Monday, August 23, 2010

Aug.. 13-21 What a week!

FINALLY! Two years, and finally my novel, Beneath the Surface has arrived!
I received several copies from the publisher this week and have already sold them.
Unfortunately the mail has taken so long that I won't be able to get additional copies before the Palmer Sate Fair this week

On my return last week from Soldotna, I made a brief stop at Potter Field. The beautiful mash lands, were incidently created when the railroad lines were laid from Anchorage to Seward damning several small rivers. The area is now a bird santuary and nesting habitat with many long boardwalks for visitors.

Sunday after church we took advantage of little rain and a weak sun to visit Hatcher Pass. Many turbulant whitewater rivers and small streams flow through the pass.

The hasze made photography difficult.

Driving the rutted gravel lane over the pass to Willow we passed this sign on a lockable gate over the main "road". They are serious!
The road is closed from mid June until snows fall in Sept.

I held a brief booksigning at Costco.
I sold out of "Loon's Necklace" and sold most of the other titles on the first day.
The following day, the ceiling exhaust fans began to roar so loudly that I packed up and left.

This year the weather has been unusually wet and humid.
Clouds are often lower that the mountain tops.
Fog and mist remind me of Houston, except the temps range from 50 in the morning to 70.

The sun peaked out so Lunne and I visited the Botanical gardens in Anchorage.

Unfortunately most of the flowers were no longer in bloom.

A volunteer docent led the two of us through the gardens.
She pointed out an unusual erratica.
This huge boulder is the reminent of a glacier. It wis covered with 30 + varieties of mosses and lichens.

Have you wondered what artichoke plants look like?
This is quite a tall plant, with the "choke" at the top.

Inspired by the gardens, Lynne and I picked a gallon of highbush cranberries in her back yard.
We cleaned them of spiderwebs, and boiled them for jelly

Not only did we make 30 jars of cranberry jelly in Lynne's motorhome, we bottled 13 jars of blueberry vinegarette, and started the process of making cranberry vinegar salad dressing.

The newspapers have reported 31 days of rain in the Anchorage and Wasilla area.
This 9:30 pm photo is evidence that the rain is ending.
Although yesterday, while we were visiting firends, a hail storm was reported in Wasilla.
Weather as crazy as Texas'.

The following morning at six AM I was greated with a rainbow. Look closely, there is a second rainbow to the left.

Alaskans and we tourists take advantage of the sun.
Rhonda has kindly put up with us in her daycare's yard.
When the sun's out, the kids are out.
Note Sassie getting her loving.

Rhonda's "babies" are playing raquet guitars and singing "Jesus Loves Me."

Cold water, mud and the bright sun.
Alaskan kids, like kids everywhere, love water.

They don't know that the fireweed has gone to cotton, predicting a few weeks remaing until snow.

SaturdayI visited the Anchorage weekend market. Here farmers, crafts venders and food venders attract locals and tourists with their wares. Bright fresh vegetables, wood carvings, jewelry, gold nuggets, fur pelts, paintings, trinkets, and the aroma of kettle corn, reindeer sausage, fish taco's, salmon.......

I like the way the white tent tops comliment the Chugach mountains.

Saturday I held a signing at Borders Books.

Last Sunday an amazing encounter verified that I'm following God's will.
Before Sunday School, I was seated nexet to a young lady who began talking about a new book she had just read and passed on to a friend. She said A Venture in Faith" was so good, etc.
Lynne leaned across my grinning face and said, "You are sitting next to the author."
The conversation went on about how she had bought the book in Soldotna, where we had just been. She introduced me to Kathy , the WMU director, who is preparing for a fall retreat at LaVerne Griffin Youth Camp where I've volunteered. She asked if I could speak there. Unfortunently we will be on the road by then. She asked me to come to speak next summer. How I pray that I will have this opportunity to share my testimony.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Aug 1-12.VBS, signings, Homer

The weekend before Aug 1 was busy with two book signings. The first, on Friday was held at Annabell's Books in the Meta Mall in Wasilla. The owner, a tiny lady named Carol was a delight as she told me some of the history of her store, named after her mother.
Sat. I held a asigning at Pandemonium Books and coffee shop. This delightful store is like Sarbucks with a large bookstore combined.
Sunday we attended Pioneer Baptist services. Monday we returned to assist with Vacation Bible School
The VBS theme of Saddle Ridge Ranch was well received. KIds from the neighborhood and church families attended for fun and Bible study.

These older youth are participating in a missions study.

Lynne and I get in on the fun.

I entered some of my haniwork in the Delta Fair before I left. Lynne surprised me with ribbons.
This bag is made from a recycled Alaskan cowboy boot.

I had completed this boot bag before leaving Texas. It was a hit, too.

Traveling through Canada I was similar wood carvings. Discovering a loon shaped piece of drift wood in the Kiani Lake, I salvaged it and carved this loon. Looks like a winner!

I am most greatful to God for giving me creative talents.

We left Wasilla to travel to Soldotna, southeast of Anchorage. On the way we stopped by this magnificent lodge in the wilderness near Girdwood. Bypassing the lodge, Dale led us to a blueberry patch on the mountain.
My gallon bucket is one/fourth full.

