Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fall on the Tundra

We took a little drive out into the country last night. It had been a beautiful day so we decided to go look for some berries. We're not really hard core berry pickers, I just use it as an excuse to get myself outdoors. It also makes a nice little family outing. I found some salmon berries and picked about 1 or 2 cups while C.O. spent his time finding Labrador Tea. Last winter we had some Labrador Tea at a friend's house and it smelled so good, just like the tundra. So we decided we needed some of it for ourselves this year.

Harold enjoyed a snack and some water out on the tundra.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Governor

Not only is she "America's Hottest Governor", she's now the VP candidate. Found this photo of Sarah Palin looking all Alaskan dressed in furs.

But I liked the uncropped photo even better.

Things are different in Alaska.

Picture of the Day - Barge

Another barge spent the night in the bay. Today they came up close to shore and a couple of the crew took their skiff to the beach. They walked up to the store and bought snacks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Picture of the Day - Musk Ox Hide

I spent the afternoon in the workshop scrapping a musk ox hide. It is from an animal that I shot in March. The hide has been in our freezer all this time. Now that I have all the fat cleaned off I am sending it out to get tanned.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Picture of the Day - Boat Construction

Last week I posted a photo of cutting the boat in two. This week I'm putting it back together. It will be about 3 feet longer when I'm done.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kissy Face

Harold makes the greatest kissy faces for me when I'm about to leave for work. He sure knows how to pucker up.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Picture of the Day - Harold

Last time we were traveling through Anchorage Harold decided to stop and make a few calls.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Names, Names Names

One of the craziest things about setting up a kindergarten classroom is the number of times I need to write each child's name. Recognizing one's own name and the names of your classmates is a great way for students to start learn some of the basics of reading. So, I know it's important.

I start with the usual. Every one's name gets written on their nameplates that are taped down to their tables. I have learned over the years that their name must also be on their chair, so they don't accidentally get switched causing a great dispute over who's the rightful owner of a given chair. We brush our teeth after lunch, therefore, each child needs their name taped down to a toothbrush. Toothbrushes are stored in a white plastic holder with identical slots. One year, the kids were rushing to brush their teeth so they could put their brush back in the coveted slot. How they picked one to be "The Best" was beyond me. The cubbies need names, their rug spots must be assigned, the birthday chart, the writing display with all the "Wonderful Writers", the writing folders, the 3-ring binders for tracking standards, the sign-in sheet and their backpacks all require names. Their special jobs for the week have their names written out and popsicle sticks are labeled and stored in a jar so that I can call on students quickly and fairly.

By the end my mind is just swimming with the names of all my students. Just when I think I've covered everything, a family member of one of my students stops by to chat. "What? What did you say? You're not serious. Ricky's name is spelled with an "ie" not a "y"." *sigh* I'd better get back to work.

Picture of the Day - Sunset Creek

Nearby gold mining camp from long ago.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Picture of the Day - Swimming

I took a swim in the ocean today.
The water is cold and tastes bad (salty).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Picture of the Day - Barges

Brevig Mission is on the shore of a large bay called Port Clarence. The bay offers some protection from the rough water out in the Bering Sea. On occasion boats anchor here to wait out bad weather. Today three tug boats and a couple of barges anchored just off the beach.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Local Art

People in Brevig are often trying to sell their beautiful artwork. Here's a piece that came through yesterday. It is made out of whale bone, walrus ivory and baleen. The photos are of the same piece, the artist carved both sides.

I think it takes amazing talent to look at a bone and be able to see and create a visual image. The cost of this carving is $750, which is a great deal. We can always get better prices in the villages by buying directly from the carver. Once they go to Nome or Anchorage into the gift shops, prices are much higher. We have actually not purchased much in the way of art. It's just not in the budget at this point. But someday we hope that we can start a collection of interesting artwork from our time in Brevig.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Picture of Day - Brevig Mission

Brevig Mission from the top of the mountain.
Click on the photo for a larger image. The village is right in the middle on the shore. On the left of the photo you can see the ends of our two runways.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Picture of the Day - Hauling Oil

A few days ago Harold and I hauled "stove oil" (#1 fuel oil) for our house. Everyone here heats with oil, it is really the only option. The gasoline and oil come in by barge once a year, that means the price only changes once a year. The store still had a little bit of last years oil for sale at last years price of $4.45 per gallon. I filled up the tanks for the house, the workshop and even a few 55 gal drums. When this oil is gone the price goes up to $7.15!

There is no oil delivery service here, so you have to haul it yourself. Behind the 4-wheeler is a 165 gallon tank that I made to haul oil. In the last 4 years I have hauled over 12,000 gallons in it. Most of that went to the Headstart (preschool) building that I maintain.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Camping Trip

This weekend we took Harold on his first ever camping trip. The weather has been so beautiful in Brevig so we thought we had better take advantage of it. We left late on Saturday and drove about 2 hours down the coast east of Brevig along Grantly Harbor. Our new 4-wheeler did great on difficult terrain. We had quite a few creeks to cross and rocks to drive over.

There's some pretty spectacular shore line along Grantly Harbor.

We chose a spot that was nice and flat to set up camp. Harold had a great time along the water's edge throwing rocks and sticks.

Not everything was pleasant, however, the mosquitoes were awful! We wished for wind to blow them away. It did pick up and made the tent very noisy to sleep in. When the night started, it was actually quite warm in the tent. It was very chilly by the time we woke up though. But despite these minor hardships, we had a great time and woke up to a beautiful morning.


Picture of the Day - Bear Tracks

We went camping yesterday. Here is a photo of the bear tracks in the mud about 50 feet from where we set our tent up.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Picture of the Day - Fishing

When you go fishing in Brevig you don't use a rod and reel, you just set a net and see what swims by. This is a photo of our friend Rita Olanna rowing out to check her salmon net. I built the boat and gave it to Henry and Rita as a gift last winter. She caught 4 or 5 silver salmon and a couple of trout in about 1 hour tonight.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Picture of the Day- "Shopping"

Harold and I went "shopping" at the dump today. We came home with some cool thin wall aluminum tubing and a few big wooden timbers. I think more people in America should take a trip to the dump, most people just put their garbage in the can and the Waste Management guy takes it away. I bet most people would be surprised at what gets thrown away and how much garbage there is.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Picture of the Day

We bought a new 4-wheeler from the dealer in Nome. Sunday morning we drove it 75 miles up the Nome Teller highway (it's called a highway, but it is actually a narrow bumpy gravel road across the tundra). After getting to Teller we needed to get it across the water to Brevig. We lucked out and were able to get a boat ride from Brian Crocket the pastor at the churches in Brevig and Teller. He has church service in the morning in Teller and in the evening in Brevig. He has an 18' Lund with a 40hp Yamaha outboard. We put a couple of wooden planks on the side of the boat and just drove the 4-wheeler up into the boat. The boat feels tippey with a load that big sitting up so high, but we made it across the channel despite the 25mph wind and the big swells coming in off the ocean.