Saturday, December 31, 2016

Heron Heaven

We have a couple of resident Great Blue Herons that keep us entertained whether they are flying by, fishing at the tide line, or roosting in trees.

This is Glynn, showing off his beard from a high perch in a spruce tree.

Mary Preening

Ehhhhhh-yehhhhh!! Fur Ball!!

Whozzat watchin' me?

Keepin' an eye on Jen.

Once Mary trusts Jen (after two hours) it's time to get a little closer!

As we once heard the Earl of Sandwich say, "Tis a pair!"

Mary fishing at low tide

Big Gulp!

Time to get out of this Hell Hole!
Blue Flash

Hanging out with friends in high places!  Even though this looks like it's been photoshopped, the eagle (we call him "The Commuter") is actually in a different tree just behind Glynn.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Shopping for a Christmas Tree

One of our projects in December was to find a Christmas tree.  It seems like every winter we're here, we look at every tree in the bay, so you would think we would be able to go right to a good tree.  Wrong!  We still have to look at every tree in the bay.  It's actually very hard to find a good Christmas tree in the wild--as a rule, they're going to be too big, too small, too full, too sparse, too lopsided, too many bald spots, too hard to get to, etc.

Pulling the skiff in to the beach to check out a promising tree

Nope--that one won't do!

Checking for size

Looks like this one will do!


Trying it on for size, even though we're pretty committed now!

This tree even includes delivery

Holiday traffic's not too bad on the way home

Approaching the lodge

Delivery right to the front door!

OK--maybe it does have a little sparse spot--perfect to put against the wall!

Decoration complete!

Custom fit for the wall!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blogging Back at Baranof 2016/2017

Hi All--wow--it's hard to believe that it's been almost two years since our last post!  Jen and I are caretaking again back at Baranof Wilderness Lodge in Warm Springs bay this winter.  Now that we're back, we plan to start posting regularly.

For anybody who hasn't seen our blog before, the lodge is located about 25 air miles and about 90 nautical miles from Sitka, Alaska.  We caretake from roughly mid-October through May 1.  This year our friend John Little loaned us his 38-foot trawler, Prime Time, to make the trip.  Because of our remote location, we bring 7 months worth of supplies with us.  I can't remember how many times we've done it, but we think we started in 2004!

At the loading dock in Sitka with one of many loads in the Bobmobile (Thanks Blain and Mo!)

As you can see, I've cut down on my Diet Pepsi consumption.

Feral Bueller and I made the 12-hour trip around Baranof Island on a drizzly October day.  Jen didn't come with us because of her busy work and social schedule (a trip to New Zealand and Australia and a wedding in Bellingham).

Jen flew over on a sunny day in mid-November.  Feral and I finally got proper supervision!

Flying beneath the peaks.

Approaching the lodge in Harris Air's De Havilland Beaver

The dock staff unloading Jen's bags from the plane


After Jen arrived, we waited for a dry day (we had to wait a week!) to put up the Christmas lights on the lodge.  We had already done what we call our "runway lights" along the boardwalk.

The first step is to cast a fishing line over the roof.  Next we tie this fishing line off to a rope, then Jen reels in the fishing line, bringing the rope to the front edge of the roof.  Finally, we tie a ladder on to the rope in front and pull it from the back until the ladder is where we need it secured.

The trick is to get the fishing line over the roof, without getting it hung up in the trees behind the lodge, or letting the weight hit one of the windows in the library.  If you look closely at the rail behind me, you can see there is a red squirrel watching the entertainment while he eats corn chips.

Seeing if Mr. Squirrel approves of the weight.

Feral inspecting the icicle lights before they go up on the roof.

Jen is very picky about how the lights hang and is always ready to offer helpful hints.

Almost done with the upper portion, but the hardest part is the back of this section.

Each strand fastened and then straightened out...according to Jen's specifications.

Taking a sun break--I think we had 32 minutes of direct sunlight on this day.  (My break wasn't nearly that long!)

Did I mention that this roof is steep?

The final product......

We also run some lights up the path to the creek and hydro shed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


One of our highest priorities in the fall is to lay in enough firewood to take us through the winter.  I head out on the high tides to look for good beach logs to bring back to the lodge.  Our woodshed is located close enough to the water that we can float them up pretty close at high tide.  That minimizes the distance we have to carry those heavy rounds after we cut them!

Floating the logs up to the woodshed at high tide

Next step--cutting them into rounds

Sorted by type--red cedar closest to the shed, then yellow cedar, hemlock, and spruce

There are plenty of logs to work on!
I cut the logs closest to the woodshed, then try to float the next logs closer before cutting.

I found this giant spruce floating along a rocky shore one day, but the waves were too large to get to it.  I was able to go back the next day when it was calmer and pull the log off the beach without even getting out of the skiff.  There is a lot of wood in this monster!

I don't know why my back gets sore after a full day of cutting and carrying firewood!

Sometimes Jen comes out to offer helpful suggestions.

Once she came out and split a piece!

We've just about run out of places to stack wood, so will cut more later in the season (if the snow doesn't bury the logs too deep!)  We've got more than enough wood now to last the whole winter.