Thursday, February 7, 2008

Well Gentle Readers,

I am alive. I haven't been eaten by bear, run over by moose or lost in the snow. Just been busy as all get out and lazy when it came to the computer.

So to continue my saga...I started out the season at Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge. However due to two of the people hired I decided that I wasn't going to spend 3 months in very close quarters with two children that didn't clean up after themselves and had no respect for anyone else in the cabin. So I came to Homer and moved back in the Homer Hostel. But here are some pics of the last weeks I was in Tutka Bay. I love that place, totally and it was hard for me to leave but I didn't come to Alaska to do things that I don't want to do.

Lupine in full bloom A ribbon worm under the deck. Pretty strange

Starfish at low tide in the cove A young porcupine that was hanging around the

I lived at the Hostel for the summer and worked for Homer Stage Lines, a passenger and freight van service that runs to Anchorage and back every day and through the Kenai Peninsula. I drove four days a week. Saw tons of spectacular scenery, met people from all over the US and the world and had fun.

Also put in 16 hr days, tossed a lot of freight, worked up a nice set of biceps and got my butt into a size 8 jean..woo hoo. Had two trucks break down on me. The first one on my 4th day of work and the other near the end of the summer. Transmission went out on the first one and of course I had a van load of passengers. But at least it happened in Soldotna near the Ford Dealer. The second one broke the fly wheel and happened in the frigging middle of nowhere. On a blind curve with no shoulder. But I only had one passenger. Only took all day to actually get back to Homer. Had to be towed to Soldotna which was about 70 miles away and then wait for the late driver to come through and get both me and the freight I had. The passenger found his own way home.

The Hostel had a season end party for those of use who labored there over the summer. The red head is Will, the owner of the Hostel. You may remember him from previous pics. The little get together was at his girlfriend's cabin. A really sweet place. The photographs on the walls are her work. She is currently showing at Fireweed Gallery in Homer.

And here is the Homer Stage Line Van that broke down near the end of the season. We drove the vans and pulled trailers. This breakdown happened on the Sterling Highway after the split to Seward and before Cooper Landing. Great place to break down. One of my proudest moments last summer was learning to back up with a trailer.

And this is the curve where it all

These three pics are various end of season shots up up and down the Sterling Highway. The river shot is the Russian River where I plan on taking my limit fly fishing for salmon this year. The snow you see was the first snowfall of the year in the Kenai Mountain Range in Cooper Landing.

I did manage to get in some Salmon Fishing. These pics are of Fergie, previously the subject of the Alaskan Biker story, and his friends the Germans. The pics were taken at the Homer Fishing Hole on the Spit. I didn't catch a thing except a sunburn. But I did catch my first Salmon a few weeks earlier on the Kenai. A 5lb red. and a sunburn.

Fergie My fish

The Germans.

and wait until you get a load of this. The Germans cooked up this delicacy and I thought they were just pulling my leg. Made them eat it first. This is fried Salmon sperm. yep. it has a name but I can't remember what it is. Actually it is pretty tasty. Really.

And one more shot of the outgoing tide at the fishing hole.

And here are pics of Sandhill cranes in Christie Johnson's yard off of Diamond Ridge. This is the place I house sat November 06 and where Spike went missing.

I found a great lake between Homer and Soldotna - Johnson Lake. I plan on doing some lake fishing here this summer. It has a great little trail system around it and some really nice camp sites as well.

This child just showed up on the trails!!!

This is a bluette. How do I know that you might ask? Well I took a class at the local college called The Natural History of Insects. It was a lot of fun. The professor is the leading entomologist in the state and is an expert on the Spruce Beetle, Lois Bettini.

Oct/Dec 07 - Well I found a SWEET cabin that was so totally perfect for me. Had actually paid the deposit and first month's rent and was going to move out all of the owners stuff to storage. and she had a LOT of stuff stored in this cabin. I was so excited about this place. Perfect location, exactly what I was looking for and the right price. And then she changed her mind. She just couldn't deal with moving all of the stuff even though I was going to do all the work. Oh well. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to get any pics. But boy was it sweet. Little red Outhouse and all..

So then I found what I thought was a great winter position - Night caretaker at The Driftwood Inn. got an apt in exchange for being on the premises from 10 at night to 8am, shovel a bit of snow, answer the door if someone locked themselves out. Pretty nice actually. However, it didn't turn out so nice. The owner is something of a snake and on Dec 26th, told me that they didn't need my services any longer because her grandpa was coming back. So there I am with 700 bucks to my name, middle of winter, no place to live and no paying job. Yeah Baby!!!. And that is the short version. The longer version is still going on and involves the IRS and AK Department of Labor. Oh and lots of bad karma flowing her way.

But while I was there I met one of the guests who was down from Anchorage to check on his cabin in Anchor Point. I went along with him. This place is up a steep hill, has creek access and a gorgeous view. He doesn't use it any longer and had sold most of the land surrounding it. (John tells me when we get to the top about his heart problem...geesh)

The Cabin and John View of the Anchor Valley from the Cabin

We took a drive up the North Fork and found this house near the top of the hill. Really awesome and for sale. We took it upon ourselves to find an open door and check it out. The view is from one of the back windows. On a clear day you can see both volcanos - Redoubt and Illiamna

This staircase was made from one tree.

So anyhews, The next day,Dec 27th, I found a cabin in Anchor Point on Craig's List. Nice little place with water but there is an outhouse in the

These pics were taken after three feet of snow fell in about 7 hours. The 'house' is my cabin. All 300 sq feet of it plus a large storage room. That mound is my truck.

