Monday, August 28, 2006

199. GIANT veggies

Because we have so many hours of sunlight in the summer, vegetables grow really big. Here are some pictures of vegetables from the state fair. (I put the dollar bill in the pictures so you can get an idea of the size of the vegetables.)

1. Turnips

2. This kohlrabi is 81.70 lbs, a new world record

3. Red leafed cabbage that I could not get close enough to to put down the dollar bill, so go by the size of the ribbon

4. Cabbage

5. The blue ribbon squash weighs 5.57 lbs

6. The front zuchinni weighs 15.79 lbs

7. This beet weighs 16.47 lbs

8. Another type of cabbage

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

198. Hooper Bay

In Deering, I wondered what would happen if there was a fire. We had no fire department, no fire hydrants, everything was made of wood, and there was little water.

Hooper Bay is a Yupik village about nine times the size of Deering. Earlier his month, a few kids were playing with matches in the elementary school. The school caught on fire which spread through the village. The local troopers evacuated the people. The state of Alaska sent fire-dropping helicopters to put out the fire.

Fifteen acres of the city were destroyed before the fire was extinguished. This included twelve homes, the elementary school, the high school, the teacher housing complex, a few stores, some offices, and some storage units. Damages exceed 30 million dollars.

Fortunately, no people were hurt, although over 70 are now homeless. Also fortunately, the fire did not make it to the fuel tank, missing it by 300 feet. Cleanup volunteers have flown in from all over the state.

They began building a new school, but it is not expected to be completed until January. Some modular building supplies have been shipped by boat out of Seattle and hopefully should arrive before the ocean freezes.

Hooper Bay had no library, and most of the village relied on the schools' book supplies. The sate is having a book drive. The library had collection boxes. Many of the local book stores sell books to be donated at a discount (although if the bookstores were really sincere, they'd sell them wholesale).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

197. No food ALL day

In Anchorage, Tisha B'Av ended at midnight.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

196. R.I.P. Susan Howlet Butcher 1954 – 2006

An Alaskan hero, Susan Butcher has died at age 51 of leukemia.

Butcher won the Iditarod in 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1990. She was the second woman to win, the first woman to place in the top ten, the second person to win four times, and the first person to win four times in five consecutive years. (since then, one other person has won 4 times, and one person won 5 times.)

She entered a total of 17 times. 1978 came in 19th, 1978 came in 9th, 1980 came in 5th, 1981 came in 5th, 1982 came in 2nd, 1983 came in 9th, 1984 came in 2nd, 1985 had been leading when she dropped out in the middle because her group was attacked by a moose with two of her dogs killed and others injured, 1986 1st, 1987 1st, 1988 1st, 1989 2nd, 1990 1st, 1991 3rd, 1992 2nd, 1993 4th, 1994 10th.

(In 1985, when Butcher dropped out, Libby Riddles became the first woman to win.)

Someone once commented that the Iditarod could not be too difficult if a woman could win. Butcher's reply was that she was "more man than he'd ever be, and more woman than he'd ever have."

The Iditarod is considered on of the most difficult athletic events there is, a race of over 1,150 miles over the frozen tundra including mountains, rivers, and forests. About 50 people begin it each year. Many drop out for reasons ranging from having their dogs injured by an angry moose to having their eyeballs freeze.

In addition to racing, Butcher was involved in improving the care that the dogs in the Iditarod must receive.

She leaves behind a husband, fellow musher Dave Monson, and two daughters, Tekla, 10, and Chisana, 5.

Link to her website:

Link to the Iditarod website:

Websites for other women who run the Iditarod:
Libby Riddles first woman to win the Iditarod
DeeDee Jonrowe Has the fastest time of any woman
Rachael Scdoris Only legally blind person to run
Mary Shields The first woman to finish to Iditarod in 1974

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

195. You asked, I answer

Questions New Yorkers asked me about Deering:

Q: Do Eskimos really send the elderly out on ice flows?

A: Not to the best of my knowledge. With their skills of subsistance living, they probably could make a harpoon out of ice, and live happily on seal meat in a seal-skin hut.

Q: Which is worse - light 24 hours or dark 24 hours?

A: I found constant light to be more of a disconcerting. In Portland and New York I've always had some days when I've woken up in the dark and gone home in the dark. I could not get used to going to sleep while it is still bright outside. One night I was up talking to someone and thought it was maybe ten-thirty. Then I looked up and saw it was after 2 am.

Questions Deeringers (Deeringites?) ask about New York:

Q: Why are all the taxi cabs yellow?

A: Why not? People in New York mostly don't phone for a cab, they just hail one they see on the street. It helps to recognize them when they are all the same color, especially a color that is different than other cars.

Q: What are black and white cookies that Jerry loved on Seinfeld?

A: Large cookies. The base is sort of a tastless cookie. It is iced with half iced with white icing and the other half in a dark brown icing. (see pic)

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