Monday, April 30, 2007
We've been out to Eagle Beach before and knew that you could walk on the other side of the river without having to ford the stream but we weren't quite sure how to get started. This week's bird walk was on the Boy Scout Trail down the southern side of Eagle River – it follows the Herbert River to where it joins the Eagle River. The trail was still snowy and punchy but you could tell that it was a nicely maintained trail with some chipped rock paving the way. It ran through a spruce and hemlock forest and was very beautiful. I'm not exactly sure where the boy scout camp is located – maybe there just camp out on the beach. I might need to have a boy scout tell me. Click here to look for Boy Scout Trail.
This week's birding group was a little smaller probably because the walking was a bit harder. In fact when we got out of the woods to the beach area we spotted another birding group on the other side of the river and some of the others we were with recognized some of them. There were some jokes going back and forth about adding them to our bird list for the day.
A large flock of Sandhill Cranes came through and apparently aren't often seen around here so we stopped for quite a while to watch them circle over and then land. We didn't bring out scope on this trip because we didn't know what the conditions were going to be but those who did have scopes were very generous in letting us look. So we watched the cranes for quite awhile. We had stopped at the edge of a large meadow and also spotted merlin, northern harrior and a Kestrel. At one point a Merlin and a Kestrel were sitting together on the same tree top just waiting for someone to catch them on film. It was a unique opportunity. The Merlin and Kestrel were trying to flush out the Savannah Sparrows and swooped by us several times. And then we were blessed with a flock of Mountain Bluebirds – maybe about 22-22 of them flew through! It was an incredible blue streak flash from one side of the meadow to the other.
In the top picture at one point there were five of them perched on the dead snag with one on the top making it look like a Bluebird Totem Pole!
This one took advantage of an empty tripod for a roosting spot.
After a few minutes a flock of Robins came by with bright red breasts. Mixed in with the Robin we saw a Red-Winged Blackbird. And then the Pipits came through with a Lapland Longspur hanging out them. Whew!
We walked farther out to the beach and saw a bunch of sea ducks but they were pretty far out and it was hard for us to identify them so we wandered back to the meadow to catch more songbird and raptor activity.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
The scoter's are starting to join together in large rafts and their numbers have really been increasing. In this group there are probably 2-300 with a mixture of White-Winged Scoters and Surf Scoters. At one point last night a single female was surrounded by 15 males all vying for her attention. I felt kinda sorry for her at first but then I noticed that she was playing it up so my sympathy disappeared.
The Juneau Audubon has started their Spring Migration Saturday morning hikes. We thought this would be a good way to be introduced to some new hiking spots plus get the advantage of some locals who know when and where you might see different birds.
Last week we met at the Airport Dike Road (click to see location - look for Mendenhall Wetlands marker) and walked along the pathway and through the wetlands area. We saw quite a few birds. Our guide was Steve Zimmerman (tan coat) and he really knew his birds. We all introduced ourselves and Tim and I were just about the only ones who weren't professional biologists, naturalists, or involved in other science-related professions, retired or otherwise.
This picture is along the Mendenhall river – you can see the glacier in the background. I also tried very slyly to get a group shot of most of the guys. There were many younger guys on the walk and any encouragement I can do to get my young nieces to come to visit is always worthy of a picture. I'm thinking there was some good lumberjack material here!
A new bird for us was the Eurasian Wigeon.
Later than evening we were deciding where to go for a Sunday walk by reading the American Bird Association's Guide to Alaska. The ABA puts out these great guides by state or locale that gives really good details about where to see birds. Its like the milepost of birding. I can't tell you how many times in our travels I've been reading along and where it say's, "This is a good place to see Phainopepla" or "The Plain Chachalaca can often be seen feeding in the ground cover at space 28A in the campground" when we've spotted the target. Its almost like being at the zoo! Anyway my point is that I realized that the Juneau section had been written and complied by…Steve Zimmerman, our guide for the day. Now that's impressive!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
1 yd nylon tulle cut into strips *see note
size 13 needles or size needed for gauge (I used size 11 because I wanted the stitches to be pretty tight)
Gauge: 12 stitches - 4 inches
Cast on 7 stitches
Row 1: *K1, p1; rep from * twice; K1.
Row 2: *P1, k1; rep from * twice; p1.
