Why Celebrate Christmas  

Posted by Stan Harrington


Christmas morning has arrived in Alaska, soon Santa will be making his northward approach and his home. NORAD has done a great job this year tracking his voyage as he spreads his good cheer.

Myself, at 12:35 a.m. this Christmas morning, I have just finished wrapping up the last of my Christmas presents to my lovely wife. We have shared this holiday for the past forty-four great years. Through the years, our traditions have remained much the same as when we were "kids". Including my procrastination when it comes to wrapping Christmas presents. For the benefit of my children that know their mother and I have only been married 43 years. They are wondering how we could be celebrating our 44th Christmas. We shared the Christmas of 1965 together and were married in February 1966. We shared a "family Christmas" together, her parents and my family in our little log home in Alaska. It was the first "dinner" that our parents socialized with one another.

Although, I occasionally procrastinate concerning chores I do not enjoy, my wife is also not without fault. It has always been a laughing joke around our home, she has never seen a "box" that she did not like. Our basement looks like a warehouse for Mayflower Moving and Storage. We have little boxes, dress boxes, jewelry boxes, big boxes, and boxes that hold boxes. She also has a habit of collecting Christmas bows, after forty four years, we have bows! Each year, we add a few to the collection and the tradition continues, we have boxes and bows.

This time of the year, there are those that seek an answer to why we celebrate Christmas. Unfortunately, to some it is just another day. In most cases our Christmas values and traditions are instilled into us as children. We discover the meaning of Christmas and expand from that. The question of the celebration of Christmas is complex and could be debated through eternity to find the answer. Does it need to be as complex as that?

It is good that my wife collects "bows", as I was going through the mass of ribbon and bows in our "bow box" to find the perfect bow, I came across an "old" Christmas letter that had been sent to us. As like the "bows", it had been stowed away in the box. As I read it once again after several years, the meaning of Christmas appeared before my eyes from the eyes of a ten year old. She made it so simple, so pure. It was her contribution to her family Christmas letter.

See hear, see hear Christmas is near
and look at all the presents,
I want to thank God for the things
he gave us!

He gave us a family
With great memories to remember,
he gave us great food which will
be laid upon us when Christmas is here.

He gave us our pets
which we take care of.
That's what God gave us!

I hope you all have a
good Christmas!!!!!

Devyn McLay, 2005, (Age 10)

Merry Christmas Devyn, I thank God that you are a part of our lives, this day and every day.

Dear Senator Begich  

Posted by Stan Harrington

I am taking this opportunity to post a duplicate of the letter that I emailed Senator Begich this evening. Currently, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) is one vote short of having the needed 60 votes to pass the Senate. Voting is on party lines, a single exception is the Democrat Senator from Nebraska that is vowing to vote "No" unless the abortion issue is resolved in the bill. The Health care plan contains over 2,000 pages and no one except the "special committee" has seen the bill. All the Senators will have less than two days to read, understand, and vote on this legislation just because the "Executive Branch" wants it passed before Christmas. This legislation affects every citizen and amounts to over one trillion dollars in nation debt. I would like to see them take a little time, cool down, and spend the time on a bill that all can agree upon. Is that possible in Washington D.C.?

December 18, 2009

Senator Mark Begich

U.S. Senator, State of Alaska

Dear Senator Begich;

I would like to take this opportunity to wish both you and your family a very Merry Christmas. I am taking this opportunity to voice my concern in the direction that our beloved country has taken during the past eleven months. In my lifetime, I have never witnessed the politics that I have seen in Washington D.C. during the past year. The spectacle that I have witnessed is just not in the U.S. Senate, but also in the U.S. House of Representative with the Executive Branch being the worst offenders.

I have been a resident of the State of Alaska since 1956. I retired after twenty years active duty with the U.S. Navy. Two of my four children were born in Alaska; ten of my thirteen grandchildren were also born in Alaska, as were my two great grandchildren. Like your family, our family has roots in Alaska.

