Thursday, August 30, 2007

What's in the shadows

My sister got me started on this when she sent the first puppet movie over the weekend and I started looking to see what else is out there! Here's some shadow-hand puppets ready to entertain you:

Images set to "Its a Wonderful World"

Here's an extensive shadow puppet piece which looks like it involved multiple people:

And more advertising:

This one is from an Austin Power movie and like his movies, may not be quite tasteful for all audiences:

And if you want to learn how to create shadow images here are some nice illustrations:

Got this by email


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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Harvest Fair

If you've been here recently you have to admit that there are a lot of beautiful flowers in people's gardens. Some of the landscaping is really breathtaking. You do see a few vegetable gardens around too but rarely do you see a greenhouse. There is a community garden area and they were celebrating their fall harvest this last weekend. Our friend J has a sister, Pat, who lives down here and invited us to check out the festivities.

I was really looking forward to the farmer's market part and was hoping for some vine ripened tomatoes. We didn't get to the fair until near the end of the day so there wasn't much left - a zucchini and some herbs…that's about it. We did look at some displays and they had a little veggie competition going and were about to announce the winners. We saw few carrots, broccoli, and some unripe kiwi (which if there wasn't a sign up I would have thought they were small (1 1/2 inch green peppers)) but mostly there were herbs.

I guess that makes sense – this is kind of a herby place. Anyway we didn't get any veggies but it looked like everyone was having fun. They had some games for kids including the potato throw shown below. The little boy (maybe 3) keep moving around and I didn't get a good picture of him throwing the "potato" at the board. As you can see - he needs a little practice!

In closing, I think one of the highlights for this event actually took place a few days before it happened. After a radio interview on the public radio station the host played the Vegetable Song! No really - we heard it on the radio!!! If you're not familiar with this masterpiece then here's the some of the words:

It was late one nite by the pale moonlight
all the vegetables gave a spree;
they put out a sign that said the dancing's at nine
and all the admission was free,
there was peas and greens and cabbage and beans
it was the biggest crowd you ever did see;
and when ol' man cucumber struck up that number
you should have heard those vegetables screams
Oh little turnip top was doin' the backwards flop


and if you want to hear the tune you'll have to contact me and I'll sign it for you!

Digital Scrapbooking

My niece has been scrapbooking online and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing some of her posts because she's doing some very nice stuff. Here's one of her son in the T-Bird.

And here's a picture of his Grandmother and his two Great-Aunts with the same T-bird.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Peterson Creek to Peterson Lake along the Peterson Trail with the Peterson's

Just kidding - we weren't with the Petersons but we met them along the trail! Peterson Lake (map - look for Peterson Lake) was our final destination where there's a forest service cabin that you can rent out. We had thought about coming here with the Holmbergs when they were in town but the dates just didn't work out. We saw a few birds: Winter Wrens, Northern Thrush, Swainson's Thrush, and heard the ravens.

There wasn't much elevation gain which was nice and the trail ran through the woods sort of along the creek - at least you could hear the creek rushing. At about 1 mile in we found a spot where you could look down and see the Peterson Falls. We thought this might be a good fishing spot if you could get down the cliff – might have to follow the creek from the road instead of taking the trail. We've heard that there are various salmon, trout, and dolly's in the creek and up at the lake. I would image that the 1 mi falls would stop any salmon from going up farther. At about the 2 mi mark the trail opened up into a series of meadows. This was nice because most of the trail was made up of boardwalk and in the trees the boards were very slippery. In the meadow since it was more open the boards were drying and felt much safer.

This was one of the straight stretches – you can see Tim way up there – reminded me of the highway between Delta and Donley Dome – very straight run! We found some moss berries and 2 lowbush cranberries which weren't ripe yet. Didn't see alot of other berries though.

At about the 3 mi mark we came across another smaller falls and stopped for a little break. At this point the creek was much closer and there were several spots that would have made for a nice picnic stop with big boulders to sit on.

And at about 4 mi you get to the lake – it was much bigger than I expected. Plenty of room for a float plane if you were so inclined. The cabin was on the opposite side and about another 1/2 mi of boardwalk took you around the lake to the small cabin. There was also a dock and a row boat you could use. We had our lunch sitting on the dock because there was another group at the cabin. This picture is from the dock looking back to the headwaters of Peterson Creek.

