Cruising Glacier Bay In Alaska

September 22, 2007

Awe-inspiring. Stunning. Wondrous. Magnificent. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe Glacier Bay.

Did you know Glacier Bay is a national park? Further, it is a World Heritage Site, “the principal recognition given to natural and cultural areas of universal significance.” It can only be reached by boat or plane. When a cruise ship enters Glacier Bay they take on at least one Park Ranger, who gives a running commentary on what there is to see.

Obviously, there are glaciers. Since these touch water, they are all “Tidewater Glaciers.” The park includes around 12 that calve into the bay. Unfortunately, though we sat in front of a couple of them for half an hour or so, we didn’t get to see that spectacular phenomenon.

We saw birds and seals,

but otherwise, it was a landscape on a grandiose scale.

The mountains of the Fairweather Range are huge.

It’s hard to get a perspective on how truly monumental they are. We got a clue when we got close to one glacier, saw a cruise ship that was still a mile away from the glacier and it looked dwarfed, and were told we were still 7 miles away.

As you can see, it was a big ship. It just looked small next to the glacier.

Glacier Bay is truly natural beauty on an awe-inspiring scale.

A Whale Of A Good Time!

September 20, 2007

Tuesday we went on a Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest. In a word, it was AWESOME.

We barely got out to see until there were Orca Whales diving around the boat. (Of course, we know Orca Whales are really dolphins, so why are they called whales?) The naturalist on board the boat declared they didn’t usually see Orcas, so we were quite fortunate.

Further out to sea, we saw humpback whales. LOTS of humpback whales.
There is a big difference between low and high tide, generally 15-25 feet. This activity stirs up the nutrients in the water. Also, there is a narrow channel that further compresses the food in one place, so the whales like to congregate there.
The only disappointment was none of the whales actually came up out of the water. We just saw a lot of backs and flukes.

We also saw an island positively covered with Stellar Seals on one end. Making lots of noise! On the same island, there were 2 eagles perched, one on a sign, and one on top of the hill.

It was so cool to see all these animals, and the scenery was breathtaking. Mountains and snow and glaciers and clear blue skies. Phenomenal.

It was hard to choose which pictures to use – all you had to do was snap the shutter and you were bound to get some beautiful photos. But most of them will have to wait. Internet service is mucho expensive on board and it takes a long time to load photos.

So more to come… but probably not until I’m home again!

Busy as a Bee!

September 1, 2007

Bang, bang, bang! I can’t decide if I feel like I’m sitting in the middle of a shooting gallery, or it sounds like someone shooting off fireworks. Dove hunting season began at 12 noon here, and there are obviously LOTS of hunters busy taking advantage of it.

According to Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, the mourning dove is the most hunted migratory game bird in North America. I believe it, and I think every possible hunter is out there for the start of the season. The dove may be the symbol of peace, but they’ll be in pieces if they show a feather today.

While hunters are busy terminating doves, here on the farm we’re hoping for new life. One of the peahens is sitting on 4 eggs. It sure would be nice to see some little peachicks running around in the aviary. It just hasn’t been our year for peachicks. So far, zilch, nada, none.

While the hunters were after doves and the peahen sitting on her eggs, The Farmer was busy mowing the back yard today. This is news because it’s the first time he’s done it in years. We sold off the majority of our sheep and goats, and don’t have enough left to keep the grass eaten down like we used to.

He also tried out the new chainsaw he bought today. His previous chainsaw expired from old age. He sent it to the shop to be fixed and the bolts fell apart. Yeah, you could say it was extremely old.

While The Farmer was busy checking out his new chainsaw, some old trouble showed up to see what was happening. And what’s the biggest source of trouble on the farm? Why, the ornery little goats of course.

The one busy chewing Farmer’s pants is his special pet, a cashmere goat named Tom Thumb. He is the rare goat that would rather be petted than eat cracked corn.

And while the hunters hunted, the peafowl sat, and The Farmer sawed, there were bees and bugs busy gathering nectar from the newly blooming Sedum ‘Matrona’.

All around the area today, people and critters were busy as bees!

Many Happy Returns

August 6, 2007

After a very busy Saturday, we were glad to be finished with chores and headed back to the house. We made it to back porch when we heard a loud “whoosh!”

Imagine our surprise when we discovered the peahen we thought lost for good had just made a landing in a nearby tree! We hoped she’d fly right down in the yard and go over to the aviary, but she remained stolidly in place.

While she was spending the night in the tree in the back yard, we had another night time visitor in the front yard. I’d left the old peafowl eggs in a bucket on the front sidewalk, hoping to entice the raccoon back so I could take a picture. Instead, there was an opossum helping himself to a free meal: Sunday morning when The Farmer got up and looked out, the peahen was still perched in the tree. However, by the time I went out to do chores, she was on the ground and walking up and down the outside of the aviary with her sister on the inside doing the same.

I think all that time on her own addled her brains, because she couldn’t seem to SEE the open doors and go back inside. I tried opening the back door and easing her in, but she got flustered and wouldn’t go near the door. I was afraid she’d take flight again, so I gave up on that.Then I tried the new front door, and she walked past in a couple of times without any inclination to go in. Finally her sister poked her head out the door and she got the idea she could get back in by going through that space.

Thus ends the “Peafowl on the Loose” saga with each and every one of them finally back at home. That’s many happy returns indeed!

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