Our founding fathers formed this nation by writing a four-page document known as the Constitution. The principal of the document was simple; representatives would be elected to the Senate, House of Representative, and the Presidency to represent their constituents when enacting legislation. Although the lack of representation has been lacking over the past number of years, during this past eleven months it appears to have disappeared all together.

This is very apparent when one looks at the national polls for both houses and the Executive Branch. We, the voting public feel that we have been forgotten by our representatives. We continue to see legislation after legislation, amounting to billions of dollars being passed by both house and signed into law by the President. The national debt is at the point that my great grandchildren will be paying for the errors made in the past eleven months.

The national medical plan that is in debate at this time is a prime example of the ineptness of the current leadership and representatives. Again, all the national polls, whether they tend to be conservative or liberal indicate that the majority of the population of our country does not favor this legislation. In Alaska, the latest poll numbers that I saw was that 68% of the Alaskans were not in favor of this legislation. To compound the problem, Senator Reid is developing this legislation behind “closed doors”.

It appears that only a select few in the Senate knows what is going on with this bill. Senators are being bought off by “pork funds” attached to other appropriation bills for their vote. Senator Begich, I could care less if you ever bring the “pork” home to Alaska, just represent us as you have taken an oath to do. I have a great deal of respect for Senator McCain for not taking the “pork” home to Arizona. Evidently, his constituents are also proud as they continue to return him to the Senate each election.

To compound the problem, you as a Senator will only be allowed a couple of days to read and digest a bill before the Senate that contains over 2,000 pages of a new law that will affect every citizen of the United States. The current goal is to have this legislation pass in the Senate before Christmas. Common sense tells me that it is impossible to read, understand, and vote in favor of this legislation in a six-day period.

It is time for the Senators and Representatives to step up and set the example that their vote cannot be bought and that they will not sign every piece of legislation developed by the Executive Branch. Stand up, Senator Begich and let the leadership know that you represent the people of Alaska, not the Democrat or Republican Party or the President of the United States. It would be a “breath of fresh air” to actually see one of our elected representatives make this stand. Set the example and others will follow. Our founding fathers would be proud.

I encourage you to take this stand, remember the vote that you cast represents the Alaskans at home; it is not your personal vote. Strand up Senator Begich and vote “No” on the Health Care Plan until it is more clearly defined by a committee that represents the people, not the party, administration, or special interest groups. We would be proud of you if you took the stand.


Stanley R. Harrington

Something You Have Never Seen  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Saw this young moose on the news this morning, it was seen in Delta Junction. I understand it has been seen several times but no one has got a clear picture of it until now. The mother of the calf has the standard coloration of a cow moose. I surely do hope it survives!

"Coffee Clutch"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

At times, when I listen to the "experts", I just have to shake my head and wonder whatever happened to common sense. The big "turn around" on global warming is one of the classic examples. The "Plumma" picked up on the misrepresentation of the facts, long before the experts admitted that their data may be "slightly flawed".

Speaking about flawed data, was it not "special" to see our President receiving the Nobel Peace Prize last week. Although the ceremonies were just held, he was selected to receive the honor last spring. Wait a minute, he had only been in office for a few months when he was nominated and selected as the recipient. Trivia question: How many Presidents have been selected to receive the Nobel Peace Prize during their first year in office? His selection for the Peace Award and Al Gores selection a couple of years ago for his efforts in stemming of Global Warming contributes greatly to the validity of the Nobel Prize selection process.

