Cookout on the BEACH!

Keep in mind this is February.  It’s the last day of February, but it’s still February and about 18 degrees F.

IMG_0004eThis afternoon, Holly wanted to go out and do something fun as a family.  The first plan was to have a cook-out on Chilkoot Lake; to just build a fire right on the ice. 

While that might seem like a bad idea, I’ve never actually tried starting a fire in the middle of a frozen lake, so it was a bit hard for me to dissuade her of the notion that it’d be both fun and a success.  Then we talked to Ron Horn and he said the road is not plowed all the way out to the lake, so we’d have to walk about a mile out to the end of the road through the snow–not something I’d want to do without snow-shoes with three little ones.

To get down to the beach, we had to climb down a really steep snow pile which was covered with the new snow from this past week.  It really was a beautiful day.


IMG_0015cThen she got the idea that it’d be fun to cook hot-dogs and s’mores, so I thought it’d be best if we moved the cook-out to the beach. BAM.  That seemed like a good idea to me, it’s close to the road, it’s on dry land, we could easily put some wood in the car and take it down to the beach, etc. 

We called the Greens and invited them to come, but they weren’t home, so as Holly went to the store to get some supplies, I went to the school and tracked the Greens down at the Energy Fair in the cafeteria.

IMG_0032For the location, we decided on the beach near the Cruise Ship dock right in front of town.  We got some free wood from Ron, and headed down there.  Blacky had shown Mark how to light a fire with a wooden match, so we set him to using the matches to start the fire.  He’d never used paper matches before, so I had to show him how to light a paper match.  Note to self.  Get a box of wooden matches for the next cook-out.  Mark actually lit the match that lit the fire–which was pretty exciting for us.


Since all the sticks, willows, and branches are covered by snow this time of year, we brought our metal Weiner roasters.  It was so cold out, and the fire was so small, that we really had a problem with keeping warm.  But this is not the usual time of year to be burning wood outside, as people with wood stoves are burning wood in their homes whenever possible to save money on fuel oil.


To help control the breeze on the fire, I used the two large pieces of wood as a wind block and built the fire down in the crotch of the v.  It worked really well, it seemed.  At one point, Steward Dewitt took his boat out and splashed some waves up on the beach and we had to move our stuff up out of the inter-tidal zone for an extra margin of safety. 

Right now, Holly is putting the boys to sleep while I was the dishes 🙂

What time is it, Mark?

Our oil tank which feeds oil to our one source of heat, the Toyo stove, is covered with snow and there is a huge snow cornice hanging out over it as well.  Delta Western, the local oil delivery company, called the other day and said they could not deliver us any more heating oil until the snow is cleared, as it looks dangerous.

I was going to shovel it this morning before I left for school, but I forgot.

On the way to school, as Mark and I walked away from the house, I remembered about the oil tank and looked back towards the house and contemplated running back to shovel it off really quickly.

Without thinking I said, “Mark, what time is it.”

He said, ‘Daddy, I don’t have a clock.’

Then he said, “And, I don’t know how to tell time.”

Upon further reflection he said, “And, when it was time to leave the house I didn’t look at the clock because I was thinking of other things.  So I have no idea what time it is.”

I thought that was a pretty good bit of logic for a kindergartener.

Moose nuggets, Beautiful snow on the trees.

IMG_3420 Today when we went out of the house, we were surprised to find that a moose had gone down our driveway and left a deposit in our driveway right where the passenger door behind the driver.

In Alaska, we call them moose nuggets, because they are nugget shaped and come from a moose.  As you can see in the picture, there was only about three feet of space next to the car where the moose walked, and as they are tall, huge animals, there was probably not much room on either side of the moose. 

The most popular vehicle in our hilly town are Subaru’s since they are All-Wheel-Drive and quite economical to both purchase and drive.  Bob and Margaret have one that is just beyond Mark in the photo.


Our walk to school is quite beautiful on days when there is Sunlight. Right after I took this picture, a moose crossed the street right by the crosswalk sign on the right.  You can just see it in the next photo when we reached that street.


Non Traditional Sunday School.

IMG_3396Holly has a new thing she’s doing with the little ones in Sunday School–Rock band!  The kids get to dress up and wear sunglasses and sing into microphones.  The electric piano generates most off the ‘rock’ sound with most of the songs being traditional Sunday school songs.

