30 November 2010

My Most-Favorite-Holiday

If you didn’t already know, and you probably do, Thanksgiving is my most-favorite-holiday.  I love food, I love cooking.  I love friends, I love family, I love the lack of hype and stress around Thanksgiving.  It comes as an unassuming holiday, on a Thursday!  I don’t know the history behind the Thursday thing – it always confused me as a kid.  But who’s to argue?  I love Thursdays in general – you’re one day away from the weekend, I like the way the word sounds and is spelled, and back in the Seattle days it was an indulgent day.  One consisting of pizza, cheap beer, and television indulgences by some seriously broke young adults. 

Anyways, I digress.

Thanksgiving this year included my mom!  I haven’t had a Thanksgiving holiday with my family in years – mid-November is just not a time I find myself back east.  The last family-Tday I had was with Aunt Meg, Uncle Russ, and Curren in Portland with Russ’ family.  So having mom here was really special – joining Ben’s family and a family of friends for a veritable feast.

PB250024[1]Mom generously provided us with a turkey.  In a fabulous mis-calculation, she purchased a 25+ pound turkey – ample food for 17 people, with over a pound per person available!   Ben and Jeff were well up to the task of thawing it and ‘fast cooking’ it at 500 degrees.  A feat they claim may never have been done before.  (I love them both dearly. I’m not sure I’d suggest this method with such a large bird)

PB250029[1]There was a patch-job done with butter.  A valiant effort, indeed.

PB250032[1]Jeff, Ben, and Mikey – cooks extraordinaire

PB250035[1]Plenty of friends and family were missed, but we had a joyful time with lots of food and thanks.   Thanks to everyone who provided such good food and fantastic conversation~I look forward to it every year!

Oh! And it was Ben’s birthday, too!!

07 November 2010

South to Wrangell


Earlier this month I headed down to Wrangell, Alaska for the annual conference of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators.  I love flying through Southeast Alaska, and I never get sick of taking pictures from the window of the plane.  I feel a little silly, but I can’t help it – the landscape from 30,000 is simply fantastic. PA250012 It takes a remarkably long time to get from Homer to Wrangell, a total distance of maybe 700 miles?  7:30 am flight from Homer to Anchorage, followed by a flight from Anchorage to Wrangell.  Flights that go south tend to make milk stops…1.5 hours to Juneau, 24 minutes to Petersburg (pictured below as we flew off to Wrangell), 10 minute to Wrangell (continuing on for another 30 minutes to Ketchikan, and finally to Seattle).  We arrived in Wrangell around 4:30pm.  PA250025

I gave a presentation on Alaska Clean Harbors, a program I’ve been developing for the state over the past year and a half.  Check out the website: www.alaskacleanharbors.org.  ACH is similarly structured to Clean Marina programs around the Lower 48 – marinas (i.e. harbors in AK) using various practices to minimize their impacts on the marine environment.  It’s work that I love doing, and the group of harbormasters, engineers, vendors, regulators, etc. who work in this industry has been fun to get to know.

PA260039Overall I had a super productive, super enjoyable, super informational and interesting trip.   It rained a bit, but then the clouds parted and we had some beautiful weather.  PA270086

There’s a beach just a mile out of “downtown” where there are over 40 petroglyphs carved into rocks by the original Tlingit who lived there.  I took a run about the island and checked them out – it was fun to hunt for them at the low tide!



Looking down at Wrangell – a town of around 2,000 people.  Wrangell is one of the oldest European settlements in Alaska – Russians came to trade furs as early as 1811 (that’s early for up here!).  Fishing and timber have been the main industries in Wrangell, with timber being king from the mid-40s until the mid-90s when pulp mills in Sitka and Ketchikan shut down.  Below is a picture from a boat tour we took and an abandoned sawmill with a scrap metal barge.  So much abandoned infrastructure…it reminded me of the abandoned cannery in Port Graham.  Many of these places look like the workers just evaporated – like everyone just walked away and left things in suspense.




Waste oil disposal at the harbormaster’s office.  These are the kinds of work-pictures I take on these trips.




PA270147Above is the Wrangell Marine Services Center.  The travelift & boatyard, with a full suite of businesses that provide all kinds of services.

PA270168 PA270172 PA270187

I made it home on Thursday night, just in time to start my Master Gardeners course at the college.  Sleep deprived, brain whirling and excited, I settled back into Homer life after a beautiful trip south.  I’d love to go back someday and explore that entire region of Alaska – it’s like another state down there.  We need to get the boat down … someday maybe we’ll take her across the Gulf and beyond!