Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Captain Morgan? Um, No-John

Well hello. It's been a long time since I've posted. I couldn't resist putting up these new pictures of John in his Commercial fishing gear. Is he The Gorton Fisherman or Captain Morgan? I will leave that for you to decide. Pretty funny huh? John will be starting commercial fishing as of the middle of June and through the month of July when the salmon is at it's heaviest. John will also be working at Ocean Beauty again when he's off the boat. :0) Anyway, he's pretty excited. The 3rd photo is of his new truck. He decided to get something newer and we're excited for him.

If you haven't noticed we've also finally defrosted here. The lake is moving and the trees are now leafing out. I didn't think it would ever come. Spring here is very slow versus Calaveras County when it seemed that the trees leafed out in a matter of hours. Although I have to admit I'm loving the long summer days here again. The sun comes up at about 4:45am and doesn't go down until midnight.

I have cherry tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes, green beans and squash growing in the greenhouse and every day I'm in there they have grown a few inches overnight. It's truly amazing. I will take some pictures of the plants once they are showing their fruit. John and I are going to be planting some pumpkins this summer too. The pumpkins don't generally arrive here from the lower states until a week or so before Halloween and we thought we'd grow our own this year. It should be exciting. Our strawberries are coming up in the beds near the lake and it's amazing that our resident bunnies or moose don't eat them. I have to stay away from some vegetables because of the length of sunlight we have they will immediately go to seed. This is why I'm not growing a variety of veggies.

My new job is truly a god send and there is definitely never a dull moment. I've got this great crew of housekeepers and lodge staff, it's truly too much fun. I haven't once thought of the Aspen. The only problem that I have is talking on the phone with guests and telling them to hold on while the float planes fly off the lake-it's extremely loud. It's exciting to have guests sitting on the phone in Arizona elated with the opportunity to be at the lodge within a few days.
The website to the lodge is

Take care and have a wonderful summer. Maryann, Greg, John, Cherokee and Kenai

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Those are some funny looking water.....fowl?

It's 9:45PM and it feels like 4:45PM and I just want to "do"! Yesterday I had the privledge of going into Anchorage with a few employees of Maryanns' lodge to do the annual "lodge supply run" at Costco, Sams Club, and a few other specialty stores. Was an 18 hour day long adventure of frustration, fun, sweat, and friendship. In any event, we got back to the peninsula at about 1:30AM and although the sun had set, the horizon was still illuminated enough that it was not totally dark. That time of almost 24 hour daylight is coming fast!

John and his friend decided to pull out the kayaks and give them a float on the lake tonight. First time the boats were out actually, in Alaska. Good news is they made the trip and didn't sink! Those of you who remember the loading will remember the blue and yellow boats, courageously and stoically strapped to the top of Maryann's rig to make to 3000 plus mile journey by land and sea. The local wildlife on the lake got a rise to the presence of these foreign floating vessels on their waters. Since the last post our local loons have arrived for their seasonal return. This year we had the honor of seeing their 5 offspring return with them. It's just real peaceful to watch them float along. The cow mooses are starting to drop their calves. And with this is coming the howling call day and night. Just starting to feel the lively excitement of the sights and sounds we arrived to last year. Was an exciting time and left a really memorable impression that I think we will feel this time of year for many a year to come. Especially after a long winter. It was a long winter! The trees are all starting to bloom, and the grasses slowly starting to green. Wildflowers are all starting to poke up. The day was beautiful today with sun and a nice 60 degrees, a very welcomed feeling.

As of press, we are hoping that Johns rig will be officially sold tonight. yes, it's 9:45 PM and we will be making the sale tonight. With such daylight so late, stranger things happen late at night here! After putting alot of money into keeping up on maintenance, and watching it suck no other...we made a decision to just let it go. He is not sure what he wants now, but we will be looking for less of a 'toy' and more of reliability for him. Toys are fun, but spending money sucks, and God knows he spent some serious coin with it. Our other 'screwed by an Alaskan story'. Read it in the book! The good thing is that he made some good memories with his rig, and it will always be his first. Good luck John, better things are on the way.

Counting the days of the arrival of the Parisi's. We are really excited that our friends are on their way to share some time, see some Alaskan beauty and make some memories. My folks have reserved their airline tickets and will be here in August. We are really excited that they will be here during the bloom of the fireweed. That is something breathtaking to see. All in all we are just starting to feel really good about the coming summer. Well, the guy buying Johns rig just called and is on his way so I gotta go. HAve a happy Sunday, and for goodness sake....come and see us! Love to all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bathtub tomatoes, cleaning the compound, and lake life abound.

