Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ski trip, snow cave and snow machine tour

This weekend's theme was outdoors!
On Saturday we went skiing on trails nearby. We reached the so-called "upper upper crossing" of one of the many streams there are in surroundings. The weather was mild and skiing in quiet forest was perfect start for the day.

This weekend's theme was outdoors!
On Saturday we went skiing on trails nearby. We reached the so-called "upper upper crossing" of one of the many streams there are in surroundings. The weather was mild and skiing in quiet forest was perfect start for the day.

Julien had some fun with Lola the black labrador in our yard

The Saturday night was exciting! You see, we had dug a snow cave inside one of the big snow piles Scott plowed before and we decided to have some experiment for maybe upcoming big trip. So we borrowed mattresses, prepared some extra clothes just in case and grabbed our sleeping bags. And we were ready to sleep inside the cave! :D Julien, experienced that before, was snoring before Piia had time to dig herself inside the sleeping bag. Piia, the first-time cave-sleeper had some trouble to stay warm but with help of an extra mattress and extra clothes she managed to sleep as well. Another enjoyable experience. And if the kids or the warming weather don't bust the cave, we'll do it again!

On Sunday afternoon we started a snow machine trip to Colorado Creek cabin. Kerry and her friend Sandra had dog teams ready and they mushed all the way to the cabin and we led the way with some water, fire wood and hay for them. The trail was a dream for everyone who likes mushing. There were some really nice curves, uphills, downhills, followed by another curve. Really perfect! Even by a snow machine it was amazing. The dogs did a great job so we end up in the cabin pretty fast. There we gave some snacks to the dogs, put some straw and take a snack for ourselves in the nice and warmed cabin. After some quality time talking with Sandra and Kerry we hit the trail again to the way back. The sky was clear, and the sunset amazing on the hills! The trail crossed some forest and forest/tundra area so we had a great view to our surrounding. Really beautiful!




 The way back

That was our outdooor weekend and we are looking forward the next one: a race is planned at Pleasant Valley store, you can count on us, we will be there with cameras!

A video of the snowmachine trip... A bit moving but well...

Chena Hot Springs road & Resort

Last Thursday after work we decided to celebrate the sunny and chilly afternoon by driving to the Chena Hot Springs Resort. It is located at the end of the Chena Hot Springs road by which we live. So basically we just kept driving along the road about 30 miles and arrived at the resort. The funny thing about Alaskan main roads is that first of all, there aren't so many, and second of all, even the quite big roads seem to suddenly end in middle of nowhere, like the Chena Hot Springs Road. And many towns here, like Juneau, the third biggest town in Alaska, aren't accessible by roads at all.

The driveway to the resort is surrounded by White Mountains of Yukon-Tanana Upland hills and pretty nice landscape again, which we enjoyed a lot.

Chena Hot Springs Resort is a small community and has become famous for healing mineral waters that you can experience in a natural outdoor hot spring rock lake. The temperature outside was about -10 °C and dropping when we got to the pool, and the water was +41 °C heated by geothermal system. What a relaxation! Actually, we weren't stressed, because everytime something starts to bother us, we just remind ourselves "We are in Alaska!" :) but surely it was nice to just sit in water and enjoy  the cold in your face and warm in your body. We were sure even the cores of our bones were warm. The lake isn't so big so we were lucky that the resort wasn't crowded. It was peaceful and we enjoyed the cooling evening. Recommended!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Landscapes of Alaska

A couple of video clips...

The first one is from a drive from Willow to Anchrorage. It's a bit shaky but we hope you get some idea of the landscape we saw there :). You can see mountains from Chugach State Park.

The second video is shot from an airplane from Anchorage back to Fairbanks. Here you can see the Talkeetna Mountains, and you bet, the travel went fast just by looking out of the window!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Barn

So as we may have mentioned before, Scott and Kerry have a quite impressive agriculture going on in their property. Basically we are talking about getting all the milk and eggs that you need from your backyard and also some meat. We have seen it takes a lot of work to do and we've been happy to help whenever we can with the animals they take care of. And we've got some great experiences out of it!

In the barn there are two henhouses.

In the first one live the younger chickens with Owen the Rooster and five ducks. There is also a quail making funny whistling noises.

In the second one live the older chickens with Henry the Rooster and also a bunny called Frenchie. The hens and the ducks provide eggs, usually around 10 per day.

For taking care of these animals you gotta change and add water and add some food. Also collecting eggs is a very important task. Getting them inside the house without breaking is another thing...

Then there are five does, two of them provide milk at the moment.

To have goat milk you have to have kids (baby goats), so at the moment there are four fast, friendly and curious kids.

Here a video of the goats and chickens in the barn! :)

Milking the does happens in the morning time, and on Sunday we were brave enough to try that.

It took time to realize when and how to press but I think we both figured out at the end. I'm sure we will have enough practise to be professionals, like Scott is, eventually.

And video of Scott doing it and, well, Piia trying, really hard!

Two of the does will have kids soon and then the milking starts to run every morning and evening. Maybe we book our milking in the evening time, since waking up 5:30 sounds like night, not morning :).

The goat routines include changing the water and adding hay.

In the evening the kids are separated from the does so the does will have milk in the morning. And in the morning the kids are released back to the does.

It's a fast show!

Sometimes we find one of the kids out of their stall and standing in the hay bucket, they seem to be very good climbers though they are pretty small!

In the "smelly barn" there are two bucks. For Julien they smell like goat cheese. For Piia it's still just smell. For them we also change the water and add hay. And from the hay barn we get more food for the does and kids.

The cleaning is easy since all the floors are compost floors so no need to change the straw or other bedding. You just have to add straw and the older straw under will decompose little by little.

Occasionally we also see a boreal owl in the hay barn :).

It's a part of our Alaskan experience, and we are pretty amazed ourselves! :)