July 21, 2011

Please join me

There is nothing like returning
to a place that remains unchanged
to find the ways in which you
yourself have altered. ~Nelson Mandela

Earlier this month, my friend Shanna, her daughter Brook and I did a little exploring on the Kenai Peninsula, where I live.  I snapped some whimsical photos including wild flowers and wanted to share a July day in the life of an Alaskan.  This little journey was one I hadn't taken for 23 years.  It was good to go back.  I hope you enjoy these and would love to hear what you think!

Leaving my home in Nikiski, we headed to Homer to catch the Danny J Ferry to Halibut Cove.  It takes 2 hours to get there.  If you click on the links, you can read about the fascinating history of this lovely area.
Boarding the Danny J at the Homer Harbor

Seabirds near Gull Island, Kachemak Bay
Seabirds included gulls, terns, pelicans, cormorants, gannets and puffins

You can watch the birds via a real time web cam HERE!

 It was a short cruise across the bay, and then we approached the cove.   

Private homes and lodges

Cute bungalows

The boat docked and we went ashore.  Walking around the boardwalk we took in the scenery and foliage.  Leaning over the boardwalk rail, we spotted a bunch of algae floating on top of the water.  Looking at the photo below, you may have an initial response of  surprise seeing what looks like a sheen of oil surrounding the algae.  It is more than what it appears to be!  It is actually a rich soup of plant nutrients, microscopic algae and swarms of microscopic animals resting in the shallow waters of the slough. I think it was magical!

Kelp heart

View from higher ground

Shasta Daisy, Alaskan-style
Leucanthemum x superbum
Columbine growing out of the side of the cliff

Assorted floats hanging from tree branches

More daisies

Beautiful tile work on walkway

Alaskan jungle!

Notice the hillside in the distance?  It was covered with healthy spruce trees until the bark beetles got them.  Many dead trees were removed, hopefully the beetles have moved on, and seedlings are growing everywhere.

Pretty little yellow flowers - I don't know what they are....
Back to Homer

Next stop

It's just not a visit to Homer without a stop at the Bear Creek Winery Here are a few photos I took of the grounds there.
Random art in the walkway

Koi pond
Sometimes there are real bears. Really.

Alaska Rules!

Man-made waterfall.  The plants at the bottom are fireweed.  When they bloom they look like this: 
Fireweed Epilobium angustifolium
from the evening primrose family

But it's not time yet.  When they begin to bloom, its a sign that summer is nearing an end.  I will be showing your more fireweed later ...hopefully much later! 

There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul;
we search for its outlines all our lives. ~Josephine Hart

 Glad you could come away with me for a bit.  Have a lovely weekend!

July 15, 2011

Front Porch Life

And the porch that was in the front of the house,
the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits,
and the height was a hundred and twenty:
and he overlaid it within with pure gold.
~2 Chronicles 3:4

It's not Solomon's Temple, but it's mine.  Summer, the foremost season in any country, is not always divine in Alaska.  Yet I have a covered front porch to enjoy from April through September, when the outdoors elements might be too wet or cold to take pleasure in.  I take respite on the porch, often listening to the steady rainfall on our metal roof.  But then there are days like today, where it warmed up to 65 degrees outside, making it about 85 on the porch.  I love it!  Here are a few glimpses of my haven on Lisburne Avenue.

Ready for company!

Little blue kitty  from Puerto Vallarta nestled in clover.

Count the ladybugs in the picture!

Pink is my color this year.
Porch Angel

I have callas everywhere!

Karli's chair

Is the bird real?

Roots and things

As you can see, it was a sunny day when I took this photo.
 My lawn was new last year.  I think it looks good!


Until the rain passes, you might find me here.

July 8, 2011

Friday's Flowers

How do you feel when you plant?   I love spending my time in the garden. After I finish a planting, I like to sit down, admire the flowers and watch how light filters through the spruce, cottonwood and birch, tickling the petals to sparkle with hues of blues and violets.  This year I’ve got a lot of pink, and yellow too.

Oh, how I wish our growing season were longer!  Summer in Alaska seems so rushed, really, just a few months for the flower plants (and me) to absorb  the warmth of the sun and the drink from the rain.   

There is so much energy in a bloom. Some flowers seem to bloom overnight, some are much more gradual.

Deadnettle Lamium

Asiatic Black Out Lily

Pin Cushion Flower Scabiosa

Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum
Mums and Daisies

I dare say that some of my perennials may not winter over, and I will begin again with the joy of planting, the anticipation during the growing, and the satisfaction of the bloom.