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Friday, April 17, 2015

Stuey's Pics

Landscape taken on 'diorama ' setting

I recently downloaded the pictures from Stuey's point-and-shoot camera.  I was impressed.  He does seem to like all the various gimmicky settings (and this is why you should ALWAYS check the settings when you use Stuey's camera), but his sense of composition is good.  It is clear that he tries to compose the shot. Here are a few for your enjoyment.  Patrick

The 'reflection' setting is Stuey's favorite - literally hours and hours of entertainment with HUGE hoots of laughter

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rest in Peace Jake

Yesterday we said goodbye to a noble member of our family~Jake. 10 years ago when I set eyes on Jake at the animal shelter, I saw he had such a sweet soul. His brown eyes looked up at me and we took him home shortly after. 

He has been  with us through kids, good times, hard times. He had such a solid amazing spirit and would especially follow Patrick around. 

 We knew his days and weeks were numbered and were hoping to get a strong sense of when to put him down. 2 days ago, that day came. 

He suffered 3 sudden grand mal seizures in a matter of 3 hours. Patrick and I looked at one another and knew this was Jakes body's way of saying he was done.  I know how with seizures the brain suffers so and I didn't want to lose Jakes spirit to more and more seizures. 

I didn't know how our day of saying good bye will look like. With Jake, I decided at the last minute to be with him while the vet put him down. It was so seamless…one moment he was there with us and the next 30 seconds he was gone. It was a beautiful way for him to go…with Patrick and I right there.

The vet gave us Jake wrapped in two blankets. Two vet assistants brought him out the back door on a doggie stretcher and we put him in the back of our car. Patrick was insistent on digging his grave as soon as we got home and boy did he do it fast. I sat on the tail gait and petted jakes little face as Patrick dug and dug and dug.

Our neighbors, Bethany and Winston,  helped at the end of the digging and together Winston and I lowered Jake down into the grave. We buried him with the ashes of Roxy dog and his ceramic food dish full of water.

I stood atop the grave and looked down in. There were words knit into the blanket which I hadn't noticed until right then.
 A psalm of David:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

Rest in Peace, Jake dog. You will always be with me. Always. And you are here with us on Cliffside drive forever. And we hope Roxy dog is showing you all around heaven. 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

First Firepit and then SNOW

Requisite April photo of crocuses in the snow - except that this year it was difficult to find crocuses still blooming

On Sunday it was sunny and springlike and then on Monday it snowed.  And today it snowed some more.  I'm loving it!

We're finally getting some snow on the mountains.  Despite the warm non-winter, I'm actually hopeful that our cool spring weather will stick around.  The last 2 winters have both been warm and then both have had long, lingering springs.  I'm hoping that that is what will happen again this year.  It may be the new normal.  Patrick

View of town on my way to work yesterday

South Bowl tracks on Saturday

My tracks in the North Bowl yesterday - and after the snowfall today there should be almost a foot more new stuff

Philip and Adelia climbing out of the North Bowl Sunday afternoon

First Firepit

Sunday morning was gorgeous on our deck - so nice that we lit the firepit and cooked hotdogs for brunch.  The first true firepit meal of the year (it only counts as a 'true' firepit if you cook AND eat outside).  I generally don't like warmer weather and summer, but I'll admit that firepits are a warm weather perk.

The kids cooked hotdogs and then marshmallows.  Jake dog enjoyed the sunshine outside and our company.  Patrick

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Center Mountain

Mike M.  atop Center Mt. in July 2009 

I"m planning a solo trek to Center Mountain this spring…a 3,300 ft peak here on Kodiak that I've never been to. Once the midnight sun of June arrives, Tank dog and I will head up on our own with an uber warm sleeping bag, a solid tent, some food (and dogfood) and a big sense of excitement.

Since  coming back to Kodiak after college 16 years ago, I've yet to go to Center Mountain.
You can see it from Kodiak city, and it is covered in snow most of the year. Many of my friends have been to it and from the top you can see all around the high peaks of Kodiak.

