Monday, January 30, 2006


This is the shamrock plant (Oxalis) that I showed to you all back a few weeks ago. I took it from the dark corner it was put in to make way for the Christmas tree and then set it in the kitchen window to catch the first rays of the morning sun.

As you can see, its response to the growing daylight has been impressive. No flowers yet, but soon as we have sunlight all day (like we did today) for a few weeks or so, I should begin to see some flower bud activity. During the middle of summer it always produces flowers.

This plant is common in a lot of Alaskan households. There is no question that it is an encouraging little plant for those of us that live here. Experiencing short daylight and long dark nights during Alaska's winters drives us to hurry along the spring growing season by watching new shoots of growth on a windowsill.

I decided to take a peek online to see how to care for this plant. (hehe) It needs to remain dormant and even dry for a spell! Oh! So every year when I think this little shamrock plant is lucky to be alive after I just about killed the poor thing --then saved it with tender loving care, I am actually doing it a service to let it dry up and look awful! Now I've learned that they like a bit of hibernating rest too!

Set the pot somewhere that it will remain cool and dry for about two or three months.(the purple leaf varieties only need about a month) After they have enjoyed their 'vacation', resume watering and give them a shot of all purpose house plant food (10-10-10), and in a very short time you will be rewarded with a happy new set of growth. The Garden Helper.

Did you know?

"In Ireland, the plant most often referred to as shamrock is the white clover." The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, 1993.

I think of Ireland when I see the shamrock, but did you know that the celtic harp is Ireland's emblem? Lots of facts about Ireland.

The common clover is what the Irish call a shamrock. I've always wondered why we don't call lawn clover (Trifolium) shamrocks. It sounds more impressive to have a yard full of shamrocks than a lawn covered with clover.

Someday when this shamrock is covered with blooms, I will post an update picture.

Sunrise up here today was 9:25 A.M.
Sunset 5:03 P.M.
Total daylight was 7 hours and 38 minutes.
Daylight gain of 5 minutes and 12 seconds from yesterday.
National Weather Service Forecast Office

In Alaska, it does not get completely light or dark as quickly as we have observed sunrise and sunsets in the Lower 48 or Hawaii. We have a long sunrise and sunset. The sun sets ---then sometimes hours later ---it gets dark (especially in the summer). June 21st ---it does not get dark at all, even if the sun may drop down behind some mountains for a short time.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Icy Sparkles

"Keep moving your eyes or they might freeze." ~Mom (Said while experiencing such cold winters in Anchorage.)

As we drove home from Wasilla last night we watched the temperatures plunge by twos. -19, -20, -22, -24, -26. It dropped all the way down to -28 before it went back up to -26 at the house. This morning it was -30. Brrrrrr!

I don't remember winters as cold in Old Harbor. I do remember one morning before school started we all ran to the Lagoon because there was ice there! That was ocean water too, I believe it has to be very cold for salt water to freeze.

We used to ice skate from home to the skating rink when the conditions were just right. Ice all over the place.

Whenever ice-skating comes up my younger sister Kotya tells the story about when we were skating, she stumbled over some pebbles in the ice, fell, and sprained her ankle.

According to her story, when she began to cry out loud I was more concerned about the boys hearing her and I told her she should cry quieter.


Okay, so a blemish in my past. I admit I have always been very stoic and self-conscious, and even self-conscious for my sisters too and all in the name of pride. sigh

Anyway, back to the story.

I managed to get a sled, bring it back and then we got her sitting on it. I tried very unsuccessfully to pull her. With ice-skates on and I was not doing very good. I had to ask her to help me by pushing with her good foot.

We made it home with much effort from both of us. Ever since then she has Weather-Change Forecasts broadcasting loud and clear from that ankle. My poor sister.

Going to make tacos tonight. Off to the store for some extra cheese...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Too Cold

Huslia, Alaska, -20F
What did the big furry hat say to the warm woolly scarf?
"You hang around while I go on ahead."

This picture was taken while Alaska Freedom Band was in Huslia, Alaska and the temperature was -20F. The sled is loaded with the Band's guitars and gear. The snowmachine had taken the place of dogs in a lot of villages. (Don't have to feed them.) I see more dogs and sleds here in my own backyard than I have seen in any villages! Which reminds me, the Great Iditarod Sled Dog Race is coming up real quick too! (March).

