ALO's October news is brought to you this month from the Long Pond Elk Farm branch of ALO. Cell phones and email have made it possible to conduct most office business from afar, and several court hearings have been done this year from the farm, including a couple from the golf cart in the middle of the woods. The usual array of wildlife is present, most in greater numbers than past years, and the vegetation is tall and thick because of an exceptionally wet summer. On many days, one of the ponds along the mile long driveway featured about 100 Canadian geese, a half dozen trumpeter swans, a couple of sandhill cranes and a batch of mallards. This pond, which features a small island in the middle, always was a waterfowl magnet, but this year's numbers are unlike anything seen here for something like 100 years.
The abundance of wildlife attracted a prospective trapper to the farm. He asked if he could trap coyotes. He was told that the coyotes were welcome at the Elk Farm and that coyote traps are dangerous for the dogs that put on miles a day on the farm, which what not the answer he was looking for. After persisting a bit, he left. Imagine the surprise a while later when the Elk Farm security team encountered a live skunk caught in a coyote set right on the trail next to the elk pen.
It took a while to determine the name of the trapper, but eventually a phone call convinced him to remove the trap and all others he had placed. He removed the traps but left behind a little gift, a very dead and very smelly skunk, which he placed on top of a bale next to the elk pen. This time the call was even less cordial.
Trapping in areas that are heavily used for other outdoor activities, even if legal, is not a good idea. Its no wonder that in our increasingly crowded society, trapping is losing support. It's a wilderness activity, and there is much less wilderness than there used to be. The security team made another find on the farm that is worth mention. Late one night a loud thud was heard near the cabin. It was so loud that it caused a brief search with a powerful headlamp to see what caused it. There was no evidence to be found, and the incident was forgotten until the next day. On an outing to check the trail cameras set up around the farm, a small piece of blue ice was spotted laying on the ground.
Blue ice droppings from a jet.
The temperature was about 40 degrees and the ice was clearly melting. A quick trip back to the cabin and the computer revealed that the blue ice was a rare but documented phenomena of modern life. Apparently leaks in the sewer systems of jets cause blue ice to form on the fuselage, and during descent, that ice can break away when the jet reaches warmer temps. This piece was small, but was found about eight hours after the huge thud, which likely was a much larger chunk of ice. The episode brings to mind a combination of a couple of old sayings---the sky is falling, and shit happens.
Speaking of trail cams, the elk farm is crawling with big bucks, and this buck is one of the best looking ones.
They are hard to see during the hunting season, which is in early November. As of this writing, very hard to see. Full report in November news.
Wildlife sightings not only happen on the farm. These photos show some urban moose in Alaska's biggest city. This moose had its picture taken by Sharon Winner in her house, on a rare evening when the Winners were actually at home. According to Facebook they dine out eight nights a week.
ALO news reader Sharon Winner took a picture of this moose in her yard.
An urban moose in Anchorage
The giant bull looks to be nearly stuck between two vehicles.
This video was taken in Colorado where farmed elk are common. This herd pulled a jailbreak, and seemed to enjoy the outing.
A few have managed to escape at Long Pond elk farm, but never for long. They always get homesick for their buddies and an easy meal.
Its been a while since Sarah Palin made the ALO news, but her decision not to run for President brings her back. Former Bethel attorney Don Mitchell likes to talk about Sarah, and did so at length when she made her announcement. A couple of Alaska radio talk show guys did as well.
Of course, she broke her promise. Sarah Palin isn't the only celebrity in Alaska. These three were recently spotted at the Alaska zoo. There were actually two more celebrities nearby. One was taking the picture, and the other was too shy.
Finally, a short video worth watching if you ever plan on growing old.