Adventures continue in Sitka!

Adventures continue in Sitka . . .

What a beautiful week this Holy Week has been. Temps have been in the 50’s and sun has been plentiful. Every day the ocean has glistened as if it is covered in jewels. The gulls continue to feed on Herring eggs along the shoreline. Thousands of them come early in the morning and feast on the eggs. By afternoon, the tide is fully in and the gulls are mostly gone for the evening. Here are links to two short videos of the gulls feeding if you have an interest in seeing them.

 

Gulls Feeding Gulls Feeding on Herring

Gulls Feeding

Herring Eggs. Hmmm. A community pitch in dinner to celebrate the herring was held this past Wednesday evening. It is a potluck where everyone brings in something to share. There were Herring eggs in every form (alone, in salads, in soups, etc.) They gather on hemlock branches and are eaten sprinkled with seal oil.

Herring Eggs gathered on a hemlock branch

I found them to be “not my favorite”. The taste is okay but the texture is very strange. They snap and crackle when you eat them. Kind of chewy and spongy too.

My days off have been Sunday and Monday but last weekend I elected to take on a project. In the visitor center we have a room that has become somewhat of a catch all (or junk) room. At one time it was the gift shop, then it became the Law Enforcement office, then a work room for cultural resources, and finally a “junk” room where we weren’t sure what was there. You know the room I’m sure. We all have that place in our homes that catches all we do not really want and yet cannot throw away.

With space a priceless commodity in the Visitor Center, and no place for anyone to go to eat lunch when it is raining out, it was decided to clean this room and make it a combination storage/break room. The Park’s Law Enforcement Officer gave me a hand and we removed, sorted and organized this room into four distinct areas. One of those areas was a break area where folks could have lunch.

The project finished on Monday afternoon and I was so pleased with myself. Items were organized, trash had been hauled out, and we now had an area to go for lunch if needed. On Tuesday I had all the rangers admiration (that would be short-lived but do keep reading.)

Storage Room almost cleaned and organized. Prior to this point you could barely walk in here.
And yes, I have even made room for a ‘break / lunch” space!

I will say here that this room has historically been kept locked and there was no indication that it would not continue as such. On Wednesday I went into the room to get items for a pre-school story hour and found our Superintendent using it for a meeting (all other meeting rooms were occupied). I promptly excused myself, got what I needed, left the room, and yes, I LOCKED IT!

See, it is a sliding door that locks from the outside.

About an hour later I received a call from the Park Superintendent asking if I would please let them out of the closet. Apparently they had been knocking on the door but I didn’t hear anything and so, he was forced to call into the visitor center for attention. You see, there is no way to unlock the door from the inside. I was blessed to find his sense of humor in tact and security has now been told to remedy the situation ASAP. I will be forever known as the volunteer who locked the Park Superintendent in a closet!!!

The remainder of this past week has brought us temps in the 50’s and sun, lots of sun. The water glistens, the snow capped mountains shine, and the entire area has this look of serenity. For the past five days it has been unbelievable. But the rain will return soon and we will see the “other” kind of beauty that lurks about here when it rains. I love it too.

 

Views of the harbor
There are no words!

Last weekend was a local artist walk downtown and we had the luxury of meet-n-greets throughout town. Silver carvers, Wood carvers, pottery makers, glass blowers, jewelry makers, etc. all shared their pieces of fine art along with wine and cheese at various locations along the way.

Picture
This is a local artist co-op. One of my stops on our artist walk.

This was also a practice week for the Sitka Sound Slayers, a flat track roller derby team here in Sitka. Me, and my roommate Marti, were invited to their practice and we gladly went. One of the rangers, Ranger Erin, is a player. Her derby name is “Sin & Tonic”. It was great fun to watch all the ladies and there is a match coming up in just a few weeks. Michaela, my granddaughter, will be interested to know they have a travel team and a home team, just like they do in hockey.

The Sitka Slayers practicing their skills.

However, the player names are a riot. Here are just a few: “Me-licious” “Bev-o-lution” “Double Decker” “HotWheelz” “Becker the WreckHer” – – – these ladies are awesome”! This is Sin&Tonic, otherwise known as Ranger Erin, with Marti and me.

