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Alaska Travels; Downtown, Up On Mountain, Botanical Garden

Although my cold lingers and we both feel worn out, mom and I are still getting around to see the sights.

Downtown Anchorage:

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On a mountain above Eagle River:

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At the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage:

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Alaska Travels: Accidental Mushroom Hunter

 

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As with my writing, my photography takes me where it will. As soon as I set out for the back woods at my parents home on my arrival in August, there they were; mushrooms of every shape, color and size. Mom and I and the dogs took a walk in Peters Creek Park, and there they were, not only at the edge of the woods and deep inside the understory of birch, cottonwood and fir trees, but we could hardly walk the paths without tripping over mushrooms. Our visit to Homer was the same. I found mushrooms, not only in and around Homer, but in the lush green, moss-covered land around the cabin, and even on the beach-side cliffs.

I’m a researcher at heart. I like to KNOW about things, from every angle possible. I strongly dislike posting photos of plants, weeds and other discoveries, without naming them. That extends to mushrooms, but on this topic, I found myself lost in a sea of too much information. I did spend hours attempting to identify my fungus finds, but finally gave up, leaving the naming to the professionals.

Here are a few favorites and I’ll get over to post the rest on my photo blog soon.

 

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Alaska Travels: Revving Up and Winding Down

Sunset last night, from my parent's deck, Eagle River, Alaska.  Phall Photos 2014

Sunset last night, from my parent’s deck. Eagle River, Alaska.
Phall Photos 2014

A week from today I’ll be catching a ride home on another big metal bird. Yes, I’m 55 and still amazed that those things can carry us through the sky. Of course, the miracle of electricity still boggles my simple mind too. No, no, don’t try to explain them! I NEED every little miracle I can claim 🙂

Up and Down

So, I’m revving up to wind this visit down. It has been one of my best trips home (I always say this, because the present one IS always the best one!). The lists that mom and I make just grow longer, as my days here grow shorter. Sure, we got a lot done the last 2 months, but man, there’s still so much to do!

And Up and Down Once More

One way or another, I’m heading home on the 29th and am very excited to see my Centralia family; 2 adult children, 5 little grands, cousins, aunt and uncle. There are some special friends I’ve been missing too. And then there is my beach gypsy cave and secret garden awaiting my return to Westport. From social to solitary again. At last. The solitude lures me more every day, no matter the love and joy I receive in the presence of family and friends…

A Traveling Clan

Dad will be flying “home” to Kentucky to see his ailing sisters and brother for a few weeks, on October 1st. Four days after he returns to Alaska, mom will leave to spend the winter in Arizona with my youngest sister and her family. We should own Alaska Airlines by now. The sister that I have had the longest (not allowed to say “oldest sister”) and her husband spend the coldest winter months at their condo in Costa Rica. Some how, some way, I have plans on making it over there this year. A girl can dream 🙂

Swing over to http://phallphotos.wordpress.com/homer-alaska/ to see some slide shows from our trip to Homer, if you have a few minutes. No metal bird needed for this tour!

Traveling On,

Patti


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Alaska: Picture Snippets

Once in awhile the bug hits and I have more than a caption-worth of words for some of my photos. These were taken in the last day or so. Their more like snippets of stories, rather than full blown stories. Hence, the weird title

P1170078I am not a sun worshiper. This umbrella used to block the sun, in addition to the huge one over the table. The chickadees kept flitting past it, so I thought I’d try to snap a photo of their shadows going past. No such luck. However, I did capture a large moth’s shadow.

P1170082 Speaking of moth’s, this one came for a visit at my table. I took some photos, then it simply disappeared! I sat my camera down and as the lens closed the moth jumped off…he had hopped from the table to my camera lens.

P1170089Another visitor, a chickadee, I believe. They come each evening, between 7:30 and 8:00 to gather seeds from the feeder. My folks put all the feeders away when the bears wake up, so as not to attract them to their yard. I risk it all and have one clandestine feeder and one suet tray. Please don’t tell my dad…or the bears.

