Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 15-22 2009

The library and wi fi have been shut down for the past couple of days so the gravel parking lot could be paved. Last week after I sent the blog I met this lady and her husband traveling with that monsterous cat on her lap from British Columbia to Prudhoe Bay. They, too, had stopped to check email.
This past week we have hosted and fed the college-aged counselors who will be working with the kids at camp. They gave a thumbs up to "most" of the new meals we tried out on them.

Mama moose and her new calf pause after passing the kitchen window early one morning while I was making breakfast. the calf is by the mama's back legs.
A couple of days later, we saw another mama moose with twin calves crossing the driveway.

The counselors learned the lesson of the diamond willow and are creating their own walking sticks. I'll relate the message at a later date.

These girls are returning to hot showers after spending the night in tents at 40 degrees and with rain.

With the much needed rain wild iris, also called blue flag, have begun to bloom in profusion filling the roadside and around the camp with brilliant blue.

Counselors practice recreation time on a "jumping thing".
So much energy. I'm glad they will be with the kids and I only have to feed and clean up after them.

I caught Dale with his "lunch" cart at Sam's club. This is a weekly adventure. What's for dinner?

Lynne slipped off the ladder this week and injured her knee. Dale insisted she use the crutches, so we fixed her up with a Wal-mart electric buggy. Nothing stops our shopping sprees. After all we have to travel 100 miles, 2 hours each way to get to WAl-Mart.

Shopping in Fairbanks on June 21, Summer Solstice, gave us an opportunity to experience the street fair. Notice the Alaskan Native decked out in diapers while the rest of us "cheechacos" are in sweatshirts.

A well-stocked dog sled displayed all the equipment needed to runn the Iditerod or the Yukon Quest. Dog food and additional supplies are air dropped at strategic locations along the 1000 mile routes.

Lynne, Sassie and I pose next to the monument, "Fairbanks, the Golden Heart City." Houston is 4,682 miles. (As the raven flies?).

The official sunset in Fairbanks was at 12:50 A.M. on Monday June, 22. This picture was taken about that time. Sun rise was at 2:57 A.M. The lenght of the day was 21 hours, 50 minutes and some seconds. When we arrive back at camp at 1:30 A.M. the sky look like this.

There is no nightime darkness, only twilight for the remaining 2 plus hours.

Now that summer has peaked, there will be shortening of days and twilight will become longer and darker. Is summer over already?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 8-14 2009

Monday, Tuesday and for most of the week Lynne and I and anyone else we could corral shoveled, raked and spread gravel.

Dale would not let me drive the fork lift, but he did give me a ride.

Kitchen duty included mixing 11-12 pounds of ground moose, buffalo, beef and pork sausage to make 6 huge meat loaves for the freezer.
In addition to cleaning the bath houses, we cut heavy rubber mats for the floors.

Dale enjoyed operating the fork lift. Here he is raising the first trusses to the sill of the new pavillion.

He's a master of all trades. Having fun, Dale?

Dale climbs like a monkey to add the other supports for the roof. He insisted that Lynne and I stay off the roof.

In the last few days the wild roses, iris and fireweed have begun to bloom. The forest floor and open areas have a surprising number of tiny delicate flowers.

Ryan brought the CAT and welded brackets for the new painted signs

I made my specialty, Dutch Oven apple cobbler, in the new fire pit. Ummm.
On Sunday, June 7th, Shawn, a volunteer from North Caroline, arrived at the Fairbanks Airport. He spent the week working with Dale on the pavillion. Haven't they done a great job? He flew home on Sunday. Thanks Shawn!

A group of youth came to camp for fun, food, music and ministry. Here they are playing Frisbee in the rain.

Saturday, Lynne and I braved the 45 degree, drizzle to participate in a crafts fair. I sold several books. We also sold enough baskets to add to the scholorship fund. We met several Alaskans who shared their experiences with us.Today I'll end with a photo of the new entrance gate. This week, I've come to the library twice before being able to get the blog up. Don't give up on me. I'll try to blog at least once a week.

It's starting to rain and the temp as dropped from mid 80's to 65.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Vacation Bible School in Delta

Monday, June 1, the first day of Vacation Bible School was clear and cool (about 45). This view of the Alaska Range is outside the back door of First Baptist Church, Delta. What a way to start the day!
VBS theme is Boomerange Express. Do you like my outfit? Story telling kept the little wigglers reasonable quiet as they waited for others to finish.

