Thursday, July 19, 2012

This is the Nenana River as seen from the Parks Highway as it borders the Denali National Park on the right.
I pass this spot almost every day to the train station to pick up or drop off guests and it still takes my breath away. Not only because of it's beauty but also because at this point I'm on a very high and very narrow bridge spanning the river. Looking down at the fast rapids gives me the chills!

This is my pick-up Van, looking cool there eh?

And this is my destination, the Denali Railroad Depot where I pick up or drop off guests.

The trains arrive and leave twice a day, at  3:45PM from Anchorage, leaving for Fairbanks at 3:55PM and at 12:15PM going to Anchorage at 12:25PM.
In the winter they only go in the weekend, one on Saturday going up to Fairbanks and one on Sunday back to Anchorage!  
Yep, that's Alaska!

Since the little pond/swamp behind our RV has almost dried up for the summer we don't see as many moose anymore. The only 'wildlife' I could find this week are these furry creatures that showed up around the hotel and are munching their way through the willow shrubbery. 


This is a  tussock moth (Orgya antiqua) caterpillar. 
The reddish-brown male moth he'll turn into flies during the day but if it turns out to be a female she's in bad luck since the female moths are unable to fly because their wings are much reduced.
They get their name from the little tufts of fur along their backs; apparently these are called "tussocks" in some parts of the world.


I've been searching for the name of this very furry dark brown/black beauty but haven't found it yet?

On my daily walks with Sadie I sometimes follow a narrow ATV trail towards Healy that brings us high on a hill overlooking the valley and the village itself.
Healy is a very, very small village, one of those 'don't blink or you'll miss it' ones which is maybe why you barely see it in this picture, that and I was a little far away for my camera off course :)
Nevertheless there's a high school with a library, a chamber of commerce, 2 gas stations, 3 restaurants and one liquor/grocery store.

As for what seems to be my weekly flower update we now have these beautiful wild monkshood popping up (left) and lots of fireweed (on the right).


The weather has been cold and extremely windy, almost stormy I'd say, which brought in the dreaded 'chill-factor', brrr...
On the bright site, there were almost no mosquitoes at all! 

Other than working quite a lot in the laundry room I've done a lot of reading. For fun but also to find out more about diabetes in cats. Merlin is finally reacting very well to the new insulin, his blood sugar values are almost normal, he's drinking and peeing much less and is reverting back to his old habits of yelling early in the morning because he wants out and sleeping on the keyboard of my computer...

 He eats like a pig, loves his wet food (doesn't want to eat any dry food anymore off course!) and isn't loosing any weight any more.
We're both getting into the routine of testing and shooting insulin and are starting to feel much more relaxed about the whole thing.
Hopefully his pancreas is getting some rest and will start functioning enough again to get him 'off the juice' in a while!

I've been baking too, here's some of  the delicious home made 'no knead bread' I made and some brownies that came out real good for once!
For years I've tried my hand on brownies but never got them right, biggest problem being, we lived at 5700 feet. Now they came out beautifully! I see a lot more brownies in the future!

The bread is from the Internet at, 'so easy a 4 year old can do it'! She lets her 4 year old show you step by step how simple it is.
I just 'free bake' it on a cookie sheet instead of in a pot which makes it even easier!
As it says, no kneading involved, very few ingredients and it is delicious! Crispy crust and nice soft inside. Try it, you'll like it!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Due to a very slow Internet connection and a very busy 'laundry-duty' week this post is way overdue ! (again)
The hotel has been full almost everyday and we were literally drowning in dirty linen. Piles and piles of it! I'll never take those clean towels in my clean hotel room for granted anymore!

There wasn't much time for any sightseeing and we had a week of rain on top of that so I don't have too many pictures to show or stories to tell this time.

On our daily walks with Sadie we do still enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the hotel and the rapid succession of different flowers blooming. The wild irises you see here are almost done now but there are a lot of others showing up each day.

On the days that the sun was out we reached temperatures of  75F which brought out clouds of very hungry mosquitoes. We all agree that they seem to get bigger and bigger! Here's one on my sweatshirt, trying to poke through. She never made it :)

We are (somewhat) prepared though! The Thermacell we bought works really well. We just have to remember to turn it on about 10 minutes before we sit down but than we're bug free!
For our walks we use a combination of a good spray and these flattering mosquito hat-nets. How cute!

Merlin found another favorite place to sleep: in the picnic ice-box! 

Unfortunately his diabetes is still far from under control . It turned out he did need insulin so we started him on 2x a day about 2 weeks ago. His blood sugars have not come down very much since.
I've searched the web all over and found that the insulin he's getting is a rather old fashioned fast working one that doesn't stay in his system long enough so we had to start giving him a little bit 3 times a day!
Before each shot he has to be tested and also about 3 hours into it so his pour ears are starting to look a little battered. He doesn't seem to feel much of it, the needles and lancets are very, very thin, but he starts to get a little irritated by all the fumbling and handling.
He still has a great appetite and his weight is stable now but his blood sugars are still very high.

Our vet is back from vacation and she'll let us know tomorrow if we're gonna have to change insulin and or increase the dose. We'll see!

Aren't these grasses pretty? Foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum) or Squirrel grass. The only problem is that I think they're the cause of a nasty, itchy, red bumpy rash on Sadie's belly.
She walks through it and apparently is allergic to it prickling her skin.

Pfffff, animals.....worse than kids sometimes......

Lets do some more flowers:


The left one is a yellow kind of Indian Paint Brush, I cannot find which one?                                              

The one on the right is Broomrape or Ground Cone or Boschniakia rossica. Take your pick!
It is a parasitic plant that is hosted primarily by mountain alder or willow. Short tuberous parts attach to the host roots after which it robs its host of water and nutrients.
Bears feed upon B. rossica, and it has been determined that this plant is attractive to cats, much like catnip.

The blues are Harebells, the pinks Dwarf Fire weed while the tiny white one is a Large flowered Wintergreen.

Last week we saw our first male moose who was actually showing  some antlers!
They're not very big yet but supposedly will grow until the fall when they'll loose the velvety skin as they sharpen them for the coming fights about who's boss and gets the prettiest girls.

This was a beautiful young animal, his coat very glossy and very dark. To everybody's delight he also walked right between the hotel buildings. Look at his long goatee!

Since we are constantly out of cookies (somebody likes to eat them) and every thing's so expensive here I'm baking a lot myself. These are the best oatmeal chocolate chips cookies, made with dark chocolate chips.
I baked them before I took Sadie for a walk and when I came back already one was missing!
I bet it wasn't the cat......

Well,.. that's all folks. Until next time.
Oh, by the way, I fixed the 'comments-link' so they will show up now! Hint,...hint...