Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday, April 29th

The birds have returned to the Westchester Lagoon. We saw several different species of them as we strolled around the edge of the waters. As you can tell there is still plenty of ice for those brave enough to rest upon it. One duck, a goldeneye, sat upon the ice as if perfectly at home. A seagull watched carefully beside the stream in hopes of a tasty snack. The little island became a haven for gulls and ducks in the middle of the frozen lagoon. We encountered quite a few more people walking and riding bikes on the Coastal Trail tonight. The warmer temps must have lured them out. There was still quite a chill in the air as it had been overcast most of the day. Still, it was a nice night for a walk.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday, April 27th

What a beautiful day! It got to 61 degrees here in Anchorage! Just last week it stopped dipping below freezing at night, and now- warm days. We rode the bus out to the Muldoon area to hit the Target. Greg took several pictures from the store parking lot. You are just so close to the mountains out there. You could walk right up to them. The pictures were taken at 9 at night. The sun didn't set until 9:52. Greg closed the apartment window shades at 10 to remind us it was bedtime. It was still light outside when I peeked out at 10:40!

I thought these metal sculptures were interesting. Salmon is king up here. We have passed these sculptures several times in the last few months. However, snow was always piled up so high you could only see the tip top of the metal. That snow is gone but there was still plenty out in the forests and on the mountains.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, April 26th

Nice day today. Got up into the mid 40s. I walked to the Post Office early in the afternoon. After work, Greg joined me and we rode the bus out to the library. These geese were just enjoying the day and eating on the library grounds. I donated 8 books for the book sale this weekend, which of course I will be attending.

We checked out the DVD about Richard Proenneke called Alone in the Wilderness. We had watched it on PBS several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Richard retired at 50 and left to go live alone in a remote area of Alaska. He built a cabin and lived there for the next 30 years or so, finally heading back to civilization in his 80s. The book is really interesting, check it out if you find it. I would offer to loan you my copy but Greg is reading it!

I also checked out a wild berry book from the Alaska collection at the library. There are about 50 wild edible berries here. Should make for some interesting cobblers, pies, and jelly.

Greg snapped these shots of the mountains from our room about 9:30 tonight. The clouds had just begun to slide over the mountaintops. The sun sets about 9:47 and you can still see outside until at least 10:40. Getting longer every day!

Sunday, April 25th

You'd think it was a lot warmer outside since it was so sunny. You'd be mistaken though. It was very breezy and the wind had quite a chill in it. There is still plenty of snow on the ground as you can tell by today's photos. I think it did get up into the mid 40s for the high.

After a delicious lunch of leftover take-out pizza from last night, Greg had to have a nap. That gave me an opportunity to finish up one of my books. That's right, I'm down to one book. I have read six books in about 6 days. We'll be visiting the library tomorrow or there will be no peace in the house.

The Sunday tradition includes a fried chicken dinner from Freddies so we walked across the street to the bus stop . Here I am on the phone with my mom at the bus stop. Check out the Nordstrom store right behind me. That place just taunts me with its high end apparel! We rode the bus out to the Fred Meyers. We wandered around inside for awhile. They really have a little bit of everything. We got a few essentials such as cereal and enjoyed our deli dinner. It was a pleasant 2 mile walk home tonight. No moose sightings, though. It was about 9 at night but you could see as easily as if it was 6 p.m. in Tennessee. Amazing.

You know it's getting time for tourists when the reindeer sausage/hot dog stand becomes a permanent fixture on Fourth Avenue. We'll be visiting him soon- the reindeer sausages are delish.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday, April 23rd

Beautiful sunny day here in Anchorage. Got up into the mid 40s but that wind chilled it off dramatically. Greg had to walk to the Post Office alone this afternoon. SBF Mindy and I went to the Alaska Women's Show right down the street at the hockey arena. There were lots of vendors set up offering just about everything. I got plenty of pamphlets and brochures about massages, jewelry, trips, medical info, and much more. We snacked on all the free candy at the booths and got about 3 free reusable totes. The best part? I got a call when I got home to inform me that I won a $50 gift certificate to Premier Designs Jewelry. Yeah!!

There are 2 pictures from the library on the blog today. The statue is of William Henry Seward. There's a Tennessee connection here. Seems Seward was the Secretary of State under President Andrew Johnson (visit Johnson's home, tailor shop, and gravesite in Greeneville, TN if you get a chance- it's awesome). Seward is known more famously as the man who engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. He was ridiculed at the time with many in the press calling the purchase "Seward"s Folly" or "Seward's Icebox" or my personal favorite "Andrew Johnson's Polar Bear Garden". What most didn't realize at the time is that the purchase of 586,412 square miles of land for $7.2 million dollars is one of the smartest things the US Government has ever done. We acquired this massive piece of land, now Alaska, from Russia for just 2 CENTS AN ACRE!! In Alaska, there is a state holiday on the last Monday in March called Seward's Day. State offices and schools and such are closed. On the northwest coast of Alaska is Seward's Peninsula. This area was once covered by ice and snow and was part of the Bering Land Bridge. It was a thousand miles wide and connected Siberia with mainland Alaska.

The modern sculpture is also located at the library. No Tennessee connections here. In fact, I don't think either of us even understand it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday, April 22nd

Wow, look at all this beautiful snow we got today! The flakes were huge! It snowed at least an hour before tapering off and stopping. Fortunately, it didn't stick on the warm roads or ground.

