Author Archive

A Wednesday Moment!

April 2, 2014

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A Wednesday ritual*. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

*inspired by a great flower site –floret

A Wednesday Moment

March 12, 2014

A Wednesday Moment

A Wednesday ritual*. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

*inspired by a great flower site –floret

Spring and Off We Go…..

March 11, 2014
The morning steaming event.

The morning steaming event.

Our mostly mild winter here in Alaska has been trying to push us into spring. First we are warmer and cloudy, then sunny and cold but the warm and at least partially sunny is coming right around the corner.

The warmer winter this year  has allowed us to harvest things like Kale and Leeks all winter long. However it has many of us worried about the effect on the growing number of commercial peony fields and native berry crops. The lack of snow cover with  freezing and thawing cycles will extract a toll. It is just a matter of seeing how much once our warmer weather gets here.

A Wasilla peony farmer says he’s worried that recent warm Alaska weather will damage his crop.
Harry Davidson of North Star Peony says that the thaw-freeze cycle could kill the roots of his plants.
He planted about 7,500 roots of the perennials when he started his farm and estimates he’s lost half over the last two winters.
The plants lose thermal protection and when it gets cold again, it kills the roots.
Alaska peony growers last year harvested and sold more than 100,000 stems. Most were shipped out of state.

Recent weather!

Recent weather!

Our last short spell of cold, down into the single digits, seems to have left this portion of Alaska. The river is flowing, but still ice choked at times. At the same time the ground is slowly thawing, especially in the open areas.

For farmers, seeds and supplies are being ordered. Grow lights and greenhouses are being dusted off. CSA memberships are being offered and Farmers’ Markets organized.

Spring is coming forth, at least in the seed department

Spring is coming forth, at least in the seed department

Fishermen follow much the same cycle. Ordering nets and supplies. Outboards and boat engines are overhauled. Upgrades are being finished up. Processors are completing contracts and projected start dates for their plants.

Although many think of Alaska as ‘going quiet’ in the winter months, they are actually filled with a furious set of activities prepping to burst forward in a few short months.

Wednesday’s Moment

February 19, 2014

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A Wednesday ritual*. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

*inspired by a great flower site –floret

Wednesday’s Moment

February 5, 2014

sunset feb_4_2014 003

A Wednesday ritual*. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

*inspired by a great flower site –floret

Wednesday’s Moment

January 29, 2014
Just a moment in time.

Just a moment in time.

Just a moment captured in time. No explanation…just to share!

Updated–Rural Jobs & You CAN Help!!

January 29, 2013

UPDATE – This project must be funded with the full $14,000 or more by Wednesday, February 6 at 10:02pm EST or they will not get any of the funds. It is how these fund raising efforts work. In talking to one of the sisters the sight can take donations of ANY size so if you whatever you can help with is appreciated. (Yes, I am back on the Internet, UgaVic)

READ A REVIEW of their product line–where their bars of soap start at just $8!!

Ok, your help is needed and quickly, like in less than 2 weeks. For as little as $40 you can invest in and help a rural, Alaskan and woman owned business!!

Very few companies get started in the bush that can survive without a lot of dedication of the owners and locals who believe in them. Costs are higher than what most businesses face and the market is usually much smaller.

ARXOTICA is one example that has beat the odds so far and continues to grow, coming closer and closer to being a steady source of employment in the future.

Check out SOAP HOPE :


Soap Hope – Upscaling production helps us tackle Western Alaska’s economy


The abrupt tone here is because UgaVic has been off the “tubes” for 3 days now.

She is having problems getting/staying connected to the internet, another in the long list of  winter issues for rural Alaskans.

As this post is time dependent, I’m going to publish it before it is completed as UgaVic had  planned.

Please go look at the Rock the Post SOAP HOPE  and consider supporting our neighbors in their expansion venture.

Alaska Pi

One Small Step At A Time

January 20, 2013


The number of households that are keeping poultry has skyrocketed in the last 5 years. You hear all the time about cities changing their zoning and animal laws to allow for small numbers in a ‘backyard’ flock.

Zoning laws are seldom the reason chickens are not raised here in rural Alaska. Three issues affect our ability to raise chickens out here in Western Alaska: Getting the chicks out here alive in the first place, keeping predators at bay, and, of course, keeping them warm enough in the winter.

Most of us bring the chicks in via mail in the spring. You order weeks in advance and try to guess when the temperatures will be mild enough not to kill them off in transit.

It is most important that you  keep them at 90+ degrees for the first 3-5 weeks, as they feather out and can then regulate their body temperature.

Yes, heat lamps can help but I have found if the general room temperature is not at least 75 degrees they will just pile up on top of each other, under the heat lamps, to get warm and your losses will be huge.

