Sunday, February 28, 2010
Aren't those cattle hairy? They are Scottish Highlander Cattle. They had tried raising regular cattle, but the cold and the rain did not let them succceed. These new guys are handling the elements well. They seem so tame; they let us walk right by them without any sign of being disturbed. Maybe that is why a few years ago bears started attacking them. So they brought up buffalo which do a much better job of fending off the bears. The combination of the Scottish Highlanders and buffalo seem to be a success. Both withstand the weather and the buffalo keep the bears away.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The 1964 Easter Friday quake south of Anchorage was the strongest one in recorded history in the Western Hemisphere at 9.4. That one created tsunami waves of over 30 feet in Kodiak and destroyed the marinas and downtown. So we take tsunamis seriously. For example, every Wednesday at 2 PM tsunami alarm horns are tested throughout the city. One recent Thursday they went off by mistake. That appereantly created allot of calls to the radio and police stations by scared people.
But we knew this one from Chile was coming We knew it would be tiny. And the city did not even set off the alarms. But what did we do? Only in Kodiak do we go out in a snow storm to see a tsunami wave come in.
It is now 11: 30 PM and the tsunami advisory has officially just been cancelled. We got only a 1.4 foot rise in mean sea level. But in reality, it does shows that we are connected to what happens on the other side of the world....even if it affects us only a little. And we had fun going a road trip.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Here are pictures of the nest outside my window at work. I didn't see it for my first 2 years. Then a fellow who had worked here 10 years ago came to visit and showed it to me. There it is after all these years, still active.
In the Fall, I saw lots of down feathers that collected by the corner of our building. I guess they had a newborn. No, you can’t collect them for a down feather pillow. It’s illegal. Only the natives can collect them for ceremonies; and I have seen them use them in making “dream catchers” in the Southwest. But I wonder, if they made a pillow would they have more peaceful dreams?
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Most weigh well over 10 pounds; that’s the weight of Raton, the small dog you might see in some of our pictures. I've heard up to 15 pounds and I think that is pretty accurate. Don’t ask me how they can sit on those thin branches, but they do. And it's not bony weight; their skeleton weights only 5-6% of their total weight. Their 7,000 feathers weigh twice that much. The juvenile brown ones look bigger than the adults. I don’t know if they really have more muscle or it’s just that their feathers are more “fluffed up”, making them look bigger. Both are relatively fast, 30 mph on a level flight. But they don't use much energy; they are experts a flying on wind currents, only occasionally batting their wings as they glide through the sky. The internet says they don't pick up animals much more than 4 pounds, but I think everyone has seen one catch a salmon that is closer to 7 pounds. With a ten pounds prize, the eagle might not be able to rise above the water and might not be able to drop the catch off from the hooks in its talons. Unfortunately, both the eagle and the fish will then meet a sad ending.