The snow is about three feet deep to the bottom of my porch. And that blue cooler? That is/was my freezer. I was using a snow bank but it got to be a pain in the butt to dig out food. I now have a freezer on my porch.

I did get studded tires but did manage to get stuck several times. My 'friend' Billy (more on him a little later) was always kind enough to come to my rescue with his little toyota four wheel drive truck. I also have driven in a couple of bonafide blizzards and probably more than a few time when I shouldn't have. But a girl has to get to work and work is 15 miles away.

Speaking of work...whatever do I do for beer money? Got a job a few day after moving to Anchor Point working as a merchandiser for Regal Foods. I stock the bread at the three Homer Grocery Stores. Up at 5 to be at work at 7. Yes folks that is AM...believe it or not. For those of you who know my sleep habits you won't believe it but I really do get up at 5 with no problem. But now that the roads are clearing up and it is getting lighter in the mornings, I don’t have to get up so early. But I still have to keep a sharp eye out for moose on the road.

Then I got another part time merchandising job with Print Works delivering the Homer Visitor Guide throughout Homer, the Kenai Peninsula and Seward. It is three route job and I do it on my day off, Thursday. Right now it is only once a month but in May it goes to twice a month for the Homer and the Soldotna run and will include the Seward run once a month. Perfect opportunity to fish the Russianiver.

AND I got a third merchandising job stocking Dreyers Ice Cream at the Homer Safeway. That job is only 10 hours a week but includes ordering and some other things. My day is generally over around 1pm and I have the rest of the very long Alaska Summer day to do as I please. And I plan on doing just that...Fishing, Fishing and did I mention Fishing?

Right now I don’t have TV, internet or Radio. I haunt the local library and coffee shops to get online. Hard to write a blog there. Too noisy. Today I am at the Anchor River Inn drinking beer at 2 in the afternoon, trying not to listen to the boring ass ball game on the TV and writing the blog. Finally. Adn then it was on to Monster Truck Rally. It is absolutely impossible to get away from the rednecks. No matter where in North America you go.

I also do water testing for Cook Inletkeeper once a month at a creek called Two Moose. We test for ecoli, color, oxygenation and other stuff. In the summer I will do it twice a month. This is a volunteer position and it is pretty fun. It has definitely been challenging this winter though as I have to go down a steep hill to get to the creek!! But it is beautiful and worth the trouble.
Here are some pics of my creek and my testing kit.

This is also a salmon creek sooooo my fly rod will be part of my summer gear.

Let’s see what else have I been doing...hmmm...well I got a new baby kitty. Finally gave her a name...,,, Pepper because she likes to eat bell peppers - the red, orange and yellow ones. Silly kitty. I got her the first week of January and she was about 6 weeks old. She is a lot of fun and reminds me of Spike quite a bit. She LOVES water. When I take a shower she sits at the end of the tub..IN the tub. She made great friends with this turtle...Mrs. T.

Her favorite sleeping spot at Bill's house. Right in front of the Monitor.

Pepper making the acquantance of Willow, a neighbor dog of Bill's. Pepper tearing up my toilet paper. Seems to be her favorite past time lately.

** for those of you who previously read this, I have edited the following section due to the way it was twisted around and used to hurt someone I care about. I am not in the habit of editing MY blog but chose to do so in this instance. And for those of you who used it to tease and hurt you should be utterly ashamed of yourself (ves). And you know who you are**

This is Bobcat Billy one of the Anchor Point Locals and someone I feel deeply for. You may remember me mentioning him in reference to some of the pics above. He is a good man and undeserved of the derision thrown his way by my previous post.

Billy cooking me dinner. Yes the man cooks. He loves his Bobcat. He spends the winter cutting firewood and plowing snow. He built his own sawmill and other machinery. Pretty damn impressive.

Speaking of Jeremiah, he is all excited about moving here. Selling stuff, shipping me more. I swear the man can NOT just throw crap away. You should see all of the stuff he is mailing to me. Boxes and boxes of stuff. We are both ready for fishing, fishing and yet more fishing. A friend has offered to take us out on his boat Halibut fishing so that will be fun and I am taking up fly fishing with a vengence. My goal this year is to take my limit of all types of Salmon from the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, Kenai and try like hell in the Russian River. And to get my limit dip netting since I am a resident now. We also want to get in lake fly fishing as well. I bought a really sweet fly rod and a new reel. can’t wait to use em.
Jere will be here in May just in time for King Fishing season.

And my oldest daughter just turned 21, my youngest turns 20 at the end of the month, my oldest granddaughter is 2 and my youngest is now 1...can you beleive it. I don't have any current pics of any except Peyton and here she is in all her frosting glory at her 1st Bday party.

Frosting Goodness and look at those baby blues....helping dad with the car repairs.

Rob, Peyton and Kayla around the end of September in Nashville.

MOOSE behind the coffee shp in Homer.

I walked up to the Anchor Point Library from my cabin, about a mile, Saturday. Took this pic and others of eagles eating roadkill that had been buried in the Berm. Turned out to be a dog. If you look close you can see the 2nd Eagles head about in the middle of the pic. I was literally across the street.

So that pretty much sums up my last few months. I promise to keep this blog more up to date and to continue my Chronicles. Still have two installments in my head. The Art of the Alaskan Fisherman and The Art of the Alaskan Bon Fire.

Till later....