Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hello From Alaska


Day 1

One of the views from our trip near the Turnagain Arm area.

I am having a holiday visiting the homestead where I was raised, and signing a few copies of the book, "Just Breathing the Air."  I hope to post more pictures and stories later. 

Day 2

If you click for a larger view, you might be able to see this loon on the lake; the same lake that my father took us on for sailboat and row boat rides in the 1950's.  The homestead is not the same, without the people that made it into the adventure that it was, but I am going to enjoy the sweet solitude of the beautiful lake. The house is completely gone, and all the out buildings, but there are many reminders left: the well, and pieces of the little dock where we tied up the skiff.    They say you can tell the measurement of a lake by how many loons live there.  I saw only one, so far, but in the old times there could be 10. 

I took this photograph from the shore on the part of the homestead property (originally 160 acres) where Mother and Daddy first built a temporary cabin to live in, and where Mother first rowed the boat her husband built for her, to pick a bowl of water lilies, which you see in the distance there. Please click on the picture for a beautiful view!

This is the over-grown path to the lake, viewed from where the Big House once sat. Click on for a larger view.  My father discouraged complaining or any kind of negative talk, saying we should be just happy to be alive, and just glad to be breathing the air.

This is near the area where the first little, temporary cabin was built to house them through one winter and a summer while the Big House, about a quarter of a mile further up the lake, was being built. My father and mother chose a hill between two lakes to build the Big House, which was a name used to distinguish it from the temporary cabin, meaning it was a permanent residence.

Here we found hundreds of strawberries, no doubt spreading from Mother's original strawberry patch. They are pale peach in color when ripe, and the vine stands in a crook type loop up off the ground so that the berries will not get wet or lay in the ground. They smell like cotton candy.

Day 3 and 4: Visiting friends.

Day 5

One of the scenes on a trip to Seward

Fireweed in bloom.

Along certain sections of this glacier are signs with dates showing how much it has melted since the 1800's.

Day 6

Ninilchik, historic Russian fishing village at the mouth of the Ninilchik River. Originally, the residents spoke a Russian dialect called Ninilchik. This is the view to the west, from the top of the bluff.

View of Ninilchik from the river, looking east toward the bluff. I saw this town many times 40 years ago, and always thought it rather mysterious. Today it looks the same size, and very little chnge has taken place. The Russian fishing boats are still in their little harbor, bearing names like "Volga" and Russian ladies names.

Day 7:  Some photographs of  Tea Time at the lake---who could resist it in such a setting!

Click on for a better look.

This beautiful bouquet consists of various shades of yarrow, clover and other natural things from the area. I used it on one of the outdoor tea tables.

The strawberries were picked from the forest near the lake. They are a special northern berry that grows up off the ground and smells like cotton candy. Although they are pale in color and do not look ripe at all, they are very, very sweet.

If you click on for a larger view, you can see the fireweed surrounded by ferns in a bouquet in the kerr canning jar on the left, picked from the hill behind the lake.

I enjoyed looking through an old window frame from our house that once stood on a hill above the lake. Regrettably, I will not be able to take the frame home with me. It will not fit in my pink suitcase, and cannot go separately. After I watched the way baggage is treated, I would not risk taking it.  It is better off where it is.

Our view from those big picture windows in the log house was the same then as it is today.

Day 8

Many moose but no mosquitoes. I am glad I saw this one from the window of the vehicle instead of while walking on a trail.
After that, a bit of refinement to soften the edges, by a visit to a Victorian shop:
posted with permission from Donna in Soldotna

and another tea table with a framed view of the forest, using a part of the original window from the log house.

The scones on the outdoor tea table are called "Butter and Cream Scones" from the May/June issue of Victoria magazine; one of their blue issues. The recipe is on page 88 and may also be available online. Non-dairy users can substitute olive oil and flax meal for the butter and cream.  Course flour works very well with this (unrefined) and I used unbleached flour for one batch of them. The recipe is also included in one of the "Bliss" special editions (the one with the blue scene on the front--the first one that was issued last year).

My pink suitcase was the only one I could find at a discount store so late in the season, and it got quite a beating. I got to see it loaded, unloaded, tossed, slammed down, and kicked, as I watched out the window where I sat in the airplane. I have given up packing  tea cups for any of my friends.