This is the original First Baptist Church of soldotna. The steeple in the back ground is located on the new building which is attached in such oa way as to preserve the original.

Barenda Crimm, missionary to Alasaka, had just left with 40 volunteers who had been staying here while witnessing to the participants of the fishing frenzy.
That's combat salmon fishing on the Russian River.

The building on the far right is a shower and laundry trailer that was purchased for the church to use when the many volunteers are housed here.
Lynne and Dale, assisted by Bill are building a porch and boardwalk to the trailer.
Bill, 86, and his 80 year old wife, Cleo, have been traveling to Alaska in their camper for many years from Arizona to volunteer where ever needed.

Rain and cool weather finally cleared on Wed.
We took advantage of the rare sun to travel to Homer. Dale was most anxious to go 4 wheel driving down the East End road, past Homer, down a 1000 foot cliff face on a one-lane dirt track to the shore of Kachemak Bay.

Russian families live on farms and ranches isolated from contemporary society.

The tide is out on the bay. Mud flats will soon be covered with 20 + feet of tidal waters.
Across the bay, the mountains are topped with many glaciers.

The road disappearing to the right is sthe one we will climb to the top of the ridge.
The shore is composed of ground up coal deposits, sand and crushed reddish rock as well as drift wood, trees and vegetation.

Sky Line Drive north and west of the tiny town of Homer offered a magnificent view of the Homer Spit.

The spit begins at the right near the base of the spruce and winds it's way into Kachemak Bay, dividing the bay into salt water on the right, and brackish water on the left.
Fish LOVE this area, especially salmon and halibot.

We walked and explored the tiny cabins turned tourist "traps", cafes, and charter fishing shops.
Earlier in the day the cars and RVs were so packed in the parking spaces that a photo was impossible.

The Eagle lady died several years ago. She had a small camper on the spit and collected fish guts from the cleaning stations. This she stored in freezers and fed the eagles all year log. Tourists came especially to meet her and to view the eagles.
Since her death, the eagle population has dwindled.

This non working lighthouse is now combined with several other old building and log cabins as a bar and cafe. It is the only non-working light house to retain the right to a lighted beacon because it is on the site of the orginal light house.

The Homer piers are home to thousands of fishing, charter and pleasure boats. Notice the glaciers topping the mountains along the horizon.

The sun is blinding as we leave Homer. Shining on flowers, mountains and glaciers, and tourists.

A visitor from Chicago offered to take our final photo at the visitor's overlook.
Lynne and Dale will remain a few more days at First Baptist Soldotna to complete some repairs.
I will be returning to Anchorage for book signings at Costco.
It's raining again!

Monday, August 2, 2010

July 25-31

This was our last week of camp. We hosted pastors and their families, cooking and then cleaning.
On my last visit to the farmer's market I said good by to friends. Starr, a sseamstress, was completing an elkskin dress for a native woman. The woman had
hand beaded the lovely collar shown. Perhaps she would wear the dress at the Eskimo Olympic dances.
On Sunday Delta Junction celebrated its 50 year birthday. Originally called Buffalo Center when the AlCan was joined to the Richardson high, the tiny settlement changed its name to Delta Junction.
Buffalo burgers were served to over 5,000 residents and past residents who had come for the celebration.

This four flavored, four sheet pan sized cake and stacks of cupcakes and icecream from the local dairy, were a crowd pleaser.

One of Alaska's colorful residents is the trapper dressed in a leather vest over a bare chest, jeans (of course) and combat boots.

Look closely at the large man in the white shirt. He is a politician stomping for votes and carrying an unconcealed handgun on his belt.

The following photos are of paintings by Alaskan artist, Silvia Pecota.
They depict some of the Eskimo olympic events.
This is the knuckle hop. It tests the person's capacity to endure pain. With only knuckles and toes touching the floor, he competes to travel the longest distance.

The head pull is similar to tug-a-war, but with single competitors. A leather loop is placed over their heads. The one who succeeds is pulling it off his opponent's head or pulling him over the line is the winner.
The more painful ear pull has contests facing each other with a loop of cord joining opposite ears. They try to pull the loop off, causing pain and blood. The goal is endurance.

The Eagle carry is one of endurance, strength, and determination. The competor's rigid body must not touch the ground while he is being carried over a course.

Similar to a trampoline, the blanket toss is aseal or walrus or whale skin that is pulled tight. The umper does flips and turns and must land upright.

The kneel jump trains hunters to jump from moving ice floes. The athlete kneels on the ice, buttocks
resting on his heels. He swings his arms for momentum and jumps as far as possible.
This is similar to the scissors jump.

The Alaskan high kick is one of balance, control and consentraion. While supporting himself on one hand, the athlete has to kick a target with one foot extended in an overhead position. He must land on the kicking foot and not
The agility and determination demonstrated in these games is amazing.

I left Delta on Friday morning and held a book signing in Palmer at Fireside Books.
I'll keep in touch. The next couple of weeks will be volunteering in different areas.
Weather has been unusually warm, 50 to70 with rain.
Stay tuned!