The way back was mostly downhill and this is were the slippery boardwalk began to be a challenge - we both slipped numerous times and I actually fell three times – the last one the most painful and being 20 yards from the car. Good thing I have some soft pillows.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Darker Nights

Its starting to get darker earlier in the evenings and we're starting to see the moon rise. We had a partly cloudy morning with clearing in the evening and it turned into a very nice evening. Here's one of the last Sunday ships heading off to the south with the moon rising over Admiralty Island.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Berry Good Weekend

I've been talking with some of you about the berry picking opportunities down here and we finally had an opportunity to explore a little deeper and also do some quality control.

On our last walk at Auke Rec Beach (map - look for Auke Rec) we walked the entire beach from Pt. Louisa (fishing spot) to the end by Indian Cove. I noticed these huge plants that had raspberry-like leaves and some bright red seedy fruit. There was a nice long row of them along the beach edge. Upon further inspection I thought they were some type of raspberry except the fruit wasn't shaped quite right – they were more round than conical. They looked like little caps. They were sweet with little seeds - seeds much smaller than raspberries.

I didn't even bother to look them up when we got home–I had already decided to return the next day and pick some. What a pleasure to pick berries at the beach listening to the surf come in. This was a new experience for me. I did realize that the bushes and grasses where pretty tall and I was the only one at the rec area which is a little unusual - we almost always see someone else there. After I saw the bear scat I started singing or whistling depending on what popped into my mind. Tim had just told me a story about Vern and Jerry singing show tunes while waiting on a street corner in Ketchikan so show tunes became the theme for this pick.

It was misting out so my berries got washed as I picked them. I forgot my berry bucket but I was so optimistic I had brought a back-up container with locking lid and only managed to drop this container once. I picked the berries up off the ground and ate most of them.

So if you haven't already guessed – these are Thimbleberries. The leaves are about as big as my hand, there are very few thorns or stickers, and the berries are about the size of a quarter or maybe a little smaller. I made some freezer jam. For some reason I picked up a different kind of pectin than I normally use - this was Ball brand instead of Surejell. I decided I don't like the ball brand - it made little gelatin boogers in my jam - I tried to get them out but I was afraid I was stirring the jam too much. I had expected to give some of this batch of jam to some friends but I guess I'll just have to keep it all - can't give boogers to anyone I know down here! In Fairbanks, well that might be a different story!

On Saturday we met with the Juneau Audubon for a Bird and Berry Hike up at Eagle Crest - the city owned Ski area (map - look for Eagle Crest). I have to admit - I bet Tim and I were the only ones there who had binoculars! It was mostly a berry picking walk. The two guides had a very nice display of what the local berries and their leaves looked like so that was nice to see. There's really only one berry around that's poisonous and that's baneberry. Two other berries look like it: Dogwood and Elderberry but unless you're making wine out of the elderberries, you probably won't pick either one of these others anyway so no worries!

Tim scouted out a nice patch of blubs and made some friends while he was at it!

We picked for a couple of hours while looking for various varieties of berries. Found some salmonberry, raspberry, several different kinds of currents, huckleberry and at least two varieties of blueberries. We didn't find enough of anything but the blubs to keep separate. Ended up with about 8 cups of blueberries after walking and talking.

I must say that I've been giving the blueberries a bad rap until this weekend. I thought I was seeing a lot of blueberries along the trails on our different hikes and I wasn't impressed. The berries tasted tart and had lots of little seeds inside - almost mealy tasting if you know what that means. As it turns out these aren't blueberries – these are huckleberries. And its really hard to tell them apart unless they are growing next to each other.

We were really careful while picking berries because we've heard so many stories about the berries being wormy. If they felt at all soft we dropped them. When we got them home I started sorting through them, then I got a couple of big pots and soaked them for hours, and then sorted through them again, and still found a few worms. So what's a little extra protein in your coffee cake. I won't be eating any raw (blueberries, that is) unless I soak them in tequila!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Spawn and Die

I've been reminded of how incredible the life of a salmon is. As fry they survive in small creeks feeding off of their parents flesh until they are big enough to swim out to sea and swim around for a couple of years and then they make their way back to the place they were born (if its still there) over rocks, through culverts, and swim up creeks that were more suited to their fry-sized bodies than 3+ pounds. Then they flip around and wag their tail and then they die.

Preservation of salmon spawning streams is very important down here and very well protected. And its amazing where you find them.

We had a great short hike along the Switzer Creek Trail (map - look for Switzer Creek) which runs through the woods by a middle school and behind a neighborhood. What a great place to have a tree house and run around all day when you're not in school. The creek was so tiny in spots that it was just so surprising to hear splashing of a big chum trying to make its way…to its destiny.

