. Now the water is cascading down the mountain in small streams that meet and form braided, tiny water falls.

The lupines, which remind me of Texas bluebonnets, are tall. I see less magenta fireweed than most years but the white Queen Ann’s lace is abundant.

How cold is it? The title of this blog and the following paragraphs were published on July 24th, 2008 in the Anchorage Daily News.
“CHILLY: Anchorage could hit 65 degrees for fewest days on record.
By GEORGE BRYSONgbryson@adn.com
The coldest summer ever? You might be looking at it, weather folks say. Right now the so-called summer of '08 is on pace to produce the fewest days ever recorded in which the temperature in Anchorage managed to reach 65 degrees.

That unhappy record was set in 1970, when we only made it to the 65-degree mark, which many Alaskans consider a nice temperature, 16 days out of 365.

This year, however -- with the summer more than half over -- there have been only seven 65-degree days so far. And that's with just a month of potential "balmy" days remaining and the forecast looking gloomy.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

SawFest 2008

Terry and I went to the state championship chainsaw carving competition on July 19 at 41672 Sterling Highway near Soldotna. We were amazed at the artistry these people created with a chain saw.

We did not meet any Boomer friends but when Karen Sweeny called on Monday, we found out that we were both at the chainsaw festival a couple of hours apart. She and Don were in Anchorage and wanted to visit. We met at the Moose Lodge, where they are parked, and had a delicious dinner. It is so much fun to visit with RV Boomers. They speak our language. We even got more information about Newfoundland for our anticipated trip in 2009. I made a joke about going home before dark. We had such a good time that it was eleven pm before we left for our RV in Eagle River. Yes, it was still light outdoors.

Churches and the Miller house

When Terry and I took the walking tour of 18 buildings in Old Town Kenai, we learned that Kenai is much older than Soldotna and other towns around here. That made sense to us because it is located on the mouth of the Kenai River with easy access from the ocean while Soldotna is located inland.

The Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church was constructed in 1894 and is one of the oldest standing Orthodox churches in Alaska. I spoke with Archimandrite Cyril Bulashevich who arrived in Alaska in 1961. The retired priest was wearing his traditional black robe as he answered my questions. He said that the chandelier used to have four rows of candles but the lower row was removed because people kept bumping their heads on it. Even with only three rows, it weighs 1500 pounds.

The literature the priest gave me explains the religion. “The Orthodox church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox but not Roman. It isn’t non-denominational-it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost (over) 2000 years ago.”

The log church called the Chapel of St. Nicholas, was built in 1906 as a tribute to Father Nikolai who brought smallpox vaccine to the Kenai Peninsula.

The Hermansen / Miller House is the oldest frame house in Kenai. A sign by the house reads, “The Hermansens lived here until 1939. Sold in 1951 to the Millers. Over the years housed a grocery, diner, ice cream parlor, post office, Catholic Church, and Kenai’s first hospital/clinic.”

Soldotna's Homestead Museum

Soldotna’s Homestead Museum has artifacts of life in Soldotna around the 1950’s, which is just before Alaska applied for statehood in 1958. The land around here was homesteaded just after WWII with preference for veterans. The docent accompanied Terry and me as we viewed the cabins, cache, schoolhouse and boats of the era. The guide said that one pioneer lived in his cabin for years when he decided to get a wife. The bride lived in the cabin for two weeks before the couple took off for Arizona.

The Community building held a very nice display with a painted background of the mountains and oceanfront with taxidermies of birds in the foreground. It was difficult to take good pictures because of the glass front. On the opposite wall were bears and other animals. Yes, Terry the bears are much bigger than you.

Soldotna Visitor's Center

Sorry for the segmented postings but I’m getting “timed out” when I try to display several pictures at one time. My grandchildren would say that is what I get for doing something wrong.

While Raymond and Teresita were fishing via their dip nets, Terry and I went to explore Soldotna and the town of Kenai. The Visitor’s Center had displays of animals from the area, which were hard to photograph because of the glare of glass around the specimen. The largest recorded king salmon, which was over ninety pounds, was also displayed.

Richard, they had a rainbow trout that weighed 20 pounds and caught by a Klein but Keith spells his name Kline.

Terry is walking up the “fishwalk” at the Soldotna Visitor’s Center over the swift Kenai River. Some fishermen were casting out lines but few were caught. One man told me,” No Fish. We’ll have hamburger for dinner.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dip netting by boat

Raymond and Teresita took Daniel, who is one of Raymond’s boy scouts, on a boat to go dip netting. Raymond’s net is five feet in diameter but his wife’s net is smaller since she is petite. Can you guess who caught the biggest salmon? It was Teresita. Most of the fish were the size that you see here.

Waders dip net for salmon

We took a trip to the mouth of the Kenai River to watch Alaskans go dip netting for salmon. There was a carnival atmosphere among the waders as they waited for the tide to come in which would assist the salmon as they swam from the ocean to the place of their birth to lay their eggs. Anyone with a salmon license may fish with poles for this delicacy but only Alaskans may dip net.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tonka Toy and a Black Bear

Terry likes to run the backhoe. In fact, he calls it a Tonka Toy. I think that it looks like w-o-r-k. It hasn’t been all fun and games. They got a flat tire and a hose broke on the John Deere machine. It has rained. The sixteen-foot hole for the basement is facing Upper Fire Lake.

The picture with the house is facing the paved Fish Hatchery Rd. The house will be torn down when Raymond and Teresita have their new house finished. The building without siding is the incomplete apartment over the garage. When Terry can’t work on the backhoe, he is working on the apartment. Yesterday, when Terry was working on the backhoe, he saw this bear. He ran to the RV and yelled, “Take a picture of the bear.” This is the picture of the bear on the unpaved road facing the mountain. It is also part of Raymond and Teresita’s property.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

All Kinds of RVs

There are all kinds of RV’s in our family now. The RV with the boat and house is a travel trailer that belongs to Rich and Shelly in Iowa. (He is # 1 in trout tournaments in Iowa and MO at the moment.)
The slide-in camper that Ray and Teresita just bought in Nebraska, is the one Terry and Ray used on the trip from NC to AK. (I took the picture on June 30/08. You can see that their lilacs are just beginning to bloom.)
The Class C RV was pictured on a trip to AK in 2002 but now belongs to Robert and Natalia and is parked in their yard in NC.
I don’t have a picture of Mark and Connie’s 5th wheel in Iowa. They take it to the Red Rock Lake area around the Des Moines River. Some of these campgrounds are now closed because of the floods.
Our RV is parked in BLM land near Earp, CA . Solar power and satellite dishes make us comfortable when we boondock.
Do you think that we could all RV together in one place?