I quit the wilderness one afternoon and went to the fabric store to buy this fabric. It is a quilter's fabric that feels like rayon and sews up so easily; a woven with a lot of "give." The buttons just matched the print. I made a skirt and blouse because I was so careful not to over-load my suitcase that I did not pack enough clothing. The limit is 50 pounds and mine was only 35. I think I can take back a lot more, but I saw how mean the airport crew treated my pink suitcase, throwing it about, so whatever I take back with me will be soft, like this fabric.  Buying fabric is so much easier than it was years ago when we ordered it from a catalog and waited 3 months! 
The skirt and blouse looks almost the color of the fireweed.

Day 8

A visit to the house we lived in a few years in the town of Homer, where we fished for crab, shrimp and halibut for a living. We also sold huge amounts of berries picked at Kasitna Bay and sold pinecones by the gunne sack. I knocked on the door and showed the current resident an old photograph of the house and she kindly let me come in and look around. It was the sweetest house, and as small as it looks, there were 5 bedrooms, plenty of room for all nine of us in the family.
Kachemak Bay

...not a very clear day for a picture of this marvellous scenery.

Day 9 

This is a paper birch bark tree on the homestead, down by the lake. I used this kind of bark for that quirky fake-cake I made a few posts ago.

Day 10

A trip to get more pictures of Kachemak Bay on a sunnier day.

Mt. Ilyamna, one of four volcanic mountains we used to be so familiar with, the others being Spurr, Redoubt and Augustine.  Redoubt blew up when we lived on the Homestead, covering it with a layer of ash, which later produced the biggest crop of vegetables we ever had.

Illyamna from the beach at Clam Gulch

The wild rose, which produces rose hips which are used for jam and syrup.

A visit to the Norman Lowell art gallery in Anchor Point. Norman and my father went on a few trips together to find wild life and art subjects, over 40 years ago, and I took art lessons from him when I was a girl.


Anonymous said...

I hope you have a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

How beautiful! I hope you have a lovely time and look forward to hearing from you again soon!


Don and Shelly said...

Lydia, good for you! The pictures look beautiful... what an adventure. I do hope you have a wonderful time!

Lydia said...

The last time I came, I was armed but did not find one single mosquito. This year it is the same.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy for your joyful days.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful....I just love those green hills. Thanks for sharing with us!


Far Above Rubies said...

How beautiful. We have missed you. Hope you're having a lovely time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,

I'm praying you will be safe and enjoy this time of remembrance. Its good to reflect.

Blessings, Mrs. J.

Anonymous said...

The scenery is so pretty. So nice you can revisit your childhood home again ~ hope your time there is filled with much happy reminiscing!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful area. It must have been just wonderful to grow up there. Your folks were brave!

Kimberline said...

Wishing you lots of lovely views and plenty of rest and relaxation in the wilderness. Those strawberries sound delicious. Will you try to bring some home again to plant? Maybe this time they will take! Thank you for sharing your vacation, Lydia!

Lara said...

Beautiful! I've always wanted to visit Alaska. Maybe one day! I hope you have a lovely time.
Many blessings

Mrs. V. said...

I hope you are having a lovely time. So many memories for you I'm sure. Thank you for taking time out to email me this week. I'm taking your words to heart.

Anonymous said...

It is a beautiful place and your post is just lovely. I don't know why, but there was something that made me terribly sad, though. Perhaps because so much that was so good is gone? I really don't know.


Anonymous said...

So pretty. Enjoy your trip and thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

My stay-cation has included your trip to Alaska and back to the homestead.
I so enjoy the tea by the lake today. Those strawberries are mouth watering. I feel like I'm there with you and I can smell the sweetness of the grasses, the air and the dampness of the lake. In my mind I can hear the Loons calling. Thank you bringing us along on your trip Lydia. You are a dear.
Mrs. J.

Lydia said...

I have not seen one mosquito since I came here. I remember though, in the old days, what a nuisance they were, especially when trying to sleep!

Anonymous said...

I heard that the mosquito in Alaska is so big it is known as the state bird.

Lydia said...

