Tag Archives: photo

Boreal Owl

I stopped by one of my regular customers this morning, and found myself eyeball to eyeball with this little Boreal Owl. I had walked right by it, and only noticed it after I rang the door bell, and was waiting to be let in.

I’m pretty sure it’s a Boreal, and a small one at that. The Alaska DNR says that they can grow to 10″ long, with this one being in the 7-8″ range, by guestimate.

Around six inches of snow fell overnight, and the wind finally started to blow, knocking the snow off the tree limbs in small avalanches. No doubt, the little owl found the covered walkway to be well protected from the wind and falling snow.

The owl’s head would turn as I walked back and forth from my truck to the house and back again, but for the most part, it paid me only marginal interest. When I left, it was still perched on the carving that hangs on the wall.

Taking a few steps back, gives you an idea how small the owl is. Unfortunately, the only camera I had with me was my cell phone.


The view from here


Federals Have Won * By Costing Less To Run


1948 Federal Truck Model 16M

The Federal Motor Truck Company started as Bailey Motor Truck in 1910. It’s final truck was sold in the United States in 1959.

In all, over 160,000 Federals were manufactured. As of 2004, there are 183 known survivors.


1948 Sales literature for the M16 Federal truck


1912 C-T 4WD Electric Truck


A 1912 Commercial Truck Model A 10

The Commercial Truck Company of Philadelphia produced large electric trucks between 1908-1927. The Curtis Publishing Company bought 22 of the C-T Model A 10’s. These trucks worked nearly 24 hours a day in shifts, running bulk paper to the plant, and finished newspapers and magazines to the Post Office and to customers. Some units also hauled coal to run the huge boilers at the publishing plant.


The truck hauling bulk rolls of blank paper

45 lead acid batteries were used to power the four GE electric motors, for a top speed of 12mph empty. Keep in mind that the trucks were purchased to replace draft horses pulling carts, and the speed limit at the time was 10mph. The trucks could haul a max load of 10 tons at 8mph.

A truck could operate 22 hours on a charge, and was recharged after 2 hours. Today, five 12v batteries would operate the truck at full power, but one battery will move the vehicle. Curtis Publishing operated the 22 vehicles between the years of 1912 and 1964. Of those original 22, 15 are known to still exist. The steering column had two wheels, one to turn the front tires and the second to control forward and reverse as well as the throttle.

The 15,700 pound truck has a 132″ wheelbase, and each wheel gets power from its own GE 85-volt, 10-amp motor. The tires were solid rubber.


An advert for Atlantic’s electric truck


Snow Day!

One of the perks to being self-employed in Alaska, is that we can blame suppliers for being late, when we just want to head out into the woods… or streams… or lakes…

We’ve had a little bit of everything this week, as far as weather goes. Warm temps, freezing rain, followed by a nice dumping of very wet snow. A solid eight inches at my cabin. I could have wrapped up the job, but there was no rush, as I’m already ahead of schedule, and the only thing remaining was replacing a special order light fixture. Besides, it was obvious that the snowshoes were being neglected.

I laced up the mukluks, and strapped on the Faber snowshoes, and headed out into the back four hundred for an afternoon in the fresh snow.

The only sound I heard came from the crunching of my steps. When I stopped moving, silence hung in the air. Not a brooding silence, but a peaceful, all is right in the world kind of silence, as long as one leaves the TV off.

There is very little to report on my romp. No people, no dog teams, and only one moose. A young one has been clinging to the cabin area, and I have yet to see the mother. It’s a small moose, probably one of last year’s calves. Which is highly unusual to not see signs of the cow, but even the small hoof prints on the trail are missing any adult moose tracks alongside. With this latest snowfall, the calf’s legs are not long enough to keep its belly out of the snow, when it goes off trail. I could tell, by the way it was staring, that the moose was jealous of my snowshoes.


Tracks

Twenty-five degrees one day. Thirty degrees yesterday. Thirty-five
degrees today. It is hot. I am dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, and still I
am warm, as I travel in and out of the cabin working on projects. I let the
fire go out sometime in the night. Craziness.

The heat has me restless. It isn’t a good day for chores. I throw some
things into the pack, sling it over my shoulder, and race for the trail.

I have been walking thirty minutes when I hear a snowmachine off in
the distance. It is coming in my direction. A moose has crossed the trail in
the past few days, so I leave the trail and follow the moose tracks into the
trees. A few moments later the machine passes where I had been
standing. I am too deep in the forest to see it, but the stench of the
exhaust sneaks up on me; it floats across the land like a fog. I travel
deeper.

I follow the tracks in the soft snow until they lead me to a major moose
trail. A moose highway. There is no scent of exhaust. The route is heavily
traveled. Hooves have pounded their way through the moss down into the
soil, leaving a long, thin trough in the earth. The moss on either side of me
is above my calves. My boots start to follow hooves. This moose trail is
almost perfectly straight; it cuts diagonally across the valley wall to the
floor below. I have a route like this below my cabin, but this one is new to
me.

A raven flies up from behind me; I turn, but can hear the wingbeats
long before I can see the bird. I can feel the wingbeats as the bird flies
closer. The pulse flows through me with every downward thrust of the
wings. When the raven flies overhead, the sound is like I can hear the air as it
passes by each individual feather. Above me, the raven croaks its
acknowledgment. They are polite, if mischievous birds.

I continue to follow the hooves.

Down at the valley floor, the moose highway spreads out into a delta of
tracks. Thousands of prints now head helter-skelter towards the willows. I
spot a set of huge moose tracks, and follow them into the thickets.

In the willows I hear the sound of running water. The creek is flowing.
I move towards the sound, and soon find myself in slush. Overflow. I am
surrounded by overflow. I retrace my steps over what proves to be a
peninsula of dry land. Much of the valley is flooded, so I loop around and
venture downstream to investigate.

With the overflow behind me, I travel back into the willows. I am
drawn to a set of tracks that parallel my own route. Something about
them seems out of place. Upon reaching the tracks, I hover over them in
surprise and awe. They are bear tracks. They are grizzly tracks. I kneel
down to get a close-up view, and run my fingertips over the rough form in
the snow.

An awake grizzly.

I count back, and figure that this bear has been out and about
sometime in the past five days, which was the last time we had a snowfall.
“Why are you awake?” I ask the tracks. There is a particularly good print
that catches my eye. The pad imprints are crystal clear, and my heart
pounds at the gap in the snow between them and the marks of the claws.
The gap is rather large.

I venture off and stop following any tracks; I am content now to simply
leave my own in the unmarked snow.


“… And it’s pandemonium”


Photo Credit: Minnesota Vikings

There were four lead changes in the final 3 minutes, but Case Keenum hit Stefon Diggs for a 61 yard TD pass as time expired, for the final change.

That was emotionally draining, but a ton of fun. Thanks Diggs.

#BringItHome