A Fowl Adventure 2014

Yes I know, this is my 5th year going to Chickenstock and Eagle and using this same title, but hey, it’s the perfect title.  Why mess with perfection?  But really, I can only repeat these so many times, so if you would like to hear more of the story or see some of the other years with more pictures and/or story, check out these other years as basically I am dumping my pictures here and posting it.

2010

2011

2012

2013

We begin with Chickenstock Music Festival in the little town of Chicken, Alaska.

DSC_2893

My friend Kate’s husband, Dave Parks of Grassroots Guitars.

DSC_2900

Such a little cutie just dancing away.   Mostly it was just kids dancing during the daytime.

DSC_2903

DSC_2906

DSC_2909

Spank Williams and friends.

DSC_2915

DSC_2926

Dry Cabin String Band

DSC_2930

DSC_2936

The Flock

DSC_2941

DSC_2944

DSC_2967

The Cluck Off was a tie!  We were dying with laughter because these two finalists really brought it.  They were clucking and pecking, scratching the dirt and shaking their tail feathers.  Good times, good times.

DSC_2970

DSC_2971

DSC_2974

DSC_2996

1000 baggie clad Peeps were dropped by three different passes.

DSC_2997

DSC_3030

DSC_3040

Kat Moore from the Super Saturated Sugar Strings.  She is really fun.  When not playing she is dancing, visiting, and hoola hooping with us all.

DSC_3058

Here is a compilation of video clips I took during our trip.  Most of the one during Chickenstock were during the day when I had time to video.  During the evenings, I was too busy dancing to worry about taking video.

I really love visiting my dear friends Scarlett and Wayne with Bush Alaska Expeditions.    They really help me to refocus on what is important and even our rare, annual visit helps to keep me grounded in my goals.

DSC_3066

DSC_3075

They have a young handler staying with them and he used to play the violin.  “It had to do with a pretty girl, who taught violin.”  It was really fun to spend an evening just taking turns trying out different tunes, seeing what we each could remember.

DSC_3110

They also had a new batch of puppies with eyes just opening.

DSC_3114

The most sweet spot on Earth is right here.

DSC_3129

DSC_3130

The Mighty, Mighty Yukon River!  I’m going to canoe this river next year.

DSC_3138

DSC_3148

Well that’s it in a nutshell.  I love our busy, busy summers.  They really are the promise that Alaska makes us in the winter.  Until next time my friends.  Have a great summer, love your family and your friends, and be happy.

The Good Ol’ Summer Time; kind of.

We had a marvelous spring.  It really made up for last spring, which is known as the spring that never came.  We had winter, then all of a sudden we had a bit of summer.  But last spring was just an extension of winter.  This year it warmed right up.  The days got longer and the sunlight oh so welcome after the long dark of winter.  Green up happened in about 3 days which is always a wonder to see.  Now we begin summer in earnest.  Summers are always so busy.  By the end of summer I am looking forward to winter; to snuggling down with in my warm, little cabin with my kids, cooking, talking, reading, planning, dreaming.  But summers are for doing.  So here we go.

We started off early spring with the annual World Ice Art Championship.

Mike and a peacock.

DSC_2315 DSC_2329 DSC_2320 DSC_2322 DSC_2299 DSC_2303 DSC_2306 DSC_2295 DSC_2293 Ice Art Championship

DSC_2286 DSC_2290 Ice Art Championship

The road into Denali National Park is 90 miles long.  Personal vehicles are not allowed except for one week a year by lottery.  You can drive in to mile 15 during the summer and mile 30 in the shoulder seasons after they clear the roads and before tourist season starts.  Lori and I drove in to mile 30 on the last day before the closure, May 18.  We met with a snow storm.

Dahl Sheep

Dahl Sheep

Wolf and caribou tracks in the snow.

Wolf and Caribou Tracks

Ptarmigan are white in the winter and mottled brown in the winter.  These are in the process of changing into their summer feathers.

DSC_2863

Ptarmagin

DSC_2832

I love this outcropping and have taken pictures of it several times.

DSC_2794

A mew gull.

DSC_2782

 

I would take a picture, then walk a few steps closer, then take another picture, trying to get as close as possible.  I was tickled pink when he opened his beak right as I was about to take another one.

Mew Gull

Caribou and more caribou!

DSC_2723

DSC_2722

Snowy Lori taking pictures of the caribou lol.

DSC_2697

DSC_2676

Ah Alaska, how I love thee!

