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Thursday, November 30, 2006

From the Archives - Baffin Island 1993

This is the paw of the polar bear that partially destroyed my Moss tent and gave me cause for alarm. It actually did destroy several of our tents and another member of the crew and I were stuck in a tent holding the bear off with a can of pepper spray and jammed shotgun when another member of the team came to our rescue and shot the bear. The bear is larger than most Kodiak brown bears. (PGS)

From the Archives - Baffin Island 1993

Back in the day I used to spend every summer digging in outer Frobisher Bay. Sea ice, fog and constant damp with temperatures never getting above 40 degrees.

Here I am holding up a walrus skull that was laying around on the surface of an old village site. These sites were litterred with walrus skulls - the walrus haul up on the ice flows just offshore. Once we watched a polar bear and cub eat a walrus on such a flow way offshore. (PGS)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Winter Sunrise

It's definetly winter time here on Kodiak. Garden is totally dead with the onions and carrots frozen solid and unaccessible. Some of the collard greens still look edible, maybe I'll try them in a ramen stir fry. Zoya is a little scared of them however.

The last couple of days have been warmer with mixed rain and snow in town. We should now have a good base on the mountains for downhill skiing. About a foot of snow on the golf course for cross country skiing.

This is a picture taken at the ski chalet on Sunday looking back towards Pyramid and Barometer mountains. Unfortunetly we did not take our skiis on the expedition and spent the next 5 hours postholing. (PGS)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Patrick Preparing the Gravy

The drippings of the turkey soak up the flour as Patrick soaks up attention from the ladies watching him! (ZAS)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Turkey Day at 4002 Cliffside Road

This year thanksgiving was quite an event at 4002 Cliffside Road. We had 11 guests over to help us eat 2 turkeys.

Here Mike and Patrick remove the turkey from the oven. Mike had a very scientific thermometer that allowed us to check the temperature of the bird without opening the oven door. Mike's turkeys ended up perfect! And Patrick made the gravy with the drippings. (PGS)

Mmmm Turkey!

Fisher is certainly enjoying his turkey. In the background his mom, Melissa, enjoys her meal in a bit more civilized fashion.

The meal consisted of 2 wonderfully moist, brined turkeys (brought by Mike P. and Roxann), mashed potatoes and stuffing (startch patrol by Patrick and myself), A berry squash dish and Cranberry relish (by Mike L. and Alisa), sweet potato dish (by Katie St. John) finished off by delicious pies-apple, cherry and pumpkin (made by Patty M.). Mary Jane and Melissa kept the party well hydrated (or dehydrated, rather???) with drinks. :)

Natalie & Katie

Katie shows off a well-dressed Natalie. We like the tiny shoes. Natalie is four months old.

Fisher, Nora & Patrick

Fisher, Nora and Patrick relaxing after the big feed. Nora is wearing her new holiday sweater dress. Note that with Fisher about, Nora is trying to impress by shunning the binky. (PGS)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sausage Kodiak Style

We got the mountain goat for sausage last weekend. A HUGE improvement over last year when I spent multiple weekends chasing goats before finally bringing home the meat. Zoya and Nora were quite excited. Zoya actually had the gall to wish me 'have fun goat viewing' the morning we headed out. She was quite skeptical about our chances of bringing home the bacon.

Here we are cutting up the goat. Zoya was at work - so I watched Nora and cut goat at the same time. This way Nora will learn to be a hunter. Nora was fascinated and there was not a peep out of her the whole time. We freeze the meat and then partially thaw it before grinding it up (we'll do this next week). Partially thawed meat cuts cleaner in the grinder. We always like to add a pork shoulder for flavor. Our goat sausage is the best there is - absolutely amazing on pizza! (PGS)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

From the Archives 1985-ELLA OR ZOYA??

Take your guess and test out the "comments" feature on our blog. The answer will be revealed in a day or two. Ella, you can sit this one out....:)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Summertime Flashback

With digital cameras and instant gratification we forget how it used to be back in the days of film. I finally got back all the slides I took this summer. I quite enjoying revisiting summer. Slide film is so much more colorful! Also the delay in looking at the pictures allows one to savor them a bit more. Something to look forward to. But digital is just too conveniant. Nothing like looking at the picture you just took.

This is a picture of Nora on my mom's lawn in Rockport. Zoya and I were in Maine for Dicky and Ella's wedding. Nora was a lot more chubby back then.

