Friday, July 31, 2009

Final post for July

Whew, one more post to squeeze in! Last day of July...School starts in just over 2 weeks around here. The State Fair starts in 3 weeks. Moose hunting season for our area starts just after that....

Speaking of moose, they rampaged our garden, several times over the past couple of weeks! Argh!! Sorry, no pics of the moose in the garden. I've had requests for them but it's not the first thing I think to do when I see a couple of moose nonchalantly pulling up and chewing on my Brocolli, Cabbage & Cauliflower plants! I'll try to think of it next time, if Scott's here to run out there with Sissy instead of me.

Yelling and throwing rocks do not scare them. Sissy, tho, is getting rather good at running up behind them then barking, startling them enough that they run a few feet away from it, then gradually back into the woods. What isn't getting pulled out and or chewed up is getting trampled...grrrrr. I go thru the garden after they're chased out and try to replant some of the things they pulled, if it looks like a survivor. They might just grow, for a few more days...

The green beans are just about ready to pick, if they survive, and I did pick out a couple of Zucs! Hmmm, what to make first, zuc bread, zuc cookies, zuc cake (you really can't tell it's in there-for those who might be thinking ewwww), or cooked with Halibut, or in spaghetti sauce....I hope I have a few to make all of the above and more! They aren't a favorite of the moose but if nothing else is available (since they ate most everything else) it will be at least tasted.

Other news, I finally finished a few cards this week. I wanted to make some sympathy cards for Scott, his folks and a rubber stamp card swapper group friend (that's a mouthful). I had been thinking too hard ("stressing" as Scott would put it) as to what to make for Sympathy cards. After seeing some "Thinking of You" sympathy cards I felt better, turning my focus to that theme in my head tho also keeping in mind sympathy so not cutsy.

I had some stamps from OnyxXpressions I hadn't used yet and thought of making a card similar to one the owner had made and posted on her site. 'Course when I went back to look at it again, it wasn't there. Well, the main thing I needed to remember, as Cheryl posts in several areas, is that with using her black rubber detailed stamps, the best impression is made using chalk ink on glossy cardstock. Some of her stamps are soooo detailed, with big surfaces, shading dots, and all, I couldn't believe all parts of it would be inked and leave an impression, esp. one that wasn't just a blob.

I decided to try green chalk ink on glossy cardstock, since it was a tree scene tho a silhouette, and I like greens. I made 3, using 2 different greens on 2 then both greens on 1. The Colorbox Deep Green (dark) chalk ink was very wet so on the first try it was a big green blob. I didn't throw it away but I'll use it for something else, maybe... I tried it again but using a light hand with inking and impression and it came out better, tho still not with all the detail. Next I tried the Fresco Giovanni's Garden chalk ink which is a lighter green and had a dryer pad (fabric, not the foam pad). I had to ink the stamp alot but it came out a bit more clearer. On the third, I used the Fresco ink then highlighted it (highlight a silhouette?) with smaller tree stamps using the darker green Colorbox ink (after stamping off on scrap so it wasn't so wet). Even using the same green inks, the impressions came out slightly different shades on each card. I liked them but in comparing these images with the stamp image on the website, I can see that all of the detailed shading is not showing up other than as a dark blob. Maybe with practice and more experimenting with different brands & colors of chalk ink I may see something similar. Hmm, kinda like a restaurant food advertisement. : )

After allowing the ink to dry for a bit, I used some tissue to buff the glossy cardstock. It lightened the ink a bit more and gave it all a nice shine. Next, I lightly sponged a bit of T.H. Distress ink Antique Linen and a little more of the green chalk ink around the sky to tone down the bright white of the glossy cardstock (and blend some of the blobby shading detail).

Each card ended up as a different shade of green cardstock to match the different greens in the images. To bring out the brownish tone of the distress ink sponged on it I added light brown cardstock to frame the image and a sheer gold ribbon (looks tan). I didn't take pics or scans of each of them before they went out into the mail since they were the same, just different shades of green.