This is what I call McDole Creek because its beside Mr. McDole's house. For those of you who have been here that's the one with the incredible yard filled with interesting shrubs and flowers. Its probably the best kept garden in Juneau.

At high tide the fish can easily swim up to the large pool right before the culvert but as the tide recedes there's a very small creek with lots of obstacles. I find myself always stopping to watch what's going on and to see who has actually made it to the big pool of death.

This is Lawson Creek which you pass over to get to downtown Douglas. I was riding my bike the other afternoon and stopped and took this shot from above.

And this isn't even one of the main streams - some of the other creeks, like Kowee Creek, just on the other side of the Douglas Bridge, is really filled up with the deadones. And stinky…oh my…there are dead salmon bodies everywhere stacked up like cordwood in some places…where are all the bears who should be cleaning this up!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Juneau Webcams

Here's a good link to some of the webcams that people have set up around town. One of particular interest may be from the cruise ship dock. I'll have to investigate further to see if any of these sites are open to the public and we might have to go and get ourselves on the internet - if we do we'll give you a call so you can see us!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Morning visitor

We were sitting in the kitchen this morning having some breakfast before we headed off for a hike to Spaulding Meadows, when Tim saw a whale spout in the channel off our deck - we quickly abandoned our seats and Tim grabbed his camera with the telephoto lens. Its very hard to anticipate when the whales will come up for air so you really have to be patient.

I only caught a couple of brief glimpses as the whale moved along its way. My guess is that by the time it decided to come up for one more big breath of air below moving towards the bottom, it was closer to where the cruise ships dock. This is when you would see its tail.

Mendehall Glacier from the West side

Terry and Oso invited us for a Sunday hike to go along the West Glacier Trail (map - look for West Glacier Trail. This trail has an elevation gain of 1340 and gave some great views of nugget falls and the Mendenhall Lake , and a different perspective of the glacier. We have had a string of about 5 days of bright blue cloudless skies and 70+ weather so we brought plenty of water with us. Like other trails around here, the trail was well maintained, especially for the first several miles. Wide and well-packed. There were a couple of places where you could access the lake and shoreline and given a lawn chair, cold gin and tonic, sunglasses and a good book - this would have been the spot. What were we doing with packs and hiking boots. What is the matter with us!

We were walking through filtered trees so it wasn't too hot - and we we climbed we crossed several small creeks, waterfalls, and other water resources. Here the water was running over and through the rocky trail.

Here's a view from above the front edge of the glacier as its melting away and nugget falls through the alder trees.

And the glacier - nugget falls (which many of you have hiked to from the visitor's center) and mendenhall lake. Its really quite large - I had no idea when we see it from the visitor's center just how big it really is. There's small islands and peninsulas all over the lake.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Windfall Cabin at the Windfall Lake

This is the Herbert Glacier as seen from the Boy Scout trail at Eagle Beach. This glacier feeds the Herbert River which flows into the Eagle River. Along with the Mendenhall and Eagle Glaciers, this is one more glacier that you can hike to.

We've been making our way through the 90 short hikes around Juneau. One of the places that we really wanted to explore what Windfall Lake (map - look for Windfall Lake Spot) and the trail to a NFS cabin you can rent out. We'd seen pictures on the web and thought it sounded like a great place to walk into; maybe do some fishing, canoeing, and relaxing in the cabin for an overnight or two.

We thought we'd start with a day hike to see what the trail was like before getting our backpacks all loaded up. The first mile or so was very well maintained - a wide, well packed trail with some boardwalk. Our first thought was, forget the walking and get out the bikes! The trail crosses the Herbert river a couple of times and there are well established bridges that take you over the rushing water. The river is a smaller version of the Nenana River inside the park at the canyon - glacial fed with a few riffles in it.

Once we got past the bridges the trail became narrower and more board walk was added then the boardwalk disappeared and there were more tree roots and steps. It became clear that although riding your bike might be fun, it would not be that much fun if it was loaded down with your overnight gear. If you didn't unload to get over some rough spots your packs would fall off!

Then when we came to the balance beam we decided we had made the right choice to travel by foot.

We found that the trail was a little shorter than we expected and it was a nice surprise to see we were getting close as we began making our way up the hill to the crest of the hill. We have found that a lot of trails around here are very well maintained and there's a lot of boardwalks, bridges, and stairs built along many of them. Its much different from the Interior where most of the trails are multi-use and the motor vehicles end up by doing damage to them.

Here's the cabin at the crest of the hill. It had a breathtaking view.