Well it was a humble Mothers Day here at the compound. It turned out to be a beautiful weekend out, best since September, and Maryann just wanted to stay home and enjoy the yard. So we all pitched in and did yard work both Saturday and Sunday. It is quite obvious that the previous owner had done little to tend the property for years. Mind you the immediate yard was somewhat...did I say somewhat?...kept up on. I mean we did pretty much revive the lawn from yellow death upon arrival last summer. Come to think of it, we revived alot upon arrival last summer. Ok, the previous owner didn't do much, even around the immediate yard! Now many locals comment on how Alaskas vegetation is about jungle-like, and there is some truth to that. Minus catching up on the former negligence, it will take some years to tame the property and at that some areas will always be wild. But this weekend was a noble effort and a start. And we did get alot done. John was most impressed with what he referred to as a "redneck bulldozer". Quite simply, I mounted the plow to the truck and used it to push debris piles down to the burn pile! We did get a pretty rutted driveway over the course of the winter, what with the heaves...and hoes... Because with every heave comes a hoe! In any event, the plow worked out dandy for cutting down the hump in the center and leveling out the driveway. The most peaceful moment was when Maryann and I were sitting at the burn pile in our chairs late yesterday. John was over at the barbque smoking some salmon for us. I happened to look up and out from between the trees in front of us came a bald eagle about 30 feet off of the ground. So magestic, and the wing span had to be about 5 or 6 feet. Then as it shifted towards the smoker, I realized our meal that John was preparing was potentially in jeopardy....and with the size of the thing, as well, possibly John if he got in the way! It thought about it, but fortunately chose to soar out to the lake.

Speaking of lake. The ice is turning finally as of Saturday, and it is going fast. A good portion is finally back to it's water form, and the birds and water fowl are arriving daily. Back on Saturday we had a couple ducks come in. Mind you the lake was still ice and there was nowhere for them to land. They just flew around like a couple of raped apes, squawking with protest. We kind of chuckled at the thought of if my dad were here. In the circle of the wild he is known as the 'duck whisperer'! Maryann is beside herself with all of the different birds arriving to the area. After so many months of quiet, the lake is finally coming back to life.

And speaking of life. Our resident mama moose was knocked up over the winter. She is showing quit well! Today she had the misfortune of running across the dogs. In the past she was completely unaffected by their presence and would just look at them while they barked with little emotion or concern. Hell, why would she be would be like "Bambi Meets Godzilla" if they got near her! But with a bun or two in the oven, she was much more skittish and in fact made a beeline for the woods as soon as they spotted her. We have been trying to use some Caesar Milan style psychology with these two knuckleheads lately and I think we are making an amazing break through! You see, a while back, they learned what a 'moose' was. Simply saying things like "it's a moose", or "there is a moose" every time they would get a rise of a mooses presence. Believe it or not they came to know the meaning of 'moose'. We can be sitting on the couch and say, "there is a moose" and they jump up and run to the window whining. Now that this has been established, we are working on associating other words they know with moose. Like, "it's a 'good' 'moose' ", or "the 'moose' is 'ok' ". Their little rants have become fewer and their wind down time is happening a little quicker now. But not without that moan or two of protest like, "good moose my ass dad", or "yeah, right 'ok''s not 'ok'...". Characters those two are.

Maryann is patiently waiting for the night time temps to get a little warmer so she can transfer her sprouting veggies to the greenhouse. Right now we have flats on the dog crate in front of the window and bathtub tomatoes. Since the heater in the greehouse was pronounced useless, it is possing a problem for her this spring. Hopefully we can rectify a solution by fall. John and I have been working diligently at bringing home wood, and we are already at about 5 or 6 cords for this next winter. None of it's split yet, mind you. Hee hee hee...can't wait to see you Scott and Nick! ;) We did manage to make it through the winter with the cords that we had processed and stacked. In fact we still have about 5 nights worth left. We did start running the furnace a few weeks ago in the morning and evening to take the chill off. Now with the daytime temps getting in the 50's and 60's, the house is staying pretty comfortable through the day, and soon we will have windows open and doors a swingin! Just looking forward to a good summer and hopefully a chance to expand and explore a little more now that we are more or less settled in and know what to expect. So we leave you with our thoughts and prayers, and hopes for an exciting summer for all. Take care.