Even with Augustine spouting off occasionally we are not in any danger of getting too warm up here! Last night Doug and I drove to Anchorage and attended the Anchorage Native New Life Fellowship meeting. They meet every monday night for singing and testimonies of Jesus Christ in thier lives. Was a very good meeting.

On the 60+ mile drive home we watched as the temperature dropped from -8F in Anchorage to -18F here at Twin Lake. I am very thankful for the garage that we can pull into to avoid having to run from the car to the house, wait for the house key to open the door and jump inside as quickly as possible.

The trip to Glenallen, Gulkana, Mentasta and Copper Center was great. We gained 644 miles on the Impala during the past weekend, with the trip to Anchorage we added over 700 miles. AND!!!!! I forgot my camera! Although, it was actually a nice change not be always wondering if I should take a picture or not. But, 700 miles of pictures...

I saw great shots all the way up and all the way home. Take my word for it, beautiful pictures but I definitely would not want to be camping out there! Too cold! No caribou. We saw moose, but I wanted to see a HUGE herd of caribou that I always have only heard about and never have seen --- yet. Well when I traveled to Prudhoe Bay one year I saw many, many caribou, but have never seen a herd crowding across the highways like my husband grew up seeing. (The Cantwell area.) That's what I want to see someday. I HOPE I remember my camera if I ever do!

Alaska Freedom Band is a gospel singing bunch that desires to travel to remote villages and towns that ache for spiritual refreshment and fellowship. The meetings in the Glenallen area were not only refreshing to the villagers but to the Band as well. I have learned that this is the normal way things go with traveling to share. The ones that share with singing and testimonies return home happy to have been with the Christian's in other towns.

Have not had time to check in with the volcano but we listened to the radio a lot and if there was something exciting going on I am sure we would have heard.

My daughters Marie and Karla are on the East Coast (North Carolina) today and will return February 5. I am sure Marie will return with many pictures from there too. So, smile North Carolina!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Upstairs Downstairs

Pictures from around home. The volcano erupted again this morning. The temps have plunged below zero again. I have been busy and have enjoyed sitting here checking in on the blogs this morning.

Marie moved the guest bed out of the room downstairs.
She moved her upstairs bed downstairs into the guest room.
The guest bed stood empty in the family room.
I nabbed the guys while they were at home,
They helped Dad move my desk upstairs to her vacant room.
Office chair, shelves and stuff ---all moved upstairs too.
The guest bed went upstairs to my vacant office.
She went upstairs and downstairs all day for days!
I went upstairs and downstairs all day for days!
My newly moved office is finally set up in her room.
She is set up in the guest room.
The guest room is set up in the office.
ChewChew watches me and is mixed-up!

As you can see we have been busy around here. Now I hope I will be staying here for a while.

Here is a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. I wanted to share even if I am late.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ballistic Showers

Mt.Augustine as seen from the AVO webcam, 1/12/06 11 A.M. Alaska time.

Unrest continues to escalate culminating in an eruption that is similar to those that occurred in 1976 and 1986. An eruption such as this would likely spread volcanic ash throughout and perhaps beyond Cook Inlet depending upon the prevailing winds. Much of Augustine Island would be inundated by pyroclastic flows, mud flows, ash fall, and ballistic showers. Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO considers this one of several possible in-the-near future scenarios of Mt. Augustine's eruptive state.)

Pictured: Mt.Augustine in 1986. US Geological Survey Website.

Ballistic showers. Can you imagine picnicing in such an area when a violent ballistic shower began to occur? I am guessing those showers would include ash, sand, pebbles... rocks!

Just as having frequent little earthquakes is safer, little puffs of steam occasionally are better than one big gigantic ballistic shower. Although a huge eruption would be much more impressive there may be people hurt in it's burst of power. We don't want that!

Volcanoes remind me of myself. Little gruffs and growls are better than one big explosion of anger. I know! No anger is the best, but sometimes anger happens. I like to say it's because of hormones, but deep inside I know it's selfishness. Me! Me! Me! Mine! Mine! Mine! I want! I need! Wahhhh! Sounding much the same as I sounded when I was a little one. It does not happen all that often but sometimes I feel like I can throw out this computer when this blog keeps messing up these paragraphs!

