Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Lake with Chico

I had heard there may be some pumice along the shores of Summer Lake so tonight Chico and I set off in the drizzle to see for ourselves. We didn't find any pumice but there was this interesting metal ball in the water and a little bit of green is starting to show. Please observe a moment of silence for my old cheap camera - after three pictures tonight it breathed its last and I retired it for good. It was a faithful companion through two trips across North America, Alaska to Maine and back, and a year of Dutch Harbor picture taking in all kinds of weather. I definitely got my $100 out of it. I'll be using Goldfish's old camera from here on out - a Canon PowerShot S50 - quite a bit better than my old one but a bit harder to slip into my jeans pocket on the way out the door to walk the dog. She's moved on to a Canon PowerShot SD870 IS Elph, a fantastic camera if anyone is in the market for a very compact point and shoot. Someday I'll move up to a digital SLR - I just worry about the sea air, the weather, the sand - I don't want to spend my time outside worrying about fancy equipment.

We're pretty excited out here on the island; my sister is coming to visit in July and Goldfish's Mom is coming in August. A bit of company is just the thing to get me motivated on a few home improvement projects I've been pondering. . . . .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crazy Eagles

It is storming nicely outside so I have no fresh photos today; this one is from a few days ago. I made the decision to leave behind the hundreds (thousands?) of unposted island photos I have taken over the past 11 months and just post new ones from after I got back from vacation. It's going to take a bit to build up a little stash to post on the stormy days . . .

Anyways, we've had some interesting eagle encounters lately. On Memorial Day, Chico was standing on a cliff and got dive bombed and whacked in the back of the head by a eagle protecting it's nesting area. I actually had to look away, I was sure the eagle was going to startle/push Chico off the edge and I was going to have to carry him back to the truck and to the vet. The other odd eagle encouter was 5 or 6 eagles chasing an eagle carrying a fish. The eagle carrying the fish slammed into our picture window - there is still an eagle shaped impact on the glass. Crazy birds . . . .

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day at Morris Cove

Well, I certainly never expected such a perfect afternoon today . . . . we had scouted out possible picnic spots on Saturday and decided on Morris Cove, about 6 0r 7 miles east of town, as far east as you can drive on the island. We figured the last two miles of road was bad enough to keep everyone with no 4WD and lots of ground clearance away but it isn't exactly a secret spot so we figured we'd be sharing the beach with at least a few other groups enjoying the day.

What we found is what you see above - the top photo shows Morris Cove as we top the hill and begin dropping down towards the beach. The other three shots were taken from our picnic spot by just turning around - behind us were some wild horses grazing, and on either side was pure solitude. We beachcombed for a few hours then cooked hotdogs on our portable grill along with fruit salad and pasta salad. A winter's worth of driftwood accumulation made a bonfire a no-brainer and we sat with our backs against that loveseat shaped log and watched the sun on the water and talked about how lucky we are to be in such a place on such a day . . . . . hope everyone's Memorial Day was equally relaxing - Dad, good to talk with you, and Trevor and Megan!!! I got the message on the recorder when we got home! Sooooo, I've got another grand daughter?! I told you it was going to be a girl!! Congrats and love from Alaska, I'll call you tonight . . . .

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Point of View

I've been giving a lot of thought to how our surroundings help shape our perceptions . . . here are a few tidbits from my ramblings. As anyone who lives on an island can attest, when you eventually go visit the "real world", one of the first things you'll notice is how fast things move. When my sister picked us up at the airport, she was going maybe 55 MPH down a 2 lane road - the posted speed limit - and I was terrified, clenching th dashboard, sure we were going to crash and die, amazed that my sister could negotiate such a high speed video game. On the island, you get up to maybe 35 MPH, usually a lot less, and after 10 months out here it really altered my view of speed. What is ironic is I have not exactly been known for slow driving prior to moving out here, if you know what I mean.

