Monday, November 24, 2014

November Happenings or lack thereof......

There hasn't been a whole lot happening here at the lodge in November.  The weather pattern that gave the lower 48 such a winter blast has given us our warmest, mildest fall we can remember.  We did have a short week of freezing temperatures and cold, clear skies but so far no snow, very few gales, and even the rain has moderated.

Below are some random photos from November.

Toni, our resident great blue heron standing guard over a flock of Barrow's Goldeneye (with one token surf scoter bringing up the rear).

Toni has several favorite perches--this one is at the top of an old snag at the water's edge.

 Morning Yoga
Here's another shot of October's bear messing with some bones on the beach.  We saw him or signs of him every day for about a week, then he moved on.

We did get a good supply of firewood laid in.  We (editorial "we") get logs off the beach and tow them back to the lodge.  At high tide, we can pull them up pretty close to our wood shed.

The fun part is cutting the logs into rounds, splitting and stacking. 

A peavey is pretty helpful when it comes to manipulating a big heavy log!
The end result.  It's hard to get the whole woodshed into a single frame--there is probably 1/3 of the covered woodshed in the photo.  We then stack wood on pallets alongside the woodshed and cover it with tarps. 

 Jen flew out for a short trip to Seattle.  Harris Air picked her up in the floatplane, and she was excited to sit in the front, playing co-pilot with her wild and crazy hair.

Approaching Sitka's runway in a DeHavilland Beaver with amphibious floats.  This allowed Rob to pick Jen up at our dock on the water in Warm Springs Bay and land on the runway at the airport.

 Landing in Sitka--sort of like a carrier landing!

From rainy Sitka Jen took the jet down to sunny Seattle, where she went to the Husky/UCLA game with Beverli, her childhood friend from L.A, and her husband Steve.

We won't talk about the results of the game, but it was a nice evening for football at Husky Stadium.  Looks like the visiting team fans get seats that Bob Uecker would kill for!

 This is the Beaver that Harris Air flies, and you can see Mt. Edgecumbe peeking out behind.
 Jen flew back to the lodge on one of our rare beautiful sunny days!

 Feral loves having her own private wilderness to explore.

 All of the grass on the beach has been properly subdued.  Almost.
Practicing her Jack Nicholson "Shining" expression.

Feral giving her menu approval (although this lettuce got a paw down).

 We did take advantage of the dry stretch of weather we had to get a head start on putting our lights up.  So far we've got 20 boxes of regular lights and 16 boxes of icicle lights up.
 The joys of putting lights up on a metal roof with a really steep pitch!  (That's why we did it when it was dry--the snow and rain make it much harder!)
 Did I mention that the pitch is really steep? 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Trick or Treat!

One dark rainy night just before Halloween, we heard a bump around the lodge.  Jen and I looked at each other and both said, "Did you hear that?"  We went to the windows, but it was pitch black out and we couldn't see anything.  I opened the front door and gave a couple good shouts.  I could hear something big over by the woodshed and it was huffing at me.  The next day in the light, I could see bear tracks around the deck.  We've been in close contact with lots of bears over the years.  Our brown bears here in Southeast Alaska are well fed and relatively non-aggressive, but we became extra careful when walking around the buildings or turning blind corners.  If you don't surprise a bear, you won't have a problem with a bear.

I called our neighbors at the townsite (about 1/2 mile away) to let them know there was a bear around.  Jackie called me back shortly after to report that the bear had been behind the house they're in and had knocked over and ripped their burn barrel apart.  The next night, it came back to their burn barrel and also tried to get into a fish smoker behind another building.

The next day, Jen came into the house (she had been out taking pictures of a great blue heron in a tree by the creek).  She sat down and looked out the window and there was the bear about 10 yards away in the area she had just been taking photos in.  We went out on the deck and yelled at the bear and he turned and disappeared into the woods between some of the guest cabins.

That night, Jen heard a commotion outside.  We yelled and went out to discover the bear had pulled some 5-gallon buckets out from a covered alcove where we have propane tanks outside the kitchen.  There were tooth or claw holes in one of the buckets and also a bottle of bleach that he punched a couple holes in. 

With the bear messing around so close to the house, we set up some "bear alarms" in case he came wandering in some night.  Jen threatened to take the carpet sweeper to him if he dared to come into our "cold room" (the mud room we use as a walk-in refrigerator)!

He evidently didn't like the taste of the bleach, because that's the last we've seen of him.  He probably wandered up the hills to find a place to hibernate.  It's been about 10 days without any sign of him, so it looks like he's definitely moved on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bats in the Belfry!

We have seen more bats this fall than we ever have before.  Each afternoon there seem to be two or three out at any time chasing insects around the lodge.  Jen set up her tripod and shot several hundred images and came up with a few good ones!