In preparation, several weekends ago I slept on the lawn in our 10 degree sleeping bag and was warm enough-YAY! Tank slept at my feet and he got an A+ for tent etiquette. He quietly slept at my feet without moving around much.  In the morning, when it was time for him to go to the bathroom, he ducked right out under the outside fly like a good game of dog limbo.

I have almost no fears about the trip. The biggest fear I did have was getting cold at night, but now that I've tested out my sleeping bag, that is no longer a fear. Some people ask "Aren't I afraid of bears? Or other people? Or ghosts?" No.  No fears there.

As the time nears, I'm sure I'll be nervous but that is to be expected. Its the nervousness before a big physical adventure-like before a race.

In the meantime, I dream of when the time will come for me to set off, up the tailhead at Kasheverof. With Tank at my side, off we will go….


July 2009…right after sunset with the lights of town on the left. 

Patrick in 2001 atop Center with town in the distance center! 

Lisa M enjoys the sunset and the view to the west - July 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Importance of a ski lift

The other day while climbing up Pyramid for my daily ski I pondered the importance of a ski lift.  When I am away from Kodiak, and tell people I try to ski everyday during winter they invariably ask about Kodiak's ski lift.  And when I tell them that Kodiak does not have a ski lift they ask how I get up the mountain.  The assumption is that without a lift it is impossible to downhill ski.

What's funny is that I doubt I would ski everyday if there was a lift. I don't climb the mountain to ski down.  I climb the mountain because I enjoy climbing and need the exercise.  I do some of my best thinking while climbing up the mountain and look forward to that and NOT the ski down.

And when I do go to a ski area with a lift I generally get bored after just a few runs.  At the Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood I struggle to ski more than a couple hours!

On Pyramid most of the days I go skiing the downhill portion is awful.  Ice underfoot, or blowing snow and rain in the eyes - not good ski conditions.  But I go up anyway because I need the exercise and 'thinking' time.  A ski lift would just ruin the experience!  Patrick

Mike and Gregg climbing Pyramid in snowier days - Easter 2006

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

On the Beach with Jake

Sunday morning I looked out the window and saw that the tide was way out.  I thought, 'What a great day for tidepooling'.  And so I took the kids and dogs down to the beach.  I had intended to leave Jake at home because he's not up for long walks anymore.  But Jake really wanted to go, and he looked so sad when I tried to get him back in the house that we just had to take him.  And so we packed him into the car with the other 2 dogs and headed off to the beach.

We ended looking for beach glass instead of tidepooling.  It might be one of Jake's last visits to the beach, and I figured we'd stick close to the car to make it easier for Jake.  Jake seemed to enjoy himself and, at one point, I looked back and saw him cruising the high tide line like the Jake dog of days long ago.  He found a stick he liked, trotted down the beach in a perky fashion and then lay down and commenced chewing on it.  Jake has always liked the beach.  Patrick

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Way Too Early

First salmonberry of the year
I took all these pictures yesterday on the third of April.  I believe the earliest I have ever seen a salmonberry blossom is in late April, and last year it was on the 4rth of May (click here for post).  So based on this it appears that this year's spring is a month earlier than I've ever seen it.  And yes it seems I'll be mowing the lawn within a week or so.  This is VERY scary.

It has been a year without winter here on Kodiak.  The lakes never froze and the garden never died.  The kale pictured below is from last year's garden, and I am a little curious about what will happen to it come June - will it immediately bolt or will it grow large leaves as if it was a newly planted kale?

I do know that slugs are already munching on my garlic.  The slugs will be a HUGE issue for gardeners this summer.  I wonder what other garden pests we'll have to start dealing with here on Kodiak if the winters continue to be so mild?


Garlic in the garden

Raspberries leafing out

Kale doing GREAT

Another salmonberry bud