Yet another glorious summer in the great land, and we find ourselves once again amidst the wild life that surrounds us. If you remember last year we commented on how the lake seemed to come to life with all the different animals, mammals, and water fowl that gravitated to it. This year seems no different as we essentially have what adds up to 7 arctic terns, a cow and 2 calves, 2 twisted loons, 1 tiny shrew (well, at least 1 that we knew of...."knew" being the key word here), and now 2 great horny owls...err, uh, 2 great horned owls. In Marlin Perkins' terms what would be possibly considered a "shrewminator". What is a shrewminator? What on Gods green earth is a shrew?? Lets examine, the shrew. They are quit similar to mice, only bigger, with long freaked out snouts, and are carnivorous. Scary huh. Owls like vermin....shrews are vermin....get the point?! Now back to the shrew we "knew". I was sitting at the dinner table one night a couple weeks back and about gaged as I watched a shrew frolicing across the lawn. We relocated it. Now with the 2 owls, I think the shrew existence is going to be limited from here on out. Anyways, we all got home tonight around 10:00PM after a long day of work for the 3 of us, and as Maryann was standing out on the back deck, she notices this huge owl in the thicket at the lakes edge, with the 2 loons 8 feet off shore almost as if they were just hanging out with the owl, and a moose calling from beyond the tree line across the lake. Keep in mind, again, the wild life around the lake almost chime in together like some zuluistic tribe of gatherers. Amazing really that they are all so in tuned to each other. Lets step back to this morning. I am awaken out of a dead sleep by an excited Maryann telling me that there is an owl on our property. Now I could barely open my eyes much less roll my naked ass out of bed to go see this spectacle. But somehow, the intrigue and sense of her excitement pulled me through the process. Sure enough, only visible through our binoculars was what she looked up as a great horned owl in one of the trees behind the sauna. Talk about big. This thing was huge. I thought the eagles were huge... And, judging by the size of the gargantuan crap on the deck, displayed next to a dime to illustrate its immensity, you can only imagine how huge it was! So back to tonight, after witnessing the one in the thicket fly off, she observed another in one of the other trees lakeside. Now it is just so cool to sit back and wind down to this kind of happening, ringside.
Another honor was our mama cow sharing her 2 calves with us for several days, despite the hun-like action of our knuckle headed Kenai a week earlier. They were literally hanging out along the side of the driveway for several days. We would leave in the morning....they would be there hanging out. We would come home in the evening....they would be there hanging out. Not sure what this meant. Maybe it was that enlightening chat of calm I had with mama after the near attack with the dog! Yea, right. Was strange yet as I said, a quiet honor.
Then there is the recent move on my part to expidite the collection of firewood. In an insane moment of reality, realizing that with our unusually cold and wet summer we would not have enough seasoned fire wood, I started eyeballing the house. I mean, it is seasoned wood, right. Our moto here is "wood is good"! Sick bas#^*d! Actually, Maryann got her long awaited wish. A window in Johns bathroom. Man did it make a difference not only with the light emitted into the room and it is so nice to have some air circulation. Bet we wont be saying that around January! I never realized how balding at the top I really have become. Incredible what age, wisdom, and the pursuit of happiness does to a guy!
We are awaiting the arrival of my parents for their annual pilgrimage to Alaska. They are scheduled to arrive Thursday night and we are excited. Most especially the dogs. Yes, the dogs....just like they know what a "moose" is, they also know what a "grandpa and grandma" is and as we pump them up to their grandparents' arrival they are stoked. They will be here at the perfect time this year as the fireweed is just starting to take off in bloom (if we could just get a little more sun), the moose are still present and visable all over with their calves in tow, the weather cool, silver salmon starting to come up river. Sad thing is the Fish & Game prematurely suspended the sockeye(red) salmon fishing for the season. Seems that the runs have been unusually small this year and with low counts they are concerned that the low spawning rate may effect future runs. I have to admit they do have it together with the management of fisheries here. Lets just hope the silvers are a little more abundant. Meantime, we did buy a deep freezer and have it about 2/3's stocked with salmon, halibut, cod, and some silvers. Ought to be a gourmet fish winter here at the compound. What has been in the past a rare delicacy has become here a main staple.
Meantime, John is faring ok with commercial fishing, although with the counts low he is feeling it in his cut of the share. He has also got a job as a groundskeeper, fish processor, and part time cleaner at Maryanns' lodge when he is not fishing. He met one of the housekeepers, fell head over heels in love with her and her with him and they are planning marriage when they both graduate next year. Maryann is also faring well....much better with her new position as operations manager. She has, lets say, dumped the fat, man, and is running lean. She had a little dead weight there in the beginning of the season, and realized that she needed to let go of a couple of these weight hangers. She found that all of a sudden with them gone, things run alot more efficient. It's amazing what a little diet can do, even when it pertains to staff! She is looking forward to assuming a bigger roll come this fall as her predecessor (remember "Sweet Pea"?) is on her way out on the short train. There are alot of staff and management who can't wait. Maryann has gained quit the respect from her staff and management team. We are very proud of her and know she will continue to kick butt with this thing. Anyways, it is late and I am beat tired. That early morning owl call wiped me out, but man was that a memory maker. What is that saying...."Those who soar with the eagles at night cant rise with the owls in the morning"....or something like that. We have had several friends and family come up to visit this summer so far, and hope to see more friends and "FAMILY>>>>HELLO" soon. Hope this finds everyone happy, safe and gitty. Our love to all.