Rep rows 1 and 2 until you have 1 yard of tulle remaining ; thread tulle end through needle. Starting with Row 1, roll up knitted strip. With needle, take sts through ends and sides to hold in place.
This isn't exactly what I did. I knitted up all the yardage and then rolled it up like an ace bandage. If any of the tulle stuck out I just trimmed it off. Before I rolled it up I made an I-cord out of cotton yarn and attached it to the cast-on edge in the middle of the row. After it was all rolled up I used thread to run from the center to the edges to hold the layers together.
To make an I-cord: use two #2 dbl pointed needles. Cast on 3 stitches. Knit each stitch - do not turn but rather slip these stitches back to the other end of the needle. You will be taking the yarn from behind the stitches. Knit these three stitches again. Repeat the process until you get the cord length you want. This was my first I-cord which I'm happy to know how to make. Although it takes longer to knit this then it would to crochet a chain this is much nicer looking and a lot stronger.
*note: to cut the tulle from a flat piece of fabric without having to sew the strips together here's the trick. You want to make 3" strips.
Lay the fabric flat, folded lengthwise with the selvages together and the fold toward you. Cut through the fold toward the selvages, stopping at 3" from the selvage end.
Now unfold the fabric and starting at one end cut through every other selvage end forming a long strip. Its helpful to roll the strip up as you are cutting it. You might also want to trim the corners and make them round or they might stick out as you are knitting.
So some of you might be thinking - why spend all this time on an item that you could probably purchase in the store for a couple of dollars. Well I'm not even going to tell you because I'll just be wasting my breath and you'll just never get it!
Monday, April 23, 2007
At one point they had the mysterious item off the bottom and decided to add another line. One of the boats had a couple of divers on it and they got in the winter and disappeared for awhile.
and its a…front end loader. We really thought it would be a pleasure boat that had missed the boat launch or wrecked on the beach.
You can see the divers and their boat and Tim's thinking - get out of there fast! The cab was full of water and it must weight a ton!
they got it clear of the water and it looked like they were going to walk the crane towards shore. It was starting to swigging around. The one guy on the barge who seemed to be in charge of the operation didn't have a hard hat or life vest and had been hanging over the side this whole time. He began attaching another line to the bucket when…
**errragh ** snap ** kabosh
and now she's gone
as the realization of what just happened sank in and the steel cables were swinging back and worth… then he ran away.
I missed the big splash - we realized that we had been sitting there for an hour. We actually started eating our lunch while we waited. I can't image how all the guys felt. There were going to have to start all over again and probably use the backup cables and belts.
I wanted to make a felted bowl and I couldn't find a pattern I liked right away so I tried to make it up myself. It didn't work out very well at all and I ended up with a hot pad.
I found this pattern and followed it pretty close except I started at the bottom (with the 8 stitches) and worked it up backwards because I wanted to use all of the skein of yarn I purchased to make the bowl as big as possible. I think I increase 1 more time than called for in the pattern to make a little larger bowl in diameter. I wasn't sure I liked the curled up edge but decided to see what happened.
I felted it and it was bigger than I had planned on. I put a small saucepan inside it to help shape it. Tim's mom mentioned that it didn't look as felted as the rug I had done and after thinking about it I remember that I didn't think the water was very hot when I was checking its size. I must have put it on the wrong setting. I made spaghetti sauce* with the can of tomato sauce I used in the above picture but I thought this jar of peanut butter was about the same circumference to use as a size comparison.
So I decided to throw it in the washer again and pay closer attention to the temperature of the water. I let it got for maybe 20 more minutes and was much happier with the result. Shari and I had been talking about colors and texture and I had mentioned that the bowl looked a little boring and she suggested beads. So I added these beads around the edge.
I think it turned out pretty well and I'm glad I took the time to refelt it.
* Mrs Conway's Red Clam Spaghetti Sauce
I wrote down this recipe when I was in about the 7th grade and knew very little about cooking. I've made some adjustments which will be listed after the recipe but I thought I'd give it to you in its originial form.