A recent study demonstrated that showing people an Apple logo - for mere milliseconds - activated areas in the brain responsible for creativity, while flashing the Microsoft logo activated areas that controlled logic and mathematical reasoning. If those tiny exposures affected how the brain was working, imagine the effects of everything else we expose ourselves to over the course of the day. What we surround ourselves with determines who we become. Choose nature over television and beauty over ugliness. Change your environment if it makes you stressed or unhappy. Surround yourself with things that make your heart smile - for me, those things are usually local art, rocks and shells and other pretty smelly things from the beach, small momentos from travels, pictures of family. Spend time with people who support and challenge you, and who give off a positive vibe. And for goodness sakes, take time out to just do nothing to regain your center. Cheers and good night . . .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bones in the Valley

We were walking with Chico out in the valley and came across these bones - no idea what the critter is but my best guess would be a horse. Anyone have any ideas? The leg bones are very distinctive and there was no skull to be found.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thanks for Your Patience!

The past four days since I got back to the island have been a blur - catching up at work, getting settled in at home, and playing with my new toy have kept me busy. I have a lot of thoughts in my head I want to post, and I dearly want to join that Daily Photo site, but first I wanted to get vacation photos posted so I can move forward. I'm about two-thirds done with vacation postings - I am dating them on the date they occured so they will make an accurate timeline/photo journal when I'm done and I should have that all wrapped up this weekend and I can go back to "island posts". Cheers!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fort Knox - Prospect, Maine

What a great day it was to be on the coast with my brother and my niece! I couldn't get enough of the quality stonework that went into building this fort back in the 1800's - the spiral staircases were amazing! Goldfish kind of dared me to roll down a steep hill in front of the fort - and I have the scars to show it didn't go well. All in all a great day to end the east coast portion of our vacation.

Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory

When Maine replaced an aging suspension bridge with an updated design they had the very novel idea of including an observation deck on the very top of one of the bridge's columns - what a view! The bottom picture shows the view of Fort Knox from the bridge Observatory.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Camden, Maine

We drove down to Camden after the museum so I could find a wooden puzzle for our grand daughter Aubrey at Once A Tree, a store where I bought a wooden rattle for Aubrey's Uncle Zack 25 years ago. Camden is the quintessential Maine coastal town with shops and wooden boats and the smell of the sea . . . . that night we ate my sister-in-law's famous lasagna and played our annual miniature golf game, a tradition that started 35 years ago when my Dad and I played on my birthday. Perhaps my only lament from the vacation is that I only got one piece of lasagna; Goldfish claims her only regret is declining an ice cream from the Ben & Jerry's store next to LL Bean on our first day in Maine - the cone that got away . . . .

Maine State Museum

Right across from the capitol building in Augusta is the Maine State Museum. We spent about three or four hours here on the way down to the coast. The displays covered the history, industries and wildlife of Maine.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Acadia National Park, Maine

With a good breakfast cooked by Dad at the condo in our bellies we spent the day touring Acadia National Park, ending with a late lunch at Geddy's Pub and a piece of pie at Helen's. The East coast is beautiful in a different way than the West coast, it is hard to describe but it always feels like a homecoming.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Southwest Harbor, Maine

Last night we traveled from Denver to Boston (via Seattle - don't ask!), then took a bus from Boston to Portland, Maine where my Dad picked us up. After visiting my baby sister we went to Southwest Harbor for the night. We ate supper at Nemo's, a folksy seafood joint that looks like a transplanted Salty Dawg; this is not a coincidence as the owners are from Homer, Alaska! In talking with them we find out their son is a deckhand on a boat out of Kodiak that sometimes delivers to Dutch Harbor - small world indeed! In the bottom picture my Dad is giving me a whipping in cribbage at Nemo's while we wait for our meal.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Denver Aquarium

I love aquariums and make a point to seek them out whenever I'm on vacation. The Denver one is decent; at first I was impressed they had a good representation of freshwater North American fish species along with the usual sea turtles, manta rays (they had a "touch tank" for rays - that was an interesting touch, apparently the rays like it), and sharks. After I thought about it a bit I wonder if I'm not seeing the future - where school children in Colorado go to an aquarium to see a cut-throat trout instead of being able to catch one in their backyard . . . . a chilling idea.