Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wild Alaska!

Right outside our Front Door!
It's common to hear tourists complain that they never get to see any wildlife while visiting Alaska.  We always look at them in surprise.  Then we take a drive somewhere and count moose, rabbits, grouse, and the occasional fox.  We don't see a lot of bear along the highway, but this year has changed all that.  We've seen at least two that I can remember.

We also tell everyone we've never seen a bear or any bear sign on our property.  We always credit our dog with being fearless about driving away any potential invaders.  She certainly spends enough time barking at what always seems to be nothing to our eyes and ears.  

Unfortunately, we have to change our story today.  DannyLee was about to step outside when he looked out the dining room window.  A large black bear was casually strolling past right next to the house.  He tracked it through the windows to the front yard and then called me to come take a look.  

This beast was happily munching grass in our front yard while our dog cowered in fear on the front porch.  She was happy to come inside and hide behind me.  

Apparently, she'd been sleeping while the bear was slipping around the back of the house and she wasn't too happy about it.  

We debated on our response and decided to pull out the whistle.  This bear was on the run with a couple of loud shouts and a few toots.  We were all happy to see it go!  

Bottom line is this is bear country and it's that time of year when they're eating everything in sight for the coming winter is already knocking on the door.  The trumpeter swans and geese started heading south a couple of weeks ago and there are already snow caps on the taller mountains.  Soon enough the tourists will disappear once again and we'll be looking at a long nine months of life in the bush.  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pesach Preparations Began in Y'srael This Year!

Fine Dining on Agrippa Street
With Pesach nearly upon us, I find myself scrambling to make our final preparations for our feast.  The time of Purim is my usual signal that it's time to get ready for Pesach but this year we celebrated Purim in the Land of Y'srael. We managed to get our lamb and matza on our last trip to Fairbanks.  The rest of the meal isn't so hard to put together from our regular grocery trips.  

I know some of you are still waiting to see pictures of our month-long respite from our winter weather.  Our time enjoying the winter "cold" of Y'srael was amazing.  Alaska managed to save some bitter cold for our return home to complicate things.  It looks like winter is finally losing it's grip here.  

The biggest problem is our internet access hasn't been working very well and uploading pictures is nearly impossible so I've stalled out on posting anything. Hopefully these things will find a way of working themselves out and we pray your Pesach celebration works out as well.  

Blessings,

SueJean & DannyLee

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Where Oh Where Did January GO?

SNOW FALLS, BLOWS, and DRIFTS!!!

January 31st, 2017
So, what does one do with oneself when there's no where to go and basically, no way to get there?  

For me, quilting keeps me sane as DannyLee sings and writes songs.  

Here are two more "Draftbuster" door quilts I made for the arctic entryway doors.  

 I make these quilts "free-style" from the measurements needed to cover the doorway generously and combining different styles until I've got something I like. This has a variety of "log cabin" style blocks and "3-D boxy stars" all cobbled together with bits of sashing. 

The "cow face" was from a "pillow print" and all of the fabric came from the thrift store including the heavy backing fabric that I used. 

The curtain rods swing the quilts out of the way when we want to use the door and I'll simply unclip them during the summer and put them in the linen closet. 

 I used a wool blanket in one of these, but it made the quilt way too heavy so I used plain batting in the second one. 

There's a rope threaded across the top of the quilt for the clips to grab onto and a stuffed door stopper at the bottom to hold the quilt against the bottom of the door and keep out any drafts. I made it from old socks on one and a bit of an old curtain stuffed with scraps and trimmings on the other. 

"Trip Around the World" in the snow!
 This is my latest quilt for the month that I started in December. The pattern is called "Trip Around the World" and all of the fabric is again scraps from the thrift store. 

It looks hard, but the technique is actually quite fast and easy as it uses strip piecing, nested seams, and goes together very fast. 

I was in love from the beginning and if I can get to it before the cat, this one's mine.  Unfortunately, she likes it too!
This is the back of the quilt that I pieced using all of the leftover fabric from the top and a few more odd blocks and scraps thrown in for good measure.

I made the binding from the same pile of scraps and it's too bad it doesn't show up in the pictures. It worked out great as it harmonizes with the top of the quilt and adds to the color on top. 

I've still got a couple more UFO's to work on before spring comes and we're back to lumberjacking! 



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy Hanukkah and Good-bye (GOOD RIDDANCE?) 2016


The Eighth Night of Hanukkah 2016
 The last night of Hanukkah is always the brightest and in a way, the saddest as we watch those last nine candles "race to the base" and contemplate the fate of those leftover candles we have every year.  I wonder how many years we have to keep Hanukkah before we don't have to buy a box of candles, but with the world in the state it is today, I'm too lazy to do the math or consider we might even have that much time left in the world. 

I have to laugh as I confess we had "American latkes" this year for our celebration.  DannyLee was confused when I told him about how I was going to circumvent any effort to make real latkes by simply baking some of my favorite tater tots instead.  

Bottom line: I hate frying anything and my latkes never come out that great and I love tater tots.  Oh, and yes, we had a couple of donuts for Hanukkah this year, but not fried and not homemade either.  (I know...I know!)  

Other news: We got nearly a foot of snow on the night of December 30th which was a strange kind of blessing.  In that one night we went from burning three bins of wood every 24 hours to burning 1 1/2 and feeling warmer to boot.  The truth is we don't have enough insulation in the attic and that "blanket" on the roof really helps. 

DannyLee is still working on this music and recently did some cool songs about Alaska. He's put together a special Alaskan CD just for friends so if you're interested....

I'm still quilting and here's my first completed quilt of 2017: 

"Quay-ze Quilt" - 2017
It's a jelly roll race done in Hawaiian prints for my Mom's BFF as a "cheering her up" gift.  My Mom said she likes lots of color and I didn't have anything more colorful than this pile of pieces I bought off of eBay.  The purple fabric is a felt-type to keep this lap quilt from sliding off onto the floor. 

That's all our news for now!

Blessings, 

SueJean & DannyLee