Heat in iron skillet 1 1/2 c olive oil and 2 c butter. Add 5 finely chopped garlic cloves and saute until golden. Add 2 c chopped parsley, 2 t sweet basil, 1 t oregano, 3-5 crushed red peppers and saute. Add 5 T parmesian cheese. When cheese melts add 5 small cans baby clams along with the juice, 4 cans tomato sauce and cook over low heat until sauce clings to end. (30-45 minutes)
I usually make half a recipe and only make it with clams (I usually strain off the clam juice) when Tim's out of town. I don't use the butter and use only 2-3 T of the olive oil. I add chopped onion (maybe 1/2 of an medium-sized onion) and saute the onion before adding the garlic. The last time I made it I had a couple links of italian turkey sausage that I browned up (yum) and added about a cup of chopped mushrooms.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
We made some Spicy Cuban Marinade from meals.com but with the addition of 1/4 c orange juice and marinate a flank steak overnight. This was grilled on the bar-b-que. The rest of the recipes came from 3 Guys from Miami: Cuban Food with Attitude! that I downloaded a couple of years ago. I'm not sure its still available but they have a couple other collection of recipes that might have what you're looking for. To go along with the Cuban Steak we made the ever popular (and garlic powerful) Chimichurri Sauce:
1 large bunch cilantro (break off very end of stems but I use leaves and most of the stems)
6 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup vinegar or lime juice (I use about half of each)
2/3 c olive oil (I use about 1/3 c)
1/2 c minced onion (coarsely chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
I throw all of this in the blender and blend until mixed through. Si Senor!
Along side we had some black beans flavored with cumin seed, garlic, onions, chili powder and brown rice. We also had some Tostones which are fried green plantains.
Brown 1 green plantain, peeled and cut into 1-inches slices, in oil until golden brown approximately 5 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Use a plantain press (are you kidding) or a coffee mug to smash the plantain to about half their thickness. The recipe calls for you to saute again but we don't do this. I dipped the smashed pieces in egg white and then in some panko breadcrumbs mixed with a little black pepper then baked them in a greased pan at 400° for about 20 minutes or until they started to brown. These are good dipped in the chimichurri sauce too. I had some sweet onion left over so we made up some onion rings to bake along with the tostones.
After all this food we sat around and watched the sun shimmer off the water, inhaled the scent from a coconut candle and it felt just like we were on the island – hey wait – we are–we're on DOUGLAS Island!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I've heard that the spring kings should be making their way very, very soon. If we have time we might need to get a line wet this weekend!
Suzanne's Alaskan Salmon Marinade
* 6 oz. Alaskan Amber beer
* 1/2 cup orange marmalade
* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 2 lbs. salmon fillets or steaks
Blend together first 7 ingredients. Place salmon in shallow baking dish and pour marinade over. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Remove from marinade and transfer salmon to sheet of heavy-duty foil cut about 2 inches larger than fish all around; bend edges up to make lip around fish. Cook salmon on hot grill, but not directly over a heat source (coals or gas). Cover grill and open vents. Cook about 20 - 30 minutes until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Serves 6 to 8.
Monday, April 16, 2007
The state has come up with four designs for its commemorative quarter that will join the other 49 state quarters that have been in circulation for the last 8 years. To get a closer look, check them out at the state web site. They are taking public comments and Gov Palin will make the final decision. I'm really glad that she'll be making the decision instead of our previous Governor.
So lets see, our choices are:
- an image of a potential endangered species due to shrinking habitant due to global warming that our government claims doesn't exist
- an image honoring a sport that some say is cruel to animals and a mountain that got named for some guy in Ohio who never even visited Alaska
- how many alaska residents have really seen a brown bear outside of Denali National Park? (My attitude might change here in another couple of weeks, now living among the bears in southeast Alaska.)
- an image of a guy panning for a mineral that's now being extracted from the earth by digging huge pits, contaminating our water sources and leaving disturbed rock and rubble
Sunday, April 15, 2007
We have enough room in our garage to setup a collection area so it isn't in the house and we can take it every 3-4 weeks. They don't have curbside pickup yet but I bet they are working on it!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
We had a nice calm day - overcast but no precipitation. Its in the high 40s so it was cool on the outside deck when the boat was running but it was very pleasant when we were running slow to look at birds or other sea mammals. We heard the cruise was sold out so we were pretty sure it was going to be crowded but it really didn't feel that way. We had nice comfy seats on the top deck and could walk outside when we wanted to.
