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.

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

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

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Spank Williams and friends.

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Dry Cabin String Band

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The Flock

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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.

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1000 baggie clad Peeps were dropped by three different passes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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The most sweet spot on Earth is right here.

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

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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.

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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.

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Ptarmagin

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

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A mew gull.

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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!

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Snowy Lori taking pictures of the caribou lol.

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Ah Alaska, how I love thee!

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Eagle

Eagle

Moose

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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.

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So much easier to do hands.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

A Fowl Adventure 2013

Once again I embarked on my annual foray into the deep interior of Alaska.  Chickenstock is a small, funky music festival held in Chicken, Alaska.  The village of Eagle is 100 miles further, but takes 3 hours to drive that 100 miles.

You can right click these pictures and open in new tabs to see them better.

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The hill starts to fill with tents.

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Took a little walk about.

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Dredge buckets which would scoop up the dirt/gravel and bring it to the gold dredge to be seperated and run through to collect the gold.

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The stage.

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It was hot and dusty.  I found some shade and spent some time with Fairbanks area firefighters.

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Was invited to jam.  That was the most fun I had at Chickenstock.  We ended up with 4 guitars, 2 fiddle players, a banjo, a dobro, and a tambourine.

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In the camp next to us, I noticed people were naked.  Funny that those pictures I tried to take, didn’t turn out.

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Moon rising over chicken butt?

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The Taylor Highway between Chicken and Eagle.  Got one flat on the way up, and one flat on the way back.  It was hilarious because at first a car load of tourists stopped to see if I needed help, then shortly thereafter, while we were standing there visiting, a pick up pulled up with a young couple.  We were all visiting and the girl asked me if my name was Georganne.  I said yes, are you XYZ?  I know her sister.  The amazed tourist said “Here we are in the very middle of no where, and you two KNOW EACH OTHER?”  Yes, Alaska is a very, very large state, with a very, very small population.

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The road is brutal but worth it.

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My favorite river, the 40 Mile!

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Get to Eagle, park at the Yukon River.  Take the boat X amount of miles up the river, park the boat.  Take the ATV up the trail to the little cabin in the woods.

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Scarlett and her sassy feather that she just got in South Africa!

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Dinner the first night, moose steak and sprouts salad.  It was delicious!

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There is no better dining facility in the wold.  That’s the Yukon River in the background.

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Yay puppies!

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This is the life!

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Soft, feathery horse tail ferns cover the forest floor.

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The sauna.

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Dried salmon to feed the dogs through the year.

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Wayne, working on a dog sled.

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Scarlett watering the tomatoes in the greenhouse.

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Training a lead dog to “line out”.  This is the command given to the lead dog to hold the team tight and straight while stopped.  It’s the most difficult thing for them to learn.  Normally takes about 2 years.

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A little afternoon snack.  Dried salmon.

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A bear got into one of their salmon storages last winter so they removed what was left and stored it in 55 gallon barrel/s.

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Wayne and Scarlet are some of the most fun and interesting people to sit around and visit with.  My dad is one of those types of people, imparting knowledge, entertainment, and comraderie all at the same time.

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Finally it was time for me to go home.

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I love the Taylor Highway.  It is closed in the winter so residents up the road either fly in and out or just sit tight for our long, cold winters.

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Arctic Lupine line the road side.

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We do have sand dunes in Alaska.

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Tetlin Junction, Milepost 0 of the Taylor Highway where it begins from off the ALCAN.  The buildings on the northwest corner of the intersection are what remain of the old Fortymile Roadhouse.

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Have you ever seen a mile post with this many miles on it?  This is towards the end of the ALCAN (Alaska Canadian Highway).

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Alaska Pipeline crosses one of the many rivers on it’s journey from the Arctic Slope in Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, our only port that doesn’t freeze up in the winter.

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Sorry this one is short and sweet but I am about to embark on an 11 day backpacking, camping, fishing, communing with nature, just kicking around the Kenai Peninsula trip.

You can read my previous “Fowl Adventures” by clicking here:

A Fowl Adventure 2010

A Fowl Adventure 2011

A Fowl Adventure 2012

These all have many more pictures and a lot more information.

Here We Go!

Summer in Fairbanks

Countdown to Summer Madness has begun.  The kids are going on a lower 48 grand tour and I am going to Chickenstock, Eagle, and the Kenai Peninsula.

The kids will be flying down to one of my sisters’ in the Dallas area.  They will visit a few days there, then she will bring them up to southern OK to my mother in law’s and they’ll visit there.  My dad will come down from NE OK and pick them up, take them home and they will visit there with my parents and another of my sisters and her family.  I’m so glad they didn’t get blown away in all the tornadoes they have been having there!  Then they will go to northern MN for our big family reunion held once ever couple of years.  They’ll do a return of the same route for even more visiting.

I’ve never been away from them this long.  There will be tears… especially on Father’s Day when they will visit his grave for the first time since the funeral.

But between bouts of missing my babies, I’m going to our annual Fowl Adventure all by myself.

2010

2011

2012

Check out the previous years’ fun.  I go to Chickenstock then go visit friends outside of Eagle.  I can’t wait to visit them this year as they just got back from Africa.   I’m bringing extra wine for storytelling time.

Then later this summer I will be going backpacking down on the Kenai Peninsula.  I haven’t yet explored this part of Alaska and I am looking forward to it.

Kenai