Since this is a "coffee clutch" posting, guess we should have something about coffee. "My name is Stan, I am a habitual coffee drinker". I love my coffee and most likely consume more than I should, but who is to judge. Do you think three or four pots of coffee is to much in one day? Coffee has never been a problem for me, except when I do not have any. My first routine each morning is to pour myself a cup of coffee. Normally, I will also have coffee just prior to going to bed for the night. Drink a cup of coffee and I can be napping in five minutes. No caffeine effect on me. However, in the past few days the subject of coffee has made the news. On Tuesday, 12/8/2009 there was a news article with a opening lead in sentence that read; "have a few more cups of coffee each day can reduce a man's risk of dying of prostate cancer". Hey that applies to me! In the test case, 50,000 men were in the study group from 1986 to 2006. In that group, 4,975 cases of prostate cancer was diagnosed but only 846 of those cases was diagnosed as aggressive cancer. Those in the aggressive cancer group, 87% of them were non-coffee drinkers.
In the same article, it was quoted as saying "A number of studies have found that coffee is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes. All good news.
However, the next day I watched an interview with a doctor that linked coffee with obesity. According to her studies, one cup of unsweetened, no cream, coffee was equivalent to five (5) hot fudge sundaes! Again, let's use a little common sense! Coffee contains no calories! However, according to her some type of proton hits the cell which normally absorbs and burns fat. Since there is no fat in coffee, it enters the cell and the cell cannot burn the caffeine, consequently you get fat. Yea, let me me a model for that theory, not only am I not fat, I don't even have a butt! I can provide a number of models that are very slender, weight proportion individuals that are very heavy coffee drinks. Perhaps those that hang out at the Hole In The Wall should be in that test group!

This is my 603 posting since February 2006. Earlier today, I did a little research on my "feed counter". Out of 602 postings, the posting that was most read was "Ugly Fish Contest" written on 1/24/09, 25% of visitors came to my site for that article. The second highest was, "Operation Wetback" written on 3/3/09. However, a posting wishing one of my daughters a Happy Birthday was most widely read from Pakistan! Readers from Japan rated the highest on the article titled "They Were Soldiers", a article pertaining to the invasion of Alaska during WW II and our "Alaskan Scouts".

That Is All ~ Time To Go Get A Cup Of Coffee

Above The Clouds  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Again today, I spent the majority of the daylight hours in pursuit of a Bull Moose, the score remains the same. Today, out of frustration I would have taken a picture of a Cow Moose, if I had seen one.

However, it was an interesting day to take pictures. The lowlands of Kenai Peninsula were shrouded in thick fog the majority of the day. However, reaching the higher altitudes of Skyline Drive and Ohlson Mountain Road in Homer, I found cloudless blue sky and sunshine. It was a beautiful day if you stayed at the high elevations.

Skyline Drive Looking Across Kachemak Bay
(Homer and Kachemak Bay Is Somewhere Under The Fog)
Ohlson Mountain Road Looking Across Crossman Ridge
and Kachemak Bay

Looking West From Ohlson Mountian Road Across Cook Inlet
Ohlson Mountain Floating In The Clouds

Ohlson Mountain Cabin By the Road
How Many Winters Has This Cabin Survived?
I Remember It Being There When I Was A Kid!

"Wynn Garage"
Ohlson Mountain Road ~ Homer, Alaska

It Was A Good Hunt  

Posted by Stan Harrington

I pulled out of Anchor Point at first light on Sunday morning for a "photo shooting" expedition for wildlife. It was a good day, no sooner had I left my home and I recalled a quotation from my son, Shane. One day after a morning of Silver Salmon fishing one of the ball players that played on his team ask him, "did you catch any Silver's this morning?" Shane simply replied, "No, but I caught a beautiful sunrise!" That is how my day started as I pulled out of Anchor Point.
The sun was just starting to break the horizon and I knew it would be a good day.

Sunrise ~ Anchor Point, Alaska ~ December 6, 2009

A few minutes later, the sun kissed the tip of Mt. Iliamna,

I could not resist taking a shot at a "close up kiss"

My "photo safari" would take me to the headwaters of the Kasilof River on Tustamena Lake. From Tustamena, I decided to venture further north and stopped just short of crossing the Moose River. From Sterling, I would turn east and go to the headwaters of Swanson River hoping to find both Moose and Caribou. What a great trip, found some very interesting places to visit this next summer on the Swanson River Road. I must admit, the sighting of "wildlife" was very limited, in total I saw one cow moose. Wanting to shoot something, I shot my dog, "Dutch", he always likes to pose for the camera.