DSC_2616

DSC_2603

DSC_2579

DSC_2578

DSC_2485

Eagle

Eagle

Moose

DSC_2495

We also saw a bear but he was so far in the distance even my telephoto lens wasn’t able to pick him up well.

 

When I first started to do henna, my pregnant friend Sandy allowed me to do henna on her pregnant belly.  Hers was the very first belly I did.  That was over 7 years ago.  Now she also allowed me the honor of doing her head.  This was certainly a learning experience.  So many new angles and not many places to anchor my hand.  She was tickled with it but I think I need much more practice hennaing heads to be any good at all on them.

10355802_10154192592930697_2842015027590372509_n

So much easier to do hands.

henna

Did I tell you we got a new puppy?  Her name is Maari named after a Pyrenees Goddess.  She is part great pyrenees, part black lab and golden retriever.  I’ll post some better pictures of her soon.  She is 15 weeks now and is huge!

Maari

We also got a new to us canoe.  It’s a 17′ Grumen.  I want to learn canoeing well enough for a trip from Eagle to Circle on the Yukon River.  I really want to be ready to do this trip next summer but we will see how comfortable I am by the end of this summer.

canoe

Got a new 15 gallon barrel to haul water and use my small pump to pump it up into the house with.  Unfortunately, I had Olivia hold the hose in the barrel while I ran up to do something else and she pulled the hose out of the water and burned the pump out.  ARG!  Live and learn.  Now I am going to teach myself how to fix the pump.  My neighbor said something about bearings and seals so I’ll look into that.  But it will probably be set aside for a winter project.  I have found that I can learn just about anything on Youtube.

water

Olivia graduated from 6th grade.  I’m a proud mamma.

Olivia graduates2

She also finally had a growth spurt.  Look how tall she is.  My son was taller then me by the time he turned 11.  She is 12 and not quite as tall as I am.  Of course, he is over 6′ now and just 15.

Olivia graduates

Now that roller derby is over for the summer, we thought soccer would be a good thing to keep her going.  Yes, I am now officially a soccer mom.  What a strange place this is in my life.

soccer

My friend Sue came out of the bush for a few days to take care of some business in town.  Of course we had to stop in at the infamous Howling Dog Saloon for a bit of music by my friend Mike Stackhouse and a few libations.

Sue Aikens and Mike Stackhouse

We have so many exciting plans in the making that I was sad to see her go.  I wish we had more time to sit and scheme but of course, a trip to town means a LOT of stuff had to get done in a short amount of time.  She is one person who really gets me.  ie She didn’t blink an eye when I told her that I planned to do my Eagle to Circle Yukon River trip even though I have only been in a canoe twice in my life.  She understands if you want to do something, you can only accomplish that by getting out there and DOING it.  Because that is the way she lives her life as well.

Me and Sue

Today I start packing for our great Fowl Adventure 2014.  For those of you who have been reading for a while, you know that this is my annual pilgrimage to Chickenstock Music Festival in the tiny hamlet of Chicken, Alaska.  We leave from there and go visit our friends outside of Eagle, Alaska who live in the Yukon River, Bush Alaska Expeditions.  It will just be Olivia and I as my son does not enjoy that type of thing.  Luckily enough that works out well for him to stay home and take care of the animals.  Handy huh.

See you when I get back.  Thanks for reading.

Georganne

Introducing…

Kiki Kapow, #101

Fairbanks Cold’n Heart Junior Derby

Image

 

 

 

Image

 

Image

My daughter started roller derby last fall with the Fairbanks Cold’n Heart Junior Roller Girls.  She didn’t know how to skate really at all.  The coach assured us that lots of girls start from scratch.  I was hoping to get her into something that would give her more confidence and this is certainly it.  She loves to dance and so once I put her into a hip hop dance class.  The teacher didn’t talk to me once, not even to introduce herself.  The lady at the front desk only talked to me the one time I went in to sign her up and pay and to point me in the general direction of her “classroom”.  She obviously doesn’t have the body structure for a ballet dancer or gymnast but how to explain this to a young girl and then tell her that her body shape was ok?  Anyways, we never felt at home at the dance studio and it was a very strange feeling.  I mean, I can fit in ANYWHERE.  But a warehouse, next to some type of garage, with mattresses duct taped to the posts and awesome posters on the walls?  Oh yes, we feel so much more at home.

1456497_10153478254675697_1384416493_n

1479108_10153507991855697_838976455_n

1474497_10153478254285697_1200607976_n

Thirsty work.

