Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Midnight Sun and Moose Shish Kabob - June 2010

We’ve now been teaching in Fairbanks for one month, and it’s incredible to think about all of the things we’ve done. The summer is going by so quickly. Our bird feeder outside the living room window has given us great looks at a Great Horned Owl,

 Black-capped Chickadees and Red Squirrels.  We call this one "Butt Cheeks" - obviously a male.  LOL!!!

But, within days we met the female, and currently we have one of the offspring jumping on the feeder and fussing with the tabs trying to get seeds!  LOL!  It's too cute!

We've also been very entertained by the Common Ravens.  They have so many different calls, and when a male gets going with his glunk, glunk sound - you think that someone is dropping stones in a deep pool of water.  These guys are quite intelligent too.  Dave snapped this photo of one who was dodging cars in the parking lot while trying to snag some spilled popcorn.

Lack of sleep has become the norm, because you just don’t realize how late it is when the sun is up 24 hrs a day. So, we go to bed sometime after midnight, and get up by 8am to go to class. The funny thing is that everyone here is in the same boat. They all stay up late – washing their cars at 1am, mowing the grass, etc. I think I was SKYPING with Fred and Tess at 1am on this night.

Dave has also picked up some strange habits, like watching the "Ice Trucker's Highway" show on TV.  Now he wants to drive to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay just to say we've driven the Haul Road! 

We went to the 105th playing of the Midnight Sun Baseball game Monday night (the Summer Solstice) and the stadium was so full, it was standing room only, even out behind left field. The game started at 10:30pm and has been played every year without the use of artificial lighting – just the midnight sun lights up the field.  At midnight, the games is stopped, so that the Alaska State Song can be sung.

The Alaska Goldpanners, which is a summer league team, played against the “Heroes of the Mound” team from the US Armed Services. The opening ceremonies were very emotional as the US flag was passed between members of the US Armed Forces while Ray Charles’ version of America The Beautiful played. Three members of the original Godpanner’s team were honored as well as a disabled Vietnam & Korean War vet. When the National Anthem began, tears welled up in my eyes and I couldn’t help but think of Dylan, and hope that he nevers sees battle. We’ve been told by more than one person, that Alaska has the highest concentration of Vietnam Vets than any other state. Why?

It’s true that there are more long-haired white men and more white women with heavy tattooing here than in Indiana or Ohio. Plus there is an attitude among residents here that they don’t like to be told what to do. People live remotely, on what the earth provides them, and subsistence living is in vogue. I say in vogue, because they are not forced to live this lifestyle – they choose to live it – and will defend their right to live this way.  We were invited to have a meal of moose shishkabobs and let me tell you ... it was delicious!

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