In total, my photo safari took us 213.6 miles but it was successful, a great show awaited us as we turned south on the Sterling Highway to head home.

Sunset Over Cook Inlet ~ December 6, 2009

Sunset Over Ninilchik ~ December 6, 2009

As Darkness Settles ~ Happy Valley, Alaska ~ December 6, 2009

Rays of Sun and Winter Darkness Mingling ~ December 6, 2009

The mission was not accomplished, no wildlife pictures were taken.
However, one must ask themselves in situations like this; Was the trip a waste of time? I can only simply reply, "No, it was not because, I was fortunate to catch both the sunrise and sunset"
That is all that one can ask for.

Lurking In The Woods  

Posted by Stan Harrington

As a child growing up I was often told that "monsters" lurked in the woods and their diets consisted primarily of small children. As I entered my teen years, I was brave enough to go deep into the woods and survived. Now that I am in my "Golden" years, I am a skeptic that such "monsters" exist. That was until 2:32 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, 2009.

I know that my children will perhaps think the "old man" is slipping a few gears and will likely start talking about having me committed. However, I assure you, I know what I saw and now my concern is that of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. They venture into these same woods on a daily routine during the summer months and occasionally in the winter. I make this posting only to warn them of the dangers that do lurk in the woods at the "Hole In the Wall", our family recreational site.

Following the recent heavy snowfall, I spent the day on Thursday plowing out the recreational area. With me, I had two dogs, "Ruger" and "Dutch". At the entry to the "Bowl Area" of the campground, a large patch of alders were weighted down with the heavy snow load. As I pushed the snow down the driveway, each time I would pass that patch of alders, "Ruger" would growl. Throughout the day, I passed this spot a hundred times either going forward or backing up to catch a blade of new snow that had to be moved a quarter of a mile. "Ruger's" growling persisted, each time I would scold him for the annoyance.

After plowing for a couple of hours and drinking several cups of coffee, I parked in the "bowl area" to admire my job, stretch and let my buddies have a chance to run around and enjoy the campground again.

As soon as "Ruger" hit the freshly plowed snow, he headed for the alder bushes that he had been growling at. About the time that he hit the alders, I heard a loud scream and the constant barking of "Ruger". The scream was unlike any that I have ever heard, at first I thought to be a wounded rabbit but the growl was too deep. When "Dutch" heard the commotion, he went back inside of the truck and crouched down on the seat. I made an attempt to call "Ruger" off of whatever he was upset at, but he was not paying any attention to me. The growling and screaming continued, as I picked the shovel out of the back of my truck and walked towards the alders.

Due to the snowfall, I could not see inside of the alders and "Ruger" was on the backside of the clump of alders. With a wide swing with my shovel, I smacked the alders to disperse the snow. It was only then, I saw what "Ruger" was upset about. When I first spotted the animal, it had it's back to me, then turned and stared directly into my eyes. Being that close, the growl or scream was only intensified in volume, the glaring eyes, and wide mouth. I could hear "Ruger" but could not see him. I retreated backward very slowly a few feet and then turned back to my snowplow. What little part of the animal that I saw, it looked to be eighteen inches tall, gray in color, and big mouth lined with rows of white teeth.

Retrieving my camera in one hand and my shovel, I returned to the alder patch. Turning on the camera and pushing back the alders with the shovel, I could not see any sign of the animal that I had previously seen. "Ruger" continued his constant barking and growling so I knew it remained in the area. Moving over to an area where the snow had fallen from the alders and was deeper, just as I approached the spot, the animal which I will now refer as the "snow monster" came up out the snow. He was so fast when he surfaced from the snow pile, again looking me in the eye, growling, and snapping his jaws together. I did manage to get off two quick shots with my camera, before he darted deeper into the alders. It appeared that he was standing upright on two feet, however, I later discovered by looking at the tracks in the snow he was four footed, although the front two feet were smaller than the hind feet.