IMG_3386 Mark likes to sing really loud and is taking piano lessons from from his grandmother.  Likes to sing loud and play the drums or other percussion instruments.

The whole lot of them really like it.


We had a big snow on Saturday!

IMG_3411Holly and I had to dig for about 1/2 an hour to get the car out of the drive for church on Sunday.  We did call a snow removal service, but they didn’t make it over to the house in time–so we just used the shovels.

I’d say we got about 20 inches from Saturday 11AM until Sunday Morning.  The top snow was light and fluffy (thankfully), but the bottom 8 inches were really soggy and slushy.  The neighbor has a snowblower and did his drive six times on Saturday.


Luke had a bad fall onto a sharp object which put a big lump on his head and cause him to scream loudly.  He did not pass out but cried all the way up the stairs at the Horn’s house.  He looked terrible and laid in his mother’s arms for a while as limp as a noodle.  After a bit, I took a turn holding him and he promptly threw up all over himself and me.

The poor little guy.  He’s so dear.

I checked his pupils and they seem to constrict and dilate rapidly when the light varies so I think the blow wasn’t too bad. But we came home and put him straight to sleep.

Keep him in your prayers.

25 Random things

  1. I grew up in a place with no trees: Barrow, Alaska the most northern city (village) in the North American Continent
  2. I now live in a rain forest: Southeast Alaska.
  3. I walk to work 1.24 miles every day no matter what the weather is like.  Mark walks with me.  I do it to save on gas and for the exercise.
  4. My parents spent 2 years in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps, yet remain republican.  I refuse to be either Republican or Democrat, but love to criticize both whenever there is humor to be found.
  5. I have no plans to ever buy an iPod.
  6. We don’t have a TV in the house.  We don’t watch movies.  We do have a wonderful VCR that was given to us.
  7. My name is Matthew and my son’s names are Mark, Luke, and John.  My older brother Jack calls us the gospel brothers.
  8. My current multipurpose laptop is a Dell Inspiron 6400/e1505.  I recently fixed the floppy LCD screen, replaced the keyboard and graduated it to a bigger HD.
  9. My wife Holly was born on Christmas day.  This does not surprise people that have known her for years.  She is beautiful.
  10. We have virtually brand new school in Haines where I teach.
  11. This next year, I want to offer a couple of dual credit math classes through UAS.
  12. If I want more money as a professional photographer, I’m going to either have to start traveling more or move to a bigger city.  I’m shooting a wedding in Sitka in April.
  13. If I’m going to continue to get better as a fisherman, I first need to fish more days in the month of July and start saving up that extra money.  Then I need to invests in more infrastructure, such as a flush deck boat with more capacity.
  14. As a father, I need to put aside my own interests and work on spending more time enjoying the boys and living in the moment with them.
  15. I don’t listen to music very often.  I don’t have a favorite music group.
  16. My dream car would be a used Toyota 4WD Siena Mini-van with a a nice sound system and seating for the whole family plus a couple more kids.  Right now my stand-in dream car is a 1990 Mazda MPV 4WD which seats seven.
  17. My dream photo laptop would be an HP Pavilion 9000v or newer model, with two 320GB 7200RPM drives, 4 GB of RAM 2.6 Ghz core 2 duo processor, a TV tuner, WiFi, and cell phone internet.
  18. My dream laptop for lecturing is an HP 2730p or a motion computing LE1700 with a Core 2 Duo so I could run the projector wirelessly while walking around the room.
  19. My favorite food is Italian food.  I spent the fall semester of 1989 in Florence, Italy and have loved pasta ever since.
  20. I can count to ten in Inupiat which is the native language in the North Slope.  They have a base 20 system with a ridiculous number of syllables per number.
  21. I can still do the Rubik’s Cube in about 80 seconds.
  22. My main camera right now is a Canon 40D and the lens most often on the camera is the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM.
  23. My family lives in an log house with no insulation.
  24. I’m not good at multitasking.
  25. I need to spend less time on the computer.  The boys are starting to squabble, so I need to make them some oatmeal with granola for breakfast.

If you’ve read all that, what you’re supposed to do now is sit down and write down 25 random things about yourself and post it on your blog and also in my comments section.  That way, we get to know each other better.