Community Archaeology

Hard to believe how green it was in August. For me, the community archaeology dig is always the most hectic time of the year. Every day I have to make sure everything runs smoothly. We took this photo after the final day of backfilling the site back up with all the dirt we had excavated. Needless to say, but very few people showed up for the hard work - Just the hard core crew. We moved a huge pile of dirt!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Babycakes, Banana and Zoya

Bananas are amongst Nora's favorite foods....others include cheese sticks, canned deer meat, and Annies "Cheddar Bunnies". We even developed a sign language sign for them.

I was in trouble today when I went to the store and put a box of Cheddar Bunnies in my cart. Nora started sqealing, wanting one (it was her snack time) so I had to be "one of those moms" who fed her child in the grocery store. Sigh.

On Nora....(Some Thoughts on Motherhood by Zoya)

Nora is becoming her own little person. Walking is becoming easier and easier, and she takes up to 15 steps or so now. She'll go for longer distances if she is going to mom or dads arms! Her favorite pasttime lately is to cruise around the house with a little walker that she has and put little objects in the front section. She'll go to various rooms, pick things up off the floor and take them with her.

She also LOVES watching Patrick toss the balls outside for the dogs. That gets SQUEALS of delight. Especially when they jump up high to retrieve the ball and rough house with eachother.

I'm enjoying every one-on-one moment with Nora, my "babycakes", because soon there will be a new little one in our family. When Nora puts her arms around my neck in a tight hug, it makes my heart melt. Feel the love..... :) (Zoya)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

From the Archives - Uganik Passage Early 1980s

Zoya & Ella on the Anna D in the early 1980s. During the summer Zoya and Ella's dad Dave 'tendered' (picked up fish) for the setnetters (setnetters use fix nets from shore to catch fish) on Kodiak's west coast. They would motor from fish camp to fish camp picking up everybody's fish and then take them into town for processing. What a way to spend the summer cruising about the archipelago!

In 2004 I ran an archaeological excavation at a setnet site on Uganik Island and achieved instant 'cred' with the local setnetters when I mentioned that my wife is Zoya, Dave Herrnsteen's daughter. Everybody remembered the 'twins' and Dave visiting their sites and all had lots of stories to tell. (PGS)

From the Archives - Karluk 1985

My first ride! Back in those days 3 wheelers were the norm in the villages. But they had issues with rolling over and injuring people. These days everybody rides on HUGE quads or rips about on little 4 wheeled screamers built for speed and maximum damage to the trails and wetlands. My summer in Karluk in 1985 was my first in Alaska. I was a part of a Bryn Mawr College archaeological team excavating the Karluk One site. (PGS)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Weekend Goat Hunt

Ski season has begun - but hunting season 'aint quite over yet. Still time to try and get a mountain goat with a bow and arrow. Mountain goats make the best italian sausage.

Today I went up with my friend John Barklow today to try and get a goat. We failed, but did have a lot of excitement trying! You have to get within 30 yards of the goat to have a decent shot with a bow. And they like to hang out on cliffs.

Here John walks over the top of a small knoll before stalking down the ridge after a couple of billies (male goats) we'd seen. Billies have thick horn bases that are wider than their eyes while nannies (females) have horns that curve back over their head and are much thinner. (PGS)

Patrick in his "goat camo"

Here I am in my goat hunting suit. It's pretty amazing how one simply disappears in the snow after donning an old painter's suit. I could barely see John against the white background as he crept about the slope. We'd drop the packs and zip up tight and simply disappear. I felt like a Russian freedom freedom fighter on skiis in one of those old WWII documentories about the 'winter war'. Note the tele ski boots on my feet. I decided not to wear my usual extra tuff boots because my crampons do not fit on them. (PGS)

Putting on the crampons

John Barklow ties on his crampons prior to going down the cliff after a mountain goat. Crampons are needed when you have to negotiate steep ice. The slope (looked like a cliff) where the goats where hanging out was very steep - over 50 degrees. You know it's serious when you have to put on crampons!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ski Season!

It's ski season! All the lakes have been frozen for about a week, but now we got the necessary snow for skiing on them. Patty Mahoney took this picture of me yesterday skate skiing on Potato Patch lake behind their house. The storm rolled off into the Gulf during the night and today is bright and sunny, if a little bit too warm (mid 30's). Today I think I'll try the skiing out at lake Caroline and Aurel in Bell's Flats.

Winter's Arrival

Yesterday winter arrived with a blast - 30 mph winds and snow. I think the garden may be fnished! But I don't mind. Winter always seems to take forever to arrive. Now instead of hunting trip pictures it will be lots of ski pictures.

This view of our house is from near the cliff looking towards the Field's house. A good one to compare to the archive photos on the blog below.

