(Of course, I'm asking our visitors. If you live in Alaska, you've probably seen more moose than you can count. But if you're like me, you still get excited every single time.)
Here's a little bull that hangs around along Chena Hot Springs Road near my home:
He's become quite the star: Cars are always stopped and cameras snapping away while he munches water plants and snorts. He can't be that irritated, though, because I always see him in pretty much the same spot. (Please, visitors, never walk up to a moose. Even a little one. They'll stomp you flat.)
If you're here for your first visit, are you thrilled by the nearly nonstop daylight — or is it driving you crazy? It's a little of both for me: I love forgetting what time it is and discovering that I'm out tending my flowers at 11 p.m. But I'm also hyperaware of how fleeting our summers are, and I want to wring every last bit of good out of these precious long days.
Thus, I must admit my blogging has been on the back burner as I spend as much time as possible outside (and some at my bench).
As proof that I do spend a bit of time working, I offer this photo of a batch of silver squiggles being carded, headed with a bunch of other stuff to the Magic Carpet at Denali, Portfolio in Anchorage and Fireweed Gallery in Homer. (Please stop in if you're in the vicinity and say I sent you.)
Want to see a few more of the things that feed my soul?
Here I am on the banks of the Chena River. (Betcha didn't know I'm a giant.)
All my life I've picked up interesting stones and toted them home, so you can imagine what a joy spots like this are. Luckily, my husband has a less acquisitive perspective on rocks, so I haven't cleared the banks or covered our property. Yet.
Here's a lovely spot in a stand of birches at Creamer's Field in Fairbanks.
I love walking the trails there, mostly for the trees. Well, the trees and the birds. Most folks go for the migratory birds — it is a refuge, after all, and loads of sandhill cranes, Canada geese, trumpeter swans and ducks of every persuasion stop there to rest and eat on the way to their nesting grounds. If you're there at the right time, you can see workers from the Alaska Bird Observatory catching songbirds in mist nets and banding them, too. And if you're interested in learning about the flora and fauna, catch one of the guided nature walks.
I've been spending a lot of time planting flowers — my ususal petunias, mimulus, nasturtiums, snapdragons, gloriosa daisies, geraniums. Anything with lots of color. My soul craves the bright colors after the pastels of the winter.
Those flowers aren't ready for primetime photography yet, but here's a beloved chokecherry in bloom:
Look at those leaves! Isn't that a yummy green? Especially compared to the still-brown grass. This tree was a gift from an old friend no longer with us. Last year it bloomed for the first time; I hope we have more cherries for the birds than the three little ones that emerged last year.
Today I wandered around picking leaves from the willows, roses, cranberries, dogwoods and lots of other plants to press for my Forest Floor jewelry. That's work, isn't it? (Like most of my work, it's certainly fun.)
It has been more than a month since my last blog entry (gasp), and I have so much more to share... updates on the Stone Soup Challenge, new adventures with embossing and resin, profiles of the shops and galleries that represent me. If I don't come back and write again soon, I'll never catch up. So I guess my next entry will be written outside on my laptop.
Until then, here's one last bit of inspiration. Looks to me like a caribou marked this birch with his hoofprint. What do you see?