Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Last Day of June

Augustine volcano has been steaming lately, particularly noticable when there are few other clouds in the sky. I stopped at the scenic pull-out at the top of the hill on my way to work this afternoon and snapped this photos of the cinder cone across sixty-five miles of cold Pacific water.

It was still steaming this evening when Denny and I went for a walk out along Thomas road to one of the lots we bought last summer. It was pleasant and as long as we kept walking the insects didn't home in on us. We cut our explorations short when we stumbled across a cow moose who was bedded down in a quiet corner of the lot. We didn't stop looking over our shoulders until we were almost back to Tomas Road.

The oblique sun-angle turned the stratus lavender and the distant sea white, so that the volcano looks like it is floating on clouds. This was about about ten-forty-five.

Friday, June 29, 2007

At Work - View from the Back Window

The view across Kachemak Bay must be familiar to readers of this blog. This is the view I have out the back window at work.

The TV weathercasters have been threatening rain starting today but the actuality hasn't borne it out.

Not that I wouldn't mind a little rain for the flowers but it is hard to argue with the beauty of sun-kissed high-summer.

I just wish my heart were lighter.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Lushness

Marigolds "Durango Bolero"

One thing I love about this time of year is the sudden green lushness after so many months of just getting by. I tend to take a lot of photos of my flowers every summer in an attempt to capture their beauty in time.

Because the winters are long and we are already losing daylight.

I think this basket on the side of the cat run is my favorite. It has filled out a lot since last month. It features "White Nancy" dead nettle (Lamium maculatum,) diascia "Coral Rose" and a variety of violas in the middle. I love violas...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fire Update

The fire is now--according to which source you use--between 55,000 and 65,000 acres. Lucky for us, the winds have been blowing from the southwest and we haven't had much smoke or even seen much of the smoke plume, though the helicopter activity to and from the airport has been incessant for the past couple days as firefighters and supplies are shuttled back and forth.

The map above is a screenshot off the OASIS console at work showing the Kenai Peninsula. The Anchorage area is off the screen to the top, Kodiak Island and the Gulf of Alaska to the south. The Homer Airport is marked by the yellow star and Bluff Point (where we live) is the blue star. The big red box is the area surrounding the fire that is off-limits to aircraft not involved in the fire-fighting activity. There is only a narrow corridor between the restricted airspace and the mountains to the east and a buffer zone on the west side along the coast for aircraft flying north to the Anchorage area. (All the white dots are airports of some caliber or another)

I drove up to Diamond Ridge on my way home from work last night. The hills to the north were obscured by a combination of clouds and smoke. Out of curiousity I decided to drive a little north and see what I could see.

I took the Sterling Highway a couple miles north to the North Fork Road (the south end of the North Fork Road, to get technical.) I took the North Fork's meandering loop north up into the higher terrain, hoping to get a better view of what lay to the north. The hills are steep--even the Crown Victoria balked at some stretches--but once I reached the alpine meadows, the view was obstructed by rain clouds and smoke. The whole valley of the Anchor River was filled with smoke. Descending into it was like descending into darkness. Rain began before I reached the level ground on the north side of the hills. Yet despite the heavy rain, the smoke was thick, restricting visibility to a half-mile or so. It cloaked Anchor Point and crept sout along the highway. It wasn't until I approached Black Water Bend that the visibility improved and I broke out into the light again.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Midsummer's Night

These were taken around midnight last night..

The view looking north where winds had dispersed the smoke from the Deep creek fire...

The view looking south over Kachemak Bay...

Midsummer's moonlight...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Update on Aircraft Crash on Yukon Island

Update on airplane crash from Homer News.

It sounds like Jennifer is out of danger but has a long recovery ahead of her. Reading the news story reinforced my feeling that there was a lot of serendipidy involved. Had this happened "around the corner"--south of Seldovia--there would have been fewer people close at hand. Had it happened one or two minutes later, the plane would have been over the middle of the bay. As Denny said, there is only one beach on Yukon Island that you could put a plane on, and the tide was out.

As bad as it is, it could have easily been so much worse...

One of the local TV stations had an interview with the survivor who is in the hospital in Homer, which was quoted in the Anchorage Daily News:

‘The pilot Jen told us we could scream if we wanted.’

KTUU interviews one of the passengers injured when a short flight from Seldovia to Homer crashed on Tuesday.

Nanwalek resident Teresa Cook told the station what it was like inside the plane moments before pilot Jennifer Foltz attempted a crash landing.

The plane was approaching Homer when the engine sputtered, Cook said. The passengers began to panic and pray.

She told KTUU: “The lady next to me, we were holding each other and I was crossing myself and saying the lord's prayer and she was saying amen right after and the pilot Jen told us we could scream if we wanted and all she told us that she landed on beaches before, and everything is going to be okay.”

Cook was pregnant, the station reports, but lost her baby in the crash.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Caribou Hills Fire

The fire is uncontrolled at 4000 acres about 25 miles north of us.

An Eventful Tuesday...

It was such a lovely evening, we drove up to Greer Road to hike to some land my parents own.

When we got back home, we noticed smoke rising north of Diamond Ridge. A friend working for the state provided us with some details:

Homer Tribuine: Caribou Hills Fire...

He also told us about a plane crash just south of town. This is a pilot and aircraft I work with every day. As I write this, I don't know if Jennifer is going to survive.

Homer Tribune: Plane Crash Injures Four

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pickle Boy 1998 - 2007

Sadness today in The House of Many Cats.

Pickle had a good life and was a constant source of pleasure for us. He will be missed very much.