The October news is brought to you from wintry Anchorage where early snow and cold greeted the returning travelers from Minnesota where balmy temperatures prevailed during October. It was so balmy that migratory birds were still present well into November. The birds were congregated in the few bodies of water that were wet enough to float a duck. The midsummer heat and dry weather left many ponds on the Elk Farm without any water. Modest rainfall in October kept grass green in many areas, but the ponds were too dry to recover. Long Pond was still viable and sported as many as 25 Trumpeter swans some days. That’s a lot of big white birds right out the window. Think of a brass band that performs whenever the mood strikes. It is a haunting sound, and combined with Canada geese and coyotes makes for enjoyable evenings on the farm. Other wildlife was abundant on the farm, including the highest ever number of deer, resulting in a successful hunt. An early snowfall provided an opportunity for a safe but large bonfire of scrap wood on the farm.
Many Minnesota elders head south for warm weather this time of the year, but instead the Angstmans head north for this.
But this thought sort of sums up the view of some Alaskans to winter.
And this photo of Anchorage from the edge of the city reveals that it is actually an attractive urban setting.
ALO cases continue to pile up as Covid has the court system stymied. Recently a new case was filed in Anchorage that should cause great concern for families with elders in senior care centers. This is a news article about the case - "Lawsuit filed against Anchorage senior care facility over allegations of sexual abuse and neglect," that is featured in the Anchorage Daily News. What is remarkable about the quoted facts is that many of them come from one or more tipsters inside the facility. This promises to be compelling litigation with high powered out-of-state counsel involved, representing one of Alaska’s most highly regarded senior care facilities. Buckle up for this one.
There has been a lull in cartoons on these pages recently but that will be corrected this month. Cartoons have been around since the mid-1800s, and are highly prized for their main function – to provide a humorous look at the human condition in a speedy way. One quick look tells the story. So here are two examples that meet that criteria.
Mandatory Moose & Many Other Animals
This month’s Mandatory Moose displays a style of eating common for moose. If they are grazing on short vegetation, they kneel to get their tall bodies closer to the food.
Mark Schwantes appears here often. This slow motion video he captured of an eagle taking flight is spectacular.
This lynx showed up in someone’s yard in Anchorage.
And this pig got quite a ride.
Of course there are more animals. These photos are from remote Little Diomede island near Nome. The village is only about a mile from the International Date Line and the Russian island of Big Diomede in the Bering Sea. The photos show a couple of polar bears checking out the village school.
A visit to Little Diomede in the mid-1970s revealed a primitive village where many folks still lived in partially subterranean houses built from mainly driftwood. An invitation into one of the homes to look at locally carved walrus ivory for sale revealed a one room dwelling with a 4 to 5 foot ceiling. The small in stature residents did not stand up in the house but always remained seated, squatting or reclined. The small confines of this home, mostly underground, allowed for more efficient heating in the long harsh winter. Movement inside the home was accomplished by sliding across the floor on homemade clothing, usually sealskin, which over many years resulted in an extremely smooth floor that was buffed every day. The homes had recently become electrified but were still equipped with seal oil lamps for use when the power failed, which was often. That visit was a step back in time, a chance to witness a style of living that had been in place for thousands of years in that location.
Dog Racing & Artistry
Many dog race fans are among the readers of this page, based on feedback received. Here is a bit longer piece of race history - "Last Great Race on Earth 1979 Iditarod" taken during the 1979 Iditarod, where Old Friendly Dog Farm first appeared at the starting line, and finished 25th out of 56 teams.
That video shows a completely different style of racing than exists today and well worth the extra viewing time for race fans or folks curious about Alaska. It was shown on network TV and was the first such exposure for the race.
Another former Bethel person is making a name for herself in the art world. Beth Rearden Hill is an artist, and recently she posted this thought on Facebook. Here is a link to her webpage.
Covid still rages in most of America. Minnesota and Alaska have some of the highest infection rates in the nation. This Anchorage Daily News article "New Alaska data traces disproportionate experiences of COVID-19 by race, gender, and status" discusses some statistics of interest. Vaccinations are a good idea for anyone who approaches the decision from a risk-reward perspective.
And finally, despite 47 years of putting it all on the line for thousands of clients, this day – “Love Your Lawyer Day” (observed on the first Friday of November) came and went with nary a word from any of them. One person, Casey McDonald, sent the link, but after the fact. Seems like this day should get equal billing with Mother’s Day, don’t you think?