Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SWANSONS: Trails at The Creamery Refuge

At right - Swanson's house and garden in the birch grove. Note the moose electric fence!

Click here to VIEW a sample of today’s pictures

Goodness it does feel strange to go to bed at midnight and have the sun still streaming in through the windows! But we have the windows open so the fresh air feels great! (Good screens, although the mosquitoes have been a rare sight up here so far!)

A rather lazy morning, although Dave does have to get up and going on a field trip today with the university class. The rest of us work around the house: Rick and Annika do some weedwacking, Sarah mows the lawn, Shelli and I pick and process A LOT of chard and kale for the freezer. Around noon we load up the truck with a dump run.

For the afternoon, Sarah goes to work at the Pearl Creek School Garden and the four of us head down to The Creamery and the Wildlife Bird Refuge. Mac’s office is right in the middle of it, so we stop in to say hi! We are heading out to Mac’s on Sunday for a salmon BBQ! I find his office (with Shelli steering me in the right direction) with the sign “Mac’s Hole” above the door! We have a good short visit (he is working after all!) and then head out to walk a trail or two through the refuge.

The big sandhill crane festival is in August, but there are already a few cranes present. Our big surprise was seeing a bald eagle fly in and land on the same pond as the cranes, only on the other side. We couldn’t really see well what the eagle was eating, maybe a goose, but he sat on pond’s edge for awhile eating away. The cranes settled down again once they knew they weren’t in danger.

Shelli knows the sounds of so many birds, it is always fun taking a walk with her! We went out to the Bird Observatory and then back through the woods a short ways on Chickadee Trail. (Mac had warned us against the woods trails as they were more “buggy”). The Creamery is a former dairy farm that closed in 1969 and was given to the state for development as a refuge. Beautiful fields that are planted with bird loving grains!

A stop at Hot Licks, the local ice cream shoppe, for a treat and then back to the house. Annika and I work on a little artwork while Shelli prepares yak meatloaf for dinner! We drew one of the columbine pictures that I took from out in their garden.

After dinner Dave showed us some of the pictures from his work up in the Brooks Range, plotting permafrost melting sites and finding good locations for some new weather stations. It was interesting to see some of what he is doing and to see the countryside.

Our late-evening entertainment was watching Dave and Shelli try to kill some of the fruit flies that seem to have made the kitchen counter home – in the flower vase and peaches and nectarines.

Earlier to bed tonight!

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