When you run your household and business off as much as 70% renewable energy, wind in our case, loading on a few 250W  heat bulbs or a 1300-1500 W heat lamp the costs start to rise quickly, making the project less sustainable.

This year we decided to try something a little different, starting the process in the fall.

We got chicks the week before Thanksgiving, during one of the few weeks that had negative temperatures. The pilot on the mail plane was kind enough to make sure the box of babies was kept away from drafts, covered with a blanket and in the warmer area of the plane. As things went a couple, originally from Texas, that were on their way out of the area sat next to the box of chicks coming  IN from a Texas hatchery!!

They arrived quickly (less than 4 days) from the hatchery which greatly improves the chances of getting them off to a good start.

The first 2-3 days are the toughest so I have found if I keep them in a box or tub in our house, with a heat lamp or two, we can keep the rate of death to almost nothing. One small complication we found this time is that one of our (new at the time) kitties is a very determined hunter. Now the box or tub must have a screen or metal rack of some type over it at all times or we will find the count down and  stray feathers showing up here and there.

Into this adventure almost two months now, all seems to be working well. We have found  that our brooder, located in an outbuilding that has electricity but not heat,  works well down into the single digits for temperature. It is insulated between the concrete floor and bottom of the chicks, has some insulation on the top and sides and a couple of places for lights, heat or otherwise. We did not hook our 1500W infrared heater up this time and have not used the thermostat to turn off one of the heat lamps just yet.

Given our success this time we hope to use this same method through the summer and into the fall to try to raise more meat birds. They  are harder to raise than these replacement layers  but we are hopeful we can do it and have another source of meat.

There are number of other issues to consider -like figuring out alternative food sources for the frozen times of the year and housing so they can ‘free range’ once they are feathered out.

A chicken 'tractor' that allow poultry to be move around safely outside.

A chicken ‘tractor’ that allow poultry to be move around safely outside.

The possibilities for having local and ‘fresh’ sources of food seem to be possible, just working to figure out the details to make sure they are sustainable too!!

For Those Looking To Support…..

November 24, 2012

small and/or  local businesses, we have a few suggestions!

If you are wanting to spend part or all of your holiday dollars with small or local businesses we want to offer some you  might not have thought of:

If you are in the Central Square, NY and in need of a fresh-cut Christmas Tree, wreath or some fun times with the kids stop in at the Grace Farms and cut your own tree.


If you are looking for something, or a few things, that you can purchase from the comfort of your home, check out  Shepherd’s Flock, a true family-owned business for over 30 years.

Warm shearling slippers are just part of the items offered!

We recommend contacting them immediately if you find something you can not live without. One of our bloggers swears by the slippers, and as these are all hand-made, they  take some lead time to make and ship for the holidays.

Another long time family business ( please excuse a little self promotion) is Ugashik Wild Salmon Company. Located in Bristol Bay year around for the last 50 years this is another small family fishermen and family owned business. They offer Alaska Wild Salmon products starting at less than $30.

In keeping with the Alaskan small business theme, we believe you will find the works of one Alaska Native Artist a special treat. Nasugraq Rainey Hopson (Higbee) is an Inupiaq artist from the coastal village of Point Hope Alaska. She has a degree in Studio Art from Humboldt State University in Northern California. She now lives in the Brooks Range of Arctic Alaska in Anaktuvuk Pass with her husband and her four rambunctious working dogs.

Fossilized Walrus Ivory Necklace

She also carries a great line of body treatments and will work with those who have skin allergies or sensitivities. Just email her. At least one of our bloggers can swear by her foot soak! If you hurry you can make use of the discount she is offering for purchases made by the end of November- see the top of her Etsy pages!

Great Foot Soak!!

If you have other small local or family businesses you want to help get a leg up, post them in our comments section!! We love being able to help local, family owned businesses.

The Transition

November 2, 2012

Swans grouping up for the flight south! They will gather on a big lake, or here at the Ugashik Lagoon and then take off one day as a group, Thank our neighbor, Bob, for the great pictures of a few days ago.

The last 2-3 weeks have had us in the time of year when the bears are about done feeding and heading to the hills for denning up. The cranes, Sandhill, are long gone. The geese and ducks have about finished their flights, and short stops, through. Tundra swans are grouping up to take off south soon too.

Graceful flight!

 Our weather in this part of Alaska can go from in the 40′s to the teens overnight. Sometimes dropping snow, up to 24″ drifts a week ago overnight, or just freezing up all the puddles and shallow lakes.

A recent view of the surrounding landscape.

As the year comes to a close and we travel into the ‘deep’ winter our landscape with move between preparing for winter and totally frozen.

Still more playing and practice flying!

We don’t get the beautiful red colors other parts of the country get but our wildlife more than makes up for it!!


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