Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter has arrived!

My goal of doing a weekly post hasn't quite happened yet, but here's an update for early December.

We had 24" of snow in November with rain in between to pretty much clear the snow off.  It started snowing on the 1st and we are now at 42" for the month of December.  We usually don't start to get our serious snow until late December, so this could end up being in "interesting" winter.

Looking out at the greenhouse from the lodge.

View of the bay between snow squalls.

Looking across Warm Springs Bay from the deck.

Looking out through the dining room window.

We had some serious icicles on all sides of the lodge!

Sadie Creek looking downstream from the bridge.

Sadie Creek upstream from the bridge.

Jen clearing snow from the stairs and deck.

A Sitka black-tail deer wandered by one day.

Feral wondering where that gob of snow went.
This harbor seal swims by every day making his rounds.

Feral's Toilet Trail--she usually comes back faster than she goes out.

Jen's taking a photo class and this is one of her artsy experiments. 

Luckily, we have a very fast snow blower!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Martens Running Amuck!

Mike (the owner of the Baranof Wilderness Lodge) warned me this fall that they had had a lot of trouble with martens getting into the lodge and boats.  Now that it's started to snow, we are seeing marten tracks everywhere.  The other night, I heard a thud coming from the "cold room", a mudroom we use as a walk in refrigerator.  I opened the door to check it out and there was a marten who alternated his gaze between me at the door and the plate of halibut burritos that he had knocked off the shelf.  I chased him out, but noticed a few days later that 4 hard boiled eggs were missing from a chewed up carton.  That was bad enough, but I went to make a burrito yesterday and found the whole costco bag of tortillas was missing.  We're taking care now to make sure that the persnickity latch on the cold room door catches when we close it.
This good looking guy has cruises our dock every morning.  When Jen came down to take some photos, he squeezed through a little crack in the decking and waited her out.

This little guy jumped up on the rail to see if there was anything that looked good to eat inside.

Our friend Christine runs a little store over at the townsite.  She had a group of martens move in and make a big mess last winter.  She had a lot of work done to marten-proof the building, but we have discovered there are at least three martens now living inside.  We can't figure out where they're getting in and out.  We haven't been able to find any of the live traps rumored to be in town, so has one on the way to Harris Air.  In the meantime, there is a home made version we've been using with limited success.  Keith and Jackie are the caretakers at the townsite and Keith called me the other day to let me know he had a marten in the trap.  Since I have a skiff in the water, Jen and I went over to relocate him.  Here we are leaving the store, rolling down the boardwalk.

It was a nice day for a skiff ride--no wind, flat water, and just a little snow.

Dropping the marten off at an undisclosed location that is hopefully far enough away so he won't make his way back to the cushy comforts of the store.

After a night in the trap, he was ready for a little run as soon as the cover was removed.

Run Marty!
Marty did a pretty good job of chewing up the trap.....

Friday, November 30, 2012

Waiting for winter

Well, in the interest of keeping this blog somewhat current, I thought I'd make a post just to let everybody know what's going on, even if there hasn't been a whole lot of note happening.
It's now late November.  We've had a little snow this month, but it has alternated with rain so there's not a lot of snow on the ground.  There's nothing worse than clearing wet soggy snow in 34 degrees and rain. 
We had a nice quiet Thanksgiving.  Feral didn't seem to enjoy it as much as we thought she would--she's not normally allowed on the table.

We did have a bat eating insects keep us entertained as he flew along the boardwalk for a couple hours.

We've had a lot of Marten activity.  This is a photo Jen took of the guy who hangs around the dock.  There are now at least three living in Christine's store (about half a mile from us).  We've been working with Keith and Jackie (the town caretakers) to try to get them out of the store and relocated.  We can't see how they're getting in, but they're having a hell of a time ripping things up in the store.
We have a room we use as a walk-in refrigerator that we call the "cold room".  It's actually a mud room that attaches to the kitchen.  There is a screen door to the outside that has sort of a faulty latch.  One evening, I heard a thump from the cold room and went in to check.  By the time I got the door open, the marten was outside on the steps looking back at me as I started picking up my leftover halibut enchiladas.  We are trying to keep a better eye on the latch, but a few days later we found 4 hard-boiled eggs missing from the carton.  A few days after that, I went to grab a flour tortilla and discovered that the whole package had gone awol.
Baking day before a dinner with our neighbors Christine and town caretakers Keith and Jackie.