After our Post Office walk, we went out to dinner. Tonight, we tackled the all you can eat rib night at RumRunners. They were served with sweet potato fries, rolls, and corn on the cob. The sauce was extra yummy, sweet but with a kick right at the end. Greg had sworn they would have to escort him out and make him promise never to return based on the amount of ribs he'd eat. However, he was only able to make it through 2 huge plates of ribs before stopping.

Greg has been a little under the weather these last few days. We got out only one other night to go to the library. That is one awesome library. You can check out up to 50 items!! I got 6 books and 5 DVDs. I've already read 3 books so we'll probably have to hit the library again this weekend for me to restock. I took my application to become a library volunteer. Although I'm much happier outside, a library is one of the few indoor places that gives me a sense of peace and serenity even when bustling with people.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday, April 18th

Wow, what a nice weekend. Greg went into work for a few hours on Saturday. After work, we went with SBF Mindy and her cousin, Beau, to check out the Flea Market. It was a lot smaller as compared to the ones we were used to in Tennessee. All of us were finished shopping in about 20 minutes. There were 2 or 3 ladies playing music when we went in- one lady was playing the accordion. Then a dude played an electric violin and when we left a lady was doing an interpretive dance. Interesting.

We went to the Long Branch Saloon for burgers. I had the burger with fries and Greg enjoyed a cheeseburger with onion rings. The burgers are very large and are served on a delicious bun. It's like ciabatta bread. Very good. I could not finish my burger it was so big. Our last stop with Mindy and Beau was at the midtown Wal-Mart.

Greg and I got out on the coastal trail last night. We walked about 2 miles but didn't see a moose at all. It was a quite pleasant walk.

Today, we rode the bus out to the library. This place is awesome!! I checked out 3 books. We then walked over to the Fred Meyers for our weekly fried chicken dinner. Yum. Greg got new boots and I got new walking shoes. We were quite loaded down on the way home. It was near 50 degrees and we both got very warm on the long walk home. The warmth has definitely started to melt the last bit of snow. It even rained for about 5 minutes early tonight. Imagine, rain instead of snow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday, April 16th

I rode the bus out to a school for an interview today. Unfortunately, the principal was out sick and they didn't know to contact me. We had to re-schedule the interview. It will be for a job next year. To cheer myself up, I went into the Nordstrom store when I got back to town. It's a very nice store with lots of major names. Did see some shoes that I would like but I didn't see any shoes on sale. In fact, I don't know that I saw anything on sale. Probably won't be shopping there anytime soon.

Greg and I rode the bus out to Title Wave bookstore. My love affair with this store has come to an abrupt end. I bought several books there last month but they wouldn't accept them today for trade. I'll just be using the library more than ever. You know, they probably are saving me a heck of a lot of money. Greg says you can find any book way cheaper on Ebay than any bookstore. DVDs are cheaper there too.

We ate a cheap dinner at Taco Bell. A worker had to escort a drunken confrontational Native man out of the restaurant. That's the only excitement to our night!

Oh wait, there is more excitement. We can home to eat a snack of a Native Alaskan delicacy. Raw Herring eggs that came from Sitka, Alaska. The Natives put hemlock or spruce boughs down in the herring spawning grounds. When the herring lay their eggs, the eggs attach to the boughs. The boughs are retrieved by the people and enjoyed. It is still big business as far as an export, especially to Japan. In Japan, herring eggs can sell for over $100 a pound. Greg swears they taste like the ocean smells, I'm not so complimentary. I was very apprehensive about eating them. They smell very fishy to me. They smell more fishy than they taste, kinda. They weren't awful, but nothing I want again. Greg ate quite a few. Maybe they would be better on a cracker or with cream cheese or something.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday, April 14th

Woke up to a winter wonderland today! It was really snowing hard for most of the morning. In fact, it was the 3rd biggest April snow in Anchorage history. The western sides of town got 8+ inches and we got about 8 inches downtown. It was a wet heavy snow that did break a limb out of a birch tree across the street. It was really beautiful to watch it coming down.

After work, we met up with our SBF Mindy and her cousin, Bo, and went to the Golden Corral for dinner. Greg proceeded to put on an eating display. Probably a good thing Greg swore off overeating last weekend or he really would have done some damage! We both had a portion of grilled steak that was delightful. Other mentionable goodies were shrimp, scallops, pork steaks and roast, and catfish. We were stuffed when we left.

We then went to Super Wal-Mart and tried to walk off some of that full feeling. Got some essentials and then back home. We then set out on foot to take a few snow pictures. It is supposed to warm back up to the mid 40s by this weekend. That beautiful snow won't be around long. Today's snowstorm did prompt the state to extend the removal of studded tires from tomorrow's deadline until May 1st.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday, April 12th

I don't think the sun ever peeked through the clouds today. It stayed overcast all day long. There is in fact a chance of snow tonight and tomorrow. I wouldn't doubt it. The temps stayed close to 40 but with the wind chill it was considerably colder. Greg and I found one little fella out in the cold on the way to the Post Office. This is a magpie. They are members of the crow family. They eat mostly invertebrates and insects. About 15% of their diet comes from berries. They will store food away for leaner times when there is an excess. They are supposed to be pretty smart, other birds in their family have been trained to count and solve puzzles. They can mimic other birds, animals, and even people! Hope he didn't repeat what Greg said as we rounded the corner in the blistering cold because it wasn't nice! I mean, geesh, just when you thought spring was almost get an Arctic blast! Hopefully, the sun will warm us up tomorrow.