Sunday, January 13, 2008

Winter Wildlife in Kodiak

First of all... I would like to point out that I'm now posting twice in a five day span of time. The earth has either stopped spinning, or it's winter in Kodiak and I'm bored. It's one of those.

Today, I bring you wild life. I'll start off with the rarer sightings, and move to something a little more spectacular. To start.... I saw this today, a rare sighting for a weekend around here. Yes, that is in fact my other half - not often seen in the house on a Saturday or Sunday. It seems he's had more than his fair share of weekend duty, so it's always nice when he's around. That wasn't the reason I took the picture, though... it was actually to show off how helpful Fred is. Fred followed Jason around from the moment we got home from church today until he finally actually got his walk. It was a long wait because Jason was busy setting up his new kegging system, but he was diligent and it paid off in the end. Apparently, his 20 minute walk with crippled me (I'm limited to walking on flat surfaces thanks to my broken back) yesterday was not nearly enough to keep him happy. To be honest, it didn't make me happy either - we had a gorgeous weekend here this weekend, and I didn't get the chance to enjoy it like I normally would. Getting old stinks.

Not to be outdone by Jason, I also captured this one of the wild, rarely seen, elusive, black lab. This would be the alert posture often assumed while listening to the potential walker splitting wood - if he's in the garage, maybe it's just a short step out to the road for that real walk. Ah, the disappointment....

Ok, enough of the jokes about domestic animals, (oh, and Jason!) and onto the real reason I even bothered to blog today! The eagles.
For the past couple of weeks, I have cursed myself almost daily for forgetting to grab my camera bag on the way out the door in order to try to get a shot of this one tree I pass by on my way to work. No, it's not the tree I'm after, it's the 8-10 eagles that are usually IN that tree, everyday, keeping watch over the harbor for at least a little while. Since we had to drive out that way to pick up Beth and Zach's car from the airport today, I grabbed the camera on the way out for church this morning, hoping we'd have some luck. Unfortunately, the regular tree was only playing host to about 3 eagles today, but across the road, we weren't disappointed. Between the ones hanging out in one tree together, a couple in a few different trees, and one or two on their own in trees and on the ground, I'd guess there were roughly 10 or 12 in a very small area, overlooking the harbor. Enough talk, though... onto the pictures. I have to say, though, for the family that is afraid of Kodiak in the winter, and plans to only visit us in the summer, this is NOT something you'll see in the summertime!

Eagle anyone?

This was a lucky shot - I just wish I'd been ready for it so the flying eagle wasn't blurry!

Here we have a matched set!

And, finally, a stare down! This guy was looking off to the right (his left, I guess), and must've caught some movement out of the corner of his eye as I was snapping the shot. He stared right at me, which was a little bit of a creepy feeling. I'm not gonna lie - I think an eagle could kick my butt.

So that's all I really had for today. I just wanted to share my eagle pics - I've been on a mission to get good ones since we've been here. Next up - northern lights! I'm not sure how keen I am to get up in the middle of the night to see them, but I'd love to get some shots!

That's all for now! I hope everyone has a great week!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Has it been that long??

As I checked through all my favorite blogs tonight, somehow I clicked on the link to ours by accident, and realized we've been silent since Christmas! Holy cow! How did that happen!?!?! I'd like to think that we've been busy and all that, but I think we've actually just been in hibernation mode. Enough excuses, though... I'll just get to a quick update.

Where to start?? How about with our white Christmas! Officially, the state airport got something like 15 inches of snow during the Christmas Eve/Day snow storm. It seemed like it was more than that, but only because of the wind and the drifting. We never measured here, but Jason can attest that it was a lot, judging by the shoveling. Jay's dad will be happy (maybe surprised?) to hear that the ol' snowblower is up and running. After a couple minor repairs after its first run, it should be good to go. The neighbors have appreciated it, too! Here's the front of the house the day after Christmas.