P1170084When mom and I took Sophie back to my brother’s house, I learned something new. I learned about Larch trees. My brother has a row of them at the front of his property and I went to explore what mushrooms might be growing beneath them (none).  The tree is a deciduous conifer, meaning that it sheds its leaves (needles) in the fall. It has hard, waterproof wood and is often used in building boats. It smells wonderful, but the best thing was the feel of the needles. They are very very soft!

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Here is Sophie…watching the birds, begging me to get off the deck, and trying out all the seats in mom’s car. She really really wanted to come back with us. It took all three of us to get her out and get Cee Cee in.

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On the way home from Michael’s house, I pulled in to take photos of these awesome weeds. That’s when mom told me that her and dad had rented the house we were parked behind, when they moved back to Alaska in the mid-80’s. Weird, I never knew that and we’ve driven by it a million times. Anyway, cool weeds, huh? Fireweed.

P1170109 My parents rented this house in the mid-80's P1170110Last, but not least, a fresh bouquet of mom’s sweet peas for my sister, Michaela (1964-2012). She gets store-bought flowers from dad in the winter and fresh flowers out of the garden from mom in the summer.

P1170092I hope you enjoyed these snippets.

Patti


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Alaska: A Walk With Mom and The Dogs

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Sophie’s legs on the left, Cee Cee on the right, mom in the middle and gaboodles of mushrooms dot the ground.

We took a break from framing and painting. Our mission was to enjoy some time in the woods with Cee Cee, a Brussels Griffon (possibly part Ewok) and Sophie, a Rottweiler /Pit bull (mostly creampuff). Sophie lives with my brother most of the time, so we picked her up from there and went on our merry way.

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Peters Creek in August is a mushroom haven! I found one of my coolest specimens here. I am certainly no expert, but am learning fast! The info I found says this Coral Fungus, Hericium is very edible and tastes like crab, of all things. And no, I don’t eat wild mushrooms…yet!

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Will check in with more Alaska news soon,

Patti, the ‘shroom hunter

Cee Cee asking for more peanut butter popcorn :)

Cee Cee asking for more peanut butter popcorn 🙂


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Over My Head Again?

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Alaska Visit: August 7-Sept 29, 2014

The days are slow and easy; no care-giving or worry about the physical or emotional pain of a loved one. Mom, dad and I have had a lot of practice living together in this tiny house over the last several years. We all have our own mini orbit and rotate around each other quite smoothly. That’s the slow and easy part of my story.

The crazy over-my-head part includes this art thing. Like her mother before her, my mother is a prolific visual artist. She dabbles in all sorts of painting media; oil, acrylic and water color. Grandma pushed her art even further and used charcoal and chalk also. She worked leather and embossed copper and had her own ceramics shop.

About 25 of Mom’s paintings will be hanging in a gallery/cafe in Eagle River during the month of September. She is a shy and humble artist and will not let me plan a meet and greet opening event. Meanwhile, guess who is framing these paintings? You got it, me.

I have never framed anything in my life, okay, besides a photo or two in a ready-made frame. I was over my head with the first painting. I’ve learned a lot as I moved on to the next and the next. I think I have about 16 finished. I’ll probably go back to the first few and re-do them.

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Mom continues to paint, so the tiny house is filled with framing materials, a large tote of finished work, mom’s easel and paints and brushes, and paintings leaning every which way, in various stages of completeness. Some are even drying out on the deck. Visitors and the three of us have a choice of one or two places to sit, if we are lucky.

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When will this madness end?! Ten more days, and we will take the whole lot to the gallery. I still have to write ads and make a template to label each painting.

The joy here is watching my mom work her talent. Grandma died in 1977, but she is all around; in the smells of paints, the materials all about, and in the similarity of their (mostly) Alaska painting scenes. I lived with my grandma for a month when I was about 14. Her home was filled with the same smells and art materials and inspiration. I’m as inspired and amazed by mom’s talent as I was of grandma’s.

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I’m still deciding whether I should thank or curse my sister who sent me the ticket to be part of this craziness. Maybe a little of both.

Over My Head In Alaska,

Patti