The view from the deck. The canoe looked pretty beat up but there wasn't any water in the bottom so it must not leak too much. There was only one life jacket at the cabin or I might have talked Tim into taking it for a spin around the lake.

And the front of the cabin from the dock. Since no one was here we had our lunch on the deck at the picnic table.

We weren't alone though - there was some beautiful orange fungus amongus.

My bad…

I just looked back at the last few posts here and boy am I behind! There has been lots going on and there's many things I wanted to talk about but I haven't posted anything substantial (some might think I've never posted anything substantial) in quite a while. I'll try this weekend to catch up.

First off - I've added a way for you to subscribe by email so that when I post something you'll get an email notification. If you look in the sidebar on the right side of the web page, right after the profile information, you'll see a Subscribe to Email Notification box - just enter your email address. I've had a few people try this out and it seems like it works pretty well. The service is free. It only updates itself a couple of times a day so its not instantaneous notification. It might also take a day or two to get itself established. My testers say that it does not seem to generate additional spam or solicitations. Just remember that some firewalls or email spam filters might stop these notifications. If you sign up and aren't getting any emails - let me know. It could be that I haven't posted anything, it hasn't been long enough to update, or your email provider is blocking the emails. Note also that you won't get the pictures I post so you'll probably want to check the actual blog to see those – I know how you all just wait with anticipation to see the beautiful images I post (and to see what poses I can talk Tim into taking!).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Friday night Concerts

We attended the last friday night concert of the season and once again found ourselves sitting outside at Marine Park (instead of at the alternative indoor location). There were several good acts and it was nice to see so many people out and about. These are free concerts sponsored by Holland America and given by the Juneau Humanities Association. This concert was a mix of vocal music and improv acting. The middle act was a lady that Tim's acquainted with who has a radio show. Apparently she has quite a local following and had a very nice voice plus gave a great show. Her last song with a mambo piece and a couple of local dance instructors did a little dance for us.

Those people with the raincoats and caps on must be from out of town - there wasn't a cloud in the sky!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Colorado meets Cappy

Shane, Jeanne, Kelsie, and Logan Holmberg visited and took time out from all the adventures for a picture with Cappy. They'll been gone almost two weeks now and we sure do miss them.

The cruise ships are zigzagging all over the channel, coming and going without fanfare, running off smaller boats, all without Jeanne's supervision!

More about Flickr

I've been talking about Flickr with some of you who are interested in photo storage and showing photos to others. I use it to show additional photos that don't make it to the blog as well as a place to store photos so I have a backup. I found the script to add a flickr feed to the blog and it automatically generates thumbnail images from the photo set I selected. I'm still using the free flickr registration - so far I'm able to stay within the 20MB monthly upload requirement. But if it ever became a issue I wouldn't have a problem with paying the $24.95 for a yearly subscription.

A number of additional tools that work with Flickr are availabe and this list came via my co-worker Christen. Here's a blogposting ( ) that has additional Flickr tools that might be helpful when using Flickr and other web software you use. There's also some fun games you could create and play (or have your student's play)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Twist your arm to go to Tracy Arm

We decide to take a day-trip on a boat. The weather was cloudy and a little foggy with maybe a little misty rain mixed in with it. The rumble of the engine and the enclosed cabin was conducive to napping.

But wait…there's more!

Here's Kelsie at South Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm.

A must-do when you're here visiting and haven't been to Glacier Bay or Exit Glacier outside of Whittier - a day-cruise to the Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm…magnificent! Our day started out a little cloudy with low hanging clouds but the weather forecast was for clearing skies and I know it's hard to believe, but it actually happened! Once we got to about 1/4 mile from the glacier the sun came out and lighted up the blue of the ice to a brilliance that was beautiful.

Logan's ice-magnified tongue with pure (cold) glacier ice!

We left Stephens Passage and entered Holkham Bay to access Tracy Arm (Go to googlemap and look for Tracy Arm link) . We motored through a narrow valley of sheer cliffs, numerous waterfalls, and ice bergs of various sizes. We saw humpback whales, harbor seals, pigeon gullimonts and their chicks, Arctic Tern, and mountain goat.

And Tim got a pictureof our retun from the deck – there's Jeanne waving her bloomers (just kidding)!

Quick Stopover

Susan and Tipper had a quick stopover Monday night but did have time for a fast introduction to Cappy. The deck was wet because we had a really rainy day for the first time in about a week! Another long time Juneau resident it was nice to hear Susan's stories and advice about living here. We met Terry and Oso at Sandy Beach for some playtime and a visit while walking in the rain.