 

Range Erin (Alias Sin & Tonic) with my recent housemate, Marti.
Yep, that’s Sin & Tonic with me! You’ll note I only have one shoe on – – – thought for a moment I might put on some skates but then I saw them practice and decided it might be dangerous for me.

Ever heard of Lavendar Donuts?  Grandma Tillie’s Donut shop, just a short mile walk from the house to there and then the park, is a great stop just a little out of the way. They are expensive ($20 for a dozen donuts) but they are oh so good. Here’s a look at a lavender donut (sorry folks – by the time I thought about a picture I had eaten half of it!)

Grandma Tillies – it is a drive up / walk up only.
Yep, a half eaten lavender donut!

The Apple Trees look so different here. They are spiney and their branches are covered with moss. Hard to believe they bear fruit but I’ve been in Sitka in the fall and enjoyed the apples later in the season. I find them oh so interesting in their shapes. Here are a few.

 

Apple Trees
I love this one.
These two are close to each other and are just outside the back entrance to my house.
Trying to get a close-up of the moss.

Skunk Cabbage is another one of those plants that I find amazing. It is coming late this season due to all the snow and ice Sitka experienced this winter. And, while there has been some, the normal crop has been delayed. The bears eat this to start their digestive systems after their winter hibernation. Here’s are some views of it growing on the trail between the white house and the main road. (This is where we sing to let the bears know we are coming down the road.) All the yellow flowers are skunk cabbage as it begins its growth. It will grow into a very large plant with very large leaves. The yellow flower is the beginning bloom.

The yellow flowers are the beginnings of the skunk cabbage plants. You can also see some that have not flowered yet.
More along the side of the road to the house.
Do you see all of it back in the swampy area?

My roommates returned to their respective homes this past week so now am living alone in the White House. A majority of the remaining interns and volunteers arrived yesterday and are staying in the Bunk House just down the road. I’m told we will have more temporary personnel coming in a few weeks who will be staying here with me so that will be good. For now, the White House is a quiet house.

 

The dining room at the “White” House.
The living area in the “White” house.
Another view of the living area.

Having no television or internet services mean my times at the house are spent reading and sewing. I’ve gone back to embroidering again and am having a good time making Christmas presents. I found these pillowcases here at the local Ben Franklin store to cross stitch.

 

Great Christmas presents don’t you think?

Much to my surprise I had a stack of cards waiting for me at the Post Office on Saturday. Melissa and the kids sent Easter Cards. Since my mail has to be sent to me c/o General Delivery, Sitka, AK 99835, I check at the post office to see what surprises might await when I know something is coming. I was expecting a package but not these cards. A welcome surprise for sure! Thanks to Melissa, Robert, Cam, Tom & Mike and Gus too.

Letters from home!
Beautiful cards I continue to look at and read. I sure miss these folks.

Marti and I took a trip to Ludvigs Bistro (local restaurant) on Friday night. The food there is wonderful and a bit pricey ($80 dinner so I eat there just once while I’m here). It is definitely fine dining Sitka style. The salmon is to die for and their Clam Chowder is the chowder of all chowders. The chowder is sold at the Sitka Sound Science Center bistro just next to the National Park. It’s $8 for a cup, $11 for a bowl.   I never take pictures of meals but here you go. Hope it makes your mouth water because it was SO SO good.

 

Makes me hungry just looking at this picture. It is SOOOOO good.

Another adventure for me has been a return to walking. Each day I walk an extra 40 minutes on my way to work just to build some stamina. I found out yesterday that we will be “taking a hike” during one day of training. And they mean a real “hike” up a mountain trail. Well, I’m sure that will bring me at least one story about grace and style! Stay-tuned.

Finally, this past week has been one driven by faith and culminating this Easter Sunday. Holy Week ended today in Sitka with an all denomination sunrise service at 7 a.m. in Centennial Hall. In John 11, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
For all those you have loved and lost, I say these words. And for those near to me that are now gone, I remember. Especially Grant, Cassen, Tommy, Dave, Mike & Drucilla (my mom & dad), Lee & Virginia, Jesse (my grandfather), Randi (my cousin), Jack (my uncle) as well as other family members and friends who are spending Easter together with our Lord and Savior. I thank Him every day for the gift of your life and your journey with me.

I hope your Easter was a happy and joyous one. Allelujah! He is Risen!

Till next time . . .

Mara

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