We saw a lot of the same birds that we've been seeing from the house deck but it was really nice getting out on the water and getting a better picture of what the area is like. On the way up we cruised by several rocky islands and saw a bunch of eagles. We also went by a rookery where we saw maybe 300 Stellar's Sea Lions. I completely forgot to get any pictures – sry – there were all sizes of sea lions from very large 1000-lbers to last year's pup weighing in at 100 (?) lbs.
We made it up to Berner's Bay in a couple of hours. I think they were hoping the hooligan would be starting to run which will draw the sea birds into the bay. I've heard that all the runs are a couple weeks behind schedule and it was obviously too early. We saw a couple in their kayak - they must have camped overnight somewhere. The guy in the back of the 2-person kayak wasn't wearing any gloves – I can't image how cold his hands were.
This is us leaving Berner's Bay
Birds we saw: Belted Kingfisher, Bald Eagle, Cormorant, White-Winged Scoter, Bonapartes Gull, Great Blue Heron, Herring Gull, Surf Scoter, American Oystercatcher, Harlequin Duck, Pigeon Guillemot, Barrows Goldeneye, Scaup, Marbled Murrelets, Common Merganser, Glaucious-Winged Gull, Mew Gull. The birds listed above that don't have links tied to them can be found under our birds from the deck links over on the right-hand sidebar.
We also saw a lot of this:
The Humpback whales are migrating back from their winter of frolicking in the warmer Maui waters and we saw a couple different groups. Most of my pictures came out like this one:
I was lucky for this final shot as the whale sounded for deeper water.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I know a lot of people have gotten into the scrapbooking routine. Here's an online version that might be fun to try out. http://www.scrapblog.com/ you can even add audio and video. Publish to a blog with a unique URL, DVD or a printed photobook. Seems like a really good way to put together a portofolio for a school project or even for a resume.
Google Map goes Hiking
Google is teaming up with and outdoors entity to provide marked hiking trails on their google maps. You can view trails that have been marked and even send the GPS coordinates to your GPS-enabled phone. Tim needs a new phone so we might have to further investigate this option.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
We had a nice visit with Tim's folks, Lois and BG Olson. Here they are posed with our buddy Cappy. After about a week of calm, the wind picked up on this afternoon and brought a cool chill to the air so we didn't linger very long on the deck. We had a nice visit and now they are safely home again. Maybe next time they visit they will take the ferry over to add to the adventure!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The Island Pub is close to our house but we had only been there to have a drink or listen to music… until today.
Lois, B.G. and Tim went to the Pub for lunch. Being the first ones in the door at 11:30 ensured a choice of seating. They took the corner table by the windows and looked over the menu of pizzas, salad and sandwiches as well as the feeding eagles and the creek running nearby.
The Island Pub is famous for it’s pizza menu. But, the luncheonaires decided to go the “Sammie” route instead of pizza.
Lois ordered the Island Blue salad. It was a green salad that included apples and candied walnuts in mixed greens with a vinaigrette with blue cheese crumbles. She thought the presentation was very professional and it was good. She also thought it was reasonably priced.
B.G. had the steak sandwich served on a home-made foccaccia roll with a blue cheese dressing. His steak was cooked to order and came in large pieces, sometimes hard to cut and eat on the sandwich. He thought it tasted very good and was done just the way he liked it.
Tim ordered the Italian BLT which also was served on the home-made foccaccia and included bacon, tomato, lettuce, fresh mozzarella, with a pesto/mayo sauce. Both of the men had a orso Italian salad on the side. It is their standard side dish with their sandwiches and included orso, slivered romaine and basil with a light vinegar dressing. It was fairly heavy with raw red onion which tasted good but could be a problem for the discerning business diner.
Lois and Tim helped B.G. finish the steak sandwich and no leftovers were packed to take home to Heidi because nothing was left over. But, everyone was full and felt the food was very well prepared and enjoyable. The owner waited on us and confirmed that it, in fact, HAD been “Mike’s Place” fifty years ago when Lois and B.G. were last there. The only disappointment was when Lois found out that they weren’t still serving the famous “Mikes” blue cheese salad dressing but the owner remembered the dressing from when he was a kid and knew what she was talking about. He claims to “own” the recipe from when he bought the restaurant site from the original owner, Rudy. We’ll go back and see if he brings back the salad dressing. It just may put the Island Pub on the map.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Tim's folks are in town and we decided to try out the Douglas Cafe which is just up the street from the house. We've been told that they had the best burgers in town. It been torture to walk past the place on the way to the library, post office, or newspaper stand during the lunch or dinner hour. The fan over the grill works really well and the mouthwater smell of burning grease wofts through the air.
