Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tough Love, Mama Moose Style

Here is a video of a mama moose attempting to convince her twin calves to cross the swiftly-flowing Kenai River.

The behbeh meese wail and cry, but the narrator says that mama moose "is pissed". That's some tough love!

I'm surprised by how agile and graceful mama moose looks in the water, considering they hardly strike a person as agile or graceful even on land!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh, Alaska Feed, how I love you...

... I can buy dog food, bunny litter, and visit a petting zoo of behbeh chickees and duckies. Caveat--I have to pretend I am looking to stock my fowl, not visiting purely for personal edification.




I love duckies!


And chickees!


There were pheasants, too, but they were not friendly.

The sign has a double meaning--not only were they spoken for, but they were fearful and not available for cuddling either.

It's been so warm lately (80s F), the girls and I sought refuge on our favorite short trail, which is almost all in the shade of birch:

Although there are glimpses here and there of a beautiful view across the valley:

The trail head has a nice view, too!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Notes from Here and There

1) Earl, the missing owl, has returned!

2) Record high temperatures, blahblahblah, ho hum.

3) White moose!

4) Look! Bluebells!

5) So, I was crouching down admiring a cluster of swallowtail butterflies this morning, when Linden came bouncing up behind me, pounced into the middle of them, and ate one! How upsetting! I am convinced that huskies are only minimally domesticated, and that we are misled into believing that they are more so due to their sweet, affectionate dispositions toward humans. But make no mistake--my girls have happily killed and consumed ground squirrels, red squirrels, cottontail rabbits, voles, ptarmigans, and, on one notable occasion, a healthy adult raven. On occasion, they have decided that another domesticated dog would make a nice meal, and have honed in on it, one on either side, the fur standing up on the backs of their necks. They are swift and silent. This is not aggressive, territorial, or protective behavior--it's deliberate hunting. I always shout them back: "NO! Do NOT eat the fat labrador retriever! BAD dogs! ComeBackHereTHISINSTANT!!!" And fortunately, they've always called off their attack, but I shudder to think what would have happened had I not been there. They also know how to find water off a trail by going into brush and digging holes into the protected mud with their paws and lapping up the water that seeps in.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Most heartwarming morning news report ever!

So this morning on my way into town I heard this report on the local news.

A group of oil pipeline workers rescued a behbeh musk ox who had been abandoned by her mama. The details get better. She had been without care for a while, and they saw that she was weakening, so they called Fish and Game, who authorized the rescue, which is amazing considering how asinine they can be sometimes. My favorite part of the story: The group of pipeline workers just happened to include, oh, a medic, a ranch hand, and a veterinarian. Seriously? Sometimes God really throws us a bone.

Little behbeh mox was cared for and then shipped to Fairbanks to the Large Animal Research Station. I hope she integrates nicely into the herd! Here is a photo. Is she a-freakin-dorable or what?

Here is a link to a report from The Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, with MORE PHOTOS of behbeh mox girl. Oh, and you know what's better than behbeh mox photos? MO' behbeh mox photos! Here is the Alaska Dispatch's report, with the aforementioned mo' photos.

Here are some other miscellaneous photos.

My dinner last night, in its entirety. Warm weather completely destroys my appetite. It's a bit sad, because I love to eat! No more bacon, moose stew, steaming bowls of beans, etc, etc. Every spring, I throw out half a package of bacon that I suddenly cannot imagine eating any more.

My yard, sporting a week's growth. Have we really be green only for a week?

Ms. Millie B. Doofus, Supreme Ruler of the People's Independent Republic of Bunnistan, sez: "I love all the new growth!"

Here are the dawgs. They have just begun shedding.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Attitudes on the Last Frontier...

I've tried off and on to convey the sorts of folks Fairbanks attracts. It's sort of humorous, sort of unnerving, and definitely unique. These are the types of folks who would help me push my car out of a muddy ditch when they see me standing forlornly by the side of a road, but also the types of folks who would run off a census worker (for being a government spy) with a shotgun. I can't describe it any better than by quoting, so here we have an article informing us that entrance in the Denali Road Lottery will now be online-only. My reaction? Shrug. Okay, it will be more inconvenient for old-timers who don't use the internet on a regular basis, but they can just go to the library to register. A different reaction?

According to online commenter SublimeMagic, in addition to the inconvenience this would cause, "there is a more sinister 'behind the scenes' agenda here - the Gov't wants everyone to stop using non-trackable currency and also to get everyone a digital fingerprint. It is coming folks, no tinfoil hat here. Just opened eyes and a sincere hope that more Americans get a dose of reality."

Also, also! The reason my reaction was just to shrug is that I, like most Americans, "wont mind the govt knowing exactly where they are, what they are spending on, who they talk to and what those conversations are about, basically every little bit of knolwedge that CAN or MAY be used against you. I prefer my privacy but the dang masses are too ignorant and I fear it is only a matter of time until the "it's for the children" micro chips become mandated by our nanny state govt. But yeah you just keep on expecting the govt to take care of you. It is the typical liberal agenda."