Friday, November 10, 2006

From the Archives - 4002 Cliffside 1971

This view of our house is from the cliff looking towards the living room. Today there is a kitchen added to the right and our new addition is to the left, and we now have a huge picture window (also the trees in the background have been largely replaced by the Field's house). Last year Louise Jackson, the lady who built the house and who moved to the lower 48 in the 1980s, inquired what the house looked like today. So we sent her some pictures. Louise headed up the Kodiak Garden Club and the house was surrounded by gardens. But her biggest concern was that we had torn down the chimney and the mantle piece her husband had built. She was very reassured that we had not done so - and sent us a bunch of photos of her own (that we are sharing with you). Zoya and I looked closely at the mantle and found her husband's signature and the date he built the chimney! Needless to say, but now the chimney is never coming down. And our house has a history we know - very reassuring.

From the Archives - 4002 Cliffside 1971

This view is of the end of the house where we added the addition last year. The net with corks that you can see along the top of the cliff actually lasted until 2003 when we replaced it for safety concerns (my mom said it had to go before the wedding). We replaced it with another net and new corks! (PGS)

From the Archives - 4002 Cliffside 1971

Hard to believe but this is what our house looked like in 1971. This view is of what was the front door, standing near the cliff looking towards the driveway. Last year we added the addition to this end of the house. I always thought the raised area on the lawn was an old septic or garden plot. I only realized it was the parking area after seeing this photo. Our house was the first in the area. Now we are surrounded by neighbors and a lot less trees.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Zoya & MaryJane

Last Sunday we all went for a walk at Fort Abercrombie Park with the dogs. We are very lucky to have such a great place to hike within walking distance of the house. Since this picture was taken it has snowed. We now have about an inch or so on the ground. I even went for a cross country ski on top of a small pond in the park, I did 20 laps in 22 minutes - definetly 'desperation skiing', good thing more snow is in the forecast! (PGS)

Nora & MaryJane

It has been a while, and it is time to post some new pictures of Nora. She is still not walking (barely), but is extremely mobile. She has even figured out how to open the front door to the house and we worry that she may make her way to the Mecca on her own. Generally she seems to just enjoy rolling about the house pushing her stroller for balance. She even takes a few steps on her own. (PGS)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Winter is coming!

These days it seems that every night we get a hard frost. Nonetheless the Garden is still kicking, and producing. The frost actually makes the swiss chard and collard greens taste better. We also still have onions, carrots and brocoli. I ripped out the last of the romaine last Friday, but not because it was dead. It finally just got too bitter to use in salads.

I can't wait for winter! I think we already may have ice skating out on the small ponds in Bells Flats. (PGS)

Last Gasp of Summer

Not all of my garden is dying. This snowpea got a late start (it was only a foot high at the end of August) and still seems determined to reproduce. All the other snowpeas that produced pods have died already, but not this one! (PGS)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sheratin Bay at Dawn

Len and I camped in the trees on Friday night and hiked up to the snowline at dawn. We were treated to a spectacular sunrise. Our boat is anchored in the bay in the foreground and Whale Island and Afognak are in the distance. (PGS)

Yogi on the prowl

Here are some tracks Len and I found while hunting. These are the tracks of a small bear. Probably a three year old who just got abandonned by his/her mother. These bears are often the most dangerous because they have not yet learned bear etiquette - and do not know about avoiding humans. PGS

Elbow Creek Flats

This weekend my neighbor Len Schwarz and I went camping in Sheratin Bay. After a chilly night camping (friday night) we hunted all day yesterday. This is the view of the tide flats as we walked back to the boat. The coldest part was the 1 1/2 hour cruise back to Anton Larson Bay - needless to say, the seagull 3 horse engine does not push the dory up onto a plane! (PGS)

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Few More Halloween Photos...

Ray Robinson and Julie Prigge dressed up for their Halloween party in Anchorage. Julie is sporting quite the beautiful pineapple belly! Ray and Julie live in Seward together and Julie is due in a week.

Julie Prigge's Pregnant Pineapple Belly! 37 weeks pregnant and Ray had a chance to show his artistic abilities with the pineapple.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Newest member of the Pack!!!!

We took the plunge and got another dog!! Jake is a 4 year old black lab who had been through 2 families and was at the local dog shelter. No, we're not crazy. :) Roxy is in HEAVEN. :) And Patrick has always wanted 2 dogs romping around the house. Its kinda fun!! Nora laughs at them as they play together.

Jake has a very sweet disposition and seems quite secure with himself. He even made himself at home on the bed last night (right next to me!!!). I think he must have been used to sleeping on the bed at one of his prior homes.

It feels like such a good fit....and having another dog around makes Roxy less "needy". She has someone to hang out with and pay attention to her. (Zoya)