Stamps: Tree images-Mountain Shadows, Pine Trio-OnyxXpressions; Thinking of you-unknown
Ink: Fresco-Giovanni's Garden (image), Tim Holtz Distress Ink-Antique Linen (light background fill), Versafine-Olympia Green (sentiment)

This all came about after a week of working at it an hour here and there in the evenings, before bed. Now that they're finished, I wonder what all the "stress" was about last week, trying to make decisions! Just do it, go with it, what ever it is! Don't be anxious about anything..... ah, that verse. Also helps to not be distracted by other things that need to be done or the tv. : )

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Scout Ridge Overlook Access Trail

Saturday, Scott met with a man who wanted to set some big rocks at a trailhead as a memorial to his son, Tyler Beckham. His son had died in a snowmachining accident a couple of years ago. The trailhead, overlook and placing of signage on this state trail was part of Tyler's Eagle Scout project. He died that winter after completing it and was awarded his Eagle Scout honor at his memorial.

In a round-about way, Scott was referred to Joe as a man with a backhoe to move big rocks, involved in trail projects and who lived close to the trail head so likely available to help out. Scott was more than willing to help so we headed on over to meet him at the trail head that evening, just about 10 miles down the road from our home.

While the men talked, I checked out the area.

Tyler had built and placed this sign kiosk at the trailhead. This side of it had the standard state provided material about animals, regulations, etc.

The other side had this map of the trail
And a memorial sign from the State of AK

The Overlook was just a short way down the trail. Tyler had built a nice, covered spot with a bench from which to enjoy the view across the flats to the mountains beyond. It was even made handicap accessible with a long ramp up to it.

View of the "Hay flats" from the Overlook. More of a wetlands, it's swampy in spots and not used for hay production, mostly bird watching, the seasonal duck hunting & fishing, inlet overflow...

Same view zoomed in on my little lens. Somewhere over there, beyond the flats, before the mountain, is the highway to Anchorage.

The state had placed a big, beautiful, colored and informative sign on the trail below the Overlook. Hmm, may not be able to read these little pictures.

I didn't walk the full loop, not without telling the guys where I would be headed. But I couldn't pass up this interesting shot along the trail.

Their plan laid out for the next day, and mosquitoes biting, we were soon headed back home.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Need more Flowers!

I think we need more flowers, something summery & colorful.

Last Sunday afternoon we had walked down to our neighbors' to chat. Knowing Lore is sucessful at growing flowers of many types & colors (unlike me) I brought the camera. It was an overcast day, good for pictures though we were hoping for some sprinkles to help keep things growing and the burn (fire) scare down. Big wild fires were raging in the hot, dry north of Alaska, thankfully not close to us.

Here's a few of her flowers to enjoy, and try to remember the names of... Next time I should take a notebook or something to write them down. I'm drawing a blank on some of these now.


This last bunch are petite, only about a foot tall!

Non-lilies! (?)

Iceland Blue Poppy, one of 2 kinds she has, grows 3 feet tall!

Colorful Sweet pea blooms climbing a tree trunk.

Purple velvet pansies

Ok, I have to include 1 dog picture...While I'm distracting Lore, talking of flowers, Pookie, one of her 2 chihuahuas, decides to check out the strawberry patch.
Nope, no red, ripe berries yet. Lore hollered, so she's working her way out now.

Sigh, flowers, I feel much better.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I took a break from my daily routine to work on some cards. I figured it would cheer me up, and put some color and creativity into my day!

I had stamped a few of these images for a swap a few weeks ago plus a few extra for me in hopes it would motivate me to use them sooner than later. I've had this stamp for several years but had not used it yet. Now is a good time! This verse, Prov. 3:5-6, has encouraged me over the years and is helping me now as I make these cards to (hopefully) encourage others. I have the full verse on another little stamp that I used on the inside left panel then I stamped "Thinking of You" on the right inside panel, leaving room to add a penned note.

Here's another color variation of the same card (without ribbon).

Stamp: Biblical Impressions Ink: VersaFine Onyx Black, Tombow markers (color) Cuttlebug Embossing Folder: Hearts

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Kona died on Saturday, 7/18. He was guesstimated to be around 1 1/2 yrs old.