That big drift over to the left was probably about two and half feet or so deep. And, for those paying close attention, yes, those are the big giant multi-colored Christmas lights. Ask Jason why we have them. ;P

We had our first "big" party since we've been in Kodiak a couple of days before New Year's. We bought the UFC fight on pay-per-view (, and had about 15 people over to hang out, eat a ton of food, and watch the fight. We figured that, by the 29th, Christmas spirit would be gone, and we'd just watch people beat each other up! Ok, not really, but that's when the fight was on, so we went with it. We had a great night - with too much food and tons of fun. The only thing(s) missing were Matt and Tammie - it's just not a UFC night without Tammie yelling at the TV!!!!

We had big plans to eat left-over frozen appetizers and watch a movie or something for New Year's (I know, wicked exciting!), but Beth and Zach called us last minute and we headed over to their house for fondue instead! It was still a quiet night, but was WAY better than sitting at home by ourselves. Between the cheese and chocolate fondues and all the yummy stuff (minus Beth's Vienna sausages... ewwwww!!!) we dunked and dipped, we ate ourselves silly!!!! We skated back home through our neighbor's driveway (Christmas snow + post-Christmas rain = ICE!) shortly after midnight, leaving Beth and Zach to a wide-awake Donavyn! I have to say, it was strange to watch the ball drop (with Dick Clark, God bless him!), knowing that it had actually dropped four hours before. STRANGE!

Speaking of Beth and Zach, they got FANTASTIC news right after the first of the year! They started the adoption process almost a year ago to adopt a baby from Guatemala. Back in July, they got to go there to visit their little boy, Gabriel, when he was just about four months old. They have been waiting on pins and needles since then to find out when they'll be able to bring him home.... they FINALLY got the call last week, and will leave this coming Saturday to pick him up! We are SO excited that their family will finally be all together under one roof - and we hope they know what they're getting into!!! (Just kidding guys!!) Donavyn will be four months old in about two weeks, and Gabriel will be 10 months old right around the same time! Their household will be very full and probably not just a little crazy, but there's a lot of love over there, and I think God knows just what He's doing in putting that family together. We're just blessed that we get to call them part of our Kodiak family, and we're so excited to see the kids grow up over the next few years! Check out the Kodiak Koehlers link to see some pictures of Gabriel and Donavyn!

Besides the holidays and the Koehler's fabulous news, not much has been going on here in Kodiak. The sun stays hidden until almost 10am these days, and has started to stay out until almost 5pm. There's something totally unnatural about it staying dark until after 9:30 in the morning, but we're starting to get longer and longer days now, so I think we can manage it! I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before or not, but our shortest day still had 6 and half hours of daylight, so it was better than I expected before we got here. We've also been blessed with quite a few sunny days this winter - in fact, I can't remember a Sunday since the weekend we went Christmas Tree hunting where we haven't noticed the sun coming up strong during church! I'll take that - it makes it so I don't have to use my SAD lamp as much!

I think I'll end this here. I have a percocet staring me in the face... the latest step to try to manage some pretty bad lower back pain that I'm dealing with. I have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow morning, so I'm hoping to find out what the cause is sooner than later. I've been going to physical therapy, which seemed to be helping, but, since I am my mother's daughter, I think I'm not taking it easy enough and have just made things worse. Thanks for instilling an urgent need to do "stuff" in me, Mom. My back appreciates it! Though I think this latest flare came from running around to put together a shower for Beth with only two days' notice this past weekend - and it was worth every last ache! We wanted to shower her back in September before Donavyn was born, but Little Miss decided to make an appearance three weeks early, so we had to postpone. So, we had a small shower for Beth on Sunday, giving her a chance to be the Queen (I'll share that story later), and also giving her the chance to step away from the frantic planning to get to Guatemala this weekend!

With that, I'll leave you with one last shot from a greener Kodiak back in September. For fans of The Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" series, you'll recognize this one.... she's homeported here in Kodiak and can often be seen in the harbor, between crab seasons!

That's it for now! We'll try not to go two weeks without an update again! We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that your 2008 is off to a good start!