The teens tie-dyed T shirts. An old favorite from my hippy days.

We had crafts projects every day for all kids grades Pre-K through 6th grade

Early one morning Lynne and I stopped to transplant wild sweet peas from the road side to our flower garden.
Are you tired of moose stories yet? I'm not. This mama moose is grazing outside the camp gate- the pipe structure in the left back ground. She moseyed into to the forest followed by a yearling. Yesterday we saw a large bull moose with new-growth shovel shaped antlers. He was in a field near the road. Could a new calf be on it's way?

In preparation for the construction of an open pavillion, Levi the youth pastor and two of the teens, Alex and Jay dug four three-foot deep holes for concrete forms. Once past the rock, the soil is loess, glacial silt and humus. They clobbered mosquitoes with the back swing.

VBS was held every day until noon, then we changed hats and became construction workers.
Holes dug, forms in place and time for the cement truck. Dale is assisting and Lynne supervising.
I'm helping Dale set, line up and level the bolts in the cement for the metal posts that will follow.

I reviewed my Boy Scout skills and used a double-bladed ax to cut birch roots from the hole we dug for the new fire pit which will be in the center of the pavillion.

Sunday morning during the service, several of the 50 children who had attended VBS gave us a rousing performance of some of their favorite songs.
And the work goes on. Lynne and I painted the beams that bolt to the cement piers, that went into the holes that the boys dug.
Will the pavillian be raised by next week's blog? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Memorial Day, Work Days

Memorial Day was memorable. We took the Martin's toad (that's RV lingo for "towed" vehicle) from Delta up into the Alaska Range. On the way we stopped at a crossing of the pipeline. Here Lynne and I attempt to hoist the pipe.Follow the pipe towards the horizon alongside the road and you will see it zig-zag on it's way 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on the Artic Ocean to Valdez. The photo on the right is of glaciers in the Alaska Range.

Below is the frozen Delta River. The dark horizontal line is the edge of a solid sheet of ice about two feet thick. Closer to the shore is fast running water and ice chunks.

Summit lake is situated at the crest of the Alaska Range where the Richardson Highway passes on its way from Fairbanks to Glennallen, then on to Valdez. The wind was strong and cold, but the sun was bright and warm out of the wind.

These visitors are checking out a bear proof trash dumpster. Yes, bears are quite numerous and have the right of way.

Tuesday, we made the 200 mile, 4 hour round trip to Fairbanks for supplies and more groceries. On the return trip, after passing North Pole (yes, that's a real town) we stopped at the Knotty Shop for ice cream. The creature I'm "petting" is one of many created from boles, knobby growths on birch trees.
Another day of preparation. I painted signs for Vacation Bible School. The theme is Boomerang Express, "It all comes back to Jesus", thus the Australian, kangaroo.

Frizbee, my cat alerted me to the red squirrel perched in the cedar only feet away from the RV. Taken through the window and screen, the little fellow is difficult to see.
We've seen numerous snow shoe hares with huge white hind feet and bodies now turned brown for summer. Moose and a couple of porcupine have been added to my wild life list. Fresh bear scat was discovered not far into the forest from camp. I'm not anxious to meet up with a bear.

Camp prep. has included sorting and organizing crafts materials, painting the floor in the pantry, kitchen and dining hall, washing ALL the pots, pans and utensils in the kitchen and cleaning all the cabins.

While cleaning the kitchen and dining hall we discovered evidence of mice, and trapped one. While cleaning out the crafts supplies I found a bag of bird seed that had been scattered and must have fed a whole family of mice. Later, cleaning out a box of yarn that had house critters, Dale discovered this nest of seven baby mice. He released them into the woods.
Two weeks ago when I arrived the forest floor was dry and brown with winter leaves. Now tiny flowers have sprouted in the warming sun and 21 hours of daylight. What a surprise to find Bluebonnets! Actually a cousin, the artic lupine. With the help of friends and a flower book, I've identified lowbush and highbush cranberries, wild strawberries, labrador tea, wild sweet peas in pink, white, and magenta.

Yesterday, Monday, June 1, was our first day of Vacation Bible School. About 50 kids were in attendance. Here one of the teachers is assisting with crafts. We are teaching kids grades pre- K through 6. They are a lively, receptive bunch and a delight to work with. I'm so thankful for all those years of teaching.
VBS will continue all week. We are at the library again to use the internet, so until later. Have a great summer