Young, handsome, social, cuddly, yet stubborn & ornery. It seems he spent much of his life on antibiotics fighting infections, sores that wouldn't heal for 5+ months, leg injuries, sore mouth, etc. but that didn't slow him down too much or for more than a few days at a time, unless we made him to (for his health). He always seemed to pull through whatever ailment, except this last time.

His sister kept him active, always wanting to play, run & wrestle. He loved attention, moping when we tried to give Sissy some instead of him or barking at her to play with him. He kept an eye on us people, laying around near us whether we were working in the garden or in the shop, playing around on the computers or watching TV, or sleeping. He also enjoyed his romps around our big yard and into the woods, grazing on grass, chasing birds or even moose (Argh!!), and hunting mice or shrews with his sister. He didn't enjoy riding in vehicles but he wasn't gonna be left behind or miss out on whatever might happen at the end of the trip in case it involved new trails to run on or new dogs to check out or water to play in.

June 2008, ~4 months old.

Kona's first shower in our home July 2008.

Made to stay, he kept an eye on Scott as he walked off to check the trail. His first ride, Sept 2008.

Kona's Dish Network, late Sept 2008. His first cone made his ears stay up if he shook his head right. He wore cones for about 5 months, poor little guy. He tolerated it so well.

Playmates, siblings, constant companions. First Christmas and big snow, Dec 2008.

Checking me out at the window... I hear you, can I come in?

Scott's 32 lb. lap dog.

He had a short, tho sickly at times, active life. We all (esp. Sissy) miss him dearly.

It's been a tough weekend emotionally. A tough couple of weeks, beginning with Keith's death on 7/6.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I've been keeping busy while Scott's away at his folks. We've got our own little heat wave going on up here in AK, boy it's Hot, for me anyway!! It's gotten up to 80 a few times, way too hot for me! This is why I (well, one of the reasons why I willingly) moved to AK, to escape the heat. At least we don't have the humidity of the midwest and southern states, for that I'm grateful. I broke out the shorts to wear around the house.

We haven't had any rain here at the house in a couple of weeks so I have to remember to water the garden early or late in the day. The lawn is on it's own, tho the dryness doesn't deter the hardy clover that seems to be taking it over. I've been going out in the evenings after dinner, when the sun has moved 'round behind the trees, to do some weeding in the garden. Remember, it's light almost 24 hours a day here in the summer. It's really noticeable when there isn't a cloud in the sky in this heat. About 10:30-11pm, I feel tired enough to stop. Also the mosquitoes think it's cool enough by then to go looking for a fresh meal so I head back inside with the dogs.

Saturday we had some clouds (but no rain) so I went on a flower hunt with the camera : ) I didn't have to go far!

Rose - transplant given to me by a neighbor a couple of years ago. (I think it needs some water...)

Shasta Daisies, growing in the garden and along the driveway!

Columbine in the garden

More Columbine in the garden

Fireweed - wild, natural, everywhere

You can tell the season by watching the Fireweed. It blooms from the bottom up. When blooms reach the top and open, we know the cold weather is not far off. Looks like we have a month or so before then, I hope!

Chamomile from the garden.

And clover in the lawn. Note to self: mow the lawn already! But it smells so good, esp. from the kitchen window!

Scott comes home from Florida tomorrow night.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sad ending to the holiday weekend

Keith 1964-2009

The continuation of our holiday weekend report....

Just after we had settled in to watch our movie in the camper Sunday night, Scott's Mom called to let us know his brother Keith was taken to the hospital. 5:45am Monday morning we were awakened by her calling to tell him Keith had just died. It was a big shock, but looking back, not entirely. We packed everything up and headed home.

Keith was only 44 yrs old. He had health problems over the past few years and had spent time in the hospital on several occassions. This all took a toll on his heart. They had implanted a defibrillator in his heart a few years ago but then he got an infection around one the of leads. Scar tissue prevented them from changing the lead out so doctors wanted to put a new device in his chest. Keith wasn't willing to go thru that surgery again anytime soon so he wore an external one for awhile.

No one knows for sure what happened Sunday night but they don't think the cause had anything to do with his heart. His weak heart could be partly why they couldn't stabilize him.