In just a few seconds, I caught a glimpse of him leaving the alder patch in the direction of the "Moose Wallow" and again I saw him as he cut across "Grannies Gulch" trail and headed towards the "Buffalo Wallow" with "Ruger" in hot pursuit. They both disappeared into the deeper alders on the side bluffs of the bowl. His hindquarters were taller than his front shoulders, which was the reason that I thought he was standing upright when I first saw him. In the deep snow he left clear tracks, the front two feet were a couple of inches smaller than the back feet, however, each of them had five distinct toes. However, after putting the pictures on the computer, I discovered that the toes were predominantly claws.

I returned to the site where we first saw the creature or monster, it appears he or she had a den in the bank of the hill under the roots of an older tree and a old log. Fresh blood was in the area with tuffs of white hair, which I am presuming was from the Snowshoe Hares that inhabit the area. Whatever it was, it was definitely a meat eater.

I could still hear "Ruger" barking at the monster on the bluff behind the "Bear Den" and "Wolf Den". It was only after I returned to the truck and started the engine that "Ruger" finally called off the hunt and returned, stopping occasionally to look over his shoulder.

After viewing the pictures on the computer, I returned to the campground on Friday. This time, I came prepared, I carried a shotgun with me. I do not know if I would have shot it, but I would liked to have known what I encountered. I checked out the area, I found two additional den areas. The first behind the "Duck House" in the old log pile, again there is blood and white hair. In this area, I also found some "scat" that had particles of bone and hair in it. The second den I located was on Bear Creek Trail, about mid way up the bluff under a large boulder. This site was also littered with the same evidence but the snow was packed down and it appeared that the foot prints were much smaller than the original tracks that I saw. It is possible that we have at least three of these creatures in the area or perhaps a mating pair.

I have no concept of what it was. I have to assume by the defensive posture and gestures it directed towards me the only reason it did not attack was my size. I also think that "Ruger" has possibly had contact with it previously because he was not in any rush to attack it. The entire time, he remained back a safe distance as to where he could escape. As quickly as he responded by growling and barking when we first arrived in the area, even from the truck seat, further confirms my suspicion that he has knowledge of the animal.

I am concerned, with my "grandchildren" and great "grandchildren" playing in the area as I am not convinced it would attack a smaller person or smaller pet animals. Over the next couple of days, I will check the area on a daily basis and possibly even set up a "baiting area" that I can observe from the "Water Tower". Please inform your children of the existence of this creature or creatures and insure we keep a watchful eye when they are playing in the area.

I have researched everyplace I can think of on the www and have not found anything relating to a creature of this appearance. For now, we will just call it a "Snow Monster".

Winter At Home  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Despite the work that it creates, Alaskan winters cane be quite enjoyable, it you stop long enough to enjoy the landscape.

Front Yard At Home

The Feeding Birds Are Expected To Shovel Their Own Deck and Roof

Rock Garden Where The Flowers Were In Bloom A Few Short Weeks Ago.

More SNOW Pictures At The "Hole In The Wall" Site.

Anchor Point Dump  

Posted by Stan Harrington

December 1, 2009 with just a dusting of snow on the ground in Anchor Point, we finally got our first big dump for the 2009 Snow Season. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon we watched as rain drenched the area. At three thirty and a slight decrease in temperatures, the rain quickly turned to snow. At 5:30 pm, we had a beautiful blanket of snow measuring seven inches in depth. Since that time, the snow continues to fall and pile up on my once bare driveway. I watch the Doppler Radar in anticipation for the passing of the low front, however the end is not in sight. I really do not mind, plowing snow is actually fun but shoveling the decks and sidewalks is work. I guess that is why the little lady has always done the decks and sidewalk while I plow. How I wish she was here to enjoy the snow and be able to participate come first light.

Picture Taken At 6 PM Without A Flash
Entry Driveway To My Upper Parking Lot

Back Yard ~ Picture Taken at 8:00 PM With Aide Of
Night Vision Feature On My Camera