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Sampling of Today's Minor News Headlines

Missing yaks return home; missing owl does not.

Keep an eye out for newborn moose calves

Home-schooled students attend commencement

People who refuse to pay taxes to the goldurn fed'ral guvmint, and subsequently plot to murder an IRS agent, go to jail and have their assets seized. Go figure.

And... my personal favorite... the second seediest dive in town is going smoke-free. The smoke-free trend started in California--my home state and arguably the healthiest state in the nation--with the banning of all smoking in public places, including in bars. Then it gradually spread Eastward, eventually to include such bastions of smoking as New York and Chicago. In the meantime, it had even spread to Europe--France and Italy instituted nation-wide smoking bans in public places. It hit Anchorage in 2008, and it's only a matter of time before it hits Fairbanks. I am amazed that it has begun with the second seediest pub in town! I may just head over there for beer and deep-fried goodies one of these days to show my support!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I was out of town for the weekend, and this is what happened in my absence:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good Grief!

It has been warm for precisely ONE week, and already there have been multiple wildfires, at least one suspected of being started on purpose by an arsonist.

Let that sink in for a minute.

What the $^#% is the matter with people?!?

Friday, May 20, 2011


Two, two behbeh musk oxen have been borned! Watch this space. I will go and take photos!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And Nature Exhales...

Greenup is proceeding nicely!

There's grass for Millie!

I'm amazed that all of these things have been sleeping under the earth all winter!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Granite Tors Hike

On Sunday, M, the dogs, and I hiked the Granite Tors Trail. It is a 15-mile loop that ascends one side of a saddle ridge, traverses the top, where there are several spectacular rock formations and a stunning view to the south, then comes down the other side of the ridge. It ascends above the tree line (which is very low at our latitude--about 2000 feet), above which the trail is marked only by rock cairns, which are difficult to spot.

I have never done this hike and not lost the trail, and it generally takes me quite some bushwhacking and shin-bruising to find the trail again. This time, the top of the ridge line was still covered with snow. As the snow got deeper to knee-depth, we could proceed only by following a 'trail' (we'd already lost the official trail at that point) that had recently been broken by some stalwart fellow walking in the opposite direction as we. We placed our steps in his, until we got to the top. However, as we proceeded to the traversal portion of the hike, our trail breaker's origins disappeared! His footprints literally appeared out of nowhere, as if he spontaneously materialized out of thin air, and then headed down the ridge! Anyway, M and I started the traversal section of the trail, determined to break our own trail, but as the snow depth increased from ankle, to knee, to waist, we decided, screw this! And headed back the way we came. At least we made it to the top, to enjoy the truly stunning view!

The trail head starts at the Chena River:

There is still ice on the creek:

Partway up the ridge, this is the view back:

Almost *whoof* to the top:

The track we're walking in:

The trail plateaus several times on the ascent:

Linden taking a breather:

And Autumn:

Autumn is the best trail rester ever. She can pass out and actually take a nap in two minutes!

Still slogging up:

Finally, we reach the first tor:

The tors are popular with rock climbers, but a 15-mile hike doesn't leave much time to climb, so I'm thinking they camp near the tors.

More tors:

They are picturesque, no?

Especially from a distance:

Finally at the saddle point! This is the view to the south. It was absolutely stunning. This is called the Plain of Monuments, and there are more tors, for those climbers who just can't get enough tors.

We could even see the Alaska Range faintly in the distance:

M appreciating the view:

The dowgs lounging by a trail marker:

I love this shot. I think I need to submit it to Backpacker magazine.

I used a tor as a tripod and tried to get a group photo, but unfortunately, we are backlit!

M photographing a marmot:

Said marmot:

Some of the tors look precariously built:

But according to geologists, they weren't exactly built. They were eroded. Like the sculptures of Rodin, who said, "I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don't need."

My first wildflower siting of the season!

Scale of flower:

Later that day, I found fresh grass in my yard, and promptly cut some for Milliebun.

A perfect crater eroded in the tor:

My attempt at postcardism:

The girls lounging around during breaktime, as usual:

Another attempt at a postcard shot:

"Wish you were here! You'd just have to drive 40 miles down Chena Hot Springs Road and hike 6 miles with an elevation gain of 2500 feet with no switchbacks!"

Last view of the first tor as we head back, having given up on the snow-bound trail:

Two rock cairns, which mark the trail above tree line. Can you see them?

Here, I labeled them for you.

Any questions as to why I always lose the trail up here?

Aaaaand here are the famous Granite Tors bushwhacking bruises:

Dead sexy, huh? But I did better this time, thanks to the direction-finding skills of M. Here is a photo from the first time I did this trail:

But even then, it was worth it. Here is a photo from that day:

Gorgeous, no?