27 may 10 spring cleaning

clean, shiny sailboat (attached to the very dirty truck) ready to motor from our street to Whittier

little dog fresh (soggy?) from a bath

21 may10 bike to work

Habitat through Habitat

If every day was like this Friday, I'd bike to work everyday.

After a week of clouds and wind, the end of the week dawned clear and bright green. Paul and I pedaled away from the house around 8:00. Less than half an hour later we were at the Bacon Station, one of the energizer stations set up around town for this official Bike to Work Day. We chatted with Anne, the municipality's BtW coordinator, about the event. I met Dawn from Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage ; she is planning a garden tour on Memorial Day weekend and I told her I'm in.

Paul enjoyed the bacon

Two strips of bacon and a smoothie didn't fully fuel my commute, so I stopped at a coffee shop downtown and picked up some pastries for myself and my co-workers. I finally rolled into the office around 9:15.

This isn't a Friday that I normally work; I had decided to bike in for a little camaraderie with the rest of the bicycle commuters, especially those at my office. So after doing some low-key work, like filing and asking people about their commutes (I am the office BtW coordinator after all), I put my helmet back on and rolled over to the museum to meet Rose for lunch.

After locking up our bikes, we toured the grounds which have only recently been opened. We circled the new sculpture, Habitat. Like most city artwork, it has its fans and its dis-fans. I decided I liked it. The photos in the paper don't do it justice, nor does driving past in on 6th Avenue.

Rose wanted to climb on everything, including the don't climb sign.

We had a leisurely lunch at Muse, the new restaurant in the museum. The Marx Brothers did not disappoint with a roasted beet salad, Bristol Bay seafood chowder, and a porkloin empanada. We lingered over cappuccinos to fuel our commutes home.

Then Rose led me through the Fairview, Airport Heights, and Nunaka Valley neighborhoods and Russian Jack Park to Baxter Road on the east side of town. Near Tudor we parted. I pedaled up the hill on Campbell Airstrip Road to the Bivouac trailhead, then on the dirt trail through Bicentennial Park to my neighborhood. I finally rolled into the garage around 4:00.

Crossing over Campbell Creek, where snow is still clinging to the banks and the grasses are waiting to green up.

8 may 10 simple pleasures

What could be finer than tromping around in the woods on a warm spring day with the excuse of looking for birds? That's what we did for many of the hours between 6:00pm Friday and 6:00pm Saturday during the Talkeetna Birdathon. Paul and I also biked about 20 miles to some area ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers. Bhikkhu didn't think much of staying in the crate Paul attached to his bike rack, so the pup napped in the cabin on Saturday afternoon.

Our total bird species observed and identified was down from previous years. Was it us or them? Who knows. Who cares. We added two species to our life list - blue-winged teal and surf scoters (actually seen on Sunday). A trio of trumpeter swans put on quite a concert while we were at Lakes 4 (photo above) and 5 on Saturday morning; they flew between the two while we were hiking between the two.

All that was topped off with a bonfire by the Susitna River and a swapping of bird stories with other twitchers.

3 may 10 spring is in the air

Spring visited today and Alaskans started acting crazy. The temperature hit 60 degrees somewhere in town so people were out in shorts and t-shirts. I even saw a woman in a strappy little sundress down by Westchester. I biked home, sharing the trails with every runner, dog walker, and baby stroller in the city. In my neighborhood, several men were engaged in a strange rite of spring: shoveling snow from one part of their yard to another part, where there was no or less snow. Paul even engaged in this act yesterday to free my raised vegetable beds from several inches of snow.
Another sure sign of spring and renewing life is the return of the gulls. The mew gulls invaded downtown almost two weeks ago. They've been circling roof tops and harassing other birds, maybe to get into practice for protecting their nests and young. They nest on the roofs downtown. When the chicks hatch in mid-June, the adults constantly circle and dive bomb anything or anyone that comes near them. This is a source of annoyance and entertainment at my office, depending upon who they're targeting. Yesterday I saw two gulls copulating on the clinic roof across the alley. Is there an act that says Spring more than the creation of new life?

On Saturday evening we had equal amounts of sun though not as warm as today. Paul and I joined a couple of dozen people at the Campbell Creek Estuary. The Great Land Trust is working to buy this property and transfer it to the city for municipal parkland. It's gorgeous! Birders will love it. We saw sandhill cranes, a peregrine falcon, pintail ducks, and a bald eagle's nest. If you'd like to protect Anchorage's coastline from development, go the trust's website and make a donation ... and tell the mayor how important this is. Thanks!