Tuesday, Scott flew down to be with his folks for the next week, to be together and to help them with alot of the stuff that needs to be done after something like this. I stayed home to take care of the business, our home and the dogs. It's easy for me to temporarily 'forget' or 'ignore' the sadness as I go about my daily routine; out of sight out of mind, 5000 miles away, but Scott's absence reminds me. I pray for peace and strength for the folks, and Scott, as they face each day. Keith had been living with his parents so his absence is a big adjustment for them, in more ways than one.

The picture is old and scanned, and not very clear, but it's the most recent one of him I could find at the moment (that wasn't of him in the hospital).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eureka! 4th of July weekend camping

Happy 4th of July!! I hope everyone had a fun and safe weekend!

Friends invited us to go camping and 4wheeling with them up near Eureka this holiday weekend. We were all happy to go, our first camping trip of the year! Yikes, how the summer is flying by! Scott started out the day by washing the outside of the camper & the pickup - before we even left! I thought that was done after a trip but it kept him busy, and it sure looked good when he was done! I made pasta salad, planned some meals and packed in most of the food and clothing stuff while he was cleaning and loading up the riding gear.

By 4pm Friday we were on the road to Eureka! I entertained myself by taking pictures of the mountains with trees or power poles whizzing by : )

We had quite the V iew out the front too.

Here's the Mantanuska Glacier (before it disappeared from view). The dirty looking stuff is also part of the glacier, the silt and rock being left behind but still mixed with snow.

Alascom Hill - has the AT&T Alascom tower at the top. We'll be camping across from it just off the highway in a gravel area then ride the road up to it on our 4wheelers Saturday.

We've reached camp and setup our luxurious accomodations (notice the shine coming from the clean truck?) : )

Altogether we were quite the group: 12 adults, 6 children & 10 dogs -> 3 campers, 2 large tents & 1 pickup (front seat). We weren't the last to arrive but it was late so we just hung out by the campfire that evening, keeping an eye on the dogs getting to know one another. I took mostly doggy pics but I won't bore you with all of those : )

Saturday started out warm and sunny. We all got ready for a ride but a couple of the machines weren't working right. After a few hours of waiting as they worked on them the storm clouds moved in. The riding group dwindled; only the diehards (and our Sissy dog) left to ride. The rest of us (3 ladies, guy with sad atvs, all the kids and dogs except Sissy) hung out in the campers. They were only gone a few hours, coming back rather wet.

Here's our rigs, before we loaded our stuff on. Mine's on the left with the standard tires.

Later, after dinner, the clouds had cleared so Scott and I headed across the highway to go up the Alascom Hill with Sissy and Kona riding behind us.

Alascom Hill from the highway.

View looking toward the highway from atop Alascom Hill. The highway is the the light colored line running horizontal across the pic, just below the top of the green/dark "hill" in the distance.

View from the top looking another direction.

Kona, checking out the view.

Sissy... actually she's watching & listening to the bushes rustling right in front of her, waiting to pounce on whatever comes out, hopefully Kona.

The 3 of them enjoying the view. Ok, yes, I caught Kona blinking at that very moment and by the time he opened them the 'moment' was lost on everyone, esp. the dogs. I had switched to black and white for a few pics to see how they'd come out with the scenery. (think Ansel Adams, I wish!)

It may be kinda hard to see much detail in these small pics, they look dark, but definitely a medium I'd like to play with more.

Sunday, all of the group except us packed up to head home. We weren't in a hurry and didn't plan to leave until Monday morning : ) We headed out for another ride in the area near the Alascom tower, to Goober Lake. Beyond that point the trail narrowed, zig zaging down a rather steep hillside. We started down but Scott decided (whew!) it wouldn't be fun coming back up once we finally got down to the bottom. He had been out there on snowmachine before, a little easier ride. It was a good ride, mud holes and all : ) We were all pretty hot and dirty when we got back to the camper.

Kona headed right to a pile of padding for a nap while we were still unpacking our gear

After dinner and hot showers we settled in to watch a movie, in our luxury suite of a camper : )