I've seen a lot of moose but no mosquitoes at all.

Anonymous said...

The "Tea Time" table and outdoor setting are so pretty - it's a lovely thing to do and makes it all so special to share.
It looks like a type of biscuit or shortcake in the back corner and some whipped cream...a delicious go-along with the fresh strawberries.
I also love the natural bouquet of wildflowers which goes perfectly with the whole setting.
The window frame looks like it could make a nice frame for a large picture.
Thanks for sharing your vacation journal with all the photos~

Mrs. V. said...

I'm so enjoying checking back each day to see new pictures! I love the idea of adding to the same post each day of your vacation. When it's time to leave, I hope you have a very safe journey back home.

Anonymous said...

So beautiful! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lydia for sharing the tea in the woods with us. How delightful to see a tea table with all the trimmings set up in the deep woods and a moose standing for the photo. Just delightful!

Mrs. J.

Lydia said...

I will be removing my book from Amazon and selling it only at where I will be lowering the price soon.

Anonymous said...

How beautiful! I enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing. :)

Deborah Swinson said...

Thanks for the visit to Alaska Lydia. We lived in Two Rivers for 11 years from 1993-2004. I also lived in Delta Junction for 3 years in the early 80's. I enjoy looking at your photos of your trip. We have a little patch here and there of fireweed where we live here in Coquille. It always makes me think of Alaska. The Natives told us that when the fireweed was done blooming it wasn't long before snow would come. I miss Alaska at times. We had a log house on 5 acres out in the woods. My youngest son lives in Anchorage with his family now. I loved the little town of Homer. We went there on a halibut charter once. That was an experience I won't forget!
May the Lord give you safe travel.

The Tablescaper said...

Looks like an amazing trip! It would be great to have you join us at Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

Lydia said...

the skirt and top looked much better ironed. I was trying to get a picture before it rained. It rained almost every day there!

Anonymous said...

What fun this post has been to follow! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

But I just HAVE to ask.....HOW did you pull off "tea" in the wilderness? Did you plan ahead and take all the linens, food, & tea things with you on your flight? And how did you manage to whip up that gorgeous dress? Did you bring your sewing machine & patterns along, too? I'm thinking there must be some more stories there somewhere, lol!

I love the idea of having tea while on vacation.....even camping in the do tell how you managed that.


Lydia said...

While I often bring my own tea bags and tea cups in my carry on tote, wrapped securely in bubble wrap (there is a bag that is made from quilted fabric, that serves as a tote for a tea cup), I find it too heavy to attempt to take a sewing machine, so my secret is to make email friends from the area I am going to visit, and they usually allow me to use their sewing machines. And I sometimes take unfinished clothing, already cut out, to sew, or shop a local sale. I like to shop at a fabric sstore when I get there and sort of match up the prints and colors to the surroundings that I am vacationing in. As for the tea cups and linens, the local thrift stores and secon-hand shops, and even some of the new merchandise on sale, yields the kind of thing I am looking for that re-creates that homestead look of the 1940's. The table can be a broken tree stump or just a board put across a stump, or a collapsible tray. You could also just spread a blanket on the ground for tea picnics like this.

Miss Linda said...

Thank you so much for sharing this special time with us. I have truly enjoyed looking through your lovely photographs. I pray you return safely home!

Trish said...

You must be re-living some wonderful memories, Lydia!
The natural beauty in your lovely photos is amazing!
It seems like you are really enjoying your journey back there :-)
What a blessing for you..Trish

Lydia said...

I am back in the lower-48, "Outside" as we called it in my Alaska years, and back to the heat wave here, but getting new ideas for Tea time and work and creativity and home living. Someone must have been reading my blog, because they were much nicer to my pink suitcase on the way home and not one thing was broken, nor any new damage on it. ;-) I forgot most of the things I was going to do up there, so I will have to go back. In the mean time there are plenty of things of interest around here: blackberries and apples are coming on in abundance and falling off the branches,sweet enough for pies and pretty enough just sitting in a bowl. I have my list still sitting on the sidebar with things I want to blog about, and of course a lot of unfinished sewing and homemaking projects here. There are a lot more photographs for this post, which I will add from time to time.