Eagle River Weather

Monday, December 26, 2011

From Yurts to Barns

It is with mixed feelings that I announce the end of our current yurt adventure. We are in the process of buying a house north of our current location. We are moving into a barn. OK, we are moving into a house with a cambrel roof that makes it looks like a barn. It has the same basic lay out as the yurt (open loft master bedroom over a kitchen with an open living room and utilities and garage in the basement). Oh, and room for a yurt. Sometime this summer we plan on moving the yurt to our new property and using it as a playroom/guest house/workshop. I'm going to try and post information about taking down a yurt and our new floor plans later on in the year.
But for now.....
a few photos of the things that have been going on around here in the last month since I posted.
We have had a big thaw and a couple of wind storms. One of them picked up our canoe and pitched it into the forest.

Thankfully we are back on track and filling in with snow.

Fresh tracks on a Christmas ski at the nature center.

A visiting goshawk right off of the yurt deck

Is Nicki pampering her dogs a bit too much? A pawicure, really?

They seem to like it.

Leo and Nisha buddying up.

Leo getting ready for a peewee mushing race.

Leo and Georgie crossing the finish line after Georgie going the wrong way, stopping, and Leo falling off.

The Schneider ski train (thanks for the photo Lia). Great resistance training.

Kaya showing off her usual smile.

One of Leo's many amazing lego creations.

Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pulks on the Cheap #2

So here is the completed pulk made from a bike trailer.

I bought some replacement backpack hip belts from REI. They only cost $5 and they worked great for attaching the pulk poles to. I attached grommets to the belt and then threaded bolts through the poles and hip belt to attach them.
Here is the hip belt with the grommets, the small gold circles.

I originally wanted to put the grommets through the cinch strap (black) but it proved to be too far forward. Luckily there was some additional material else where that was trickier to put grommets through but worked fine.

The usefulness of this zipped pocket was eliminated.

I used electrical conduit and bent it with a conduit bender. I drilled it out with normal drill bits and a cordless drill. When drilling metal you need to use slow speeds, and you need to start with a small bit and slowly increase the diameter of the bit as you change them out (1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4). It takes awhile but it works.

Here is the attachment to the hip belt. The gold grommet is where the fabric on the hip belt will go. From left to right - locking nut, washer, pipe, washer, grommet, washer, bolt head.

After trying it out on the driveway, I found that it glides great and is pretty comfortable.

The bike trailer actually had holes and an attachment system for poles. So, on the next trailer the pole to trailer connection is going to be the big thing to figure out.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Snow

Life is complete again as snow is once again covering the yurt. It'd be nice to have the temperatures in the positive numbers, but hey you can't have everything.

A clear night with a full moon and new snow, excellent skiing conditions.

A day back-country skiing out at Arctic Valley yielded great views of Denali.

Who needs playdough when you have freshly fallen snow.

And, who needs to pull a sled when you have THREE dogs (Nisha is in there somewhere) to do it for you. (photo credit goes to Ted)

Happy snow play every one.

Pulks on the Cheap #1

Once the cold weather sets in it can become very difficult to get our little guys out. Chariots and Burly ski systems are great ways to bundle your kid up and take them on a ski or hike, but those systems are very expensive. Most of us, however, already have enclosed bike trailers. These bike trailers can be cheaply converted into a pulk. I haven't finished this yet, but I've done the first step which is to attach the wheels of a bike trailer to skis.

But first, here is the original inspiration and end product of this bike-trailer-into-ski-pulk project.


Here is what I came up with. The cradle for the wheel is a 2x4 (shaped to match the circumference of the wheel) sandwiched between 2 pieces of plywood. The skis are some old downhill skis I cut in half (Which is unfortunate because the tails had the word "RADICAL" written across them).

I drilled holes into the ski and fastened wood screws through the skis and into the wooden cradles.

I filled the holes for the screws with epoxy, sanded them flush, and then hot waxed the entire base. I used this process to attach the hardware for a split board I made a couple of years ago and the epoxy holds really well and doesn't add any drag.

I used zip ties to attach the wheel to the cradle. Here are the holes drilled through the cradle to thread the zip ties to.

Here are the zip ties threaded around the rim of the wheel and trimmed.

And the final product.

I'm helping a friend with this and I only have the wheels to her bike trailer, so I can't show you what it all looks like with the skis on the trailer. Hopefully I will get another post up soon to show how we attach the bike trailer to a person, what the entire system looks like, how it well it's working, and tips for how to keep your kiddo toasty warm inside it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Woosh, it's been a long time since I posted. There has been a lot of puzzle work and running around. But, we have been having a beautifully sunny and warm fall. The wild flowers were a big tangled mess this year but still brought us plenty of color in the late fall.

Kaya is up and running and becoming a great hiker. Here she is running away from us down the driveway,

and keeping up with big brother at the Nature Center.

During September the setting sun shoots beams of light right down the valley creating perfect conditions for rainbows.

Leo got to practice his rock climbing skills out on the dew mound trail.

The kiddos enjoying the view out by dew lake.

We haven't had any significant snow fall on the yurt yet, but it is definitely coming.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Visiting Friends and Blueberries

We had some good friends from Seattle come and visit in the middle of August and we were fortunate to have several breaks in the weather. We were also fortunate that they were enthusiastic picture takers. Here is the family on the cruise boat on Portage lake with the glacier in the back ground.

We took the ferry from Whittier to Valdez and were blessed with sunny skies, sea lions, humpback whales, and even Orcas that were surfing the wake of the ferry. Valdez didn't disappoint either with it's wall to wall pink salmon running in a local stream. Surprise, surprise we caught a few of these.

On the way over Thompson Pass we pulled off the side of the road and did some scenic blueberry picking. Here are Dunes and Ramona with their daughter doing some serious picking and eating.

The weather did not hold for the entire trip and our one night of actual tent camping ended up being pretty wet. Luckily there was a picnic shelter for some dry cooking and eating. Here are the 3 kiddos in their ducky out fits.

We also spent some time hanging out at the yurt. Here is Ramona engineering the baby train.

It's my second favorite time of year, berry picking season. (ski season being the first) Lots of locals have been complaining about the lack of blueberries around this year, but you just have to know where to go.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dipnetting and Fairbanks

July in Alaska means fish. This Summer, we got our act together and were able to participate in an Alaska resident only fishery, dip netting. You basically stand in belly deep in a river emptying out into the sea with a really large net hoping fish will swim into. Here I am catching the best fish in the sea.

Literally thousands of Alaskans show up at the mouth of the Kenai river for the return of the salmon. We were lucky enough to be there during a 30 year record for the number of fish to return in one day, 230,000, and have excellent weather. If you click on this next photo you can see all the people lined up on the opposite shore. You are literally shoulder to shoulder with the other people fishing.

We caught 25 fish in 2 hours, but netting the fish is just the beginning of the work. Next you have to process them. Here are Nicki and Kaya at their first ever fish cleaning session.

Nicki has the month of August off and we have been taking advantage of it by getting out and traveling. Kaya is already brushing up on her backpacking skills.

We took a trip to Fairbanks to the Tananna Valley fair. Leo has really gotten into roller coaster rides, but we got him to tone it down a bit and ride the ponies.

The raspberries are ripe and abundant. Leo is showing Kaya the ropes on berry picking.

On the way back we were caught in a freak snow storm near Denali park. Leo was very excited to throw the first snow balls of the year.