Monthly Archives: June 2016

No Vacancy

Caribou on Denali hillside
Photo credit: Denali National Park


“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”
—Anthony Bourdain

Wildlife at Play

Saturday was a good day up on The Ridge.
In the morning, I met up with a mother grouse and her brood. The little chicks could not have stood much more than two inches off the ground. I wanted to get a picture, but Mama had a comfort zone just out of decent camera range, so I was content just to watch the family waddle around the edge of my yard.

Later in the day, after putting the sheathing on the new outhouse frame, I had twin moose yearlings join me near the bus. They did not look old enough to have been chased away by Mom yet, but I did not see Mother Moose either. She may well have been around, and chose to let her foolish children eat the birch and willow shoots down below my deck, right where I’d like to build the sauna.
It was time for a break anyway, so I kicked back in the chair on my deck and watched the twins, until they ate their way back into the trees.

The youngsters are out & about, exploring the world.

1891 Patent

T.P. Patent - 1891

It should be noted:
In the microscopically small print of the patent of 1891, it was strongly suggested that for outhouses, the toilet paper roll be stored in a Folger’s coffee can with the roll facing clockwise.
The coffee can must come with a lid.

Who knew?

Dawning of the day

“And I think over again
My small adventures
When with a shore wind I drifted out
In my kayak
And thought I was in danger.
My fears,
Those small ones
That I thought so big,
For all the vital things
I had to get and to reach.

And yet, there is only
One great thing,
The only thing:
To live to see in huts and on journeys
The great day that dawns,
And the light that fills the world.”

— An Eskimo song translated by Knud Rasmussen
in “Intellectual Culture of the Copper Eskimos”

Right Around the Corner

Photo credit: Daily News-Miner

I was walking down the trail when I came across two Native women inspecting the ground alongside the path.

“They out yet?” I asked as I passed them.

“Have you seen any?” One asked in reply.

“No, I haven’t, but I wouldn’t trust my judgement.”

The second woman said, “I think it’s a bit early, but they are right around the corner!”

I agreed it was too early, but she was also correct that the blueberries would be ‘right around the corner’. Once that happens, the trail would be lined with people carrying little, red, berry pickers and white, plastic buckets.

I’m not a fan of combat fishing, and I have no patience for combat berry picking, but it is a social event that many others mark on their calendars. I know where there are always blueberries on the Back 40 that my friends and I go to when the urge comes to stock up, but for the most part that bounty gets eaten by the birds and the bears.

Still, for a period of time every summer, Interior Alaska sets up an all you can eat buffet for blueberry fans. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the competition… both four legged and two.

Happy Summer Solstice

The Midnight Sun Run
The Midnight Sun Run on the UAF campus.

It’s all downhill from here…

Fresh Air

School bus conversion:

D500 Windows

With the warm temps, and the mosquito hordes, the first thing on my list was to screen the bus windows. I ended up running 24″ charcoal, fiberglass screening down the entire length of windows, even though I suspect I will be eliminating some of the windows. It was just easier. The hard part was finding enough aluminum bar stock in Fairbanks; I hit four suppliers and not one had the exact same item.

Life in The ‘Banks.

Newly screened windows

I had to pre-drill on the bus, as the self-drilling TEK screws made little headway on the 1967 metal. Kudos to Superior Coachworks; that is some solid steel. Unfortunately, there was very little to screw into above the windows, which threw a monkey wrench into my screening. I ended up taking up the space with some ripped cedar, which I could then attach through the rain channel.

All Black

Farewell Mr. Hockey

Gordie Howe

Hockey Legend Gordie Howe passed away early Friday. Born in Floral, Saskatchewan, Howe was in skates by the time he was 4 years old, and was playing in an organized hockey league before he was 10. Howe joined the Detroit Red Wings in 1946. He played there for 25 seasons, many on the “Production Line”, with team mates Ted Lindsay & Sid Abel. As a Red Wing, Howe led the league in scoring six times, and was a Hart Trophy winner as the the League’s MVP six times. He finished in the Top 5 in scoring for 20 consecutive seasons, and still holds the record for having 22 seasons in a row with at least 20 goals.

Howe even had his own hat trick: The “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” consisted of a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game.

Howe, Gretzky, Esposito
Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Phil Esposito at the 1980 NHL All Star Game at JLA

Howe retired from the Red Wings in 1971, was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972, and was back on the ice with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association in 1973. With the Aeros, Howe was able to play alongside his sons, Mark & Marty. All three of the Howes went on to the New England Whalers in 1977. Then the WHA folded in 1979 and the Whalers went on to join the NHL, putting Gordie Howe back in the NHL when he was in his fifties.

Over his career, Howe was a 23 time All Star.

Gordie Howe and a very young Wayne Gretzky

One of the NHL’s most prolific scorers, Howe was also know as “Mr. Elbows”, for being one of the toughest men to ever step out onto the ice. Off the ice, Howe had the reputation of being one the nicest guys one could meet, and was hockey’s greatest ambassador.

Howe played 2421 games including playoffs over his pro career; He is second on the NHL list of career goals at 801 (behind Gretzky’s 894); He is fourth the total points list at 1850. Howe is still the only man to play in the NHL after he was 50.

The Detroit Red Wings, to this day, still have lockers at Joe Louis Arena for Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.

Mr. Hockey was 88. Rest in Peace, Mr. Howe.