 

 

 

 

She let me chose her number, #101, in honor of Checkpoint Mile 101 of the Yukon Quest.  She gets to go with me next year and I’m sure she will love it as much as I do.

That’s all for now my friends.  Have a great week and take care of yourselves.

Georganne

Is Spring Really Here?

Last year we had the spring that never sprung.  It was cold and wet and nasty until finally, summer was here…then gone.  Our warmth passes so quickly.  I love winter, obviously, or I wouldn’t be able to live here.  But when it starts to warm up, it’s such a time of excitement and expectation.  It’s almost heartbreaking when it doesn’t happen as it is supposed to such as last year.  This year, it seems like Mother Nature is apologizing for last year as we are already in breakup.  The snow is melting, the sun is out, life is good!

I know it’s been a long while since I posted anything.  Mostly I have been hibernating so there’s been little of interest to write about.  I’ll try to catch you up with a few pictures.

Christmas came and went fairly quietly except for the kids got their first guns.  They are just little .22s.

Of course, there was always nights of chasing the auroras.

One of my aurora photos was used on a Denver station news program.  I was pretty excited.

We did a bit of entertaining and a lot of cooking.

Olivia’s very first home made cinnamon, raisin, yeast bread.

I also taught her how to make home made chicken noodle soup, with home made noodles.

Worked at Checkpoint Mile 101 for the Yukon Quest again.  This was my 5th year working there.  Needless to say, I love it.  I ended up staying an extra night and day after everyone left, just putting wood in the stove and playing my fiddle.  I’m going to plan on doing this every year as it was so peaceful and restful after all the commotion and lack of sleep that working there during the Quest brings.  I didn’t write about it this year but you can look back over the years in this blog to see some stories if you care to.

I did take some video of the two passes I have to cross coming home from the checkpoint.  The roads were actually very good even though in the videos, you can see they were icy.  Last year three of our members got stuck or left the road while trying to get out to the checkpoint.

12 Mile Summit

Cleary Summit

Did a bit of henna here and there.

I love doing bellies the most!

Of course, winter is a time to go visit friends, hang out, have fun, drink some beer, etc.

Here’s my Solstice centerpiece, complete with Yule Log.

While Olivia was working on her roller derby skills.

I got to hang out with pretty mushers in tuxs for the Bunny Boots and Bids fundraiser and Wine Tasting.

And of course, practiced and played my fiddle.

I don’t think I posted this video yet.  It’s how I have to unfreeze the drain.  Living in a dry cabin, having to haul all our water, makes us really conserve.  Of course, if you are only using tiny bits of water here and there through out the day, and it’s -40 outside, the water freezes before it clears the drain.  We have a grey water system which means that the water just goes straight from the kitchen sink to the gravel pad that the cabin sits on.  I have had to do this a couple of times each winter.  It’s not really a big deal but yea, at that cold of temperatures, one’s lungs do not want to inhales so you end up breathing very noisily as you can hear in this video lol.

So, onto the upcoming summer!  I have a camping, float trip down the Delta Clearwater planned for the kids and I.  I have a trip up to visit my friend Susan in Kavik River Camp planned for later in the summer.  I have a zipline adventure trip down near Talkeetna planned with my friend Lori.  And I want to take my kids back packing in the back country for the first time.  I have taken them camping lots of times but never into the back country.  There be bears out there you know.  Backpacking has almost always been my special solo adventures.  I keep them for myself.  But maybe my kids would like them for themselves as well.  Of course, you can’t forget my annual Fowl Adventure.  Chickenstock Music Festival then a visit to my friends’ Wayne and Scarlett who live off the Yukon River.  Can’t wait to see them!

Until next time my dearies.  I’ll be here.

10 Years in Alaska

On Christmas Eve 2003, I arrived here with my then 2 year old daughter and my 5 year old son.  I had the help of my parents and one of my aunts was our landing spot upon arrival.  I was in a rear wheel drive Cutlass Supreme.  It’s large trunk and all floor boards were filled with my most precious worldly possessions and the minimum requirements of setting up a bare house hold.  The drive was days and days of slippery, sliding, white knuckle driving.  But I knew the moment I crossed the state line that I had found my home.  I took this picture right near the boarder.  It is the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.  “At 13.2 million acres which is bigger than the country of Switzerland, Wrangell-St. Elias stretches from one of the tallest peaks in North America, Mount St. Elias (18,008) to the ocean. “

I have hung this photo in every place I have lived in for the last 10 years.  It will always remind me of the first time I FELT Alaska.  It was powerful.  I stopped in the middle of the road to take this picture.  There were no cars coming, no rush, no kids fussing in the back seat.  It filled me with both peace and longing.

