Monday, April 26, 2010

"My goose is NOT cooked..."; 4-26-10

...yet, but it is in the pot.

Spring, just before break-up, is geese season in rural Alaska. Oh sure, local people get a few geese in the fall when most waterfowl hunters throughout North America are thinking about ducks and geese, but around here, spring is the real season for honkers, speckle bellies and snow geese.

Two days ago a guy stopped by, hoping to "borrow" some 12 gauge shotgun shells. He was on his way out to the favored hunting area; a good place to get moose in the fall, wolves and wolverines in winter, and geese,

I handed him half a box

"You want a goose, if I get some?"

"Sure, that would be great."

Honestly, I never expected to receive anything after the words; empty promises are as numerous as mosquitoes in summer.

"Have a good trip, and be careful".

Today there was a knock on the door.

"Come in!"

The door opens. In comes a Canadian suspended by a man's hand, followed by his arm, then the rest of his body. A subtle smile is on his face. (the smile is on the man's face; who seems to be enjoying the moment more than the goose)

"Here's a nice Honker for you" he says, unknowingly reminding me that some people DO keep their promises.

"Wow. Nice goose. Thanks a lot!"

I spent an hour sitting on a stump, enjoying a beautiful spring day while plucking my goose.

Warm sunshine and  a gentle breeze sighing through the tree tops. Birds tweeting their approval of the weather, anticipating the coming season of plenty. And a car cruising the area with Michael Jackson music blaring out an open window. The whole experience was kind of like "Village Alaska meets Hollywood".

Just exactly who is "Billy Jean" anyway?

Friday, April 23, 2010

4-23-10; Oddities

A few "new" things happened yesterday.

-I heard my first goose of the season. Geese return to Interior Alaska every April, usually when the snow has begun to melt but before break-up. A solitary white fronted / "speckle belly" was winging his (her) way along up high, calling for a friend.

-I saw an eagle. They are usually about the first migratory birds to arrive and the last to leave in the fall. The one in the photo was sitting on the river ice accompanied by an annoying raven; two species that have no great love for each other.

-I got my first mosquito bite of the year. Ridiculous! We still have snow laying everywhere. Hope this is not an indicator of a bad bug year.

And one last bit of "strange" news. A couple of days ago my little Pomeranian ran off. He escaped through an open door and began his version of a road trip, visiting all the neighbors. He got only as far as across the road before trouble struck.

I found him with his fur tangled on a "sticker bush" (the thorny stalk of a wild rose), hopelessly restrained and barking for help. Some dog, huh? Gets over powered by a wildflower and needs to be rescued. I was just happy that he did not get run over, since he his quite deaf and would never hear the truck/snow machine/4 wheeler coming.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rain; 4-19-10

Wow, that looks weird. But it's a good weird.

Laying in bed I thought I heard a strange sound. Was it wind blowing? Hard to tell in my groggy, semi-slumber state, but sleep can be elusive so I didn't investigate further.

Now it's morning and a look out the window reacquaints me with an old friend I haven't seen for months...Mr. Rain.

Rain is something of a "snow bird". With the onset of winter he packs his bags and heads south in search of warmer temps. I suppose the harsh cold of the Alaskan winter is a bit much for him.

Yet he does not leave us in a meteorological vacuum; his cousin, Mr. Snow always seems to move into Rain's recently vacated premises. Snow has been our...friend?...tenant?...guest? about companion. Snow has been our companion for these past six months. We've enjoyed the time together, but half a year is a long visit; now its time to go.

The problem, this year as every year, Snow never wants to leave. He's like that annoying uncle you see in old movies; the guy who comes for a "visit", makes himself at home and quickly takes over. He'll soon wear out his welcome but it never seems to bother him a bit; he's having a great time and could stay forever. Only problem is, every one else would like to get him out the door. But how?

One hundred and eighty days of winter is fine for us, but when the sun proclaims the arrival of spring, with warmer temps and longer days, we are ready for the transition into summer; eagerly anticipating the change.

I guess Snow never got the memo. He's been spreading himself around like he has no plans on leaving. A fine way to repay our hospitality.

Last fall we welcomed him with open arms, as we do every year. We gave him run of the house and told him to settle in and make himself comfy. We were glad he'd come. We couldn't get enough of him. He just seemed to make life so much better.

But now it would be nice for him to think about moving on. We've been cleaning up after him for half a year, and it's getting a little tiresome. It's spring! He should be packing up and preparing to leave. But not this year. Most days this April he's been acting like he just arrived; dumping his stuff all over.

Frankly, we're all really tired of it!

So when his cousin, Mr. Rain arrived during the night and surprised us this morning, we were happy to see him. Snow wasn't, but we were. We know he'll eventually get Snow  headed down the road. Even now they're outside arguing; one minute Rain is cleaning up Snow's mess, then Snow is at it again, scattering his junk all over.

That's OK, we can wait. It's just a matter of time now.

(there are NO flowers, nor are there green plants, but the photo of the flower was irresistible!)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Morning": 4-6-10

I love this time; this time on the clock and this time on the calendar. Early morning, springtime in Alaska. In a way it's redundant.

Spring symbolizes the coming year, like a young child, eager and fresh, unblemished, full of possibilities.

Early morning is the same thing for the coming day. It's a fresh start with "a clean slate". Previous difficulties, like yesterday's "pain in the neck" are past. So are the failures, the wasted time and lack of accomplishment. All distant memories.

The "good stuff" of yesterday? Also history. No living on past laurels or previous paychecks; it's time to move forward, to step out into an uncertain future full of possibilities...again.

But I didn't intend to get philosophical, I just like the quiet of the morning. It's nice to be up before the world gets out of bed and starts making noise. The cliches about cities that  never sleep are true (just go outside and listen), but rural villages usually do. They can stay up really late, but often there is a brief time between the last gasp of the late night party-goers and the first stirring of the early risers.

This is that time, when the village is quiet, at peace. The seemingly incessant sounds of the community are conspicuously absent. Not a vehicle motor to be heard. Not a dog barking. Nothing. Just a peaceful serenity laying over the settlement like a cozy blanket.

For a while, any way. The early morning plane just landed, on its way to Fairbanks. Then the school bus rumbled by; tire chains on the icy road suggest the passing of a tank or dozer. This peaceful party is over. Time to rise and shine, get busy and make noise.

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.