Monday, August 10, 2009

Lasagna Gardening and more

Sunday, Aug 2, we had our first freeze, 32 degrees. but by mid week the temperature was back in the upper 70s. This week Camp Baldwin hosted pastors and their families. Our jobs were to cook the meals and continue with our regular clean up routines.

On Wed. we invited the wives of the pastors to join us at a demonstration of lasagna gardening presented by the county ag agent.

We met with several other ladies in the garden area in frony of the Sullivan Roadhouse, an historical building. The first layer of the garden was a thick layer of newspapers to kill any weeds. This is our "noodles" and was well watered ("sauced").

Next we added several wheel barrows full of dry grass clippings, "cheese". The next layers of "meat" were buckets of chicken contibutions, old hay, buckets of wood ash and composted vegetation and more grass clippings.

All the layers of "fillings" were well "sauced" with water. Notice the thick haze in the background. The smoke from the wildfires in the Fairbanks area.

When the "lasagana" layers were as thick as the material we had on hand (about 18 inches), we covered the bed with transparent plastic and will let it "cook" for at least 6 weeks to compost. The plastic will be removed for winter. The ag agent said that in the spring the bed will be ready to plant.

To our disappointment we notice that the seed pods on the lower flower stalks of the fireweed were "going to cotton". The seed pods were bursting open releasing soft dandylion-like seeds. The "cotton" predicts that summer is over and winter should arrive within six weeks. Snow?

Below Dale is preparing two pink salmon for the grill. Cleaned, the salmon each weighed about five pounds. All those salmon steaks came from two fish. Oh so yummy!
While we women worked on the camp, Dale and Levi continue to
make repairs to First Baptist Church.

On Friday I visited the Museum of the North located on the campus of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. This ultra modern building was built since I visited in 2002The large natural history section of the museum is guarded by a grizzly measuring eight feet and nine inches. Wouldn't want to meet him in the forest.

In addition to mounts of native animals and birds the museum has the preserved, petrified body of "Blue Babe" a step bison found several years ago during placer mining in an area north of Fairbanks.

I spend hours exploring the art and crafts representative of the many language groups of Native Alaskans. This Chilkat blanket woven of goat wool and cedar bark is from the Tlingit in the Southeast.
I watched a film on the Alaskan winter which told how people and critters survive the bitter cold. Minus 50 degrees is not uncommmon in Fairbanks.
Another film explained how the Aurora Borealias are created in the heavens. I saw white Northern Lights several years ago. I hope this year to see some of the magnificent colors of red, magenta and green.
The museum has several galleries of contemporary art. This marble polar bear intrigued me. Many paintings by masters and contemporary painters join modern craftsmen who are recreating baskets, carvings and other crafts in the traditional manner as well as innovative designs.
What's my blog without a moose? This young female has made herself at home on our newly planted playground, disregarding the keep-out tape.

We became so interested in the lasagna gardening that Dale drug four huge rail road ties to a sunny spot and made us a raised bed. We started with a layer of flattened carboard boxes, added grass clippings, bark shavings, peat moss from under the spruce and birch trees, ash from the campfire and even dog hair. Friends from church donated a couple of huge trashbags of rabbit manure.
We've added shredded newspaper and loess, the glacial silt that looks like sand but feels like talcum powder, and kitchen vegetable scraps. Oh yes, we watered every layer. A heavy rain helped. Now we have to cover it with plastic for a couple of weeks and it will be ready for spring planting. Can't wait.
A young gyrfalcon posed for pictures outside the dining hall windows one evening. Lynne got quite close to it before it flew.

In our spare time, Lynne and I tried making earrings from procupine quills and beads.
Sunday after church we ate at Rika Roadhouse. This time I was prepared with my camera to capture the illusive bison sipping a coke.

This comming week we will give the bathhouses, cabins and dinning hall a thorough cleaning.
I will be going to Anchorage this week for several scheduled booksignings. I have no idea when or where I'll be able to continue to blog, but until then.....

God Bless.

1 comment:

LKHarris-Kolp said...

Wow- I love the museum- I bet you loved it, too. I can't believe it froze there- we are close to 100 most days here. Glad to hear you are in the final stages of your journey; I miss you!