IMG00247

This was also taken on our way up, Haines Junction I believe.  I loved the look of the sky; mysterious, mystical, meaningful.  It was just the barest of hints of the mystery and magic yet to come.  The magic of the promise that IS Alaska.

IMG00237 (1)

People tell me I am so lucky to live in Alaska.  I say to them that luck has very little to do with it.  Priorities, a tight budget, and working my ass off has got me here to where I want to be.  Of course, a little luck, or as I call it, My Alaska Karma, has helped here and there.

2013 in review

Wow, this is exciting.  Thank you friends for reading.  Think I’ll write a book now.

Have a wonderful new year!

Georganne

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 69,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hello Winter

Yes of course, winter has been here for a while now.  It’s been a pretty good one so far.  We did have a blizzard that knocked out thousands of people’s power for a week or so.  I think it was pretty interesting that the city opened up a warming center at the high school (because a lot of our stoves burn heating fuel but are powered with electricity) but after a few days they closed it because it just was not being used.  Fairbanks helps its own.  We all have friends we can go stay with if not generators or battery back ups.  We are down to 4 hours of sunlight a day.  Of course, we have twilight on either side of that so it makes for some hours long sunrises and sunsets.

Sunrise 10:25, sunset 2:55.

Length of Day, 4 hours and 29 minutes.

Length of Day, 4 hours and 29 minutes.

Of course, all this darkness leaves more time for aurora hunting.

1393609_10153382374025697_2037980040_n

1378614_10153382372325697_1740536742_n

As you all have read, I had plans to retire the “Rust Princess”.  She was old and tired though still going like gangbusters.  After keeping my eyes open all summer for a fitting replacement, may I present, “The Princess”.  Yes, she is a princess with all the bells and whistles.  Why have I been here almost 10 years and only now getting auto start and heated seats?!!  Never again!

Alaskan cabin

Our Halloween was extremely warm.  This is the first time since we’ve been here that it wasn’t around -20 or colder on Halloween.  Also, we normally have between 6 and 9″ of snow by then and we had none on the ground until that evening.  The trick or treaters loved it!

1385644_10153389800895697_1585146553_n

 1382888_10153352141205697_51410951_nI’m working on masks.

Olivia has joined the jr. roller derby league here.  She is really enjoying it but frankly, I think I have as much fun as she does.  It’s great because it really focuses on team work as well as strong women.  She has wonderful, friendly but badass role models.  I’m grateful we finally found her something to put her heart into.

roller derby

534065_10153478253510697_1771757714_n

1456497_10153478254675697_1384416493_n

With winter comes mushing season.  Here are a few pictures from the Bunny Boots and Bids Yukon Quest Fundraiser and Winetasting, where the mushers served hors d’oeuvers dressed in tuxedos.

 969235_10153465069780697_2135211458_n

Me and Allen Moore, winner of last year’s Quest.

1469929_10153465070065697_381744775_n

Two favorites, Brent Sass of Wild and Free Mushing and Mike Ellis of Team Tsuga.

   1452487_10153465078100697_1164014720_n

Rookie (to the Quest) musher Matt Hall and friends Amanda and Robert.  Keep your eyes on Matt folks, I do believe you will be seeing much more of him.  I go visit Matt’s mom and dad (Wayne and Scarlett) every year as part of my “Fowl Adventures”.

994990_10153514248355697_3548773_n

We had 9 people in our little cabin for Thanksgiving.  We also had 9 pies so it worked out really well lol.

Olivia working on pies.

 1468810_10153514762645697_1179458797_n 1474500_10153514507195697_1060399321_n 1477545_10153514469235697_1861515095_n

1464761_10153514249615697_1266844803_n

Now on to Christmas preparation.  We got the tree set up and the cat got her present of playing with the boxes.  We are cat sitting for a friend and the cats were fighting over the boxes.  It was pretty funny.  Guess I’m easily amused.

1460942_10153526092390697_1952253886_n

1467271_10153526778650697_606307162_n

Rowwwwwrrr!

I guess that’s all for now.  I think I will have a Solstice party to celebrate our upcoming 10th Anniversary in Alaska.  What do you think?