October started with a trip to the elk farm, where Sandy and Chris Rolan were the first visitors. Sandy was employed at ALO many years ago, and now lives in Montana. She holds the record as the fastest typist ever seen in the YK Delta, about 120 words a minute, and combined that with two other noteworthy skills-she is a high grade musician and completed the Akiak Dash after only seven training runs at the dog farm. Sandy had continued to work for ALO for a few years after she left Bethel but had to stop when her kids reached the age where parenting took up too much time. The kids are gone, and Sandy is once again helping ALO from afar, now as a paralegal and transcriptionist. A favorite memory of her transcription services involved a rather long tape that was sent to her late on a Friday afternoon. Sandy apologized that she wouldn't be able to get it back to ALO until Monday morning. A fast turn around for the same service in Anchorage would be about 10 days.
Next on the visit list were Grant and Debbie Fairbanks. They arrived after visiting Debbie's mother in Duluth Minnesota she is in her 90's. Farm tours took up most of the Fairbanks' visit time. Most of the viewing involved wildlife which was abundant again this year, but on one outing Grant spotted a leafy plant that drew his interest.
Grant offered to help remove the weed from the farm.
Wild hemp grows readily on the elk farm, and from time to time the government asks farmers to remove it because it is considered a noxious plant. Grant offered to help with the removal.
A Montana trip to visit old friends was next on the agenda. Bob and Mary Rearden were first on the list. They live on the Missouri River near Great Falls, and that reaching there took one long day of driving at or near the liberal speed limits in North Dakota and Montana. They keep horses and kayaks, and Sue always gets a ride on both.
Webmaster Rich Gannon and Jen hosted the Angstmans next, and their goats were the main attraction. The goats have several tricks, but their best one seems to be getting out of the pen. Rich took time out from heavy duty child care to redesign the ALO webpage with great results.
The highlight of the trip home was a stop with Art and Linda Glasoe in Wildrose North Dakota. They operate a large farm with abundant wildlife nearby. On a short truck ride from their home, this rare sight was observed.
Whooping cranes numbered a total of 14 in the entire world in 60-70 years ago when an effort was made to save them. There are about 300 wild now in North America, and a few of them now migrate through the Glasoe farm every year. There is no extra protection for them and Art drives out to check on them regularly. They stand five feet high and have an eight foot wingspan. Thousands of ducks and geese kept the cranes company on the Glasoe farm.
Back home the migrating waterfowl had their biggest year ever on the elk farm. Ducks, geese, sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans put on a show most evenings traveling between water holes and feeding areas. Pheasants continued their steady increase in numbers, and deer were everywhere. This deer apparently was listening when Mother said "learn to stand on your own two feet".
Deer are not the only acrobats on the farm. This device is sold as a squirrel proof bird feeder.
One case dominated the legal news in Bethel. Three men are charged in connection with one of the worst crimes in local history. Two of them are charged with torturing and killing a young man over a period of 2-3 days, reportedly because of a stolen truck. The torture was observed by others and still more people learned of the event without alerting authorities. The two charged men were eventually arrested at a local office complex. One of them reportedly hid out in a law office for several hours. That prompted numerous calls to ALO, and a carefully considered new rule was passed along to the callers. If you torture and murder someone, don't expect to hide at ALO.
Bill Eggiman sent along this photo of sunrise near the Angstman cabin.