Tim's mom ordered a cheese burger and onion rings. She thought the meat was a big dry. Tim also ordered a cheese burger with swiss cheese - he liked the idea of the burger being well down and gooped on lots of mustard. I had a patty melt and would have liked a few more grilled onions on it. Tims's dad had a cajun chicken sandwich with onion rings and thought it was pretty good, "Best onions rings" he's had in a while. You could have fries, onion rings, salad, or soup. They had black bean chili or the daily special, spicy sausage soup.
The breakfast menu looked pretty good and they also had several interesting sandwiches and salad combinations. They had about a dozen different burger choices. I think its a keeper and I validate their "Best Burgers."
Monday, April 9, 2007
InDesign Typography Tips and Tricks - For Graphic Designers – I just love training seminars by David Blatner – he's so practical and I've gotten so many tricks and suggestions for a working style from him. He talks about applying styles, nested styles, setting kerning on text that uses multiple fonts, finding fonts that appear in documents, importing files from MS word, and other workflow tricks.
Did you get rid of your old record player but keep your LPs? How about trying this USB turntable that connects to your computer. You can capture the records as MP3s. Found this on ThinkGeek while looking for a bluetooth headset!
I haven't ordered from them yet but it seems like this is a pretty good place to get small quantity of personalized items. The Clothing Lab. I've got an order in for some tote bags for a training session we're doing in May. I only need 12 of them. I'm getting them for $13.99 with our logo embroidered for free. I thought that was pretty good.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
Friday, April 6, 2007
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Hey, what'cha' doing?
This is one of two sea lions who watched us walking on the beach at this wayside. He (or she) seemed pretty curious. Tim has a sea lion call that seems to interest them. Its sounds very similar to his moose call.
These next two are looking out at the Chilkat Mountains. Just beyond the mountains is where glacier bay is located. Everything seems a lot closer together than I thought although I've only been looking at the maps. I'm really anxious to get out into it.
We were out just as the tide was turning and it amazes me how quick the tide moves. It's all new to me and I'm fascinated how much it can change in minutes. I've really only been around the ocean in the tropics where there isn't that much different in low and high tides. Its something I've never thought about when planning a hiking trip and I now realize how important it is to keep track of.
This is where the river meets the ocean. We're thinking this will be a pretty good place for salmon and there's lots of room for fly fishing so we'll keep this area in mind for later in the summer. Word is the fish might be a couple weeks later than usually because of the temperatures. So we'll keep you posted!
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
We had one of Tim's co-worker's, Terry, over for dinner this weekend and Tim made squash soup. This is one of my favorites.
squash, cut into small cubes (we used butternut squash that was slightly bigger than a softball)
1/2 onion onion, , chopped
couple cloves garlic, minced
red pepper, 6 or 8 flakes
black pepper, a couple grinds
yellow curry (maybe a teaspoon, more if you like it spicy)
cayene pepper, a shake
4 cups of chicken broth
Simmer above ingredients until tender (maybe an hour). Cool slightly before blending mixture in blender until silky smooth.
Make a thin white sauce (1 T butter, 1 T flour, 1 cup of milk or half and half) and add squash mixture. Simmer until thickened. We like to make it a day ahead so that the spices have time to blend with the liquid and sometimes add more curry or cayene pepper to spice it up! As it sits it starts to gather some heat - YUM!
You could use this recipe for any type of creamy vegetable soup substituting the vegetables and spices to taste.
Monday, April 2, 2007
We also saw an interesting behavior involving a large flock of eagles. I looked out the window and saw a dozen Bald Eagles soaring in the sky. Upon closer viewing we spotted at least two Golden Eagles mixed in with the 18 or so Bald Eagles. They didn't seem to be aggressive and seemed to be riding the air currents. Except for the the three eagles that live in the tree behind the house, they all made their way up the channel towards town. I haven't been able to find a good Juneau birding resource like the Alaska Bird Observatory in Fairbanks but I'm sure there is one. I might have to call our friend Ron who has the gyrfalcon and peregrine falcon and see what he thinks. Since it is spring I'm curious to find if this is a migration route for eagles.