Doug and I talk sometimes of the body of Christ. The Bible teaches that not all are the same (position/talent/ministry.). Not all can be the arm, not all the mouth, etc. I suggested to him that I think I am an appendix. He laughs and asks why. Because, says I, the appendix is needed and no one really knows why. It has a place in the body, does it's work quietly each day, not disturbing any other "body parts". But sometimes.... sometimes, the appendix will go haywire and then EVERYONE knows it's being a pain! It causes the whole body to groan! Sometimes... it even "erupts"!

Ballistic showers do result from such an outburst. Showers that drop loads on everyone around, dirty ash and heavy stones that hurt. Then--- I have to do the most horrible thing that the pride in me hates to do, apologize.

Doug is definitely hands and a great big heart. He works and works and works. I rarely ever see him become volcanic. We need lots and lots more people like him. Our bodies need only one appendix, but it uses two hands. If you lose your hands, the body has great difficulty, if you lose the appendix? The body goes on!


Well enough from me today.

Puff. Puff. Puff.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Today Is Very Boring

Today is very boring,
it's a very boring day,
there is nothing much to look at,
there is nothing much to say,
there's a peacock on my sneakers,
there's a penquin on my head,
there's a dormouse on my doorstep,
I am going back to bed.

Today is very boring,
it is boring through and through,
there is absolutely nothing
that I think I want to do,
I see giants riding rhinos,
and an ogre with a sword,
there's a dragon blowing smoke rings,
I am positively bored.

Today is very boring,
I can hardly help but yawn,
there's a flying saucer landing
in the middle of my lawn,
a volcano just erupted
less than half a mile away,
and I think I felt an earthquake,
it's a very boring day.

Written by Jack Prelutsky
From the book "A Family of Poems"
By Caroline Kennedy

I am in the Compose of this blog's editing. I hope I don't have to do any html fixing. I just want it to work right when I compose from here and don't have to go back and add anything to make it appear just as I have typed it in. I hope it works. If it doesn't .... then I will fix it because I won't be able to just leave it.

Mount Augustine has been steaming. Here is a good site for looking at volcanoes in Alaska. The Alaska Volcano Observatory also has volcano webcams set up for watching. Maybe you will see the steam, if the clouds ever clear up enough for the steam to show up. Mt. Spur is closer to our area than Augustine.

Our son Kris said that he was given information on how to be prepared in case there is an eruption at work. He works with Southcentral Foundation Headstart in Anchorage. So he needs to know how to care for the children if they need to be protected from volcano fall-out.

The most I have ever seen during an eruption is ash. Not much either. But it is hard on the vehicles finish, so I hear. Saw many using face masks during that time, we just spent time indoors. It sort of looked like snow, but dirty snow.

Mom told me that they used to go and get clumps of pumice from the Katmai volcanic eruption many years back. The ash covered a lot of Kodiak Island (before she was born) and so the remains of Katmai became part of their childhood. They used the pumice to clean pots and scrub the tops of their oil stoves. I remember even using it myself when I was young, but I don't remember ever see any of that when we were out and about. I believe that by my time it was found floating along beaches after big storms.

My days have not been boring, in the normal sense of boring, not the "boring" in the above poetry.

I finished the guitar strap and now i wait for Doug to return so I can see him hook it up to his guitar. I have begun a new project.

The family continues to come and go, we had dinner together and played games last night until late.

I am reading two books, "The Voyage of the Damned" and "Bijabobi". The first is about the crew and passengers of the St. Louis. Mostly about the Captain and the Jew's wishing to emigrate from Germany. The second is about a brave, young 22 year old girl who is rowing up to Alaska along the West Coast.

Back to laundry and vacuuming...

Today is very boring,
it is boring through and through,
there is absolutely nothing
that I think I want to do...
P.S. I had to edit this goofy blog.grrrrr...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Here is a couple pictures of my beadwork. I will share my finished beadwork occasionally since it was requested. (Thank you Constance!).

