Eagle River Weather

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Water Pipes, Sand Pits, and Blueberries

Another post so soon?! Well it's all part of my way of keeping busy out here. Here are some more spotlights on our time in Bethel.
In addition to having homes on stilts, all of the water and sewage is pumped above the ground. During the winter, each house has a water heater that the water circulates through and helps heat the entire utility system. The picture below is of the outdoor pipes that house foam insulation, water lines, and a sewer line.

Leo and I have discovered the sand pit a hundred yards away form our place. Rolling in the dirt, playing with trucks, and climbing "mountains" are ways we have been using this resource.

We also took the opportunity to work on our speling. :)

The far side of the sand pit opens out onto the tundra where we have discovered our favorite Bethel activity. Leo demonstrates in this picture. Recognize that fake smile?

Here are the fruits of about an hour of labor.

And then the final product: blueberry pancakes!

We are hoping for a double blueberry season. One in Bethel and one in Eagle River. We're keeping our fingers crossed anyway.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oregon, Yurt, Bethel

Leo and I just got back from the Seattle and the Oregon coast, had a day at the yurt, and we are now in Bethel, Alaska visiting Nicki. Bethel is way out in Western Alaska, off the road system, and has a few thousand residents. We have been quite the traveling family and now all three of us are in the same place at the same time. Here are some photos of our travels.
Leo with a jellyfish he found while exploring tide pools.

Leo flying a kite by himself for the first time.

Leo all tuckered out on the train

We had a day back at the yurt before we went out to Bethel, so Leo took advantage of the garden while he could.

Alright, enough Leo cutesy stuff. We were delighted to see our wild flowers in bloom and many more veggies. I harvested as much as I could and then gave it away or packed it out to Bethel. Here is a photo of the garden.

In Bethel all of the building are up on stilts to keep them from breaking up as the ground shifts. We are in permafrost country so frost heaving is a big problem. Here is a picture of part of the elementary school.

Bethel is also the flattest place I've ever been in Alaska. You can look out on the tundra for miles. Here is a view from the road near the house we are staying in.

More tundra adventures to report later.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Smiles and Smoke

People visiting the yurt from outside Alaska is one of my favorite events. It gives people a window into our lives and a reference to the things that I blog about. Our friend Zeta is the latest to come out and stay awhile. She is on her way to Barrow where she will begin her sailing voyage through the northwest passage and ending in New York sometime in September. She is part of a program called Around the Americas. You can see what this adventure is all about by following this link http://www.aroundtheamericas.org/ And, once it is posted to, you can follow her blog at http://arcticzeta.blogspot.com/
Here we are standing on the deck of the yurt. (from left to right Zeta, Eve, Steve, Ben)

Notice that hazy appearance of the sky behind us? It isn't actually a cloudy day. It is smoke that is lingering in the valley originating from forest fires in the interior of Alaska and from down on the Kenai peninsula. Here are some photos of the yurt a few days ago and then today.

Although, we are a bit disappointed that Zeta can't see the mountains, the smoke is making for some cool photographic conditions. Here is the rising sun above Cumulus Mountain.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Guests, a New Perspective on the Yurt, Big Raddishes, and Time on the Water

As usual, we have had a very busy couple of weeks here at the yurt. Our good friend Todd (remember the tree house?) from Juneau, currently teaching in China, paid us a visit during his summer break. Here are the two bears protecting their den.

Todd and his sister Heidi came along on a hike to the top of Harp Mountain. I've wanted to get up this one for some time now and we finally made it. It is supposed to be a good back-country skiing spot and also offers a unique view of the yurt. Here we are looking at the mountain from the yurt. (Harp always seems to be beneath this huge black arrow!?)

And here is the yurt from the mountain. Click on the picture and you can see the yurt more clearly and directly in the center of the photo.

One month into planting we are pulling up some spectacular golf ball sized raddishes.

After the resident camp-out down on the Kenai peninsula we went floating down the Kenai river. We got to witness combat fisherman, see eagles, and enjoy a lot of sunshine.

We have been doing so much paddling that Leo is doing his own boating now. Here he is maneuvering his canoe on Eklutna Lake.

They grow up so fast, don't they?