Sourdough bread and rhubarb/blueberry pie.

Jen showing off her winter supply of popcorn.

This is an early shot of our woodpile....can't have too many wood photos!

This low-res photo won't make Jen the perfectionist happy, but demonstrates the technique of paddling by brail.  I've never gotten lost using this method, although the shore side paddle can get a little beat up.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rick and Jen November Update

If you get our email updates, you have already seen most of these photos.  The upload changed the order, and I don't know if I'm going to take the time to reorganize them, so there might be some jumping around from subject to subject.
Jen and I are caretaking the Baranof Wilderness Lodge in Warm Springs Bay.  The bay is on the opposite side of Baranof Island from Sitka.  It's about 20 miles across the island--we came by boat, which is a 90 nautical mile trip.  Our caretaking duties run from early October until around May 1.
Baranof is a small community of cabins located near a fantastic waterfall and incredible natural hotsprings.  There is a nice boardwalk, public bath house, and trails to both Baranof and Sadie Lakes.
This is the lodge on one of our beautiful October days.  We had an unusually dry October and took advantage of it to prepare the lodge for winter and lay in a good supply of firewood.
 Towing logs back to the lodge from one of the small bays out on Chatham Strait.  Towing logs is a lot like herding cats....there's no way to tell which way they're going to go. 

 Once the logs are back to the lodge, Jen single-handedly pulls them up the beach.  We try to arrive at high tide so we can float them up as high as possible.  This keeps them as dry as possible and minimizes the distance we have to carry the rounds to the woodshed.

 As the tide goes out, I can use the chainsaw to cut the logs to size.  Sometimes I'm cutting and carrying the rounds up the beach just ahead of the incoming tide--it can really move!

It was such an unusual treat to be able to cut and split wood in sunshine!

Only with proper supervision of course......
Jen occasionally steals my old coveralls and shows me how to do it.  She'll take an hour to split a round and then go back to editing her photos inside.  She's an excellent stacker, however, and loves to carry firewood!  She really loves the wood chips that come inside with a load of firewood too!

 Jen had to finish up some flying and training in early October.  Feral and I rode over to the bay with Blain and Monique on Sailboat Bob (along with all our "stuff").  When Jen flew in a few weeks later, she brought our absentee ballots.  John waited patiently while we voted so he could take the ballots back to Sitka with him.

 We had short bouts of normal October weather.  There was one long weekend when we had almost 11 inches of rain in 4 days.  Sadie Creek provides our drinking water and power for our hydro-electric plant, and it was really running after all that rain.

 We've had a couple pretty good snowfalls already.  Baranof is known as a "snow hole" with a micro climate that gets much more snow than many other places in the area.  This morning (November 19) it's still snowing and has been for about 36 hours with snow in the forecast for the next week.

When the snow gets serious, we have two great Honda snowblowers to deal with it.
 When we start to run low on yogurt, we make up a couple gallons of it--it's really easy!

The oven here at the lodge has a pilot light that turns the oven into the perfect yogurt incubator.

We have lots of other chores to keep us busy--burning trash,

putting a new hand line on a steep section of the trail up to our hydro intake (note--this isn't the steep part!),

one of my favorite projects--putting up lights on a steeply pitched roof!

Getting in that "Redrum" frame of mind......

Our neighbor Christine flew out for a visit with her daughters in Oregon.

When the plane comes in, we get a chance to pick up supplies from Sitka.

This was our haul, along with some trash from town to burn in the wheelbarrow.

We did hike up to the "overview" up by the lake.  From this spot, you can see Baranof Lake, Warm Springs Bay, and Chatham Strait.

Feral Bueller, waiting for something to move in the grass below the boardwalk.

She has very sensitive paws, so she likes us to shovel a path through the snow for her.

Halloween.....Feral's favorite holiday!

OK--maybe she's not too happy with this outfit--just keep your fingers away from her claws!
Feral the Meowmaid

On lookout duty!