This is my very first amulet bag. The bag is done in peyote stitch, or gourd stitch. For those new to beading, peyote stitching was used by Native Americans for decorationg their ceremonial objects. Some Native American's believe it should only be referred to as the gourd stitch if it is not being used on anything ceremonial, yet most beaders have learned to refer to it as peyote stitch.

This bag is done in even count peyote. Someday I want to do a tubular amulet bag. No seams except for the bottom where it gets zipped together.

I added a double strand strap and fringe when I was done. The most fun part of beading is the finishing.

Before beginning this hobby, I had no desire to bead. One day I stopped by my sister Kotya's apartment. We visited as she beaded. Soon she pulled out some beads sat down beside me and showed me square stitching then she said, "Try it." I said, "No, I don't want to bead!" "Go ahead! Just try it first!" she pushed it in front of me. So I said, "Okayyyy! ....Ai yi yah", I leaned over, squinted and began to bead.

While I learned square stitching she found a little project pattern (so she thought) and she laid it in front of me. Then she chose some very pretty, irresistable beads and said, "You want to try to make this?" I shook my head and said, "No." She said, "Just go ahead! Try it!"

She had to start it for me as the first few rows of peyote are the hardest for the beginner and she gave me an uneven count peyote pattern to start with! If she did not start it I don't think I would have had the interest to continue on as soon as I had trouble with the beginning rows.

With lots of time I saw the pattern beginning to take shape. I leaned back and I said, "Cool." When it was time to go home she quickly bagged up the beads, pattern and a beading needle, "Just take these," she said. I got home, sat down and my beady little eyes grew overnight!

After a lot of tangles, bent needles, lots of encouragement and a bit of frustration this finished set was actually my first encounter with beadwork!

Kotya's daughter, Jenni Creasey designs and beads extremely well and she has been featured in Bead and Button Magazine. The latest Bead & Button has her "Daisies and Lace" bracelet and also "Angels" amulet bag designs.

Jenni has a website where you can see her creations. Polar Beads. She has graciously posted some of my work in her Beadwork Gallery.

Praying for the families of the West Virginia coal miners. May God grant peace and comfort.

Once again I am reminded of this quote: "Life is a journey, not a home."

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Eve At Twin Lake

Our New Year's Eve usually includes Olliebolen or what we all call "fat balls". Fatballs because they are deep fried in fat.

This Dutch treat was adopted from Doug's side of the family. His Dad's family is Dutch and he makes these each New Year's Eve too. (Doug never did take up the tradition!) John makes them so delicious!

I would describe fatballs as your basic sweet dough (yeast) with candied fruit, raisins and deep-fried. We dip them in cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. YUM! I checked, you can find lots of recipes online. Others include apples in their recipes and even dip them in powdered sugar, but we prefer candied fruit and cinnamon-sugar, just as we were served at Doug's folks.

Our very good neighbors.

Almost time to take the tree down, but we will enjoy it for a few more days yet.

The kids got a huge bonfire going and roasted marshmallows.
I watched from the deck and took a few pictures.

Waiting for midnight, Alexis reads to Tucker and AJ. She is getting to be quite the young lady and such a helper to her Mom and us all!

Throughout the evening we can see fireworks going off on the horizon all around our home. We are at an advantage now with all the trees still growing up after the Miller's Reach Fire eight (?) years ago. I think when they get taller we won't be able to enjoy distant fireworks from here as much as we do now. Fireworks displays always go crazy at midnight, so we all usually go outside to watch for a few minutes before we come in hug and kiss each other and then head off to bed.

Kim had sparklers for the little ones to enjoy. Several of the grandkids don't like them and would not hold them. :-) We laughed when Kim ended up leaning over the deck waving all the sparklers while the kids ran back indoors.

Some creatures around here you just always have to keep a close eye on or they will rob you while you sleep! Both Chevy and Chewy like to run off with the kids gloves and whatever else they think looks like fun to throw around. Chevy's specialty is stealing the neighbors shoes they took off at their door and burying them, usually in my gardens. I think Chewy was going to hide it in his kennel for later enjoyment!

Ashlee the owner of the glove above, yawns, turns over and goes back to sleep.

Happy 2006 to all ---from us all ---in Big Lake, Alaska!