Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nome Creek adventure

ok, i'm beginning to see a pattern.

if any of you remember our adventures from last Memorial Day when we convinced our friends Kristin and Jeremy to bike the Denali Hwy with us (see Type II Fun from last May), you might recall that we don't have the best luck with Memorial Day trips.

this year, Cob suggested hiking the Quartz Creek trail to the base of Mount Prindle and then chucking down the Noe Creek drainage -- off trail, of course. first, let me say that it was a great trip - full of relaxing time with Cob and the bad dog and views like this:

we started up the Quartz Creek trail, through alpine tundra and then a spruce forest saddle (have to admit that my bearanoia got to me a little, esp as i imagine that the fuzzy-wuzzies (as Cob likes to call them) are hungrier this time of made for some interesting and VERY LOUD conversations through the woods, peppered with "Hey Bear!" and "Yo Bear!"

anyway, after about 9 miles, we left the trail and pitched our tent just as the weather moved in. after waiting about a half-hour, we were able to squeak a quick dinner in during the rain-reprieve, and then it was back in the tent until the weather broke again at 9:30 am the next morning. however, what we woke to was this:

that's SNOW and ICE on our tent (uh-huh...just like last MemDay on the Denali Hwy...)
but at least there was coffee...

we packed up, skirted the base of Mount Prindle through a small pass bordered by an imposing dome that Cob last year summited and named Mount Nuch and then headed down the Nome Creek drainage, all the while admiring the awesome raging force that is Nome Creek this time of year (the rest of the summer it's a trickle), bushwhacking through overhead willows (and yelling a lot more "hey Bear!"s), and being grateful for the hard rocky turf whenever we could get a break from the tussocky tundra, which makes for some hard walking.

it was a good trip.

and many thanks to the hubby for these pictures...i'm in the middle of a pretty heavy-duty field season, traveling through the end of June, and so posts will be pretty thin on the ground until i have time to catch my breath.

Monday, May 19, 2008

the perfect martini

How do you make a perfect martini?

it depends on whom you ask. Cob prefers Sapphire gin, neat and with just a hint of vermouth. Jamie's all about the Crantini, with vodka and cranberry juice. Several opted for the Mochatini with Godiva liquor. and Cara braved the Leopardtini made with boubon whiskey and papaya juice.

yes, that's a hand-painted leopard print martini glass in her hand. welcome to the 1st annual Martini-Boa party. the paparazzi were there....

men-wearing-boas were there...

yes, Jon is wearing a 'real' (stuffed) boa...

the birthday boy was there (Mieze's 18th birthday was our thinly veiled reason for the party...)

yes, he's wearing a boa too.

Cob (getting a little close to the fire in that fine boa) talking to a friend in a vine-boa.

all manner of good folks showed up in boas to celebrate Mieze's birthday, the arrival of spring, Norwegian Constitution Day, and a good martini.

if you ask me, the perfect martini is simply a good gin, a splash of dry vermouth, a drop of olive juice, and as many olives as you can fit in the glass - wet and dirty, that is.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lucia Update (posted by Dutiful Husband)

Brown is still out of town for another few days, but I figured that her faithful readers are dying to know what's up with Lucia. In short, she's bustin' out. Her needle pods (my term -- sorry, botanists!) look like tiny shaving brushes, and those purple flowers are the best. From a distance she's still mostly branches and twigs, but now she has a discernible greenish tinge to her.

closeup photo of lucia's flowers and cones

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

until Saturday...

ok, one last shot before i head out to the villages of Sleetmute and Aniak on the Kuskokwim River...

Lucia's looking good, sprouting more everyday and keeping hold of her little purple flowers, much to my delight!

I'll be back late on Friday night so I'll document Lucia's progress on Saturday (unless i can convince Cobbie to do a guest blog...) along with a few pix of Sleetmute!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lucia's purple flower surprise

ok, 3 days later and things are looking distinctively greener for Lucia...from a distance, Lucia wears a coat of green fuzz, and up close...

...whammo! green tufts, and much to our surprise, purple flowers! who knew?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lucia in double-time

some of you might remember this lovely lady...if you were hanging with me last June, you remember when she was transplanted in our yard as part of the toy forest. This is Lucia, named for a friend's child and she's a larch (the tree, not the child), an interesting little tree that sheds its needles every fall and then regrows them in the spring in little tufts. right now she's looking a little bare...

the springtime unfurling of leaves is a special obsession of mine, and the speed of springtime in fairbanks never ceases to amaze me. so here's my proof: watch this blog over the next few days and weeks to see Lucia's progress through spring in double-time. we are by now enjoying about 17 hours of daylight and all that sunshine makes our plants happily grow at unbelievable rates. we actually like to watch grass grow; in Fairbanks, it can be quite a show! blink your eyes, and you might miss the greening of Fairbanks.

Today is May 8 and the tiny beginnings of her needle tufts are started to peek out...